Green Smoothie Pucks (the BEST way to add greens to smoothies!)
Make your smoothies even more nourishing by skipping the raw greens and making Green Smoothie Pucks instead. This is a fantastic and easy way to prepare your beet greens, spinach, arugula, and kale ahead of time to reduce oxalates while keeping your greens from spoiling! Perfect for vegan, keto, paleo, Whole30, and all real food lifestyles!
I never got on the “green smoothie” train. Errr, bus.
Err, actually, I sort of have this stereotype that people who drink green smoothies only ride bicycles because any sort of petroleum-powered travel isn’t in alignment with their green smoothie life…
I kid, I kid!
But for real, I’ve never been a green smoothie fan. And it has nothing to do with not liking green smoothies!
So, why then?
Because of the way greens are just thrown into smoothies totally raw. It makes me cringe a little when I see videos and recipes for green smoothies that involve adding large quantities of raw greens — like kale, beet greens, arugula, collard greens, and spinach.
Are you confused? Is there something wrong with raw greens?
The Problem with Adding Raw Greens to Smoothies
No, raw greens aren’t bad. But, they’re also not ideal for our bodies to digest. They’re actually tough for our bodies to digest.
I mean, there’s a reason you never see anyone shoveling handfuls of raw kale, collard greens, and beet greens into their mouths…
For me, the problem with adding raw greens to smoothies isn’t about taste or texture or nutrient content… it’s about oxalates.
Beet greens, spinach, kale, collard greens, and arugula are high in an anti-nutrient called oxalic acid (aka oxalates).
For many years, I have talked about phytic acid/phytates in grains, nuts, and beans. It’s why I prefer traditional food preparation methods like soaking, sprouting, and souring these foods. Those preparation methods neutralize phytic acid, making the grains, beans, and nuts more digestible AND making your body better able to absorb the minerals in those foods.
What phytic acid is to grains, beans, and nuts, oxalic acid is to certain raw greens. (Lettuce, however, isn’t high in oxalates!)
Greens are superfoods, and I absolutely believe that a nourishing diet isn’t complete without them. But, what good is it to eat a bunch of greens that are loaded with vitamins and minerals if your body can’t really digest them or absorb the nutrients in the foods?
Just like soaking, sprouting, and souring grains, nuts, and beans neutralizes phytic acid, lightly steaming greens neutralizes oxalic acid.
It only takes a few minutes of steaming to make your greens infinitely more nourishing and digestible!
But who wants to steam greens every time you want to make a smoothie?
Tell me about it! Definitely not me!
That’s why I came up with Green Smoothie Pucks.
By steaming a bunch of greens at once, portioning them into “pucks”, and freezing them, you’ll always have low-oxalate greens ready to add to your smoothies!
Just pop one Green Smoothie Puck into your smoothie and BAM! You’ve added nutrient-dense, easily digestible greens!
More Advantages to Green Smoothie Pucks
Oxalates aside, here’s another reason to make Green Smoothie Pucks: LESS WASTE.
Please tell me I’m not the only person who’s ever purchased a large amount of spinach or other greens only to have most of it wilt and spoil before I was able to use it all!
By making Green Smoothie Pucks, you can preserve your expensive, organic greens in the freezer in a way that’s totally usable.
What kind of greens are best for Green Smoothie Pucks?
High-oxalate greens are the best leafy greens for Green Smoothie Pucks:
- beet greens
- collard greens
- Swiss chard
Note: All lettuces, except endive, are low in oxalates and do not need to be steamed prior to eating. So a lettuce salad would be much lower in oxalates than a spinach and arugula salad, for example.
When it’s not growing season for me, I love to buy big bags of spinach + arugula, pre-chopped kale, and superfood greens and make a bunch of Green Smoothie Pucks at once. I can make approximately 30 smoothie pucks out of 2 or 3 bags of these greens. Since I have a smoothie pretty much daily, it’s a enough Green Smoothie Pucks for a month!
How to Make Green Smoothie Pucks
First, tart with washed greens of your choice.
Steam them on the stove in a steamer basket or pot with a colander inside and a lid on top for 2 to 3 minutes.
Half-way through steaming, use some tongs to toss the greens so they steam evenly.
Working in batches, transfer the steamed greens to a bowl.
When all the greens are steamed, you’re ready to make pucks!
Pack the steamed greens into a 1/3-cup measuring cup. (Why 1/3 cup? One, because 1/3 cup steamed greens = approximately 1 cup of raw greens. Two, because any larger is difficult for most blenders to handle since it’s like a large chunk of ice.)
Next, tap the packed greens out of the measuring cup onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Once you’ve made pucks for smoothies out of all the steamed greens, transfer the baking tray to your freezer and let them freeze.
Finally, take the frozen pucks and store them in a zip-top back. Pull one puck out per smoothie!
There’s no recipe needed. That’s how easy it is to make pre-steamed Green Smoothie Pucks!