More On Fresh Veggie Juice: Three Tips, And Some Of My Favorite Flavors

May 15th, 2011 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health

There are 3 large artichoke plants waiting to go into the ground, just chillin’ beside my computer on my kitchen table as I write this. Don’t you just love spring?

And in honor of spring and the bounty she brings, and in keeping with this month’s MMM, I’ve been writing a lot about juicing lately. But in all my musings (1 2 3), I have yet to provide any recipes. And, well, that’s because I don’t use them! I juice what I’ve got and I juice what sounds good. It’s never the same.

Still, I’ve had a lot of requests for some of my favorite combinations, and I’m more than happy to share them. But first, a few expert tips for throwing together your own unique juice combos:

1) Juice in order of driest to juiciest. Always start with your least watery ingredient (like greens or ginger) and work your way towards the most watery. That way, the final item into the machine will provide plenty of liquid to “wash through” and pull out the flavors of its less-lubricated predecessors.

2) More is not better – start simple. I rarely make a juice with greater than 3 ingredients. I never go over 4. Often it’s just 2! Simple blends allow the ingredients to shine through; overcomplicated combinations just muck up all the flavors.

3) Stick to a single “starring” flavor. In juicing, there are stand-outs, and there are neutrals. You’ll get to know these with a little practice, but for example some neutrals would be cucumber, celery, salad greens, dark greens, and zucchinis. On the other hand, some “stars” would be oranges, herby greens (cilantro, parsley, basil), apples, or carrots. See what I’m getting at? A good rule of thumb is to aim for a background blend of neutrals, with one shining star. If you don’t have a star (like a cucumber-celery-spinach juice), add a squeeze of lemon or lime.

And now, some of my favorites . . .

I almost always stick to my green base: 1/2 to 1 cucumber with 2-4 stalks of celery. From there I’ll often add herby greens like parsley or cilantro, and a squeeze of lemon or lime. That’s my most common juice, period. Sometimes I skip the celery or the cucumber. I rarely skip greens.

The juice recipe noted above is practical and it gets the job done, but it’s not necessarily going to knock your socks off.

For a treat, try 1 large slice of watermelon, cubed and juiced, plus it’s rind (yes, juice the rind!)

For a really REAL treat, try 1 tart apple + 1 peeled sweet potato + 1/4 tsp cinnamon + a dash of nutmeg. And that, my friends, is apple pie in a drink!

Enjoy, and happy juicing!

  • Raw Joy

    Just this weekend, I juiced using the vitamix, drain the juice through cheesecloth. I LOVED it so much better than using and cleaning the juicer.

    My alltime favorite juice base is apple and celery, with a little lemon and a chunk of ginger. Mmmm.

  • Selina

    Ooh, thanks so much for this post! I’m not very comfortable in the kitchen without measurements, and trying to learn new techniques/recipes is just that much harder when I have to try to make up the flavor combinations myself. Yeah, I’m a little uptight, lol, I’ve only in the past year become able to even season foods without bothering to measure…

  • Erin

    Great juice suggestions! I haven’t been juicing lately, but I do remember that one of my faves last year was fennel, orange and cucumber. So good.

  • Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous

    My favorite is spinach and tangerines. The result is a gorgeous green color but tastes just like citrus juice.

  • Alina S

    mm i’m going to try that cuke/kale/ginger/lemon this afternoon

    also, i have been all RAW today so far (minus my tea and a bit of balsamic) and I feel AWESOME!

  • Sierra Dawn

    Oh yay! I’ve been juicing for a few weeks now using my magic bullet (an x-mas gift I’ve had in the closet for 2 yrs) and the foot of my toddlers old tights:) It’s a lot of work but I feel AMAZING! I’m glad to see some of your fav combos here. Now maybe my concoctions will be the beautiful, vibrant colr that yours are! (The mud colored variety is still yummy but not as easy to get my 6yr old to try!)

  • erosan

    Wow… this post made me realize how much of a juicing noob I am. Juicing bell peppers never even crossed my mind.

    Also, yesterday I tried to stick to the whole KISS line of thought you recommended on a previous post and used only a pear. It came out meh. But reading this, I can tell now that that was definitely a neutral flavour and the juice was missing a star.

    Oh well, live and learn, I suppose.

