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Eat Well Nov. 22. 2013
Breakfast

Stripped Green Smoothie Bowl + Superfoods 101

Nov. 22. 2013
Breakfast
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder

Lately, I’ve been in quite the food phase with my Stripped Green Smoothie Bowls. Not that this is any news to you guys, especially if you’re keeping up with me on Instagram and Facebook. I’ve been LOVING this way of eating my Stripped Green Smoothie lately since it’s such a simple and easy alteration to my original recipe. A smoothie bowl is essentially a smoothie that’s thick enough to eat with a spoon and has the creamy texture of ice cream, and who doesn’t enjoy a big bowl of ice cream for breakfast?

Superfood, super…what?

What I love most about the Stripped Green Smoothie Bowl is the contrast of the creamy, thick, cold smoothie and the crunchy toppings of granola, goji berries, raw cocoa nibs, coconut, and sometimes chia seeds. It reminds me of an ice cream base because it’s very thick, cold, and extremely creamy without any use of ice cream, yogurt, or creams of any kind. It’s all raw fruits and vegetables! Pure and simple. Also, this recipe is extremely satisfying and filling due to the volume from the raw fruits, greens, ice, frozen bananas, and additional frozen fruit which is optional. One generous serving fills up a very large bowl so there’s no deprivation with this meal – only nourishing whole raw plant based ingredients.

What is a “superfood”? I briefly discussed this same topic in the post Fall Harvest Superfood Salad. In general, a superfood is any food that has super nutrient density qualities, whether that’s being high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, proteins, healthy fats, or a combination of all of the above. These aren’t a necessity in anyone’s diet since all whole foods are super in their own right, yet incorporating these can be a fun way to boost nutrients in your diet. The toppings I routinely have on my smoothie bowl (and in many other forms) are all considered “superfoods” due to high nutrient density versus caloric density, i.e. more nutrients per calorie.

Many of you have been asking me about the toppings I use and what those unique ingredients I put in my Stripped Green Smoothies are. Below is a breakdown of my favorite superfoods you all may see on or in my smoothies and in other treats I make. This list isn’t all inclusive of superfoods, but these are my favorites for smoothie bowls!

SUPERFOOD toppings |

  • Maca (mah-cah): an adaptogenic root vegetable (from the broccoli family actually) grown in Peru. It’s high in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamins B1, B2, C, E, iron and also contains trace minerals including zinc and selenium, fatty acids, and amino acids (about 10% protein). It’s been used for centuries by the South American cultures for hormonal balance, stamina, reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms, increased physical strength and endurance, and mental focus/clarity. It’s also been shown to function as an aphrodisiac. Although the scientific evidence for the claims of maca are not at a significant level, the pure mineral and vitamin rich content justifies this root to be a “superfood”.
    • Taste: malt, earthy, nutty
    • Try: 1 teaspoon and gradually increasing. Check here for more on serving sizes.
  • Raw cacao nibs or powder: not only delicious but also high in antioxidants, too! Read more on why I love chocolate here.
    • Taste: bitter, chocolate, rich
    • Try: 1 teaspoon-tablespoon depending on how much you like
  • Coconut: high in saturated fat (about 90%) and comprised of 65% MCT or medium chain triglycerides from lauric and myristic acids. Contains natural anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties as well as cosmetic uses for your hair, skin, and nails. Read more about why I love coconut here!
    • Taste: sweet, nutty, rich
    • Try: 1 tablespoon or more if you enjoy
  • Goji berries: one of if not my favorite “superfoods”. They’re delicious tiny berries that taste like a raisin and a cranberry mixed together. They’re high in minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium; high in vitamins A, C, B2;  high in phytochemicals such as beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin, and contain polysaccharides. Goji berries also contain 18 amino acids  (11 essential amino acids) which make them a good source of plant protein as well.
    • Taste: like a cross between a raisin and cranberry, slightly sweet
    • Try: ¼ cup to however much you enjoy
  • Bee pollen:  a male “seed” of flowers/plants that are then taken by bees from flower to flower as they continually mix the most nutrient dense parts with their own saliva and honey from their hive creating a small pollen granule (this is a very complex process and I’m leaving out steps for the sake of keeping it short and sweet). Bee pollen is very nutrient dense, it’s about 40% protein, contains almost all the B complex vitamins and also vitamins C, E, A, K, carotenoids, amino acids, enzymes, trace minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iodine, copper and others. Not only is it a complete nutritional package, it’s also been used for weight loss, allergies, PMS, infertility issues, sports performance, and anti-aging (some of these claims have not been studied). NOTE: if you have a pollen allergy, you may also be highly allergic to bee pollen, so take caution!
    • Taste: slightly sweet, bold, floral
    • Try: ½ teaspoon gradually increasing over time checking with the directions as well. Check here for more on dosage.
  • Homemade granola: rich in healthy fats from nuts and seeds, reduced refined sugars, and high in fiber and plant protein. See my favorite recipe for granola: Maple Banana Nut Granola.
    • Taste: DELICIOUS! Crunchy and sweet.
    • Try: ¼ cup or more as you like
  • Pumpkin seeds: rich in carotenoids, zinc, sulfur containing amino acids, vitamin A, E, C, K, B vitamins, magnesium, and copper. Also has a natural diuretic effect.
    • Taste: earthy, nutty
    • Try: 1-3 tablespoons or more as you like
  • Spirulina: A blue-green algae rich in protein and nutrients. Read more on why I love spirulina here.
    • Taste: nutty, slightly sweet (very unique combination of cocoa and seaweed)
    • Try: 1 tablespoon. Check here for more on serving size.
  • Açaí: a true beauty fruit! It’s actually a fatty fruit because of it’s fatty acid content which helps nourish skin from the inside out. It can be found fresh, as frozen pulp, or in a freeze-dried powder. It’s rich in vitamins B2, C, A, E, fiber, fatty acids, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Read more on why I love Acai here.
    • Taste: astringent/sweet, berry flavor
    • Try: depends on how you’re using acai. In powdered form the serving is ¼-1 teaspoon, and if it’s frozen puree it’d be one packet.

