Smooth Operator

3 super smoothie recipes and a guide to the best little juice bars in Virginia. 


Listen, we all know that we’re supposed to eat at least a few cups of fruits and vegetables each day. But sometimes we have to admit defeat—there are moments when we just don’t have it in us to eat another salad or tackle the pile of broccoli on our plate. But when those greens are blended with blueberries and almond butter, or pressed into a glass with pineapple and papaya? Well, that makes all the difference.

Sweet, savory and even a little bit spicy, we’ve got just the smoothie recipes for you. Plus, scroll down for some of our favorite juice bars around the state.

Pomegranate Blood Orange

2 cups frozen strawberries
1½ cups green tea ice cubes
2 blood oranges, supremed (about 1 cup)
1½ cups pomegranate juice
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons maqui berry powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon agave syrup
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds for garnish

Combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender and purée until smooth. Pour evenly into glasses and garnish with a few pomegranate seeds.

Serves 2

Spinach, Cucumber, Jalapeño

1½ cups packed fresh spinach
1 cup fresh frozen mango chunks
1 cup coconut water
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1 teaspoon jalapeño, seeded and chopped
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 sprigs fresh mint
1 lime, juiced

Combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender and purée until smooth. Pour evenly into glasses and garnish with a thin slice of cucumber and a sprig of mint.

Serves 2

Turmeric Banana 

2 cups almond milk
2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen mango chunks
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon agave syrup
½ cup chopped fresh mango for garnish

Combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender and purée until smooth. For a thicker smoothie, add 3-4 ice cubes. Pour evenly into glasses and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and frozen pineapple chunks.

Serves 2

Juicin’ Around


If you prefer to order up your sippable feast, here are some juice joints you won't want to miss:

The Green Cat Juice Bar & Market
2801 Pacific Ave., Virginia Beach

Oatmeal with hot coffee, cacao nibs, shredded coconut, almond butter, maple syrup and cinnamon? Yes, please. Clearly there’s more to the Green Cat’s menu than just smoothies and juices, but even with treats like that available, let’s not overlook the fruit and veggie options like the Unbeetable (beet, carrot, lime) and the Golden Buddha (mango, pineapple, ginger and carrot juice, coconut water). TheGreenCatVA.com

The Juice Laundry
722 Preston Ave. #105, Charlottesville

Juice Laundry owner Mike Keenan has come a long way since 2013 when he was making cold-pressed juices in a corner of Carpe Donut’s kitchen and hand-delivering the bottles around town. Now the year-old storefront features a rainbow of bottled juices like the Gentle Green (kale, spinach, cucumber, grapefruit, apple) and nut milks, plus made-to-order smoothies, salads and vegan chili. TheJuiceLaundry.com

South Block 
2121 N. Westmoreland St., Falls Church

Want to see some juicing in action? Check out the headquarters of South Block, a juice-and-smoothie spot with seven Virginia locations. While you’re sipping on an avocado butter smoothie (almond milk, avocado, spinach, peanut butter, banana, agave) or picking up a pack of juice for a multi-day cleanse, poke your head into the “micro-juicery” next door to see how they do it. SouthBlockJuice.com
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