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    Alright, I really need to get over my mental hurdle with cabbage and get my juice on. Nina’s new favorite word is dubious, and it describes my attitude towards juicing cabbage to a T. Enough! My new MMM goal is simply to juice – and drink – some cabbage…

  • Kate

    THANK YOU! I am similar to erosan – a juicing noob who never would have thought to juice a bell pepper.

  • Mercedes@ Cultivating Consciousness

    I’ve been wanting to dabble more in raw foods for a while, youre MMM is very much inspiring me!! For that reason, and n the spirit of blogging, I tagged you with the Stylish Blogger Award. Silly, but its the blogosphere, so what can I say. The “rules” are on my blog. Enjoy. :)

  • issy

    @erin: i also love fennel in juice! my fave this winter was apple, cuke, kale, fennel, lemon.
    @monika: okay, if you do it, i’ll do it too–for some reason i totally balk at the idea of cabbage juice.
    i’ll also try sweet potato, never considered that. i like feeling that i’m part of a juice club, reading these posts. i’ve often dreamed of opening a swanky bar, but having healthy ‘mocktails’ instead of booze, bringing juice into the nightlife realm…

  • Annie

    What do you do with the leftover pulp?
    I juiced today (totally due to your influence) and now I have a bunch or cabbage pulp.

  • Sayward

    I love hearing all your favorite juice combos, guys! And mmm, fennel, yes. I just ran into a friend at the FarMar this weekend and she had a glorious fennel bulb in her bag, which we talked about juicing. Never would have occurred to me . . .

    @ Alina S – Yay! Doesn’t it feel great?

    @ Sierra Dawn – Oh man, the foot of your toddlers tights = PRICELESS, ha!

    @ erosan and Kate – I do the same thing, hence the fennel. But seriously, you can juice *anything*. Today I juiced carrot tops and it was absolutely delicious. In fact, I think I’m going to edit and add it to this list!

    @ Monika – Let me know how the cabbage goes! =D

    @ Mercedes – Aw, thanks lady.

    @ Annie – I’m sure others will chime in with their solutions (please do guys!) but right now I always add mine to my homemade dog food. Works for me but I know most people don’t do that. So, other options include adding it to soups and stews, adding it to casseroles, adding it to breads/muffins (a la zucchini bread, not so much like a sandwich loaf). You can mix it with a binder and fry it up like a hash brown . . . all sorts of stuff!

  • Moira

    @Annie: I now have a week and a half under my belt, using cabbage pulp. Between my husband’s and my culinary creations, we’ve used the pulp for

    cabbage garbanzo asian dumplings
    cabbage sweet potato and garbanzo stuffed cabbage rolls
    tuna cabbage “meat” loaf (I can’t wait to try lentil cabbage “meat” loaf)
    quinoa dish (pilaf?) with vegetables and beans…

    I plan to make vegan enchiladas this week, and cabbage will definitely be in that filling. I’m also interested in Sayward’s suggestion of cabbage-zucchini bread. Sounds delish!

    We found that the cabbage often gives our dishes a meaty flavor.. my neighbors thought we were cooking a chicken dish even though it was a veggie dish! and they certainly couldn’t guess what the “secret” ingredient was.

  • Adrienne Audrey

    Ok I tried red cabbage, cucumber and celery and it was actually good! yum yum yum

  • Misty McDermott

    I bake it in the oven into crackers if it’s veggies and treats for our dogs and guinea pigs if it’s fruit.

  • Apryl

    Not sure if you mentioned this previously, I just stumbled across your writings recently, but I was wondering what you would do with the excess of the veggies that you juice? Do you do anything with them, is there any value to the excess?

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Do you mean the pulp that comes out after juicing? I always use my leftover pulp, mostly I add it to my stock pot when I’m making veggie broth (I freeze it until I’m ready to make broth), but I also have a recipe for raw crackers that use juice pulp:

  • Apryl

    yes thanks for your answer :) great idea. I just thought juicing was maybe a waste of the excess pulp from the veggie so I thought maybe doing a smoothie was a good way to use them better, but if you can use them in your soups that’s excellent. I will definitely take note of that! Thanks!

  • apryl

    O man I just noticed that you already answered this question from someone else…oops ;)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Haha, no worries!

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