Need an easy vegan breakfast idea? Try this plant-based green apple lentil smoothie with spicy cinnamon and ginger, plus fiber- and protein-packed pulses for a satisfying start to the day.
Did you know you can use cooked lentils in smoothies?? This was new to me until I tried samples at a nutrition expo recently. It was delicious and I've been experimenting on my own ever since I got home.
I love this Green Apple Lentil Smoothie recipe because it's full of satisfying protein, fiber-packed fruits and vegetables, and antioxidant-rich spices like cinnamon and ginger. Sometimes smoothies can leave me hungry, but there's so much good stuff packed into this recipe that it feels like a balanced and satisfying meal all on its own.
This lentil smoothie is "green" in more than one way, too. The color, of course, is a vibrant hue (optionally intensified with a scoop of matcha), and this smoothie is also "green" in that it's environmentally friendly, too!
Featuring sustainable pulses, fresh produce, and more simple, plant-based ingredients, this lentil smoothie seamlessly fits into a vegan, eco-friendly lifestyle.
Perhaps the best thing about this recipe is that it can help you reduce food waste, too! If you have leftover lentils in the fridge, this is a smart way to use them up. Same for any apples that are bruised or starting to soften. Since you're blending everything together into one creamy, smooth concoction, there's no need to use the freshest, most beautiful produce. No one will be the wiser!
To make this smoothie, you'll need:
- Cooked lentils - Cook dry lentils in advance or use canned or frozen lentils for convenience.
- Frozen spinach - I like to use frozen greens in smoothies, but you can also toss in fresh greens in a pinch (check out my substitution tips in the recipe notes).
- Cucumber - Cucumber adds refreshing flavor and hydrating fluids to this recipe.
- Granny smith apples - Green apples add sweet and tart flavor, plus beneficial nutrients.
- Ice cubes - Since we're not using frozen fruit to make this smoothie, a few ice cubes make it nice and frosty.
- Chia seeds - For essential plant-based fats.
- Maple syrup - Toss in a little maple if you want your smoothie to taste sweeter (it's optional).
- Ginger - Freshly grated gingerroot gives this green smoothie spicy flavor.
- Cinnamon - For more spicy flavor, and beneficial phytonutrients.
- Matcha - Toss in a scoop of matcha to intensify the color, add even more antioxidants, and to give yourself a little morningtime boost from caffeine.
- Water, coconut water, or dairy-free milk - You'll need some liquid to get the ingredients moving in the blender. Water, coconut water, or dairy-free milk (such as soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, or cashew milk) all work.
Once you've prepped the ingredients, this smoothie is super easy to make in your blender. For the prep work, you just need to cook the lentils (unless you're using canned/frozen lentils that are already cooked) and roughly chop the fruits and vegetables so they're easier to add to the blender.
How to Cook Lentils:
You'll need one-half cup of dry lentils to get the 1 ¼ cup cooked lentils needed for this recipe.
To cook the dry lentils, rinse them and add them to a saucepan with 1 ½ cups water (1:3 ratio of dry lentils to water) and bring it to a boil. Cook the lentils for about 15 minutes, or until they're tender. Drain any excess water if needed and set aside the cooked lentils to cool.
You can finish this step days (or even months) in advance. Store cooked lentils in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to six months.
Fruit and Vegetable Prep:
To prepare the fruits and vegetables for this recipe, just core the apples and give everything a quick chop. You don't have to worry too much about being precise with your cuts. You just want a rough chop so everything fits easily inside the blender container.
Whether or not you peel the apples and cucumber first is entirely up to you.
I prefer to use unpeeled produce since it's more convenient and creates less waste. That being said, the skins do add more of a fibrous texture to this smoothie, so if you want the smoothest consistency possible, I recommend removing the appple and cucumber peels before blending.
Make the Smoothie:
Once the ingredients are prepped, you're ready to blend. Add the cooked lentils, spinach, cucumber, apples, ice cubes, chia seeds, maple syrup (if you're using it), ginger, cinnamon, matcha (also optional), and water to the blender container. Cover and blend on high for about two minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Once blended, divide the smoothie between glasses and garnish with apple slices and ground cinnamon if desired.
Smoothie Troubleshooting Tips
If the smoothie is too thick or the ingredients aren't blending together, try adding more liquid (water, coconut water, or dairy-free milk) and blend again.
If the smoothie is too thin, add more cooked lentils and blend again.
Can you Make This Recipe in Advance?
I like smoothies best when they're fresh and frosty, but you can also make this recipe up to two days in advance.
How Long Can You Store Smoothies in the Fridge?
Store smoothies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. If the ingredients begin to separate, blend the smoothies again in the blender before serving.
Potential Ingredient Substitutions
- If you don't have frozen spinach, substitute pureed fresh baby spinach instead. To puree the spinach leaves, add them to the blender with ¼ cup water and blend on high for 1 minute, or until smooth.
- Instead of granny smith apples, try this recipe with another apple variety or use pears instead.
- No chia seeds? Substitute ground flaxseeds.
- Substitute agave nectar or honey for the maple syrup. You can also omit the sweetener completely.
- If you don't have fresh ginger, swap in ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger instead.
Best Dishes to Eat with This Smoothie:
- Black Bean Breakfast Burrito Bowl
- Zucchini Bread Waffles
- Savory Miso Kale Breakfast Bowls
- Golden Milk Muffins
Lentil Green Smoothie
- 1 ¼ cup cooked lentils (see note)
- 1 cup frozen spinach (see note)
- 1 large cucumber, (2 cups) roughly chopped (peeled if desired, see note)
- 2 medium granny smith apples, (2 cups) cored and roughly chopped (peeled if desired, see note)
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon matcha (optional)
- 1 cup water (or coconut water or dairy-free milk of choice)
Optional for serving:
- apple slices
- ground cinnamon
- Add cooked lentils, spinach, cucumber, apples, ice cubes, chia seeds, maple syrup (if using), ginger, cinnamon, matcha (if using), and water to blender container. Cover and blend on high 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
- Divide between glasses and garnish with apple slices and ground cinnamon if desired.