Green juice is relatively simple to concoct, requiring just a base, main ingredients and optional or secondary ingredients. That’s it! People get all up in arms about how gross green juice is, but you need to give your taste buds time to adjust if you’ve just started juicing. If you don’t like it and have tried it, you probably had a bad mixture of ingredients. You may also be going whole hog too soon by making green juice without any fruit (even omitting Mr. Lemon). But, if you want to jump into vegetable-only territory and not end up with gross juice, you need to choose your base wisely. I’ll first enumerate the best bases for green juice, describe the awesome main ingredients, and tell you what superfluous but delicious secondary ingredients you should invest in.
The Best Base Combos:
Carrots and Apples
Carrots are a starchy, sweet vegetable that get a bright color and a bold taste when juiced. Accompany them with some apples — green, Fuji, gala, or braeburn, it doesn’t matter — and your juice base will be sweet and delicious.
Apples and Lemons (With the Peel)
Just as apples are sweet, so are lemons in a citrusy-tart kind of way, especially if they are Meyer lemons. Paired with lemons, apples take on a unique yet sweet flavor that is brought out by the acid in the lemon.
Cucumber and Celery
An old favorite, cucumber and celery make a simply elegant and cleansing juice base. When you drink juice based on these two produce items, you will certainly feel your body being cleansed from the inside out.
Magical Main Ingredients:
Kale and Celery
The inclusion of kale and celery to your juice blend may make your juice taste awfully green, but if you choose a sweeter base like carrot and apple or apple and lemon, then the bitterness of the kale will be muted.
Spinach and Collards
The sweetness of the celery is absent in this mix of ingredients, so a sweet base is preferable unless your taste buds are used to a grassy green flavor. Chard can especially overpower your juice if you’re not careful.
Sweet Potato and Carrots
These main ingredients are fairly sweet naturally, so you can easily utilize the cucumber and celery base. But it may taste funky or not as sweet as you’d like, so your best bet with this mix would be the apple and lemon base.
Fennel and Apples
Fennel is an odd vegetable that can be described as a “licorice-flavored celery,” so it accompanies well with the original celery. With a cucumber and celery base, fennel and apples make a perfect juice that’s just right.
Pineapple and Fennel
Another fruit to add to fennel is pineapple — it’s sweet, yellow, and extremely fragrant. The two work together as sidekicks to the main base, adding a ton of flavor and excitement to the juice.
Broccoli and Cabbage
These two cruciferous vegetables may taste bitter and fibrous raw, but once you juice them, they make a symphony of flavors that is best joined with the marvelous pair of carrots and apples. Use the carrots and apples as a base and shoot some broccoli and cabbage in the mix, and you’ll end up with one jammin’ juice.
Brussels Sprouts and Celery
Brussels sprouts are another cruciferous vegetable, but these little beauties look like alien heads and taste vile by themselves if juiced; therefore, they need to be paired with a good amount of sweetness. With some clean, palate tasting celery, some fresh acidic lemons, and an apple or two, you can transform that swamp tasting juice into a real winner.
Grapefruit and Tomato
Grapefruits look funny — like swollen oranges with allergies — but, they are delicious. Tomatoes are just round red things with an identity crisis. So, both “fruits” make quite a pair as you can imagine. Throw them together in a juicer and out comes a beautifully pigmented liquid that is sure to please, but if you throw in an apple and some celery as the base, that liquid will dance across your taste buds and do the twist all the way down your esophagus to thoroughly nourish your body.
Lettuce and Broccoli
Here again we’re featuring the humble little tree vegetable that is broccoli. Broccoli juice, like Brussels sprout juice, tastes really earthy and frankly terrible alone, but the lettuce masks the flavor somewhat and balances that terribleness out with a nice clean flavor. Basing this juice on celery and apples further amplifies this clean flavor and downplays that broccoli taste.
Beetroot and Apples
I’ve always been scared of trying to cook beets, probably because I’m an amateur cook, but juicing them is not a problem. Since beets taste like they just came out of the ground, it’s important to balance out the flavor of them with apples or another fruit, unless of course, you like the taste of beets just by themselves like my mom. Using a base of cucumbers and celery helps to even out the flavor of the beets while maintaining the subtle sweetness of the apples.
Outstanding Optional Ingredients:
Parsley can help lower your risk of cancer, reduce inflammation, enhance immune, urinary, and cardiovascular system, and also fight bad breath. This herb is great in all juice combos pretty much, so get creative!
Relieve nausea, protect against cancer, and drastically reduce inflammation. Add it to a secondary-based beet juice for a great mix of flavors!
Garlic has respiratory and circulatory benefits and it’s responsible for lipid-lowering, anti-blood coagulation, anti-hypertension, anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-microbial effects. This pungent ingredient is best in sweeter juice blends like fennel/pineapple or beetroot and apple.
To complete our green juice guide, here are some last minute tips on juicing and some recipes by our Green Monsters:
- After you create your fabulous juice concoction, consume it within 24-48 hours or else the juice will go rancid.
- Be creative with your juice pulp — re-blend it, make crackers, but don’t throw it out just yet.
- Line the pulp bucket of your juicer with a bag of sorts to simplify cleanup, and wash your juice immediately after juicing.
- Juice produce items that aren’t in the best of shape (if you have some).
- Go for organic whenever possible and always wash your produce thoroughly prior to shoving them in your juicer.
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- The Pink Lady
- Carrot Cayenne Elixir
- Sweet & Sour
- Salad Through a Straw
- Sweet Green
- Orange Sunrise
- Not Your Average Carrot Juice
- Glowing Green Juice
Image source: These 3 Cold-Press Juices are Way Cool