Strawberry, Orange and Dandelion Smoothie
(and a Challenge)
Green Smoothie of the week
Free greens anybody? This Dandelion Smoothie is one great way to get your greens without having to pay for them and get amazing health benefits at the same time. Ever thought of going into your garden, grabbing some dandelion leaves and chucking them in the blender? No me neither, until yesterday.
I’m going to share this unusual dandelion smoothie with you today, and tell you about a smoothie challenge that I’m taking part in for the month of July.
Colourful Smoothie Challenge
This month I have been participating in a smoothie challenge hosted by Colourful Palate. It’s called The Colourful Smoothie Challenge and you are encouraged to drink at least one smoothie per day. It’s easy for me as I drink a green thickie every day but it’s been great to get involved with it as I’ve been able to share recipes with other people and try some more unusual recipes that I wouldn’t have been able to try otherwise.
Some of the smoothies I’ve made in the last week
Here are some of my smoothies that I’ve been drinking during the challenge:
A new Orange, Ginger and Banana smoothie that was the most refreshing drink I’ve ever tasted. I can’t wait to share the recipe for this one:
I also had a traditional green smoothie first thing in the morning before my green thickie as I got up extra early and wanted something refreshing before my breakfast later on. This is me drinking a recipe from my quick green smoothie recipes page, Crazy Coconut, which is extremely refreshing and sweet and very quick.
I was also experimenting with more grapefruit in my Green Thickies after Dad’s Big Super Sweet and Sour Drink inspired me to tackle this sour fruit once again. The grapefruit and sweet orange green thickie I made this week was OK but still needs more tweaking before I share it with you.
I also started experimenting with pomegranate. I thought it was going to be bitter but this pomegranate and kiwi smoothie was actually very sweet with a nice tang to it. This is a photo of the inside of a pomegranate which is much prettier than my green smoothie. Can you believe this was the first time I’ve opened a pomegranate? It was actually really easy to get the seeds out.
I attempted Charissa’s Strawberry and Vanilla Milkshake (Wow a smoothie that’s not green! That doesn’t often happen.) which tasted gorgeous but I didn’t follow her instructions properly for frozen milk so it didn’t stay layered very well. Plus my gorgeous ground vanilla turned the white layer a bit brown.
So the vanilla shake didn’t look quite how I wanted it to. But it did inspire me to create my 4th of July Drink: The layered red, white and blue and still green smoothie. I was proud of this one, not only did it look the part, it tasted absolutely gorgeous too. I devoured mine with some chopped strawberries, flaked coconut and oats sprinkled on top. You can get the recipe for this 4th of July Drink here.
Then as a weekend treat I made a few chocolate Green Thickies. I experimented with a new flavour. I wonder if you can guess what flavour this one is? It was so good and very interesting too. I’m going to have to share this one in the future:
I have also been experimenting with many more flavour combinations over the weekend. (Yes sometimes I drink Green Thickies all day long!) I’ll not spoil the surprise as I’ve got some really gorgeous recipes coming up, some ultra healthy ones and Green Thickies will be branching out into other areas too, so watch this space.
Strawberry, Orange and Dandelion Smoothie
One of the most unusual smoothies I’ve tried so far is this Strawberry, Orange and Dandelion Smoothie by Charissa from Colourful Palate. This smoothie is my Green Smoothie of the week and you can have a look at Charissa’s original recipe here.
I’ve always been interested in foraging and wild edibles and I even went on a herb walk around Glasgow to learn more about edible greens growing around the city. I found it so interesting but got very scared when the guide told us some plants are very dangerous to eat. I couldn’t remember which ones they were or what they looked like so I thought it would be better to just avoid eating all wild plants I didn’t recognise. However I do recognise dandelions. They are quite distinctive with their jagged leaves.
Picking Dandelions for my smoothie
We’ve had almost non stop rain in Inverness for weeks and weeks (In fact practically all year) which has meant the grass hasn’t been cut and ‘weeds’ have grown all over the place. There were a few clumps of dandelions out there, so after I saw this recipe by Charissa from Colourful Palate, I was inspired to go and get some for myself.
I had a bit of competition from a slug on one of the leaves so I let him have that one, but cut the rest at ground level with my scissors and gave them a very good wash. I’m normally squeamish about bugs on my food but after signing up for an organic vegetable box, I’m getting very used to washing bugs off my leafy greens. Thankfully there were no more bugs on them.
I picked a whole bowl full of dandelion leaves thinking I wouldn’t need to use the whole lot, but fortunately (!) I managed to cram them all into a cup so they measured one packed cup. This is the standard amount of greens in my Green Thickie recipes and I wanted to experience the full force of the dandelion flavour, but you could always include half spinach, half dandelion or all spinach if you can’t get hold of any dandelion.
Benefits of Dandelions: Why eat your weeds?
I had read that dandelions were very bitter so I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy this smoothie but was curious enough about eating something that was not only free, but growing on my property and didn’t require any work from me whatsoever. What could be better than that? I had also heard about the many benefits of dandelions which include:
- Help you to lose weight
- Improve your digestion
- Reduce Acne
- Purify your blood
- Detoxify your liver
How does a Dandelion smoothie taste?
I didn’t follow the recipe exactly as most of my smoothies don’t contain powders. I knew I had to do something to try and counteract the bitterness so I put loads of dates in this smoothie to make it very sweet. I tasted the smoothie before I added the dandelion leaves to the blender and it was gorgeous, very very sweet. So if you don’t fancy collecting yourself some dandelion and you want to make this smoothie, you could use spinach instead of dandelion and you won’t be able to taste any bitterness at all.
Once I’d added the dandelion to the smoothie, I tasted it bracing myself for the worst but it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it was going to be. I don’t know about you, but my first taste straight out of the blender is often a little bitter, but if I leave it in the fridge to cool down and return to drink it, a lot of the bitterness has gone. Also when you take your second taste of smoothie, you’ll be used to the taste and will taste more sweetness. I drank this the next day and it was pretty good. It is very very filling though so you’ll only need a small glass to fill you up.
So yes I tasted some bitterness but it was followed with a lovely sweet after taste so it’s definitely very drinkable.
Do you think it’s it’s worth drinking something that’s slightly bitter to get the health benefits? I personally think it is worth it but I wouldn’t want to do it all the time. I like to really enjoy at least half of my food otherwise I’ll start craving unhealthy food instead. Is there any food that you endure eating because of the health benefits and not necessarily the taste?
So if you fancy joining this smoothie challenge, head on over to Colourful Palate and join in the fun. I’ve also been featured on Colourful Palate too so you can read about that here. You’ve also got to check out Rawdorable’s smoothies she’s made for the challenge. The ones at the end made me laugh so much. So cute!
If you’re brave enough, give this dandelion smoothie a go, and if doesn’t appeal to you, simply swap the dandelion for spinach and you’ve got yourself another great tasting sweet smoothie which is still extremely beneficial for your health. So I challenge you to drink at least one smoothie (preferably green) each day for the rest of this month and I also challenge you to be brave, step out of your comfort zone and try a type of greens you’ve never tried before.
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