Microgreens may be one of the best-kept culinary secrets of the 21st century. Smoothies, on the other hand, aren't exactly a secret. They have become a popular tool for improving the diets of people around the world.
Studies have shown that kids who are offered smoothies consume more fruits and vegetables than kids who are offered whole fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, most adults would agree that a smoothie is more appealing than a handful of lettuce, making it a lot easier to incorporate healthy foods into one's diet.
Adding a small amount of microgreens to a smoothie can provide you with several of the vitamins and minerals found in some expensive supplements. Microgreens are safe, natural, and can easily be grown at home.
The key to a healthy and tasty smoothie is choosing the correct ingredients. Relying too heavily on items like ice cream and fruit juice can decrease the overall nutrient content of the smoothie. When whole foods are not used, you do not reap the numerous health benefits that smoothies offer. Conversely, adding a small amount of microgreens to your smoothie can turn a simple drink into a filling and healthy meal replacement.
Microgreens are essentially immature plants that are harvested around the second week of growth. Because microgreens are harvested so early, they are tender and packed with nutrients.
Microgreens became popular during the 1980s in cafes and upscale restaurants. In those days, the variety available was limited to only a few key plants like arugula and kale. Today, there are more than 80 types of microgreens available, and the list is continuously growing.
The original appeal of the microgreen was its size and style. A chef could easily use them to garnish their favorite dish without crowding the plate. Restaurants loved charging large pricetags for tiny plates of food, and the microgreen was perfect for this. But it's not just their size that makes them a great addition to smoothies, it is what lies beneath the surface.
Another reason microgreens are so popular is that they are easy to grow at home.
The nutrients found in microgreens make them the perfect addition to your favorite smoothie recipe. Microgreens are often packed with vitamins A and C, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and polyphenols.
Despite their reduced size, microgreens contain significantly more vitamins and minerals than their mature counterparts. They can have between 5 and 40 times the amount of nutrients of mature leafy greens.
The type of nutrients found in adult plants will be found in microgreens. For example, red cabbage is consistently high in vitamin C and vitamin E. Cilantro has a very high concentration of beta carotene. Sunflower microgreens are loaded with iron, potassium, and calcium. With this in mind, you can balance your smoothie with a combination of different microgreens to ensure you are consuming enough quality nutrients each day.
There are two essential things to consider when choosing microgreen combinations for your smoothies. The first is taste and the second is nutrient balance. Many microgreens have powerful flavors that can include sweet, bitter, or spicy elements. Ideally, you'll want to blend some of these different flavor profiles to create a well-rounded smoothie.
Sweet microgreens are plentiful and make an excellent base for your combinations. A beet microgreen will add a mild, sweet flavor and a hint of earthiness to your drink along with a slight red tint. Beets blend well with other mild, spicy microgreens like mustard, broccoli, and red cabbage.
Several microgreens have a sour or tangy flavor to them. If you're a fan of citrus profiles, then these combinations will suit you perfectly. Pea shoots make an excellent sweet base because they're sweet and lack any form of bitterness. You can balance it with a sour microgreen like clover, cilantro, or sorrel.
What if you want to avoid the sweet profile altogether? You can make your smoothie taste more like a meal and less like a dessert by adding some mild, bitter microgreens along with nutty or peppery greens. Cress and kale are both popular microgreens with a slightly bitter taste and an impressive nutritional makeup. For a peppery blend, add arugula or cauliflower. For a nuttier variation, you can add sunflower instead.
Microgreen smoothies are made similarly to traditional smoothies. They tend to include larger fruits and thickeners as well. The only major difference is that you'll be adding a handful of your preferred microgreen mix. This means you can easily incorporate microgreens into your favorite smoothie recipes without much change. The supplies you'll need aren't much different either.
The blender is the most important tool in any smoothie-making experience. A large countertop blender is useful for making multiple servings at once. You can store the remainder in the fridge and have it ready to go whenever the mood strikes.
I personally use this blender for my own microgreen smoothies and love it. The blender works well and has a second blade about midlevel ensuring that your smoothie is blended up nicely.
Having a high-quality vegetable knife makes harvesting microgreens a breeze. A heavy, sturdy blade is crucial for cutting through large patches of greens at once. You can use this same knife for preparing the larger ingredients as well.
You might be surprised by the difference a good cup can make. If you plan on taking your smoothie with you to the gym or on a jog, it needs to be durable and sealable. A cup with a wide mouth makes it easier to scoop in additional protein or supplements if you prefer.
Microgreens have moved from the cafe plate to the smoothie cup over the past 40 years and we're all healthier for it. The variety available has also increased tremendously during that same period. It's easier than ever to discover and mix new combinations loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and other healthy nutrients. The supplies are easy to find and even the greens themselves can be grown at home. Healthy eating has never been so easy.