Juicing is great and green juice in particular is a great energy and health booster.
However, sometimes, I just want something more substantial and filling.
A glass of a green smoothie could be an option, but high fruit content in many smoothie recipes can be a problem for some people with diabetes and blood sugar issues.
Also, the smoothies are really, …well… smooth (duh!) – almost like baby food – so, for variety, you may want to add some crunchiness to your meals from time to time.
Whatever the reason, I encourage to add some Green Power Soup and Salad Recipes to your healthy eating recipes repertoire :-).
Low-Calorie, Low-Sugar, Low-Fat Raw Blended Soups and Salads
To make these blended concoctions, you will need a blender. Any blender will do, but if you are looking for a blender, I always recommend that you invest in a quality power machine, such as Vitamix or Blendtec.
I make a distinction between blended salads and soups, although they are really quite similar.
The difference is that salads are blended at low speeds without adding any liquid, so they are a little more tricky to prepare (see tips below), especially if you have a regular blender. Because they are blended at slow speeds, it is generally not recommended to add tough greens, such as kale or collards, as these ingredients make it unpalatable. Blended salads are made of primarily juicy vegetables and soft leafy greens, such as spinach, and lots of herbs. Such salads have thick, creamy consistency with crunchy texture, and can be eaten from a bowl.
Soups, on the other hand, are made using both high speed and low speed settings on your blender, with addition of water or other liquid. Step one is to blend any tough greens with some avocado for creaminess to create “soup base.” (I guess You might also try juicing some veggies first, but that would add another step, plus, we want to take a break from juicing :-)) Then you will add softer ingredients and blend them at slow speed to add texture.
The best ingredients for both soups and salads are cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, peppers, and zucchini, with only delicate greens added, such as spinach or lettuce. Hard and bitter greens such as kale should not be added on low speeds, as these ingredients would make it unpalatable.
Herbs, Sprouts and Condiments. You will want to add lots of herbs, such as basil, dill, parsley, cilantro, and other for outrageously delicious taste. Sprouts are also terrific to add to the blend or just sprinkle on top. If you don’t have fresh herbs, dried herbs are fine too. You may also experiment with other condiments, such as curry powder or hot sauce, onion or garlic.
Sweeteners. Even though this is supposed be a savory tasting recipe, adding some sweetness is really important. Of course, you may skip sweeteners altogether, but – unless you have strong reasons to do it – I really advise you to also add a sweet ingredient. I like to add some sweet fruits, for example, a piece of a sweet pear, apple, a few strawberries, or grapes, but you may choose to add a little bit of honey, agave syrup, or some other sweetener. It will make a big difference in the final result!
Creamy Avocado Energy Soup Recipe
Here is a soup recipe that I put together in a spur of the moment – I wanted to prepare a blended salad, but did not have the usual juicy ingredients in my kitchen that are required for salad, such as tomatoes and cucumbers.
I blended the tougher ingredients first – in this case celery with a piece of avocado and a bit of water to create a soup base, and then added other ingredients on low speed to create some texture.
Here are the ingredients that I used (just because I had them in my kitchen at the moment) – and the soup turned out quite tasty!
Ingredients for soup base:
1 large stalk celery
2 lettuce leaves
1/2 small avocado
Blend well on high speed. This will create a nice creamy base.
Ingredients for texture:
1 small zucchini
1/2 pear or a bit of honey (for sweetness)
fresh basil leaves to taste (from my window garden)
a small piece of green onion
Blend on lowest speed that will get the job done. Optionally, you may just chop these ingredients and mix them with the liquid.
I also added a pinch of salt.
Pour into a bowl and enjoy!
Here is the result:
How to make a blended salad?
Blended salads can be a bit tricky to prepare. Because you are not going to add any liquid, so it is important to start with ingredients that contain most water – tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. – so, cut them into pieces and put them into your blender FIRST. Switch your blender ON and keep it on the lowest speed that will get the job done. Next, gradually keep adding other ingredients – leafy greens and herbs. If adding honey or other sweetener, add it to the mix at the end, so it doesn’t just stick to the container. If you have a Vitamix, use the pusher to help do the job.
This is important especially if you are using a regular blender to make the blended salad, and not VitaMix or Blendtec, which are considered the best blender on the market. They are costly, but totally worth the investment!
Low-Calorie, Fat-Free Blended Salad Recipe (No Salad Dressing Required!)
The problem with many salads is that the greens are soaked in fatty dressings with many unhealthy ingredients. Of course, you may make healthy salad dressing yourself. However, this Italian-flavored blended salad requires no salad dressing whatsoever – and it still tastes delicious!
• 1 stalk celery
• 2 tomatoes
• 1 cucumber
• 2 scallions
• some fresh basil leaves (adjust quantity to taste)
• some fresh oregano (can substitute dried oregano)
• raw honey or raw agave nectar (adjust quantity to taste)
• optional jalapeno or other hot pepper
• 5 oz spinach
• optional toppings: handful sweet bell pepper, diced, 1 chopped celery stalk
Save 1/2 tomato and a piece of cucumber for garnish. Blend the remaining tomatoes, cucumber and celery in your blender at low speed.
Chop the remaining ingredients and add to your blender and blend on low speed. If you don’t have a powerful blender, then you may want to add spinach gradually as you blend. Remember to use low speed.
Pour the salad into a bowl. Chop remaining tomato and cucumber and sprinkle on top.
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