How To Upgrade Your Green Smoothie Using — Leftovers?
The next time you're taking the forlorn walk to your trash can or compost bin, kitchen scraps and wilted leftovers in hand, go ahead and beeline for the blender instead.
Green smoothies, in all their nutrient-packed, gut-friendly glory, are a great vehicle for using up food that would otherwise be tossed. Plenty of kitchen remains can become something more appetizing with a quick blitz (as long as they pass a smell test and don't have mold), says mbg Collective member Rhea Mehta, Ph.D., a molecular toxicologist and the founder of Global Smoothie Day, which—what do you know!—is today.
Mehta says salads (especially ones that contain other smoothie adds like nuts and oils), fruit salads, half-juiced lemons and limes, and steamed or baked veggies can all go into your green smoothie. Even half-drunk tea can be subbed into the rotation as your liquid.
So often we toss these kinds of leftovers because their texture gets funky, but blending them up with other ingredients solves that. The resulting brew will save you a little money and the environment a little food waste.
A Leftovers Green Smoothie
When made with plant-based, organic, locally sourced ingredients, homemade nut butters or milks, and leftovers, Mehta sees the green smoothie as a model for low-impact eating. "I feel as if we must continue to get creative on how we tell the story of our current climate emergency. With the new normal that is upon us as a collective, this year felt very fitting to redefine the green smoothie as good for the body and our planet," she says of the inspiration to make this year's Global Smoothie Day centered on sustainability.
Here, she shares her formula for blitzing up your greener smoothie.
Makes 1 serving
- 2 cups greens (salad, steamed veggies, etc., if using leftovers)
- ½ cup fruit (fruit salad, lemon wedges, etc., if using leftovers)
- 2 tbsp. prebiotic fiber such as chia, flax, etc.
- 1 serving protein such as nuts, powders, etc.
- 1 cup liquid such as plant milk or iced tea
Combine ingredients in a blender until smooth. Sip straight or through a straw (reusable, of course), and pair with a kale stem salad, rind-and-all lemon water, or a zero-waste snack for good measure.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.