*note all of these “try” serving sizes are general and not based on individuals, as always check with your MD about it if you have concerns or take multiple medications (most don’t interfere, but play it safe).

Stripped Green Smoothie Bowl
Recipe Type: smoothie, breakfast
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
The Stripped Green Smoothie Bowl with superfood toppings made with only raw fruits and vegetables. GF V Raw
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of organic lacinato kale/regular kale
  • 1 cup of organic romaine
  • 1 handful ice (more as needed)
  • 1-2 large stalks of organic celery, chopped
  • ½ organic apple, cored and chopped
  • 1-2 frozen bananas
  • ½ cup of coconut water (double the filtered water if you don’t have this available)
  • ¼ cup organic cucumber, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon/meyer lemon
  • 1 brazil nut
  • dash of cayenne (optional)
  • dash of cinnamon (optional)
  • dash of turmeric (optional)
  • OPTION 2 //
  • Simply use 1/4th of the recipe from the original Stripped Green Smoothie, which has 4 servings. Add 1-2 frozen bananas and a small amount of coconut water to your desired thickness.
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into your Vitamix/ high speed blender except the frozen bananas.
  2. Combine all ingredients very well, lastly add frozen bananas and ice.
  3. The mixture should be thick like frozen soft serve ice cream- add more ice if needed.
  4. Garnish with your favorite toppings noted above.
  5. Enjoy!

WHERE TO BUY SUPERFOODS:

I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I do or that you at least challenge yourself to try something new! I realize many of you think of green smoothies as an odd thing to consume, but I promise you if you start incorporating more mineral and vitamin rich raw greens and fruits into your diet daily, you’ll start to feel the positive and energizing effects over time!

With love and gratitude,

xx McKel

The Recipe

Serves 1

Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of organic lacinato kale/regular kale
  • 1 cup of organic romaine
  • 1 handful ice (more as needed)
  • 1-2 large stalks of organic celery, chopped
  • ½ organic apple, cored and chopped
  • 1-2 frozen bananas
  • ½ cup of coconut water (double the filtered water if you don’t have this available)
  • ¼ cup organic cucumber, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon/meyer lemon
  • 1 brazil nut
  • dash of cayenne (optional)
  • dash of cinnamon (optional)
  • dash of turmeric (optional)
  • OPTION 2 //
  • Simply use 1/4th of the recipe from the original Stripped Green Smoothie, which has 4 servings. Add 1-2 frozen bananas and a small amount of coconut water to your desired thickness.

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into your Vitamix/ high speed blender except the frozen bananas.
  2. Combine all ingredients very well, lastly add frozen bananas and ice.
  3. The mixture should be thick like frozen soft serve ice cream- add more ice if needed.
  4. Garnish with your favorite toppings noted above.
  5. Enjoy!

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  • Mega

    I love that you give such a thorough description of why you love certain foods and list their benefits. I have learned so much since I started following your blog and instagram :).

    Cheers,

    Megan

    • Hi Megan! I’m so glad to hear that- that’s what I’m here for to share and spread health and nutrition information. Thank you so much for keeping up to date with me here 🙂

  • WONDERFUL Mckel! I love love superfoods. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mary

    Hi! I adore your blog, thank you for all the wonderful recipes! I have a question for you, that I really hope you will take your time to answer: Do you you use wordpress.com or wordpress.org for your blog? And why. Thank YOU! 🙂

    • Hi Mary! Thank you so much for your kind comment. I use a .com! 🙂

      • Mary

        Thank you! And you use a premium blog? 🙂

  • This looks so awesome! I will be incorporating this into my daily routine. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mary

    And you are using a premium blog on WordPress.com right? 🙂

  • pam

    I just made this for the first time today. LOVE!! I could eat this everyday. Subbed kale for romaine. Topped it with sliced banana, blueberries & a little shredded coconut. It made so much my bowl was overflowing. It’s a bit cold here, so next time I will wear mittens when eating/holding the bowl. Totally worth it! Thanks McKel!!!

