Smoothies worth sipping

The best part about Israel’s hot summers is being able to make and drink incredible fruit and vegetable smoothies.

pascale smoothie (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
pascale smoothie
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
The best part about Israel’s hot summers is being able to make and drink incredible fruit and vegetable smoothies.
Some people are happy with drinking carbonated water mixed with a variety of flavors. But if you take a few extra minutes to blend a few fruits and herbs, you can end up with an absolutely extraordinary drink that will quench your thirst and is also chock full of vitamins and minerals. And let’s not forget that they look tantalizing, too. You can also add black, green or herbal tea or fruit concentrates to your concoctions.
If you add minced mint leaves to lemonade, you end up with an incredibly refreshing texture. Many times, these additions change the flavor and texture enough that you don’t even need to add any sweetener. So, I recommend tasting your brews before adding any sweetener. Of course, you can alter any recipe according to your taste or what your pantry holds.
This unique drink should not require any additional sweetener. If you feel it does, add a spoonful of honey.
Makes four to six servings.
5 large pieces of watermelon, without rind, cut into cubes
½ cup fresh mint leaves
3 Tbsp. frozen lemonade concentrate
Leaves from two sprigs of thyme 5 basil or lemongrass leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice ½ cup soda water
½ cup lemon slices
Serving additions:
Crushed ice
4 to 6 thin lemon slices
Put the watermelon cubes in the blender. Add the mint leaves, lemon concentrate, thyme and basil or lemongrass. Stir gently and then add lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and add soda water and lemon slices. Pour into a large pitcher and store in fridge until serving.
Just before serving, mix well and add the crushed ice. Stir again and pour into glasses. Add a slice or two of lemon to each glass.
Best served in cups that were cooled in the fridge so that the drink stays very cold.
Makes six to eight servings.
1 large orange or green melon (place in fridge 2 or 3 hours before using)
1½ Tbsp. fresh ginger, crushed
5 lemon verbena leaves (can use more if desired)
2 Tbsp. honey or agave syrup
Powdered sugar
Lemon verbena leaves
Ice cubes
When you’re ready to make the smoothie, peel and cut the melons in half and remove the seeds. Cut into small cubes and put in blender. Add the ginger, lemon verbena and honey. Pulse for a few seconds until mixed well.
Pour into a pitcher and store in the fridge. Just before serving, remove from fridge and mix well. Pour into cups and add two or three ice cubes to each cup. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar and lemon verbena leaves. Serve immediately.
This amazing yogurt fruit drink hails from the Indian subcontinent. I’ve added a little rose water and almond extract to the original recipe.
Makes four to six servings.
4 containers of yogurt (150 gr. each)
2 Tbsp. honey, sugar-free silan or agave syrup
2 bananas or soft mango, cut into pieces
2-3 drops rosetta almond drink concentrate
3 drops rose water or almond extract (add carefully, checking taste)
1 cup crushed ice
Serving suggestion:
1 Tbsp. crushed rose petals
½ cup sugar cubes
Pour the yogurt into the blender and then add the honey, bananas or mango, and rosetta concentrate.
Blend at high speed and then add the ice.
Blend again until smooth and foamy. Pour into a pitcher and store in the fridge. Pour into glasses and adorn with rose petals. Serve with sugar cubes.
The recipe calls for wild berry concentrate, but you can easily replace that with mango, lemonade or raspberry concentrate. You can also use whatever fruits you desire. For adults, you can also add a little vodka or liqueur.
Note: Although the recipe calls for four cups of water, I like to add more.
Makes five to six cups.
1 container frozen juice concentrate
4 cups water
1 plum, without pit, cut into slices
1 nectarine, without pit, cut into pieces
½ cup wild berries (raspberries or black berries)
½ cup frozen blueberries (defrosted)
1 cup lemonade or water
½ cup fresh mint leaves
3 cubes of ginger, cut into small pieces
2 sprigs mint leaves
2 sprigs lemon verbena
1 sprig of thyme, za’atar or sage
5 slices of lemon
1 cup ice cubes
Add juice concentrate to a large bowl. Add the water and mix. Add the rest of the ingredients. Taste and add sugar or honey if needed. Transfer to a pitcher and keep in the fridge until serving. Add fresh mint leaves to cups when serving.
In my home, I always have an assortment of lemon drinks on hand. If there aren’t any fresh lemons in the shops or if the price is extremely high, I buy frozen lemonade concentrate. I just add some herbs and fresh fruit and voila!
Note: Although the recipe calls for six cups of water, I usually add more.
Makes six cups.
1 container frozen lemonade concentrate
6 cups water
Serving suggestions:
1 lemon, sliced thinly
1 orange, sliced thinly
1 large stick of cinnamon
Handful of mint leaves
Handful of lemon verbena
Add the lemonade concentrate and water to a large pitcher. Mix well. Before serving, add the lemon and orange slices, cinnamon stick, mint and lemon verbena leaves.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.