Have you ever grown spearmint in your garden? Even if you don’t have a green thumb, spearmint is one of those things that will grow effortlessly without your help.
In fact, back in my younger and less informed years, I transplanted some spearmint from a neighbor and watched in amazement as it spread wildly throughout my garden. I then proceeded to dig up a metric ton of mint to try to get rid of it. Now I know: If you want to grow mint, put it in a pot so it is contained!
Mint is a delicious addition to a lot of different foods, including green drinks, iced tea, and, this green smoothie. Think of it as mint chocolate chip ice cream meets good-for-you.
I used cacao nibs in this recipe, but they definitely have a unique bitterness for those that are uninitiated to them. If you prefer, use your choice of regular or mini chocolate chips.
I really encourage the use of a more natural sweetener instead of plain sugar or anything artificial. I do think this recipe needs the sweetener, but make it something like real maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar. In fact, did you know pure maple syrup has anti-oxidant properties? It also has a decent amount of zinc. I’m not talking about Aunt Jemima here. You need the real stuff to get the benefits!
If you use the recipe as I have laid it out, you’ll get lots of natural antioxidants from the spinach, cacao nibs, and maple syrup – a good thing to help keep your body running well. This article explains the benefits of antioxidants, and has a list of the top food sources.
Don’t want a smoothie? You could turn this into blender soft serve by adding one more banana and omitting the ice. But, be warned, you may not get the spinach as smooth as you’d like without the ice if you’re using a Ninja Blender due to the blade design. Ice helps break up greens into a smoother consistency. For those that are curious, I made this in the Ninja Pulse, so any of the Ninja blenders should be able to make it just fine.
Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie
Best Ninja Blender Jar Choice:
- Ninja Pulse: 40 ounce jar with standard blade
- Ninja Professional Blender: 72 ounce jar with standard blade
- Ninja Kitchen System: 72 ounce jar with standard blade
- Ninja Mega Kitchen System: 72 ounce jar with standard blade
Makes: 1 serving
- 1 frozen ripe banana (it should be very ripe)
- 1/4 cup milk of choice (I like coconut milk; use what you like)
- 1-2 handfuls baby spinach
- 7-8 fresh spearmint leaves, or, 2-3 drops pure peppermint extract
- Dash of sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 ice cubes
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs, or chocolate chips of your choice if you don’t have or don’t like cacao nibs
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)
- Optional: 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, if you choose – I didn’t use protein powder in mine
- Add all ingredients except ice and cacao nibs to the jar of your high-powdered blender, and pulse many times until coarsely combined
- Then, add ice, and continue to pulse until ice is roughly chopped
- Steady state blend on high (hold down Ninja Pulse lid) until the mixture comes together in a consistency you like and all ice is completely blended
- Add cacao nibs and pulse 4-5 times until combined