Living in Japan means enjoying the food! It is delicious, healthy and . . . not always Japanese. Here's what it's all about.
A Cabbage Smoothie? Seriously?
For most, simply the idea of a cabbage smoothie might be overwhelming. It was for me before I made my first one. Shredding cabbage... to drink it? No way! Still, after giving it a try, I have to admit that it works.
I knew I needed to up my vegetable intake, especially when it comes to cruciferous vegetables. I wanted to add at least one serving of cruciferous along with one serving of another vegetable before dinner.
I'm not a vegetable guy, so I wanted to make it go down quick and easy. A quick and easy cleanup would be much appreciated, as well. The smoothie seemed the best way to go.
I live in Japan, and in Japan cabbage is cheap all year round. That makes it the go-to compared to broccoli or cauliflower. Kale? I've never even seen it here. I'd give red cabbage a try, but it costs over twice as much, and it's not always in stock. So as the cruciferous of choice, it's cabbage.
Like all cruciferous vegetables, cabbage is healthy. Cabbage is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It's also high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients. Any website that touts the latest superfoods will include cabbage. For its price and availability, the health benefits of cabbage are hard to beat.
My cabbage smoothie also has another important ingredient: celery.
A quick look at the ingredients will show that celery is almost as important as cabbage in my cabbage smoothie. It doesn't work without celery. To my surprise, celery has an impressive amount of nutrients and health benefits but this is not why I use it in my smoothie.
Celery's mild taste takes the bitter edge off of raw cabbage. For me, this is a big plus. The high water content of celery also helps process the dense cabbage leaves in my blender. I'll admit that in Japan celery is not as cheap as cabbage but fortunately it is available all year.
In a smoothie, they go great together but there's more. Here are all the ingredients...
- 1 cup cabbage, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 lemon, including peel and seed
- 1 tablespoon apple vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon clove, whole cloves
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice cocktail
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- Cut cabbage, celery and lemon into small pieces
- Add cabbage, celery, lemon, apple vinegar, chia seeds, clove and cranberry juice cocktail into blender
- Blend until smooth
Here's What It Looks Like
OK But How Does It Taste?
It would not be fair to say my cabbage smoothie tastes "awesome!" It doesn't. Let's take a good look at the ingredients.
They were chosen because their combination covers all your bases: vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidant power. This is not liquid candy. Health is the priority here.
That said, the first few sips take some getting used to, but it goes down easy after that.
Now, to my great surprise, not everyone loves my cabbage smoothie. They always finish it, but not all of them ask for the recipe. It's just not their thing. Some people just don't like cabbage. The ones who do just can't imagine it in a smoothie.
Here's the secret: I never drink the cabbage smoothie alone. It's always part of a team. I always have it with a piece of fruit or a crunchy vegetable. And something that fits is always in season.
What's in season in Japan? Look at the prices! In spring, I like kiwi. In summer, I go for bell peppers or cucumbers. Then in the fall, it's apples or persimmons. Finally, in the winter I like oranges or tangerines. But some are good throughout the year. These include carrots and banana.
Tips to Make Your Cabbage Smoothie Awesome!
- Don't toss out the outer leaves! They may be tough and bitter, but they are the most nutritious.
- This recipe isn't written in stone. If you can find vegetables in season, feel free to add them to the mix. I've also included spinach, napa cabbage (or Chinese cabbage), and red leaf lettuce among others.
- I use the entire lemon, including the seeds and peel. Give it a try!
- You're more than welcome to experiment with this recipe. If you can make it tastier or healthier, let us know in the comment section.
- This smoothie is healthy, but variety is important too. Add other fruits and vegetables throughout your day.
- Share the word. Raw cabbage isn't for health nuts anymore. Anyone can enjoy the health benefits of raw cabbage as a smoothie.
The Power of Cruciferous Vegetables
Questions & Answers
Question: What is a cranberry juice cocktail? Why not add an apple and some berries for sweetness in this cabbage smoothie?
Answer: Cranberry juice cocktail is a drink a company makes and sells. I use it because I live in Japan and cranberries are hard to come by. Also, apples are expensive when out of season. Feel free to use them if you can.
© 2017 Cecil Kenmill
What do you think?
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on January 20, 2020:
I love cabbage but never thought about a smoothie
VeggieTater on November 11, 2019:
I have jaw/teeth issues and this sounds like a great way to easily get in more of what I would otherwise love to crunch!
Lena Durante from San Francisco Bay Area on May 19, 2017:
What an interesting idea. I'm a big fan of cabbage, but I'm still skeptical of putting it in a smoothie! I think I'd rather just dress it in the apple cider vinegar and eat it as a slaw. Part of the appeal for me is the crunch, I think.