In the world of juicing, Green Juice is all the rage. And for good reason: It’s chock full of beneficial vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. But you can’t simply toss together random green produce and expect a palatable result. A haphazardly mixed green concoction might taste more like lawnmower clippings, or worse, like some foul liquid oozing out from under a compost pile. You don’t want to end up as green as your juice!
You can avoid potentially unappetizing consequences by following this simple Green Juicing Formula:
Mild Base + Sweet + Greens + Tart = Tasty (and Healthful) Green Juice
1. Start with a mild Juice Base.
Mild-tasting produce with a high water content provides a relatively palate-neutral “clean slate” on which to build your Green Juice masterpiece.
Try these tried and true pairings, or mix and match to suit your taste:
Cucumber + Celery
You can’t go wrong with this clean, classic Green Juice base combination.
Lettuce + Tomato
Arguably a leafy green, lettuce’s high water content and mild flavor – especially Iceberg, Butterhead and Romaine varieties – make it an ideal Green Juice base. And tomatoes have a low-to-moderate sugar content and mild flavor profile that pairs well with lettuce. Hey, it works in a BLT – why not in Green Juice?
Turnip + Green apple
As the least-sweet common apple variety, the green (Fuji) apple naturally lends itself to Green Juice bases. And green apples and turnips are a popular combination, especially in traditional Thanksgiving salads.
2. Toss in a handful of Greens.
Greens – including leafy spinach, chard, collards and kale, as well as broccoli and Brussels sprouts – represent your major source of powerful vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They also give your Green Juice its distinctive, verdant color. Just keep in mind that greens also can be high in naturally occurring toxins, and they generally introduce a bitter taste. Don’t over-do it on the greens for the sake of trying to maximize your Green Juice health benefit. You’ll probably regret it.
Try these combinations:
Brocolli + Cabbage
These two cruciferous vegetables, when paired together, make an intriguing and flavorful combination.
Spinach + Collard greens or Kale
The relatively mild, sweet flavor of spinach (especially baby spinach) nicely offsets the earthiness of collard greens or kale.
These greens, with their intense flavors, don’t really lend themselves to complementary pairings. Use them alone:
3. Add a touch of
Produce high in natural sugars – like root vegetables and fruits – adds a hint of sweetness and helps take the bitter “edge” off of the greens. Just remember that your goal here is to create a healthfully tasty Green Juice – not a super-sweet quick energy boost. The key here isn’t moderation – it’s minimalism. Easy does it with the sugar.
If you used green apple in your base, factor that into your recipe and reduce the amount of additional sweet ingredient(s). Juice combinations are largely a matter of taste and preference. Here’s a list of some options, but feel free to experiment:
- Citrus fruits: orange, tangerine, grapefruit
- Root vegetables: carrots, beets and fennel
- Berries: strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, cranberry
- Melons: watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew
- Stone fruit (pitted): peach, nectarine, apricot, plum
- Red apple
- Sweet potato
4. Finish with a splash of Lemon or
Introducing tart citric acid at the end of your Green Juice helps balance the sweetness with the bitterness, and provides a clean “finish” to your drink. Remember, a little citrus goes a long way: ½ a lemon or lime, including the rind, typically is plenty for a single Green Juice serving.
Spice it up a notch
Once you have your basic Green Juice formula and recipes down, get creative! Add a little healthful zing with a pinch of optional flavor enhancers like ginger, fennel, ginseng, mint, basil, cilantro, dandelion greens, or even garlic and cayenne pepper.