Smoothies are a great way to start the day. They whip up in seconds, are transportable, and customizable to each persons tastes and dietary preferences. Here is a new one I’ve been making lately. A simple, tropical green smoothie made with mango, baby spinach leaves, chia, and homemade almond milk. Don’t let the bright green color throw you. It’s delicious!
Mango and Spinach, It Works!
I’ve been stuck on my raspberry-banana smoothie for a long time and decided it was time to create some new flavors. With the gift of a half dozen mangoes from the Mango Board, a smoothie was my first thought. Mangoes bring that sweet taste of the tropics to everything. While combining mango with spinach leaves might sound crazy, it makes a terrific smoothie.
How to Choose a Mango
To choose a ripe mango, squeeze it gently. it should give slightly like a ripe peach or avocado. Firm but with a slight give. The color of the skin is not the best indicator. If the mango is hard, keep it at room temperature until it is ripe, then refrigerate, but not before. Once refrigerated, a mango will last about 5 days. If they get soft and you don’t have time to use them, peel, cube and freeze the flesh so it is not wasted.
How To Cut Up a Mango
Mangoes can be challenging to cut up the first time, so here are a few tips. Mangoes have a large, flat, center seed. First, wash the mango. Next, stand the mango with the stem end on the cutting board. Cut a little off center, through the flesh and you will get a large piece of mango, sometimes called a cheek. You may need to test with your knife a time or two to find just the right spot to cut. If you cut too close and hit the seed, just move a 1/4″ off and try again.
When you have cut the “cheeks” off the seed, cut a grid pattern on the mango with a sharp paring knife. Don’t cut through the skin. Then scoop out the cubes with a spoon. Most of what is left is the seed. You might be able to harvest a little more mango flesh off the center piece, but not much.
For more information (and a video) on how to cut up a mango, check out the National Mango Board site.
More Healthy Ingredients
A few more notes on ingredients. This smoothie gets its beautiful bright green color from fresh baby spinach leaves. While spinach might sound like a strange thing for a smoothie, it’s a great way to get green leafy vegetables in as you start your day. Add about a cup, or a big handful, to your blender. Spinach is super-nutritious and one of the world’s healthiest vegetables, rich in vitamins and minerals, plus anti-inflammatory benefits.
Another addition to this smoothie is chia seed. Chia was eaten by the ancient Aztec Indians for strength. Chia is a source of omega fatty acids and dietary fiber, plus calcium, iron, potassium and protein. The brand I buy is Navitas Naturals. Maker of high quality products, their chia is organic, non-GMO, raw, gluten-free, and vegan. Check out their other fantastic products too. Lots of healthy things to add to your smoothies, and overall, your diet. Superfoods!
Once your mango is cubed, get out your blender or Vitamix, ready your spinach, almond milk and chia seeds and get ready for a great smoothie!
For another recipe idea using mangoes, try this pineapple-mango salsa. It’s great on grilled chicken, shrimp and fish.
Tropical Green Smoothie
- 10-12 ounces almond milk (preferably homemade)
- 1 big fat handful of washed baby spinach leaves
- 1 scoop of your preferred protein powder
- 1/2 cup cubed mango (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tablespoons chia seed or powder
- 1/2 of a small banana (for creaminess, optional)
- Place everything in a Vitamix or blender and process until smooth
Sugar in bananas – good or bad? Article about added versus natural sugars. From LiveStrong.
50 Best Brain Foods, From Dr. Daniel Amen (bananas are on the list)
More information on chia seeds, from Navitas Naturals
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