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Last updated: September 4, 2021
Kale has slowly become the go-to ingredient for green smoothies, juices and shakes. Perhaps a bit over-hyped as a super food, kale does actually have some amazing nutritional benefits.
But unless you have a high-end blender at home, such as a Blendtec or a Vitamix, kale is not always the easiest of ingredients to blend into a delicious and creamy smoothie.
Read on and find out how to properly blend kale into a nutritious drink with a nice, creamy texture.
Blending Kale the Right Way
There are several varieties of kale but the two most common ones are Curly kale and Lacinato kale, otherwise known as Dinosaur kale.
What these two types of kale have in common is their sturdy stems that are really difficult, if not impossible, to blend. The leaves of kale are also quite tough to break through.
Whenever you buy a kale green smoothie outside, chances are it hasn’t been blended properly. It will likely have a few leafy chunks of kale in there, which is really not what you want to see in a smoothie.
That Creamy Texture
Blending should always result in a delicious drink with a creamy, smooth texture without any chunky bits and pieces floating around.
If you have a relatively basic blender at home, you will probably encounter that very same issue when blending kale or any other tough vegetable.
You could of course get a fancy Vitamix that can pulverize literally everything, but they are indeed a bit pricey. And that price tag isn’t always justified, especially when you don’t use that blender on a regular basis.
- Variable Speed Control: Easily adjust speed to achieve a variety of textures....
- Large Batches: The size and shape of the self-cleaning 64-ounce container is...
- Hot Soup: The blades in the Vitamix container reach speeds fast enough to create...
6 Tips to Blend Kale Properly
Luckily there are ways to blend kale properly, even with a more affordable smoothie blender. Here are six tips to help you blend kale into a delicious smoothie with that perfect texture.
1. Pick the Right Bunch of Kale
Don’t pick the first bunch of kale you come across, as some bunches are a bit softer or riper than others. I also find curly kale to be a bit softer and therefore easier to blend than Dinosaur kale.
2. Remove the Stems
A Vitamix can blend even the stems, but otherwise it’s best to cut them off. The stems don’t contain the most nutrients anyway, so you won’t miss out on much.
3. Cut the Stems Into Tiny Little Pieces
If you really do want to blend the stems as well, cut them in tiny chunks before placing them in the jar. This will make life a lot easier for your blender.
4. Don’t Put the Kale in First
Place a softer ingredient, such as bananas, in you blender before the kale. Also add a few cups of water or other type of liquid. This will allow your blender to “warm up” and will prevent kale leaves to get stuck in the bottom of the blender container.
Place ice cubes on top to put some weight on it. I’ve heard and read others saying that you need to put the kale in first, but I personally haven’t found that to be the most effective approach.
5. Steam or Cook the Kale Before Blending
Steaming or cooking kale for just a few minutes will make it a lot softer and easier to blend. Don’t cook it for too long though, as you don’t want to sacrifice too much of the nutrient content in the kale leaves.
6. Use Frozen Kale
Although it may not sound too obvious, frozen kale is actually easier to blend than fresh kale from the store. The other benefit of freezing kale is that you can keep it for much longer.
Check out my guide to blending the perfect smoothie for even more tips!
Kale Smoothie Recipes
I absolutely love adding moderate amounts of kale and spinach to my green smoothies. Here are a couple of my favorite kale smoothie recipes:
1. Kale, Spinach and Avocado Smoothie
Two of my favorite greens, kale and spinach, combined with one of my favorite fruits, avocado! This kale and spinach smoothie recipe is a winner when it comes to nutritional benefits.
To add a bit of sweetness to this otherwise very green recipe, I usually add one or two bananas and juicy watermelon. Strawberries are optional, if you want to balance out the vegetable content even more.
- 1 Large cup of kale
- 1 Large cup of spinach
- 1/2 Avocado
- 2 Bananas
- 4 Strawberries (optional)
- Water + ice cubes
2. Afternoon Green Tea Smoothie
The “Afternoon Booster” as I’d like to call this recipe, is a delicious green tea smoothie that combines the goodness of kale with green tea. Not the most obvious combination, I know, but it’s oh so good!
The honey and lime give this smoothie a tangy flavor, perfect for in the afternoon when you need to stay focused.
- 2 Bananas
- 1 Large cup of kale
- 1 Teaspoon of honey
- 1/2 Lime
- 2 Cups of green (matcha) tea
- Ice cubes
Keen for more recipes? Have a look at my list of favorite kale smoothies for some inspiration!
There’s no denying that kale is an amazingly nutritious vegetable, but we should also not get too excited about just one type of leafy green.
The number one rule with blending is to always mix up the ingredients. Each vegetable and fruit has its own perks and nutritional benefits. Therefore it’s important to always consume different types of leafy greens in order to get a wider variety of nutrients in.
While kale may not be the easiest of ingredients to blend, if you follow the above tips, there’s really not much that can go wrong.