Green Smoothie – Strawberry Milkshake

It’s true.  I *finally* climbed on board the green smoothie train.  Choo!  Choo!

In my mind, green smoothies have always had a reputation for being a little “out there”.  You know, the kind of thing that weird, kooky, health-and-fitness freaks do.  Or vegans.  Tree huggers.  Health nuts.  I mean, regular people don’t drink copious amounts of spinach for breakfast.  Right?  That’s just not normal.

Maybe it was sitting in a studio with The Bailornator and a vat of green smoothie every week that got me started.  I blame him for most things these days.  Whatever it was, it turns out, if us regular people drank these on a regular basis, we’d all be doing a whole lot better.  Not to mention we’d be hotter.  If you’re struggling to get your Bailor-recommended 10 servings of non-starchy veggies crammed into every day, this is one easy-peasy way to achieve that.  Without even realizing it – because this green smoothie – it tastes like a strawberry milkshake.  And who wouldn’t want to drink one of those every day?  Especially one that makes you burn off body fat.  Yeah.  I want some of that.

So I whipped this recipe up last weekend and have been taste-testing it all over the place, all week.  Not the same one, you understand.  I’ve made a new batch every day.  Everyone’s eyebrows popped up at the first sip.   Because they weren’t expecting strawberry milkshake – they were expecting whatever their concept of green tastes like.  Not one person believed it had 4 cups of raw spinach in.  It does.  Plus 50g of whey protein.  Hello.  That’s a third of most people’s protein, right there.

Green Smoothie - Strawberry and Avocado

It takes 3 minutes to make. It will fill you up. It is totally portable.  Breakfast on your commute if that’s what works with your schedule. Split it in half and drink it for your morning and afternoon snacks.  Put it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon for dessert.  Whatever works for you.

But get on board.  It’s a fantastic *SANE ride!

Green Smoothie – Strawberry Shake
Author: Carrie Brown |
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
  • 1 cup unsweetened thin coconut milk
  • 4 oz. / 110g fresh spinach
  • 1 small avocado
  • 2/3 cup / 2 oz. / 55g vanilla whey protein powder
  • 5 oz. / 140g frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup / 8 fl oz. boiling water
  1. Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed.
  2. Blend on high until completely smooth.
  3. Wonder how anything with that much spinach in could possibly taste that good.



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  • Carole Huxman - Curious about the boiling water. Doesn’t that thaw the strawberries so it’s not thick like a milkshake? ReplyCancel

    • carrie - The boiling water is to semi-thaw the fruit. Trust me – this is still super thick like milkshake! Your blender will thank you :-)ReplyCancel

  • Ladyp1234 - This is a great way to 4 portions of spinach. I added more strawberries to get more strawberry flavour, and only had plain whey protein so added vanilla extract ( does that do the same thing as vanilla whey I wonder). It was so filling and certainly the nicest smoothie I’ve tried so far. Thanks Carrie ReplyCancel

    • carrie - YAY! Bear in mind that adding more strawberries will make it less SANE, which is fine as long as you are aware. Great idea on plain whey and vanilla essence! I could also use strawberry whey if you have it to up the strawberry flavor.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - With some trepidation, I made this smoothie this morning. It was my second attempt at a green smoothie (the first one was a recipe from Jonathan Bailor that included broccoli, which was unfortunately so vile that I couldn’t drink it.) Like another commenter, I had to add more strawberries to make this smoothie work for me. Without adding more of them, I could taste the spinach, and for me, green smoothies only work if the vegetable flavor is completely masked. Since adding more strawberries makes the smoothie less SANE, I think I’ll just stick to eating my veggies the old fashioned way.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Only a little less SANE, definitely not inSANE – sorry if you go that impression!! It just increases the overall amount of sugar slightly. Depending on where you are personally at on your SANE journey, that might be just fine. When you can’t get your veggies in a traditional way, I would add more straberries to make this work for you versus not getting the veggies, any day. I would also try using Strawberry Whey Powder instead of vanilla and seeing if that adds enough strawberry for you. I am waiting for my strawberry whey to arrive, I’ll will make a batch then. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Cowgirl Rae - Where are you getting your strawberry whey from?ReplyCancel

