If you think pairing words “kale” and “refreshing” is a bit dubious, don’t worry. That’s right where I was a couple of months ago when I first came across this recipe. I’m a long time fan of green smoothies and I drink one almost daily. And I really do like kale, despite all of Jim Gaffigan’s trash talking. But in my experience, kale needs a bit of TLC to be at the very least palatable and certainly to be actually enjoyable. Every time I have come across a smoothie that included kale, I immediately wrote it off because “throw into a blender and puree” didn’t seem like it would cut it in the TLC department. And to be perfectly honest, I was worried the smoothie might taste like dirt.

I initially decided to try this because my garden was producing mad kale (before the caterpillars destroyed it – boo) and I was looking for new ways to use it. I figured, worst case scenario, I dump it out and only waste a few ingredients. Much to my surprise I not only enjoyed it, but actually prefer it to my old standby green smoothie. I don’t notice the taste of the kale, but the overall flavor is just really bright and refreshing. I think it’s the lemon that makes it so good. I also appreciate the simplicity of the recipe, as even my pre-coffee self is able to make it early in the morning.


  • Handful of coarsely chopped, ribbed kale leaves (about ½-¾ cup)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small banana
  • Half a mango, peeled and cubed
  • ½ cup crushed ice
  • ½ cup cold water


  • 01

    Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Puree 2-3 minutes, until completely blended and smooth. Serve immediately.


  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Such a fun combo of flavours. This sounds great!

  • Marcie

    I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one avoiding the kale smoothies! I had exactly the same thoughts about how there was no way without further prep the kale would leave my fruit flavors alone. Now I want to give it a shot.

  • Kale is surprisingly delicious in smoothies and juices. Especially compared to celery, which, when juiced, tastes like watered down salt water and grass. One time I tried to do a juice cleanse at home and made the mistake of making pure celery juice. Never again.

  • Katie Wendel

    I was juicing kale with other things for a while and always put a lemon in, which made it SO GOOD. But after about a week, my teeth really started hurting from the acid! Just something to think about, maybe this is something to have just a couple days a week? Maybe others have stronger enamel than I do :)

  • Sarah

    I had a “Farmer’s Garden” smoothie at a Whole foods once – strawberries, half a banana, kale and OJ. Yummy and refreshing (although brown and not as pretty as this one!)

  • Dumb question—but does “ribbed kale” mean that you leave the ribs intact? Don’t trim them off (looks like through my Google searches that is “de-ribbed”)?

  • So funny. I love love love kale but never put it in smoothies. This looks really nice. Bookmarking it to try soon.

  • Lesley

    I’m a smoothie-making newbie, but this recipe has peaked my interest! I had no idea I should blend it for 2-3 minutes. Do you really process it for that long?

  • annieseats

    For this smoothie, yes. The kale really needs to be well blended. For other smoothies, I don’t do it nearly that long. Hope that helps!

  • annieseats

    Ribbed means you take the ribs out…similar to seeded tomatoes, cored apples, etc. Not a dumb question!

  • annieseats

    Eek! I’ve had this many, many days in a row and never had any tooth sensitivity. Crazy!

  • Katie Wendel

    Well I’m glad! I must just have weak teeth :)

  • I’m pretty sure you could put a mango in any smoothie and I would therefore love it. Must try this once my Vitamix arrives! (I currently don’t have a blender. At all. It’s a deprived existence. :P)

  • I love kale in smoothies, and my go-to fruit with it is mango. I love the addition of lemon here though. Definitely doing this soon (like tomorrow).

  • Katie (The Muffin Myth)

    I find lemon to be absolutely essential when I put kale into my smoothies, otherwise it just tastes too… green. Also the lemon makes the iron in the kale more easily absorbed. Perfect! Thanks for the smoothie inspiration.

  • Meghan Dexter

    Tried it this morning- lovely and refreshing! All three kids liked it too!

  • Liz N.

    I love the simplicity of this recipe. It’s bright, sweet enoughand easy! Made it this morning and it feels great to fuel your body right.

  • Delilah

    I just made this for lunch. Delicious!! You are right – I think the lemon hides the kale wonderfully. Oftentimes when I use kale, I don’t love the taste, but I drink it anyway. Brady even had some after snubbing his lunch. Green smoothies for the win!

  • annieseats

    Yay! So awesome :)

  • Faye Stott

    Wow!! I’ve never ever made a smoothie, my better half bought me a food processor/blender for Christmas, so this smoothie and gave it a try, you really cannot taste the kale, the lemon is so vibrant, I don’t think I’ll look or try another recipe, I’m sold!!! Thanks Annie : )

  • Jodie Shard

    Juice of the lemon only or can i put the whole lemon in?

  • annieseats

    Just the juice.