Smoothies are vitamin-packed, healthy beverages, normally made with fruit and juice or milk. You do not need fruit at all in smoothies. Vegetables that contain a high percentage of water are good smoothie choices along with some vegetables that have a lot of fiber. The vegetables that you select determine how you mix the vegetables and your liquids into a healthy smoothie.
Smoothies often have the consistency of the traditional milkshake, but milk is not the only liquid that you can use to prepare a smoothie. Other choices include prepared fruit juice, such as nectars from mango, apricots and pears. These are usually thicker than clear fruit juices. For smoothies with no fruit juice, consider non-fat plain yogurt, buttermilk, tomato puree and homemade carrot or celery juice. Soy, almond and oatmeal milk are options for vegans and omnivores. Raw cashews and similar nuts will thicken smoothies that you make with thinner liquids.
The primary considerations for choosing vegetables to include in smoothies are the flavor that you want in the finished product and the texture of the raw vegetable. Avocados, cucumbers without seeds, tomatoes and summer squash all contain enough water to mix easily with a variety of liquids after you peel and chop them. Finely grated carrots and sweet potatoes will also blend into your smoothie with little additional preparation. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, bok choy and some denser greens can work in smoothies after you grind them to a fine texture in a blender or food processor.
Make savory vegetable smoothies by combining fresh herbs, buttermilk or yogurt and vegetables such as avocados, tomatoes, sweet peppers, cauliflower and cucumbers. The avocado gives the smoothie its signature texture. Herbs, such as fresh basil, will complement the vegetable flavors. This type of smoothie will have flavor characteristics of gazpacho soup. It will not require frozen ingredients or ice.
Fruit and Vegetable Variations
You can also add vegetables to existing fruit smoothie recipes, many of which rely on bananas to achieve the texture of a milkshake. Select vegetables that complement the sweetness of fruit, such as grated carrots, parsnips or sweet potatoes and add them to the original recipe or use them to replace some of the fruit in the recipe. Vegetables such as celery and rhubarb can work with a combination smoothie, depending on the natural sweetness of the fruit in your recipe.