  • HELENE - Has anyone ever tried this with a fruit other than strawberries. I have an odd allergy to strawberries….they make me breakout under my left arm! And it is a like a very painful burn!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Helene, Any berries would be great in this! You may need more or less sweetener depending on the berry though.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Thanks for recommending the strawberry whey as an option, Carrie. I’ll be sure to try that at some point. In the meantime, I’ve been making the recipe but adding frozen raspberries instead of strawberries (stronger flavor and I think less sugar) and also adding some cocoa powder. I find those two ingredients (raspberries and cocoa) mask the flavor of the spinach and also just taste really good together.ReplyCancel

  • HELENE - Thanks for the ideas. I will try raspberries and I will try cocoa powder. What the heck! I have to be kind of careful with chocolate too. :(ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Just raspberries on their own would be scrumptious too, Helene!ReplyCancel

  • HELENE - You seem to have picked up on my tendency to push the envelope! I don’t have any coconut milk….I know….go get some….but I can’t. I am sort of home bound…between having myself tethered to oxygen and my car in the shop, I not able to just jump up and run to the store. Soon, I will be able to. I just got a portable oxygen concentrator and my car will be done soon, I think.

    I am going to try that with almond milk. It probably won’t be as good, though. But I might have some coconut flavoring. Which may or may not go with almond milk….by the way, I live in Tacoma…so the things you say about the PNW really make sense to me. We have had the weirdest weather.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Nutrition-wise we choose coconut milk over almond milk, plus I just prefer the consistency and flavor of coconut over almond. You can use either. A lot of folks prefer the creaminess of almond. Both are good!ReplyCancel

  • HELENE - I think I would prefer coconut milk myself, if I had some. I will get it the next time I get groceries.ReplyCancel

  • Cowgirl Rae - @HELENE,
    I wanted to say unsweetened coconut milk in the refrigerated carton has virtually no flavor. only 45 calories from fat (coconut oil) and is carbohydrate free.
    There is no coconut flavor using it. It is thickened and has a nice texture but is not a flavor ingredient.
    One could use water or another unsweetened “milk” beverage.ReplyCancel

  • HELENE - Darn, I really love the smell and taste of coconut. I made this with the almond milk. It was okay. And I took a chance on frozen strawberries. Sometimes, I can get away with it. I’d like to have it with the thickness of the coconut. One thing though? It wasn’t sweet, even with the only almond milk I had, which was sweetened.I ended up adding some stevia. Either you guys are not as crazy about sweetness as I am, or I did something wrong.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Helene – sweetness is a purely personal thing. I think you will find that over time eating SANE your tolerance for sweetnes will go down, so I tend to use less sweetener now than I did a year ago, and things I ate back then seem unbearably sweet to me now. I am sure you did nothing wrong. Use as much Stevia or equivalent as you need to make it taste how you like it.ReplyCancel

  • Natasha - I have made this three times and love it! My only question is about the avocado. How many whole avocados can you eat in a week before it is too much of a good thing? I ask this because I could seriously drink this shake every day. :)

