Coconut, banana, and pineapple come together in this frosty shake.


Vegan Kale Colada Smoothie

I love this smoothie. It's the perfect combination of sweet and healthy, and I always feel like conquering the world after downing one of these green shakes. If you're new to the whole kale/spinach/spirulina/your green of choice in smoothies, this is a great way to get that party started. With the tropical trifecta of banana, pineapple, and coconut, you'll never even know the greens are there.

So why kale in smoothies? Kale—and other leafy greens—are one of the most nutrient-dense foods we can eat. They're packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, and a daily dose can prevent everything from high cholesterol and diabetes to heart disease and cancer. And guess what? They taste great if you know how to prepare them. I love a handful of kale in my morning smoothie, spinach sautéed with garlic over a baked potato, and Swiss chard added to hot soups. Medical experts suggest we eat leafy greens every day, which is easy to do once you discover your favorite ways to eat them.

Sometimes I'll whirl up a Kale Colada before a hike or intense yoga class, but more often then not I'll make one after dinner when I want a little something sweet. If you want a richer shake, replace some of the coconut water with coconut milk for a special treat. My colada may not include rum or a maraschino cherry, but it's nourishing, energizing, and will make you feel great. Cheers to that.

Serves 1

What you need:

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut

What you do:

  1. In a high-speed blender, place all ingredients.
  2. Blend until a creamy consistency.

Healthy hints:

  • >> Plant-based protein powders make a great addition to this smoothie. Although this shake is already packed with nutrients, a scoop of protein powder can take it up a notch. I like Vega and SunWarrior, and their vanilla flavors work well in this recipe.

  • >> The kale in this smoothie can easily be swapped out with other greens. My go-to alternate is a handful of spinach, which is even milder than kale so may be preferable for green smoothie first-timers.

  • >> Why all the hype around coconut water? It's packed with potassium, low in calories, and is a food provided by nature (coconut water is the liquid found in young, green coconuts). The best-tasting coconut water on the market is Harmless Harvest (it tastes like a freshly opened coconut!), but for smoothies I like Coco Libre (organic) and Whole Foods' 365 (best price).