The Surprise Ingredient You Should Add to Your Smoothie

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Every morning, almost on autopilot, I make a smoothie — tossing spinach, a nub of pungent ginger, a generous squeeze of lemon, and apple into my blender, along with a splash of coconut water. Then came the morning when I opened the fridge and realized I was completely out of apples, so I took to the freezer, hoping I had something lurking in there that would work as a worthy and delicious substitution. Perhaps, weeks prior, a more industrious version of myself stuck something in the freezer that could work here.

There, tucked in the corner next to the bag of broccoli and a half-eaten container of Talenti sorbet, was just the thing that would save this potential smoothie fiasco.

Frozen Fennel!

I uncovered a bag of chopped, frozen fennel which was a good idea just waiting to happen. I added it to my smoothie that day and have continued to with great frequency ever since. It adds its own version of sweetness to this rather grassy-tasting blend, cutting through the sharper flavors with its light, licorice taste. Count on it to also balance sweeter smoothies blended with berries and tropical fruit, like mango and pineapple. And because it’s frozen, it adds a creaminess to the smoothie in the same manner of a frozen banana.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Perhaps you’re already on the frozen fennel train when it comes to smoothies, or maybe this ingredient is just as surprising to you as it was to me, but if you are at all a fan of its distinct flavor or in the market for some new smoothie inspiration, I vote you give frozen fennel a try.

Try Adding Fennel to These Smoothies (and Smoothie Kits)

Your turn! Have you ever tried adding frozen fennel to your smoothies? What other fruits and veggies did you blend it up with?