Regular readers will know I am a bit of breakfast-head. If breakfast were a religion I would be proselytising on a street corner, shoving avocado-smeared toast in your hand as you rushed by, late and ratty for your train. In other words, a bit evangelical. Small e, mind.
Happily, I’ve noticed in my nutrition groups that when we discuss breakfast and its importance for blood sugar control (and consequently weight control), energy and basically running on all cylinders, I am preaching to the choir. A calm, unratty, insulin-controlled choir. Hooray! Big H.
In the olden days of doing what I do, some folk shuffled uncomfortably in their seats when I mentioned the ‘B’ word. Excuses would come thick and fast, with “no time” consistently top of the list. There would nearly always be someone quite proud of not breaking the fast; a sign, they thought (I may be doing them an injustice), of being far too busy and high-minded for something so basic: “A coffee is all I need.” These would invariably be the ones who would catch me on the way out and complain about their rock-bottom energy levels, their mysterious weight gain, their compulsive cravings. The temptation to roll my eyes and scream “aargh” was at times nearly overwhelming. But I am still here, still teaching, so I have obviously not succumbed to that job-wrecking, pretentious posture.
Luckily, as I said, things have changed for the better. So many more people – people like you and me – are aware that the body needs fuel first thing; that the act of eating breakfast quite literally helps us to make good food choices the rest of the day. And makes us nicer people. Maybe that last bit just applies to me. Meeting a breakfast-deprived Kellie is perhaps on a par with the fear inculcated by the Ancients of encountering the Gorgons – Euryale to be specific. I digress…
But smoothies are not often a good choice. Or at least not in the amounts many of us like to consume them. The calories and sugar from commercial smoothies more often than not border on the unhealthy. That may sound a tad drama queen, but have you looked at one of the labels? Some make full-fat cola seem a reasonable alternative. What we are now finding out about sugar highlights just how appalling are many of these so-called healthy choices. But still the healthy image persists.
A serving size of a commercially made smoothie is usually listed as 250 ml, but with two-thirds of brands containing more sugar than the same amount of Coca-Cola, that’s a load of sugar for which we haven’t bargained. And if poured from a larger carton, who stops at 250ml? Especially as, like granola, it has a health halo: it’s healthy therefore we can/should consume more. Err, no. A calorie is a calorie, and a gram of sugar is a gram of sugar, whether it is from a thick mulch of sweet organic fruits or a pack of M&Ms. I’m not saying that the organic mulch isn’t beneficial in many ways – some fibre and the vitamins – but it is easy to get carried away with the benefits and not realise that your body doesn’t really discriminate when it comes to breaking down sugars. Less is more.
Adding in some greens goes a ways towards justifying a halo – yours and the smoothie’s. Super-low calorie, high nutrient, fibre-loaded kale is a fantastic, if unusual, way to rescue the image of the smoothie. I have a couple more healthy smoothies lurking in my messy, rambling recipe index, but this one is probably my current favourite. I don’t drink it every day, but it is a pretty good way of getting some veggies in before you even go out the door. Why save kale for dinner?
If you are at all sceptical about kale in this smoothie, just forgo it – it will still be healthy. But, come on, I dare you!
Do you like smoothies? How do you make yours healthier?
Green and Black Forest Smoothie (Kale, Sour Cherry and Cocoa Smoothie)
Last year: Pan-fried Hake with Brown Shrimp & Caper Butter Sauce
Two years ago: Lemony Courgette Tagliatelle in Herbed Creme Fraiche
Miss R’s track of the week: Liquid Spirit by Gregory Porter
With or without the kale, this creamy cocoa-cherry smoothie makes a terrific breakfast. And the sour cherries are a top anti-inflammatory food. I use frozen, but if you can get hold of fresh, use those and add in some ice when blending. Or use frozen kale. My Miss R always makes sure I have unsweetened almond milk and Katy Rodger’s plain yogurt in the fridge, so that’s what goes in mine. But use what you like – vegan or not. If you are feeling fancy, why not add some chocolate chips or cocoa nibs? But you are best using a Froothie Optimum 9400 Super Blender or other uber-whizzy blender for these nubbly option.
Makes 2 not-too-huge smoothies or one massive, exceedingly filling one
3 heaped tbsp yogurt (I like non-fat Greek yogurt or Katy Rodger’s plain)
250ml unsweetened almond milk, or whatever you like
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
2 tbsp pure cocoa OR cacao powder
Chopped kale or spinach – a good heaped handful (as much as you dare)
Frozen sour cherries OR a dark ‘summer fruits’ mix (eg with blackberries, black currants, red currants, cherries, blueberries – that kind of thing) – about 1 cup, but amount is up to you (I never measure)
Acacia honey, to taste (about 1 tsp)
Water, to thin as needed
*Pop everything in your blender, according to your manufacturer’s instructions and blast until icy, smooth and creamy.*
Extra energy option: add ¼ tsp matcha powder (green tea powder) for a gentle caffeine hit.
More fibre (especially if you aren’t using kale): add ground chia or flaxseeds – about 2 tbsp
I am sending this odd creation over to scare Mark and his readers over at Javelin Warrior’s Made With Love Mondays, found on Cookin’ W/ Luv.
Disclosure: I am an ambassador for Froothie and some links in this article may be affiliate links. However, as always, all product reviews are based on my honest opinion. If you’d like to know more about Froothie products, or this machine in particular, please visit the Froothie website for more details. Any purchases made through this/these link(s) are at no extra cost to you but give Food To Glow a small bit of money to keep the site afloat and developing healthy recipes to share. Thanks!
