Since moving to Chicago I’ve taken to morning smoothies, probably out of yuppified eating pressures, but nonetheless, they’re filling and a perfect nutritious start to the morning. Per the suggestion of a neighbor back home I started off easily with frozen berries and almond milk. First, because almonds are a huge component of my diet, second, because I don’t buy cows milk, and third, because if I want to travel with the smoothie I have to worry a lot less about temperatures and curdling (yes it’s gross to think about, but it’s important to have safe food). Thus, for about a week this was my morning delight, along with a good coffee pour over and a cliff bar.
However, I can never leave something alone for very long, so I experimented. A couple days ago I picked up a bunch of kale for 99 cents at the local Mariano’s. Tossing in 1 leaf made the smoothie a bit thicker, but integrated a ton of fiber and vitamins. It also brought in a nice fresh green flavor that commercial smoothies normally have, from wheatgrass or spirulina. But I knew I could do one better.
I had also picked up a bag of chia seeds from the grocery when I first moved up. They had been sitting on my shelf in the pantry, screaming, “use us! Use us!” So that’s what I did. Two tablespoons of chia later I had probably put about as much fiber as I could into this smoothie, save for adding Metamucil.
There is one downside to adding chia seeds. When added to water they have a sticky polysaccharide membrane that expands and protects the seed in the environment. But it also makes it harder to clean your blender. Therefore, the addition of chia seeds is optional, you could just as easily substitute more kale. There’s also some debate as to whether the nutrients in chia seeds are even absorbed by the body because of its high phosphorous content. So depending on your camp, think about your chia! Recipe below:
– 1 cup frozen berry medley
– 1 – 1&1/4 cup almond milk, plain (or vanilla I guess, but that’s more sugar)
– 1 kale leaf
– 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
Rip up kale leaf, leaving the tough middle stalk out of the mix (ideally, compost this). Put leaf pieces in a blender. Pour almond milk over this mix. Measure and add 1 cup of frozen berries. Add chia seeds. This setup helps have enough liquid to get to the berries so they don’t clog the machine. If they do blend while using the back end of a wooden spoon through the lid hole to mix the top chunks into the vortex. When mixed fully serve in a 12 oz or more cup. I recommend a mason jar for if you want portability you can easily screw on a lid and throw it in your bag. Enjoy cold!