    I can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. Thanks so much for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Natasha – I am thrilled that you love this smoothie! The answer to your question depends on where else you are choosing to get your healthy fats from. You want to aim to get 1/3rd of your calories from protein, a 1/3rd from non-starchy veggies and a 1/3rd from healthy fats. If you like to eat whole eggs, cheese, fatter cuts of meat, nuts and seeds as well, then I would not drink one of these every day, but alternate with the Orange Creamsicle Smoothie or one of the others I have coming up soon. Try and look at your intake across a whole day to see where else you are getting healthy fats. Also, it depends where you are on your SSoS journey. If you are where you want to be, I wouldn’t worry about it so much. If you have just started and have a way to go to reach your goal, drink this smoothie less often. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - Carrie, I love this recipe just as it is. But, I ran out of frozen strawberries and decided to try a bag of Mixed Berries in my freezer. It was just as sweet and good, but there were millions of seeds – so if you don’t like seeds I wouldn’t try that. I loved it, and actually only used 1/2 avocado in an attempt to lower the fat in the smoothie. YUM!
    I’m excited to try the Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie next – am waiting on a shipment of guar gum and other SANE goodies!
    Thanks so much!!

    • carrie - Hi Ellen – I hate all those seeds!! I use them anyway :-) On the avocado, make sure that you are getting enough healthy fats in your diet elsewhere. Healthy fats are an important part of being SANE and slim! YAY on the shipment of SANE goodies – let me know how you like the Orange Creamsicle Smoothie.ReplyCancel

  • HELENE - Bye the way, what is guar gum? Can you make Dreamsicle without it? And where can you get it? I think I have all the other ingredients for it. And I really want to have a Dreamsicle.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Helene – yes you can leave out the guar gum, the texture will not be the same is all. The gum makes it thick and creamy in texture. You cna get it online or at most grocery stores. Look for the Bob’s Red Mill products or ask in store. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Krista - Hi Carrie- I LOVE your smoothies. Quick question – how long do they keep? Can I make it the night before and eat it for breakfast and lunch the next day? Can I make a big batch of shakes and freeze them?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Krista – I have made mine the night before and kept in the ‘fridge (stored either in tightly sealed container or in a glass covered with wrap (cling film)). I aim to make smoothies that will not seperate (as so many others do) and I have stored all of mine at least over night, and found them to still be perfectly fine the next day. I have not tried freezing them, but I can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t work. They may need to be blended again for 30 seconds once they are defrosted, but that’s just a guess. If you try freezing, please report back! I would NOT defrost them in the microwave or heat to defrost as this has the potential to cook the greens and I don’t think that would work well AT ALL! Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Carole - How many servings of vegetables does this count for?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - 1 oz raw spinach = one serving, so in this case, 4. This is why good, SANE smoothies are so helpful in getting us our veggies in.ReplyCancel

  • Ann - Carrie, you are my hero!!! This is sooo tasty! Seriously, I have tried to make green smoothies before and they have always been so awful. I only ever hoped they could be tolerable – never imagined I could make one I actually loved to drink. Now that I have tried one of your recipes and seen how you approach it, I have the guidance I have always needed to make seriously yummy and nutritious, sane smoothies. You have seriously changed my life in a good way!ReplyCancel

  • Green Smoothie – Orange Creamsicle » Carrie Brown | Marmalade and Mileposts - […] The problem with most smoothie recipes is that many of them use banana to give it that creamy texture.  We don’t do bananas.  Then they’ll use fruits like apples and grapes to sweeten them, because they are really good at sweetening things.  We don’t do those super-sweet fruits.  So I really had to start from scratch on the smoothie front.  If you’re like me, the thought of drinking your veggies in liquid form isn’t horrible, but if I had a choice I’d really rather prefer it if they tasted like something else entirely.  Like an Orange Creamsicle or a Strawberry Milkshake. […]ReplyCancel

  • The Monday Memo #3 » Carrie Brown | Marmalade and Mileposts - […] Green Smoothie – Strawberry and Avocado – I caught the green smoothie train, and I thoroughly recommend you hop on board. […]ReplyCancel

  • Grace - Hi Carrie is it possible to use low carb soya milk instead of coconutmilk
    Thank you

    • carrie - Hi Grace – you can use whatever milk you choose, however, we do not reccomend using soy milk for anything because of the effect it has on hormones. OWuld also not reccomend using large amounts of cows milk as it contains sugars. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Patti - Thanks for these wonderful smoothies! My avocados were still hard, so I tried 1/4 cup cashews and it turned out great!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Thanks for the smoothie love, Patti! Cashews are all good :-) Do try it with the avocados when you can though – so yummy!ReplyCancel