    • Hi Pam,
      YEY! I’m so so glad you are lovin’ it as much as I do! Haha, the same thing happens to me because it’s pretty chilly here in TN and I get super cold after eating it, but it’s so worth it 😉

  • Kyle

    Just discovered this site a few days, made the pumpkin granola and it was fantastic and have been hooked ever since, can’t wait to try everything else. I am intrigued by bee pollen and have read a lot into it and one of the main concerns seems to be air and water contaminants and the suggestion is to buy from New Zealand or some cGMP factory. I was wondering if you have a favorite place you like to go for some of these super foods?

    • Hi Kyle,
      Thank you so much, I’m so glad you love it! I personally will buy local bee pollen, but if that’s difficult for you to find in New Zealand, than any organic brand will be great- one to mention YS Organic. Also a side note, try to purchase all of these superfoods organic as much as possible 🙂 Best to you and hope you come back!

  • James

    Hi McKel,
    I was just wondering if you could recommend how much Spirulina, bee pollen or maca to use in your green smoothies (in order to gain min/max nutritional value). Also do any of the above have any kind of taste, or are they merely a supplement you add but provide no real taste. Thanks again! By the way the look and style of your site is of very high quality, really impressed!

    • Hi James,
      Great question- I’ve went ahead and updated that post with some of those great questions. Thanks again for the support and love of the blog, I’m glad you’ve stumbled upon it 🙂

  • Love this recipe McKel! Can’t wait to try it. I’m really into smoothie bowls at the moment. I like to heat mine slightly and eat them warm. It’s a lot more gentle on the digestive system, especially early in the morning.

    Congratulations on being part of Cameron Diaz’s new book! How amazing 🙂

    • Hi Nat! Wonderful, I’m so glad you’re enjoying them in the mornings as well- thank you so much for your kind words 🙂

  • Shannon L

    I’ve actually had this for dinner before and it was just the best thing with a grain on the side as a variation and a cold soup!

  • Mia

    Hi! Do you think it will be possible to make the smoothie the day before and freeze it over night to eat in the morning?

    Thank you for such an inspirational blog!
    Much love, Mia

    • OF course, you would have to let it set out to thaw before drinking- typically if I freeze smoothies, I’ll put it in the fridge overnight the day before I want to drink it, giving it plenty of time to thaw out- then reblend.

  • Hello – would you mind if I featured your smoothie bowl in a smoothie bowl round-up? I wanted to ask before I uploaded your image and linked back to your site. I love your recipes! Thanks for your response in advance!

  • Michelle

    Hello!

    I discovered your blog via My New Roots, and I’m so glad I did! I’m always on the lookout for delicious smoothie recipes and this looks like a winner. Unfortunately, I can’t tolerate bananas or cucumbers (unless soaked in vinegar). How would you recommend replacing those ingredients in this recipe?

    Thanks so much for your beautiful and inspiring blog!

    • Hello Michelle! So glad you’ve stumbled upon over here and hope you stay a while too! You can use pear, zucchini instead of those two things! Also any fruit will do if you don’t enjoy pear. Thank you so much for all the love! xx M

  • tracey k.

    I absolutely love most of your recipes. How would you recommend to alter the smoothie for someone who loves all green foods … vegetables, smoothies, etc. but recently found out they have hypothyroidism. I know the brazil nuts are high in selenium, but most websites I am referencing advice me to stay away from the goitrogenic/cruciferous foods that consist of 50% of my diet (broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, spinach, almonds, etc.).

    Do you think that blanching the kale would be a sufficient substitution?

    • That’s a great question! You can actually use the same recipe to make this smoothie, stemming the greens for 2 minutes. The taste will not be as fresh and light as I like, but that’s an option. Another option is to not use kale everyday in the smoothie and use other veg like romaine, zucchini, etc.; also you can add in a little seaweed and that will give a boost of iodine which may help. xx Also, read up on my pantry page about Kale, I talk about that as well!

  • Bailey Belle

    So beautiful and creative but the ingredients are WAYY to expensive.. Yeah, I think I will pass on the $53.00 maca powder along with the slew of expensive ingredients. Not everyone has cash to spend on bee pollen, maca powder, and spirulina.. Forget it. I can eat a smoothie bowl just as healthy without spending that much.. :/

    • You bring up a great topic! If you check out my healthy eating on a budget post, you’ll see that’s one of my tips…to skip the superfoods if you don’t have to use them! Simple as that. Nature is full of affordable superfoods, the way I enjoy them is buying in bulk- yes they’re expensive upfront, but they last me like a year 😉

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