Recipe: The Big Blue Breakfast That Wasn’t

I had Plans for this post.  Great plans.  This was going to be the Big Blue Breakfast post.  It was going to be amazing: a gorgeous, deep blue smoothie full of incredibly healthy ingredients to start your day.  I planned it carefully, with an eye to the anthocyanins in the blueberries – no acidic ingredients to make the blueberries go pink, and a good big dose of greens to enhance the general blueness of the situation.

Except that it didn’t work.  Or at least, it didn’t go blue.  Not alkaline enough without dairy milk, I suspect.  So I added some strawberries and cinnamon, blended it again, and wound up with something that was, at least, fairly purple, and surprisingly tasty and filling.  I must admit, I have been skeptical in the past of claims that you can put spinach or other greens into a smoothie without doing appalling things to the flavour, but it turns out you really can – there is, if you are looking for it, an earthy flavour at the back of this drink, but it really is only a backing note, and quite a pleasant one. 

And the spinach somehow also made the whole thing much more filling – I’m cycling into work again now that the days are longer, and expected to arrive ravenous after just a smoothie for breakfast, but actually, I was fine until morning tea and would probably have been fine until lunchtime, too, if morning tea hadn’t been on offer (scientists are surprisingly addicted to Vegemite, and I have fallen prey to this contagion myself).

Also, while I hesitate to talk about nutrition (on the grounds that I really do know very little about it), I realised on my way home that what I had also, very cunningly, done was given myself a great dose of easily absorbed iron for breakfast – one of the things I’m really bad at when being vegetarian is getting the iron thing right, because while there is plenty of iron to be had from leafy greens and legumes and so forth, my understanding is that it doesn’t absorb all that well unless you combine it with a source of vitamin C… like blueberries, for example.

So huzzah, this definitely counts as Iron Man Food!And it’s purple, which can only be an advantaage!

(And next time, I will figure out how to make it properly blue…)

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250g frozen blueberries
175 g strawberries
1 banana
1 fresh date
100 g baby spinach (about 2 cups, packed very firmly)
1 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Now what will you do with it?

This is my kind of breakfast recipe, because you don’t actually have to be awake to make it.  Behold the terribly difficult instructions for this recipe:

1. Put all the ingredients in a blender, and blend them.

2. Drink your yummy purple smoothie, while feeling virtuous (the virtuous part is optional – if you are too tired for that part, just skip it).

Good stuff, eh?

Incidentally, this makes about three servings, which is a little annoying if you only have two people in the house, but I am not putting 2/3 of a banana in a blender.  Clearly, we need to find someone else to feed breakfast to.


Yet again, I am contemplating whether one truly needs a recipe for a smoothie.  But onward – if you need this to be nut-free, you can of course use soy milk or dairy milk (which might be more blue, and thus more exciting).  And once again, if it’s fructose you are avoiding, you are out of luck.

You could add a sprinkle of nutmeg or cloves to this smoothie, which I think would be rather nice.

You could replace half the almond milk with blood orange juice and watch the anthocyanins fight it out for supremacy right there in your blender!  I want to try that right now.  And I do have blood oranges.  I suspect the result would just be a very pink smoothie.  Unless you used dairy milk as well, in which case the result could go either way, and would probably also be curdled, which may be an excellent chemistry experiment, but probably would not be immensely palatable.

You could, of course, replace the frozen blueberries with frozen blackberries or raspberries (the frozen part is nice, because it means you have a pre-chilled smoothie in summer).  And you could use teenaged or adult spinach, of course, or any other mildish leafy green.  I’m trying to imagine rainbow chard in this, but the mind boggles a bit.  I don’t know how my blender would like those stems.  I don’t know how I’d like the texture of those stems.  Then again, I thought the baby spinach stems would be fibrous, and they just melted into the smoothie beautifully, so you never know.

I think I’ve been infected by the scientists, and I’m going to stop now before any more hideous chemistry experiments occur to me.  Basically, it’s a smoothie – you can’t go wrong playing with it.  And it is really quite an appallingly healthy breakfast.


This time last year…

Shakespeare: The Aftermath
Farmers’ Market: Finally Asparagus
Shakespeare Cooking: Pericles, Prince of Tyre
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4 comments for “Recipe: The Big Blue Breakfast That Wasn’t

  1. October 26, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Hey, at least the spinach didn’t turn the smoothie brown-ish! That’s happened to me many-a-time, perhaps because I’m super generous with my greens. Yay iron!

    • Catherine
      October 27, 2012 at 11:20 am

      Well, the leftovers had gone brownish by evening, but yes, it was a pretty good colour when I first drank it.

      (that’s the thing with foods and colours – they just don’t work on the red / yellow / blue scale we all learned in kindergarten – too much chemistry, I suppose.

  2. Helena
    October 27, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Tried the blueberries+orange juice once… It went nicely pink. I don’t know how the spinach would affect it, but I doubt it would make it more than faintly browner.

    • Catherine
      October 27, 2012 at 11:20 am

      I will have to investigate. I do have blood oranges in the house, come to think of it…

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