If your blender gets a workout just as often as you do, you’re probably no stranger to the green smoothie. Pulsing vitamin-rich greens with frozen bananas and berries makes for a quick and easy veggie boost—but if you’re trying to cut sugar out of your life (or are just looking for a brief vacay while you reset your system), that probably means saying goodbye to those added fruits.
Savory smoothie to the rescue. Think of it as the veggie omelet to your bowl of yogurt and granola—both are healthy options, one is just a whole lot less sweet. Vegetable-based smoothies are also far more alkaline than their often acidic fruit counterparts, which means they’ll help optimize your energy. (And it goes without saying that—as long as you’re not going full-on fruitarian—berries, citrus, melons, and more are definitely not bad for you, but your intake is something to be aware of if you’re reducing sugar.)
And you don’t have to be stuck with the same green blend day after day; here, we’ve rounded up seven fruitless smoothies that taste good and do the body good. One caveat: Even though avocados and cukes are technically fruit, they’re included in a few of the recipes. There’s only one gram of sugar in a whole avocado—same goes for one cup of cut-up cucumber. Compared to the eight grams you’ll find in one cup of strawberries, for example, both “fruits” are still winning ingredients.
Keep reading for 7 fruitless smoothie combos to keep you fueled all week long.
This recipe features ingredients you’ve probably already tried in a fruit-based smoothie—like spinach, avocado, and almond milk—making it a good primer before you go full-on veggie. Add a bit of cinnamon, vanilla, or mint leaves if your taste buds find it a bit too savory, and blend your way to the ultimate beginner’s fruitless smoothie.
The fact that this recipe is named after a Girl Scout cookie tells you that it isn’t going to taste like a salad. Made with spinach, Greek yogurt, mint, and a dash of dark chocolate, this smoothie gets a merit badge for providing fiber, probiotics, and flavor.
It’s a total myth that every veggie-based smoothie has to be green. Loading your blender with avocado, bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, onion, and herbs (AKA gazpacho with a straw) will not only give your taste buds a kick, but you’ll be sipping in a serious dose of vitamins C and K.
Don’t let the berries in the photo fool you—this vegan smoothie bowl base is all greens, and tastes just as good without ’em. The recipe calls for zucchini in place of banana to achieve a creamy texture, while spinach and cucumber add an additional vitamin boost. All about the toppings? Try hemp seeds, healthy granola, or chopped nuts instead.
Get your PSL fix while skipping the long Starbucks line with this way healthier seasonal drink, made with spinach, almond butter, and pumpkin spice. Pro tip: Buy Popeye’s favorite veggie in the freezer aisle. Not only will you save money, but frozen produce make smoothies colder and creamier.
This smoothie easily wins the award for best use of leftover veggies. The recipe calls for whatever vegetables are in your fridge that you just want to get rid of: celery sticks, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, avocado…. Even garlic, which helps to kick-start digestion, makes an appearance. (BYO mouthwash!)
Cucumber, avocado, spinach, parsley, and coconut water join forces to mix up a frothy smoothie that’s alkalizing, cleansing, and loaded with nutrients. Poor parsley often gets short-changed as merely garnish, but it’s actually an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It’s about time the underdog gets a starring role.
Originally published September 6, 2016; updated August 14, 2018.
Looking for other tasty ways to limit your sugar consumption? Try these genius ketogenic dessert recipes. If you’re having trouble ditching the sweet stuff with your a.m. coffee, Adriana Lima has a brilliant trick.
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