By Susannah Felts
There’s something extra-satisfying about a fall garden, and I think it has to do mostly with color. Just as the landscape is turning tawny and russet, you can grow yourself a palette of green to pop against those autumnal hues. And of course, you get to savor all those fresh leafy greens, too.
I know many folks think of lettuce as a spring crop, but here in Tennessee it grows great in fall, too.
The other weekend, we planted a few small crops of fall greens: lettuce, broccoli, and collards. My daughter Thalia enjoyed helping get the lettuce babies in, tamping down the soil around their fragile leaves. But I knew that getting her to enjoy eating the lettuce wouldn’t be so easy. Sure, she’ll eat lettuce wraps, but…what else? The kid tends to turn her nose up at any riff on salad.
Then it came to me: Why not add lettuce to a smoothie? I do “blend and sip” lunches as a matter of course and often throw greens into the mix—though I learned the hard way that all the fruit and yogurt in the world will not mask the taste of mustard greens. I’ve snuck spinach into smoothies for Thalia, and she’s gulped them down happily. So why not lettuce? It’s just as mild as spinach (if not milder), plus it’s rich in fiber and vitamins A and K.
Here are the ingredients I toss into my smoothie. It’s a great way to use up past-ripe bananas.
So this morning I plucked a good fistful of lettuce and proceeded to whip up a Fruity Green Smoothie for my girl. I added slices of Honeycrisp apple for a bit of seasonal flavor, plus a generous dollop of peanut butter for protein (and because Thalia and I are both peanut-butter fanatics).
The result was a lovely “green” smoothie with a green-tan hue, flecked with pink and darker green thanks to the lettuce and apple peel. Thalia took a tentative sip, then proclaimed, “Mmmm. Mama, you make the best smoothies!” Atta girl. Breakfast score!
Here’s my recipe, but feel free to be adventurous and swap, add, or subtract ingredients with abandon!
Found: an ingenious way to get Thalia to gulp down some veggies.
FRUITY GREEN SMOOTHIE
serves 2 (or 1 if you’re really hungry)
1 handful lettuce leaves (about 5 to 7 small)
1 small to medium banana
½ honeycrisp apple
½ cup apple juice
4-6 ice cubes
1 heaping tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
Puree all ingredients in blender. Add a splash more apple juice if consistency is too thick, or a few more spoonfuls of yogurt if it’s too thin.