I know I don’t vacation the way many people do. Instead of reveling in local classic fare like crepes and poutine (essentially cheese fries with gravy) while visiting Montreal, my favorite meal was lunch at the city’s oldest vegan restaurant. And might I add, the lunch to which I dragged my travel partner many, many city blocks after a rather exhausting morning hike. Don’t get me wrong: I still sipped more than my usual glass of red wine, and on our last night thoroughly enjoyed the the margherita pizza we watched being made from our table. But I get geekily excited when I find a healthy treat.
Aux Vivres had the whole package: fun vibe, friendly staff and the most comprehensive menu I’ve ever seen at such a restaurant. Everything from sandwiches and rice bowls to chili and salads. Decadent desserts and a full smoothie and juice menu.
Today’s recipe is inspired by the latter. We were sweaty and exhausted when we got to lunch, and my first sip of the smoothie I chose was pure, refreshing heaven in a glass. Le Freestyle was described on the menu as “celery, pineapple, orange juice, banana & greens supplement.”
Some (most?) of you probably read that description and think it only tasted good because I was tired and dehydrated. Trust me on this one! I’ve made all sorts of crazy green concoctions in my blender, and this combination is the perfect balance of refreshment and nutrition. If you’re wary of trying your kids out on a drink made from spinach, kale or such this is a much milder introduction to the world of healthy green smoothies.
My version uses frozen banana to create a creamy texture, with added sweetener optional. Aux Vivres’ menu did state they use dates and raw agave to sweeten their smoothies, and I’m pretty sure there was a smidge of agave in my choice. I tried mine both with and without today, and I personally could have gone either way. I would suggest starting without and tasting for sweetness.
The greens powder is obviously another optional ingredient, but I’m a big fan. I personally use Amazing Grass Superfood powder, but there are tons of varieties out there. Greens powders are a good way to add some alkalinity to your body, and boost energy and digestion. Just read your labels and avoid any that contain unnecessary added sweeteners. All of the greens powders I’ve tried taste just about the same; nothing I’d like to chug on its own, but a little mixed into something else and its flavor becomes pretty indistinguishable.
Both celery and pineapple tend to be a bit fibrous and stringy, so I ran mine through my juicer first. If you don’t have a juicer I would definitely recommend a high-powered blender for this one, or perhaps swap out 100% pineapple juice for the fruit itself. Otherwise your drink will still taste great, but might not be totally smooth.
Fruit & Celery Smoothie
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
4 celery stalks
1/2 frozen banana, cut into chunks
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbs. greens powder
1 tbs. raw agave or honey (optional)
handful of ice cubes
Run pineapple and celery through a juicer, if you have one. Then combine all ingredients in a high-powdered blender and process until smooth. This makes (in my opinion!) one adult-sized glass or two kid-sized portions.