Cucumber Smoothies ♥ A Mad Scientist in the Kitchen

Cucumber Smoothies, another great way to eat more vegetables at breakfast ♥ A Veggie Venture. Quick 'n' Easy. Adaptable. Naturally Gluten Free.
graphic button small size size 10 Here's to easy, healthy summer breakfast ideas, today starring smoothies that start with a whole cucumber, skin and all. After that, Cucumber Smoothies are a "concept recipe" to adapt and modify based on what's on hand, what's in season, flavors you like, what you're looking for nutritionally. During the summer, I make Cucumber Smoothies almost every day, this recipe shares all my tips and ideas! graphic button small size size 10

Quick 'n' Easy. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Adaptable.

Childcare & Eldercare: They're Some the Same

Three summers running, I put smoothies on the breakfast table e-v-e-r-y morning. It was all about helping my 93-year old father consume more water and nutrition. (Quick Life Update. My dad's moved down the road to a care center now but lived with us for three years.)

EXTRA LIQUID He was loathe to just drink water by itself but one morning after another, he'd happily down a large smoothie in a few minutes.
EXTRA SERVINGS OF FRUITS & VEGETABLES He refused many fruits and vegetables on their own but has no idea how much produce he consumed in smoothies!
EXTRA CALCIUM He wouldn't drink milk so I'm always working calcium into his diet.

So I stand at the blender, a mad scientist in the kitchen concocting smoothies: a taste of this and a touch of that, building nutrition and fiber and color, mindful that one distinctive flavor is better than a muddy mix of multiple flavors.

How to Use Cucumbers In Smoothies.
Helpful Hint: Keep the Skins and Seeds!

During cucumber season, a whole cucumber is the basis. Once the cucumbers start coming in, they don't quit until fall! Cucumbers are water + fiber + a few nutrients, an excellent base for smoothies!

At first I peeled and seeded the cucumbers – because that's the common wisdom, right? to remove the tough skins and larger seeds from garden cucumbers? But even with an inexpensive, standard-variety blender, a large garden cucumber goes from chopped to smoothie in just a few seconds.

Here's how I make Cucumber Smoothies – definitely a concept recipe, one that I urge you to adapt and conform to your own situation. But I'll share my "mad scientist" tips!

Summer Easy, a special collection of Less Cookin' and More Livin' recipes especially for summer ♥ all summer long.
This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long ever since 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Makes a blenderful, about 5 cups

1 cucumber, ends cut off, cut in large chunks
1 ripe banana
1/2 lemon (not juiced, skin cut off and cut in chunks)
Buttermilk (our favorite) or another dairy or non-dairy milk

ADD-INS (pick one or two or three)
1 avocado (for additional creaminess, healthy fats and calories)
Greek yogurt (for additional creaminess and protein)
1 egg (for additional thickening, protein and calories)
Cooked oatmeal (for additional creaminess, nutrients and fiber)
Handful fresh spinach or another green (for additional nutrients and fiber)
Fresh or frozen fruit (for additional nutrients, fruity flavor, sweetness and color)
Fresh herbs, mint and cilantro are our favorites (for flavor and nutrition)

10 – 12 ice cubes (for water intake and chilling)

Sugar or another sweetener (for additional sweetness, especially for an elderly eater)

THE SMOOTHIE BASE Fill the blender with the cucumber, banana and lemon, then add buttermilk to about 1/3 of the blender (enough to easily blend without having to move the cucumber/etc around). Blend for a minute or two, it'll be "smooth" but with some texture, definitely smooth enough to drink through a straw, say, but not as smooth as a milkshake. As more ingredients are added, add a little more buttermilk for liquid as needed to keep the smoothie drinkable vs spoonable. Just the base itself is quite lovely, there's delicate cucumber flavor, you could add ice and stop here.

ADD-INS Now decide where you want to take the smoothie, depending on what you have on hand and what the needs of your smoothie people are. Taste as you go along and run the blender with each addition. Be sure to leave room for ice!

ICE Open up the top of the blender, that little cup on top. With the blender running, one at a time drop an ice cube into the center, it'll get sucked right into the blades and ground up, even without a high-powered blender. Add as many as you want or as much as the blender will allow.

SWEETENER Taste the smoothie. For anyone who doesn't need added sweetness, pour the smoothie mixture into serving glasses. Add sugar to taste for anyone who will want additional sweetness, run the blender for a several seconds to dissolve and distribute the sugar.

MAKE-AHEAD I usually make these smoothies about a half hour before breakfast, that way they're waiting when people get to the table.

"ONE FLAVOR" I try to use enough of one ingredient that you'd say, "What a wonderful peach smoothie!" or "This strawberry smoothie tastes so good."
VOLUME Figure out how much smoothie you want, our blender holds 5 cups, that's perfect for 2 large servings plus 1 small serving. Then aim for that volume. Don't forget, though, that smoothies can be "meal prep" too, check out Make-Ahead Smoothies!
CUCUMBERS In summer, we use garden cucumbers, skins and seeds and all. This means it's fine to buy the inexpensive "plain" cucumbers from the grocery, but if you already have them on hand, sure, the more expensive but lovely English and Persian cucumbers would also work beautifully.
BANANAS If you have luck with frozen bananas in smoothies, go for it. (I don't.) A single banana makes for a smoothie that's plenty sweet to our taste especially if you ...
ADD A LEMON! A touch of lemon actually makes a smoothie taste sweeter! There's probably chemistry behind this but just give it a try. Here, just half a whole lemon in a blenderful of smoothies plus a banana is enough "sweet" – without the lemon, for my elderly father to enjoy his smoothie, I need to throw in some sugar for his portion.
RAW EGGS I'm careful about raw eggs, we all should be. Pasteurized eggs work well but it pays to heed this warning, the standard warning about raw foods, "Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness."
COOKED OATMEAL This is my latest addition to smoothies, you don't even know it's there but it adds lots of creaminess and the fiber helps keep everybody's digestive systems "regular". Here, our cooked oatmeal is nearly always Almost-Chewy Creamy Oatmeal.

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A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the
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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I've had good results using a hand-held immersion blender, too, for single smoothies - ice and all! (And I discovered this morning, when I accidentally made a bit too much for myself, that our dog didn't mind the frosty-yogurty treat, either!)

    I've also used tomatoes and salsa in smoothies - it ends up tasting almost like gazpacho. :)


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