Do you like piña colada? Then you'll love this nutritious take on the classic. With its fresh coconut and no added sugar, you won't feel guilty about enjoying this smoothie everyday. My friend Alejendra (who also happens to be a doctor) shows us how she makes her delicious green piña colada for her family.
Alejandra believes in the power of a good diet and a healthy food lifestyle. You know this drink is good for you before even drinking it, thanks to the bright green color from the collard greens. By blending up these raw greens, the blender does the work of breaking down the tough leaves so they're more efficiently absorbed by our bodies. Everything from the bananas to the pineapple to the coconut provides a healthy source of vitamins and minerals that come together in a smoothie that is as good for you as it tastes.
→ Visit Alejandra's website: Nourish Medicine
A young coconut (which doesn't have the familiar brown husk of the mature variety) can be found in some organic supermarkets like Whole Foods (usually with chilled produce). It is used because the flesh inside is soft and can be easily scooped out. The young coconut also contains more nutrient-rich water. If you can get your hands on one, go for it—if not a can of coconut milk will also do.
I also love how Alejandra uses frozen pineapple instead of ice to keep the smoothie from getting too watered down. The flavor of the coconut really comes through and the greens taste bright and herby (not bitter). You'll definitely appreciate the fresh hunger-satisfying feeling you get from drinking this smoothie. Try having it for lunch or a mid-afternoon snack to supercharge your day.
Green Piña Colada Smoothie
1 young Thai coconut ( or a 13.5-oz can of coconut milk)
1 16-ounce bag frozen organic pineapple (unsweetened)
1/2 bunch of collard greens, stems removed (4-5 large leaves)
First, open the coconut by taking a sharp knife and trimming away the soft skin from the top. (See instructions and photos here showing how to open a coconut.) The shell of the coconut is round, so you want to fully expose that hard, rounded top. Holding the coconut firmly, use a cleaver or chef's knife to whack into the dome. Turn the coconut and repeat whacking until you have cracked the shell around all edges. You should be able to now peel or pull of the top of the shell. Be careful not to spill out any of the water from inside the coconut.
Pour the water from inside the coconut into the blender. Add the banana, frozen pineapple, and collard greens. Scoop out all the white pulp from the coconut with an ice cream scooper and put in the blender as well. (If you're not using a whole coconut, add the coconut milk now.)
Start at the blender's lowest speed setting (usually "crush ice") and work your way up to the highest setting until the smoothie is well blended. Add cold water if the mixture is too thick and blend until desired consistency is achieved.
Pour the green smoothie into juice glasses and enjoy. I like pouring the drink in the young coconut shell itself for a more festive treat. Store leftovers in an air-tight container or thermos in the fridge or freezer.
(Images: Chris Perez)