That’s right. I was going to call this post “Minimalist Juicing” because you don’t need a juicer, but the above title won because I realized that the Vitamix isn’t exactly a minimalist piece of equipment.
You’ve probably seen plenty of bloggers writing about green juices they’ve made with fancy juicers, and I’m not going to lie – I own one myself. But if budget is an issue and you’re trying to decide whether a blender or a juicer is going to be a better investment, don’t worry – you can totally make green juice with a Vitamix, or with another really good high-powered blender.
I bought my Vitamix back in 2012 and use it almost daily. You may have heard about all the glorious things a Vitamix can create, including frozen desserts, dressings, soups, and even dough for baked goods, but I wanted to try making juice using a recipe of my own. For those of you that don’t like pulp, that’s where the pair of tights comes in. The process was simple, and the results delicious. (Note that there’s a lot of nutrition to be found in the pulp so you may want to think twice before discarding it, but more on that in a second.)
Here’s how I did it:
Step 1: Pick your produce
Some veggies will make your juice sour or bitter, whereas some will sweeten your brew. Carrots and apples, for instance, are naturally higher in sugars and therefore will produce a sweeter juice.
I like to start with a good base of celery juice. The younger me thought celery was a terrible vegetable, even when smothered in Cheez-Whiz or peanut butter and dotted with raisins a-la-ants-on-a-log. These days, the Culinary Nutrition Expert and more sophisticated me thinks celery is a really beautiful vegetable! It also helps to reduce blood pressure, contains anti-cancer compounds, supports detoxification and also delivers a hefty dose of vitamins A, B, and C.
The micronutrients in celery in its whole food state include magnesium, iron, sodium, phosphorous, iron, and potassium, and the breakdown of its fiber during the juicing process helps to make the nutrients more available for our bodies to utilize. I like to combine celery with cucumber because the two together are super water-dense and refreshing, especially on a hot day.
Another green in my flavour-of-the-week mix is parsley, which contains a boatload of cancer-fighting and inflammation-combating phytonutrients. This is not just a garnish! Parsley is full of vitamins A, B, C, and K, as well as iron, folic acid, and chlorophyll. Oh, and fun fact: it’s also a natural breath freshener.
Of course, I’ve got some dark leaves in there – kale and spinach are my faves and you can add about as much as you like of these. Spinach is sweeter, so if you’re into sweeter juices, I’d recommend that you go a little more spinach heavy.
Aside from apples, a lemon is the only other fruit in this mix. You can add as much lemon juice as you like, depending on how tart you like your juices. Lemons have detoxifying properties and help to give fresh juices a lively zippy flavour (is that a flavour?? I say it is.)
Here are the quantities of each ingredient in my recipe:
- 6 long stalks celery
- 2-3 apples (use 3 if you prefer your juice sweeter)
- 3 carrots
- 1 medium sized English cucumber
- 2 cups mixed greens (kale and spinach are my favourites)
- 1 cup very loosely packed parsley
- juice of 1 lemon, plus more if you like your juices tart
- 1-2″ knob of fresh peeled ginger root (mega anti-inflammatory and adds a subtle spiciness)
- 1 cup water
Step 2: Wash your produce and chop the dense pieces
Since we’re dealing with several members of the dirty dozen here, be sure to either buy organic and/or wash your fruits and veggies as thoroughly as possible. Don’t worry about chopping the parsley, spinach, or kale – just chuck them right in the Vitamix (including the stems if you’re using big kale leaves). Cut the cucumber, celery and carrots into chunks about 1 inch wide and toss them in too. Core the apples, and throw them into the jug with a hefty squirt of lemon juice and 1 cup of water. You will likely have to add these things in batches because in their whole form, they won’t fit in a 64-oz Vitamix jug.
Step 3: Blend until smooth
With about 1/3 of your ingredients in the Vitamix, blend until smooth. Then add another 1/3 and blend, and follow with whatever is left.
If you’re having trouble getting the mixture to move, try pushing it down in the jug with the tamper stick that comes with the blender, or use a spoon (but be sure to switch the motor off). Alternatively, add a little more water.
By the time you’re finished, you should have a nice gurgling green concoction that resembles swamp water. Hooray!
Step 4: Make your strainer
NOTE: You totally don’t have to strain the juice if you don’t want to. There’s a ton of nutritional value in the fibre of plants that not only supports digestion but also slows the release of sugar into the blood stream. If you’re cool with the smoothie-like consistency, you can stop right here, throw a straw in, and drink up. However, if you want this to be more juice like (ie sans pulp), here’s how to do it:
You’ll need an old pair of tights and a pair of scissors. I cut up a pair of opaque tights (clean of course) and I’d recommend these instead of nylons because you’re going to be squeezing the crap out of them. Nylons might be too thin, and as a result, you could end up with holes, defeating the whole purpose of having a strainer.
Cut about 12 inches/1 foot off of one ‘leg’. If they’re footless ones, tie a knot near the bottom.
Step 5: Separate the juice from the pulp
Place the bottom end of your tights/strainer in a clean pitcher. Transfer the green mixture from the Vitamix jug into the opening in the tights, adding about 1-2 cups at a time. Use your hands to squeeze as much of the juice out of the tights as possible, wringing out the juice and leaving the pulp inside.
Continue adding the green mixture to the tights until you’ve emptied the Vitamix jug. By the time you’re finished squeezing, you should have at least 1 liter of juice in your pitcher. Taste it and add a little more lemon if desired.
If you’re wondering what to do with all that pulp, I have several ideas for you:
- Use it in omelettes for added fibre: Whisk it into your eggy mixture, then pour it into a frying pan and wait for it to set.
- Make veggie chips by pressing the pulp into a very thin layer on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle it with sea salt and black pepper, garlic powder, or whatever you want to season it with. Bake at 350F for around an hour. (If you have a dehydrator, use that instead.) Check on the oven occasionally, tearing the layer into ‘chips’ in order to create crispy edges and dry out wet spots. This works best if you get as much juice out of the pulp as possible before baking.
- Add it to muffin batter – again, for extra fibre. You might want to save this one for juices that are heavier in things like carrots and apples, rather than kale and celery… unless you like green muffins. 😉
This juice can be stored up to 2 days in the fridge, but enjoying it when it’s fresh will provide the greatest health benefits.
And there you have it! So tell me…
- Are you a green juice fan? What are your favourite blends?
- If you have a Vitamix (or other high-powered blender), have you tried making green juice? How did it turn out? What other blenders do the job?
Lastly, if you’re not really into juices but love smoothies, be sure to check out:
- 17 green smoothie recipes – No boredom here. These will keep you motivated to stay on the smoothie drinking bandwagon for 17 days (and probably long after that too!)
- My 30 day smoothie challenge – 30 days, 30 smoothie recipes,
- Not as green: 4 make-ahead smoothie bag recipes, perfect for your busiest days (with a free downloadable PDF.)