Food52 in 5

Smooth Out the Morning Rush With a Smoothie Kit

February 16, 2018

What can you do with just 5 minutes? Actually, way more than you think. Check out Food52 in 5—our list of 5-minute recipes, mini projects, and joyful moments—for more.

Smoothies are my eat-while-I-get-ready—or while-I-run-out-the-door—breakfast. Put on one shoe. Slurp. Other shoe. Another slurp. Which is to say, if I don’t have time to sit down and pick up a fork, I likely don’t have time to lovingly blend my next smoothie masterpiece. But I still want a wonderful breakfast. I want to have my smoothie and drink it, too.

Enter: kits. Using frozen fruit instead of ice cubes in smoothies is nothing new. Not only does this yield that dreamy, frothy, slushy smoothie texture (and temperature!)—it also avoids any potential wateriness. So, what if everything else was frozen, too? Then, all you’d have to do is a pull a pre-assembled plastic bag from the freezer, dump its contents into the blender, add your liquid of choice, and vroom vroom.

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You can make your kit the night before or weeks in advance, one at a time or in big batches. Whatever works for your (and your fruit's!) schedule. Just follow these four steps and whoa-oh, you're more than halfway there.

Hi from smoothie heaven. Photo by Julia Gartland

Bulk up

The backbone of your smoothie will be fruits and vegetables. Figure 1 to 2 cups, depending on how hungry you are and how dense your ingredients are. (You’ll need, for instance, less blueberries than you would leafy kale.) I like to use a plastic sandwich bag as my measuring guide—if my smoothie kit can’t fit in there, it’s too large. My go-tos (roughly chop all, excluding tiny fruits): banana; kiwi; pineapple; mango; peach; nectarine; avocado; zucchini; carrot; kale; spinach; cauliflower; broccoli; blueberries; blackberries; raspberries; cherries.

Get grounded

Because smoothies are based on bright, raw ingredients, they often crave some fatty grounding. Think: nut and seed butters, from peanut and cashew, to almond and sesame. I like to add half my fruit/vegetables, then a big dollop of nut/seed butter, then the rest of the fruit/vegetables—this way, the sticky butter gets bundled in the middle. When it freezes, it solidifies, all ready to jump out of the bag, into the blender.

Bonus time

You could stop at fruit and nut butter, skip ahead to liquid, and still have an A+ smoothie. But if you’re one of those morning overachievers, consider adding: chopped ginger or turmeric; ground spices like cinnamon, black pepper, or cayenne; dried fruit, especially chopped dates; toasted wheat germ or flaxseed meal.

Pour one out

Whatever liquids are in your fridge will work. But if you’re buying a bottle with future smoothies in mind, here are some favorites: fruit juice, like orange, blood orange, cranberry, or pomegranate; vegetable juice, like carrot or beet; dairy products, like whole milk, kefir, or runny plain yogurt; non-dairy milks, like soy, nut, or oat. Add a big splash of liquid, then your smoothie kit, and pulse—using the ice setting, if your blender has one. Add more liquid, splash by splash, until it’s as thick or thin as thin as you like.

And that's it. Ready to get started? Here are a few of our favorite combinations:

What would you add to your smoothie kit? Tell us your favorite combos in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • rk
  • Ttrockwood
  • AntoniaJames
  • pbottom
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in November 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


rk April 21, 2018
I’ve been doing the smoothie kits for awhile now, so much easier than unzipping and rezipping all those freezer bags of fruit and veggies each time. I do the same with my omelet/scrambled egg kits: chopped mushrooms, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, handfuls of spinach. Drop the frozen baggy-full in a sauté pan with a bit of olive oil, cover and let thaw and start cooking; uncover to let excess moisture evaporate; add beaten eggs. A perfect Whole 30 way to start the day.
Ttrockwood February 20, 2018
After many experiments I finally figured out the recipe for my favorite smoothie from the now closed Pure food and wine. It’s an amazing refreshing combo using cucumber and grapefruit. My oen twist i add coconut milk and a few cashews to make it more of a meal.
In freezer kit baggies:
- 1/3 of a red grapefruit, in segments with seeds removed
- about 1/4c fresh cilantro, dense stems trimmed off
- about 1/4 c pineapple chunks
- about 8 cashews
Morning of: add a peeled medium cucumber chopped in big chunks to the blender with a good splash of coconut milk, the freezer baggie and *very important * a tiny pinch of salt.
Blend, add more coconut milk if needed. Some fresh black pepper makes a great addition but not essential.
AntoniaJames February 20, 2018
I’m glad to see Food52 devoting some editorial real estate to this "what can you do in five minutes?" approach, which I’ve been evangelizing since the earliest days of the site. Several years ago, one of the editors picked up on this to write a short-ish feature on tasks quickly done in the morning, to make the evening meal easier. I created a quick list, just off the top of my head, of the many 2 - 6 minute tasks that I do to take advantage of small “pockets” of time when I’m home. To share it with anyone who might find it helpful, I’ve posted a link to this (still somewhat stream of consciousness) list of quickly completed tasks.

(This general idea is not original to me. I have been doing this in my office since reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” which was published the year I started my own law practice. It’s one of the most useful business books out there. But I digress . . . .)

I’ve added this overarching suggestion to the linked Google Doc about a month ago:

When I plan / review my menus for the following week to lay out my prep activities for the weekend and weeknight evenings, I create a list of every small food prep or other task that will eventually need to be done.  I put it on a medium index card, which I keep handy to consult whenever I have a few minutes of "downtime,” or to include in my longer prep sessions.  

Also, there are quite a few good suggestions of 5-minute tasks in this Hotline thread started last month: I’m guessing that many of these ideas will be the subject of separate posts in the near future . . . . . . .

pbottom February 18, 2018
What is the protein in this delicious smoothie? I hate most protein powders, but need protein in the morning. And I don't like eggs. What do you recommend? Thank you, Tricia Brock
AntoniaJames February 20, 2018
pbottom, like you, I don't care much for eggs in smoothies, or protein powders, for a variety of reasons. I use shelled hemp hearts, which don't add a noticeable taste and are full of protein. They mostly disappear in the blender . . . . though you may find the odd bit of 2 or 3 in your teeth when you're done. The best-priced product of which I'm aware is at Trader Joe's; if they have it at your WFM in bulk, it should be close to comparable. ;o)