Green smoothies get a lot of attention for "detox" or "cleanse" purposes, but I offer this recipe simply because it's delicious. Packed with immune-boosting ingredients — like spinach, pear, and ginger — it's bright and invigorating, yet not teeth-chatteringly cold. In other words: an excellent smoothie for winter.
Nutrient-rich spinach forms the base of this smoothie. If you happen to be a green smoothie newbie, spinach is usually a good starter ingredient since the flavor is milder than other greens like chard and kale, and it's gentler on the stomach. A pear sweetens things up, and lemon and ginger add zing. I like the warmth of ginger, which makes for a more winter-friendly smoothie. To keep things from getting too cold, I also avoid frozen fruit or ice, though you could certainly freeze the pear overnight if you like a frostier drink.
Finally, there's a spoonful of flaxseed. This "superfood" serves two purposes here: it provides protein, fiber, and other nutrients, and it works as a thickener (which is especially useful in a banana-free smoothie like this one). I find the smoothie to be sufficiently thick just from adding ground flax to the rest of the ingredients. However, if you want an even thicker texture, you can make a flaxseed "gel" by soaking the ground flaxseed in water for a couple of hours or overnight.
Green Smoothie with Spinach, Pear, and Ginger
1 1/2 cups water (can substitute coconut water or milk of choice)
2 cups spinach, washed and dried
1 ripe pear, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
Honey to taste, optional
Mint to garnish, optional
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
To make a thicker smoothie, stir the ground flaxseed with 2 tablespoons of water and let stand at least 2 hours or overnight.