40 thoughts on “Green and Black Forest Smoothie (Kale, Sour Cherry and Cocoa Smoothie)”
Love it! I totally agree, I am a MONSTER without breakfast. My boyfriend even notices and we have a “breakfast emergency” where eggs are poached at high speed and slapped down in front of me before all hell breaks loose- so it’s definitely not just you! Love kale in my smoothies and juices so will definitely be giving this flavour combo a go. Will see if it can rival my reigning favourite 😉
PS. Gorgeous pics!
THanks so much for both lovely comments!
Fantastic, love the way you write! Great pictures 🙂
Hi Kellie – I love your smoothie and recently posted a similar one as well. 🙂 I like that you pointed out the sugar in fruit is still sugar and that a balance of greens:fruit ratio in smoothies is important. Thanks for another inspired and accessible recipe!
This looks delicious and so does Miss R!
Definitely going to try this! Buying ingredients as I type. 🙂 Thank you!
Amazing. I’m heading out to buy kale and get my breakfast health kicks for the week x
Awesome! I hope you like it. Loads of other kale recipes in the index.
I too am an evil monster without breakfast, in fact I’m pretty grumpy whenever I am hungry 🙂 have never tried kale in a smoothie, so thanks for the idea.
Oh me too about the grumpy when hungry. Grumpy and light-headed. And jsut to tell you I am doing something a bit Greek with your summer squashes tonight! They are SO pretty and taste divine. Thank you for sharing them with me 😀
My pleasure Kellie, and it was lovely to see them making a photo appearance on your blog 🙂
Wow! The smoothie looks awesome.. great option for breakfast! Will try it soon 🙂
The thing I love most about your recipes and post, is that you make it look so appetizing as well. My best friend eats the same stuff and it looks like something from Ghost Busters, thanks for your inspiration post and details, maybe he can start doing it this way! -Michael Dooley leadershipdevelopmentblog.com
Oh, that’s funny because I kind of think my stuff can look a bit ghost buster-ish. I will never be a food stylist or photographer and I am always so tickled when anyone likes the presentation or images. So thank you!
This look delicious. I am ashamed to admit, I am one of the “bad, skip breakfast more than I should” group. I have never been a big smoothie lover, however this might just change my mind. Thanks, Tracy.
I usually like something savoury – eggs, wholegrain toast and avocado – that kind of thing. IF you function well without breakfast then you are very lucky and I envy you on busy mornings. It would be nice to just bolt out the door sometimes 😀
Nice flavors!! You know I love smoothies 🙂
What a great recipe. I am trying to encourage my husband to eat kale and to eat breakfast. This will do both! I can’t wait to try it.
I would just add a little in the first instance. Gain his trust, then *pow* hit him with a proper serving. Loads of other kale ideas in the Index. Good luck!
I used to NEED breakfast before I can function, but lately have gotten into a very bad habit of skipping breakfast because I’ve started working, and can no longer have the luxury of rollign out of bed at 9am. I always get so tired before lunchtime though- a sign that my body needs more than just some water to function. This smoothie is a great idea! So nutritious and quick enough to make – I have no excuse now!
I was reonverted to juicing after my lovely yoga retreat and this looks like another perfect excuse to drag it out! Was also introduced to raw chocolate and raw energy power balls for breakfast – recipe at MindBodyGreen. Thought I’d share! Thank you for yet more inspiration
It’s funny you mentioning power balls. I have a citrus & apricot bar just waiting for me to write up! I sometimes look at mind body green too. Thanks for your kind comment. And inadvertently reminding me to post my own power balls (bars actually)
Where do you buy frozen sour cherries from please?
I’m in Edinburgh and buy mine at Real Foods. Otherwise health food stores, enlightened farm shops and places like whole foods should have them. Sweet cherries are good too and more easily available. I love sour cherries for their anti-inflammatory properties and lower sugars.
I love the sound of this smoothie, Kellie – I’m in complete agreement when it comes to reducing sugar at the start of my day. I sometimes do get carried away when I’m making smoothies at home – before I know it, half the blender is filled with frozen fruit, yogurt and the like! I’ve never tried adding kale to a smoothie before – just spinach – and I love the idea…
Oooh, try the kale! You will be pleasantly surprised, but only if you have some to hand. Kale is one of the few things I can successfully grow, so I pretty much have some year-round and stick it any thing given half a chance.
Delicious. Can’t find my earphones so can’t listen to the track (yet). No doubt it will live up to Miss R’s usual fine taste :).
I love smoothies – this looks fantastic!
Looks so fun, I love smoothies cause they give me so much energy even when I don’t feel awake enough to eat something heavy 🙂 Great pictures too, super cute!
We don’t have Kale in Spain. (Malaga) Substitute?
That’s too bad ’cause it’s great stuff. Spinach is a usual sub, but it’s much milder. Some might prefer its mildness. Give it a go and let me know how you get on.
Yummy this is a great recipe, tatstes delicious. Thanks for sharing.
You are very welcome!
Our local U-pick cherries have been out of sweet cherries and so we’ve been picking tart cherries for our farm fresh picking outings, so I’ve been making this smoothie for my lunch the last few days. Thanks so much for the tasty recipe to use up my fresh fruits!
Oh you are so welcome, Amy. I am envious of your access to tart cherries. I wish I had a fresh source!