How To Upgrade Your Green Smoothie Using — Leftovers?

mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."
Green smoothies on a marble background

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.

smoothie and recipe

Image by mbg Creative

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.


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