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Eat Well May. 23. 2014

5 Minute Spinach Smoothie

May. 23. 2014
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN


The ultimate healthy green smoothie for on-the-go, made in under 5 minutes with plant-based protein, greens, healthy fats, and fruit!

The title says it all. The 5 Minute Spinach Smoothie is one of my go-to green smoothie “recipes” that I make if I’m in a bind and don’t have all the ingredients to make my Stripped Green Smooothie. It’s a great recipe for if I’m in the mood for something else or if I want to share this smoothie with friends and family who are new to the whole “green smoothie thang.” Just like my Creamy Ginger Green Smoothie, this 5 Minute Spinach Smoothie is great to ease into the world of green smoothies with spinach, bananas, and natural sweeteners.

Spinach is a great green to use for beginner green smoothies for a couple reasons, starting with the fact that it’s easy on your blender. Most of my clients and readers ask me about what greens they can blend in standard blenders, and, well, spinach is the one! Spinach is naturally very delicate in texture and flavor which brings me to reason numero dos why this smoothie is great for beginners – it tastes great! The slightly sweet and subtle flavor of spinach goes really well with fruits, healthy fats like almond butter or avocado, and especially with plant-based protein powders. They all blends beautifully together for a really friendly spinach smoothie.

Spinach is also loaded with nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber and much more. If you haven’t already, read up on why I always have spinach on hand and stocked in my “pantry“. Don’t be afraid of the greens! If I can get my sweet to drink his greens, then trust me you can venture to the green smoothie side or at least try to get the little ones to drink their greens too. I promise they’ll love this one.

Here’s the breakdown for this 5 Minute Spinach Smoothie. I group the recipe into several options so you may pick and choose the ingredients to develop your own favorite variation. I’ll share my favorite go-to version of this smoothie in the recipe below as well. Have some fun with it and don’t be afraid to experiment! This smoothie is literally a meal in a glass, it tastes amazing and is incredibly nutrient dense especially with the options listed from below. All you have to do is mix is choose from the following to make this “equation” work for your goals. Simple as this.

5-minute Spinach Smoothie = 2-3 cups raw spinach + 1 cup fruit + 1/2 cup liquid + 1 serving of healthy fat + 1 scoop of plant-based protein powder (optional)

  • Fruits: frozen pineapple, mango, apple, pear, frozen banana, strawberries, blueberries, cherries
  • Liquid: almond milk, nut milks of your choice, water, or coconut water
  • Healthy fat: 1-2 tablespoons of almond butter/nut butters you enjoy, 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds, 1/4 cup of almonds/cashews/walnuts, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, 1/2 avocado, 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil, etc.
  • Protein: I personally love using Sunwarrior warrior blend with 1-2 tablespoons of spirulina, Vega Sport, or Plant Fusion for a boost in protein (especially if this is post workout).
  • Additional ingredients: you can always choose some of your favorite “superfoods” to add nutrients to this mix. To sweeten you can add dates or stevia, and to boost fiber you can add chia seeds, flax seeds, oatmeal, etc. to make this more hearty and thick.

To read more about how many servings of each of these food groups you need, be sure to plan ahead and check out my Back to Basics meal planning guide and tip sheet!

I hope you all enjoy this one! As I said, it’s a great one to start out with if you’re a newbie to green or spinach smoothies. Let me know how you like this smoothie by commenting below, on Facebook, or sharing yours on Instagram so I can see 🙂

xx McKel

The Recipe

Serves 1



2-3 cups raw spinach

1 cup frozen banana

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup ice

1 tablespoon almond butter 

1 tablespoon spirulina powder, optional

1 date, pitted

1 scoop of plant-based protein powder, optional



 Simply combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until thick and creamy. You may adjust for your desired thickness by adding ice or removing liquid- the opposite is true if you prefer it thinner.



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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • This sounds so easy and delicious! I’ve never added dates to my smoothies before so I look forward to trying this!

  • This is similar to my go-to breakfast shake these days. We have so much spinach growing at our farm right now and sometimes I just can’t take eating another salad. Green smoothies to the rescue!

  • I love your smoothie recipes, McKel! I basically use the above formula as a template for most of my green smoothies 🙂 Haven’t thought to add a fat yet though, so thank you for the idea.

  • Deb

    Why “plant-based” protein? Will whey protein work just as well or does it interfere with the spinach?

    • I referred to plant-based proteins on nutrition stripped because these are dairy free and gluten-free recipes, you may use high-quality grass fed way protein of your choosing

  • Natalie Rivera

    How many calories is in 1 serving? I am 136lbs i keep going up and down. im trying to also do Jillian Michaels total body revolution. i am nursing my daughter still and shes almost 15 months old. she nurses 90% of the time. i am vegan as well. i need to get down to 110-115lbs. I want to make more smoothies but i think some of the ones i am making have high calories in too much fat because im stuck at 134lbs

    • Please visit a calorie counting website like myfitnesspal.com to enter the calories per serving, it’s different depending on what fruit, etc. you enjoy using!

  • Cait

    Delish!! I used a dried Fig, Cashew Peanut putter ( homemade ) it was really great and a beautiful color!!

  • First, wonderful to discover you site. Nice work. Thanks for the great ideas and info.

    My question is regarding the phytic acid in (raw) spinach. Since this binds to calcium and prevents absorption of calcium, how much is too much? Any suggestions?

    • Thank you for your kind comment! As mentioned in the blog I wouldn’t worry about too much, it’s hard to get in too much spinach or greens unless you’re eating pounds a day, juicing daily, and drinking green smoothies all day long. Then I would seriously consider thinking about calcium absorption.

  • Lindsey

    Thanks for this recipe! My daughter and I loved it!

  • soni

    hello McKel!

    I was wondering if one could make most of your smoothie recipes into smoothie bowls that can be topped with granola or made green? Are the smoothie recipes already filling enough to not require such an extent?
    I basically want to finish up the homemade granola I have and sneak in a bit of greens! Though the protein powder I use is the vega protein and green, but an added handful spinach or other leafy green couldn’t hurt?!

  • Liz

    I just prepared my first “green smoothie” using the above recipe, and I love it! I did it with spinach, banana, strawberries and powder protein. It was delicious! 🙂

  • Carolyn

    Would it be better to steam the spinach before hand to keep calcium absorbtion? I thought cooked spinach actually allowed our body to better absorb all of the vitamins it had to offer…maybe I misread something.

    • You don’t need to steam the spinach in this recipe! Both raw and cooked spinach have a host of health and nutrients, but in this recipe raw is best!

  • Ann marshall

    How do you blend spinach enough so that it isn’t bulky when you dink. Its fiber seems to congest me. I have no health issues and find that after drinking it seems to stick somewhat in my chest. Any ideas or am I the only one experiencing?

    • Hi Ann- the key to making smoothies creamy is using a great blender. I only use a Vitamix for this reason, but also be sure to add enough water! No matter what blender you use, water and liquid will always make it smooth. Hope that helps!

  • I just bookmarked this recipe for later! Thank you. 🙂

  • Yvonne Herbst

    I added 1 orange peeled and seedless and blueberries. Delicious.

    • McKel Hill

      Great combination Yvonne! xM

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