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)
spinach, washed and dried
ripe pear, seeded and chopped
fresh lemon juice
freshly grated ginger
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.