One of the things I love with a CSA is the challenge of figuring out what to do with all those veggies. However, being an apartment dweller in Madison, it is not feasible for me to compost all the scraps/trimmings, or the occasional unfortunate vegetable I forget about in my produce drawer. Likewise, even though I make a good effort to reduce what gets thrown away, there are some scraps that even my garbage disposal can’t handle (kohlrabi peels, I am looking at you). So, what is a veggie lover to do?
In some cases, you can save those scraps and use them for stock. Get a bag, and add to your stash in the freezer. When it gets full, hunker down and make veggie stock (see my guidelines here). But when a) your freezer cannot handle anymore stock and b) it is too hot to even think about making soup or stock, I have found juicing and making smoothies to be a creative (and yes, sometimes odd tasting!) way to use up veggies and scraps. We’ve all heard of using kale, spinach and other leafy greens in smoothies. But what about swiss chard? I discovered this year that chard and strawberries taste really well together. Juicing is also another option.
I have had success with juicing fennel leaves and stalks, celery leaves, parsley stems, cilantro stems, celeriac, carrot tops, beet and beet greens, kale leaves and stems, and carrots. However, there are those veggies that just aren’t up my alley to juice (cauliflower??), and some that I have tried that were just plain gross (turnip tops…). However, experimenting is always important for learning. I also find that it is an impetus to learn more about fruits and vegetables, and their benefits.
For example, in this juice, I used up my fennel fronds and stalks, as well as some leftover celery stalks and leaves. The results were beautiful, and tasted like summer in a glass. The smoothie still allowed the green juice to shine through, but tempered its impact a bit-something I like with fresh juices, since they can be pretty intense sometimes. And no, I don’t imagine myself making this type of smoothie on a daily basis, as juicing can be a production! This one is for when you have some time to prep, and savor. A great weekend excuse to bust out both juicer and blender! (You can check my guide, if you’re looking for one too.)
And did you know that celery and fennel are both in the same botanical family? The umbelliferous family (yeah, I giggled when I read that). It is not surprising that they both share many health benefits: detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-stress, rich in vitamin K for healthy skin, high in magnesium for better sleeping, stress-hormone mitigating coumarins, and rich in antioxidants. Fennel has a distinct anise or black-licorice flavor that pairs well with apple, carrot, ginger, lemon and celery. Even if you are not a fan of the anise/black licorice flavor, I encourage you to try fennel! It is much more delicate than straight-up anise or black licorice.
Think of this smoothie as a hug in a glass for your body. Sometimes, life gets busy…rough…and downright stressful. It is so important that we take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically, and stay strong. Be kind to yourself. Take it easy. Be mindful. Stay positive. Stay hydrated. Oh, and keep dreaming. Shoot for the stars, and go make this smoothie!
Note: you can cut the recipe in half to accommodate one serving. I made two since I had plenty of green juice. The green juice guidelines make about 1.5 cups. Drink the last 1/2 cup plain, or freeze into ice cubes for another smoothie the next day. Freezing will help preserve the juice, as opposed to leaving in refrigerated. It is always best to drink fresh juices as soon as possible after preparing them.
Green Juice Smoothie // makes approx. 2 20oz smoothies // plant-based; vegan; gluten-free; refined sugar-free; oil-free; nut-free//
- Fronds and Stalks from 1 medium to large fennel bulb (or 2 medium to large fennel bulbs)
- 4-5 celery stalks, or a few stalks and leaves from the stalks if they are fresh
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup green juice
- 1 cup coconut water
- 2 large frozen bananas
- 2 TB hemp seeds
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- 1/2″ to 1″ chunk ginger, peeled
1. Juice the fennel, celery and lemon as directed for your juicer. Be sure to thoroughly clean your produce before juicing.
2. combine all ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately
The fennel and celery trimmings, ready to be washed.
The juice! How crazy green is this?!
The stuff you’ll need for the smoothie:
a quick blend, and you’re done! Sip and enjoy all the summery goodness.