Thursday, April 22, 2010

Green Flash Smoothie

In addition to being inspired by cookbooks, magazines and food blogs, I often find myself wanting to recreate things I've eaten at restaurants. In fact, I do this so often that, lately, I only like to go to restaurants where they offer things that I know I can't recreate (e.g. Bar La Grassa's Calamarata with Raw Tuna and everything else on the establishment's fantastic and mysterious menu) because then I feel like it's worth it because I am savoring something special rather than thinking, "this is good, but I could probably make this at home" and then being preoccupied with just how exactly I could do that for the rest of the meal. It's stressful being me. You have no idea.

(That was a joke. I live about the least stressful life of anyone I know. (Knock on wood.))

So what I'm sharing today is one of the little gems I have crafted in an effort to imitate a restaurant offering. Even if I didn't mind eating things at restaurants that I could make at home, I'd be in a bit of a pickle trying to eat this particular treat from its restaurant of origin because the restaurant is on the Big Island of Hawaii, where my husband and I babymooned last March and where we are unlikely to go again in the foreseeable future. (Yep. I said babymooned.) The menu item and restaurant in question: a Green Flash Smoothie from a tiny, lovely little coffee shop called Green Flash Coffee, offering tons of smoothies and a croque monsieur sandwich made with French toast (kind of like a Monte Cristo but better) and named after Hawaii's Green Flash phenomenon, which I have only seen pictures of and is described here. As I understand it, when certain conditions are met (and I think they are only met in Hawaii), a sunset can create a mirage effect resulting in the appearance of a green flash of light above the ocean right where the sun has just set. I bet it's wonderful, but I'm in no position to say whether it's as impressive as the drink which is its namesake.

I just found the list of ingredients on the coffee shop's website, and apparently I'd not committed the list to memory with the level of accuracy that I'd thought. (I was 5 months pregnant at the time. We can blame it on that.) For what it's worth, I make this smoothie a lot (like, a lot) and I frequently mess with the juice and fruit additions and it pretty much always tastes the same. Tropical and refreshing and healthy.

Green Flash Smoothie
Yield: One 16-oz smoothie or two small ones (for those of you who care: only 200 calories in the whole thing and quite a filling breakfast)

1/2 banana (ideally from freezer or refrigerator) or apple
1/2 cup frozen pineapple or mango chunks
large handful fresh spinach* (about 2 cups)
about 10 leaves of fresh mint
small handful fresh parsley (about 1/3 cup) (optional)
1 cup juice, using one or a combination of the following: mango, pineapple, papaya, passion fruit (or Mango Good Belly if you like probiotics in your smoothies)

Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. If your banana or apple is not cold, add a couple of ice cubes. Sometimes I add flaxseed oil just for a nutritional boost. It doesn't add anything in terms of flavor, but it makes it a little bit creamier.

*I have substituted swiss chard, all kinds of lettuce, and watercress for the spinach. They all work fine. What does not work fine is KALE. Too damn bitter. But don't you worry... when kale season comes around, I have a kale smoothie recipe to share as well.


  1. Edith, this sounds incredibly enticing (esp. the only 200 calories part! And thanks for putting that in there! Hooray for breakfast replacements!) HOWEVER, you know I'll be the one girl who drinks this and perpetually suffers from green-junk-in-the-teeth. Must remember to pack floss in purse....

  2. Nic: I puree it super high so it's smooth as milk. If you're blender has the ability to accomplish that, well, it will be a much more enjoyable beverage and no floss should be required.

  3. So I was just sitting here day dreaming about my trip to Hawaii when I thought back to a delicious smoothie I enjoyed there every morning. I decided to google it in hopes the recipe was somewhere and I am DELIGHTED to have found it on your blog. I can't wait to recreate this gem. That smoothie was probably one of the best I have ever had! (and funny enough, you said you were 5 months pregnant at the time, I was 6 months pregant!)

  4. So happy to help, Danielle! I found those Green Flashes addictive enough to recreate... three years later they are still a family favorite. Hope you enjoy it!