Ok folks, today we're getting a little bolder and starting to bring out the big guns. Just trust me here, because this smoothie is absolutely delicious and sweet. So what we have here is half a medium cucumber from the garden, a couple of small celery stalks also from the garden, a handful of frozen strawberries and frozen left-over mango from yesterday's smoothie, a banana, an apple, about a cup of pineapple juice, and a few leaves of malabar spinach to top it all off.
Remember when I told you we'll get to some of the finer points of the Vitamix vs. standard blenders debate? Well, here's one of the main reasons. I don't know if any of you have ever tried to include apples in one of your standard blender smoothies. Or celery or spinach, for that matter. Well, what happens is that since those are pretty hard, fibrous creatures, your smoothie usually ends up pretty chunky, and I don't know about you, but I think that's kinda yucky. In a Vitamix, however, you just turn it up to high and leave it for about a minute, and you have the smoothest, fluffiest drink imaginable. We'll discuss the further advantages of that fact a little later on, but for now, if you have a standard blender, for this smoothie I suggest you omit the apple and celery, and maybe give the spinach a shot...
I thought I'd tell you a little bit about Malabar Spinach, or Basella alba today, even though you could just as easily swap it for regular spinach in this recipe. I'd never heard about this spinach (also known as Asian Spinach) until this year when I was introduced to it by my favorite exotic plant breeder as a perennial, climbing spinach, which sounded really, really cool to me. It's a really pretty plant, as you can see, and though the leaves are a bit smaller and thicker, and don't taste exactly the same, I've found it to be a great, easy-to-grow- spinach replacement, which doesn't bolt in the heat, so I love it.
Nutritionally, it's exactly what you'd expect from spinach: high in iron, calcium and vitamins A and C, packing quite a punch of protein per calorie. And when you put it in the blender, you get all that wonderful soluble fiber, too. Enjoy the smoothie, everyone!