  • Be Your Best You Challenge | Natural Devotion - […] did manage to make an awesome green smoothie care of Carrie Brown’s website to get me pumped to complete a full class with Suzanne in the […]ReplyCancel

  • Alvin - I think the brand or flavor of whey protein makes a difference because this did not turn out as well as I hoped. I will keep trying tho because I believe in the SANE life.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Alvin – yes, I am sure the brand / flavor of whey protein can make a significant difference to the final taste. Unfortunately I cannot create recipes for every one on the market :-( You could try using egg white powder and adding a SANE sweetener of your choice instead.ReplyCancel

  • Dietbet 10 Update #3 / My Tips for Thanksgiving Eating | Effing Around - […] now, here is another mini food project!  I got the recipe from Marmalade and Mileposts, which is a blog run by Carrie Brown, one of the hosts of the Smarter […]ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa - Hi Carrie,

    Could I make this smoothie without the avocado? Is it mostly added for texture? I don’t particularly like avocado so I’m hesitant to blend it in.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Alyssa – yes – leave the avocado out, but add 1/2 tsp. guar gum at the very end of blending. This will stop the smoothie from separating and give you the nice creamy texture that the avocado would have provided. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Carol - Carrie: I am going to try this tomorrow morning. Just finished The Calorie Myth. I ate very SANE today but I am still very scared of having a whole avocado for breakfast. Isn’t it crazy that I cant let go of how many calories that adds to the smoothie. But I am DETERMINED to give this whole SANE thing a go and stop starving already. Will let you know how it goes! Thanks for all you do!!ReplyCancel

  • Top 10 SANE Recipes 2013 » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane - […] Green Smoothie – Strawberry Milkshake […]ReplyCancel

  • The Hardcore Green Smoothie » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane - […] taste delicious.  It doesn’t taste horrid by any means, but it is not scrumptious like the Strawberry Milkshake Smoothie or the Orange Creamsicle Smoothie.  It reminds me most of the flavor of peanut butter.  It has a […]ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - Just tried this recipe for breakfast. With the cold temps, I have been eating hot breakfast options, but today is in the twenties (heat wave!), so I figured I would “shake” things up a bit. I googled “sane green smoothie” and this one appeared. I only had kale and had to use pea protein as I am dairy-free, so I added some stevia. It was still rather kale heavy, so I added another cup of strawberries. Very tasty! Thank you, Carrie, for providing us with so many delicious, SANE recipes. You are amazing!!!ReplyCancel

  • Fresh Strawberry Smoothie… | Cut Cook Eat - […] is fresh strawberry season in England so I decided to take one of Carrie’s recipes for Green Smoothie – Strawberry Milkshake and twist it up a bit to take advantage of the local […]ReplyCancel

  • Alec - I have just acquired my Vitamix and I’m about to board the smoothie train :)

    would this work just as well with frozen baby spinach instead of fresh? Should I adjust the quantity…ReplyCancel

  • Alec - Hello Carrie and thanks for that. I’ve had a strawberry shake smoothie each morning since owning my blender ( thats 3 mornings! ) Frozen does work, but I must say that the fresh spinach I used this morning does make it better. I’m looking forward to trying your Orange Creamsicle… just waiting for my Guar Gum to arrive. I’m not a fan of separation!!

    I’m still trying to find the best source for frozen strawberries in UK – All our supermarkets seem to have mixed strawberry/blueberry, strawberry/raspberry or strawberry/bannana.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Alec – any of the berry mixes would work but stay away from the banana :-) Guar gum is magical!ReplyCancel

  • Top SANE Recipes 2014 » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane - […] Strawberry Milkshake Green Smoothie […]ReplyCancel

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