Fresh fruits and vegetables celebrate each season, and it’s the season to celebrate the man—your father. Alas, my father’s favorite way to celebrate is with animal protein and dessert. I’m his odd vegan child, still trying to get him to share my love of vegetables.
Stubbornness runs in the family. My father knows I won’t give up trying. And I know he won’t change. As I write in my book, “Feeding the Hungry Ghost,” the best he’ll do is eat the tip of an asparagus then say, “The hell with it.” What’s a veggie-loving, dad-loving girl to do? Try smoothies. Even my father is seeing the wisdom of dialing down sugary desserts. But salad is no substitute.
Happily, Father’s Day comes in the midst of summer, falling right at the summer solstice this year. With it comes the season’s mad bounty of fruit. Hit up your local farm stand for what’s fresh. Sexy stone fruits like peaches, cherries and plums or juicy, refreshing berries are the season’s sweetest way to hydrate and celebrate.
Throw them in the blender or even a food processor along with bananas, orange juice, nondairy milk and, um, kale. C‘mon, Dad, a few fresh, bright, innocent kale leaves tucked in with all that luscious fruit won’t hurt you. In fact, they’ll help, providing calcium, oodles of antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K. The best part — summer greens are happy to take a back seat to fruit in the flavor department. You get all the nourishing goodness of kale but what you see and what you taste is a party in a glass.
As fathers and other veg-wary folks get to know and love smoothies, introduce a few more green leaves at a time. Switch kale for chard, beet greens (a close relation to chard) or other mild summer-fresh greens. Add a sprig of parsley, mint or lemon verbena — they’re excellent for digestion and bright on the palate, too.
As we toast dads everywhere, some daughterly wisdom, if I may — a little extra green never hurt anyone. Let the spirit of the season shine in your smoothie. Cheers.
- 2 bananas (frozen for a thicker smoothie)
- 1 cup ripe chopped stone fruit like nectarines or peaches or summer berries — raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries — or a combination of your favorites
- 2 teaspoon ground flax seed (also known as flax meal)
- 6-8 baby kale leaves plus a few extra for garnish
- 1 cup fresh orange juice or nondairy milk such as almond or soy
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup for sweetness, if desired — but taste first. In most cases, you’ll find the
- fruit has done its sweet work for you
- Throw bananas, chopped stone fruit or berries, flax seed, kale and orange juice or nondairy milk in a blender or even a food processor, blitz for a minute or until smooth and creamy. Too thick for you? Add another quarter cup of orange juice or nondairy milk and blitz again. It should taste plenty sweet and not at all of vegetable. If you’d like an extra hit of sweetness, add the maple syrup and blend again.
- Pour into glasses — martini glasses make it fun — garnish with baby kale leaves and serve at once.