Lemon Verbena Nectar Smoothie is on the menu today! This is a recipe from my book, The Herbal Kitchen. It is a super simple tasty and refreshing treat.
But first, there is something about lemon verbena. Have you noticed it?
What happens when you smell it?
Having introduced this plant to well over a thousand people, here is what I know about lemon verbena.
It makes people smile and say, “Ahhhhhhhhh!” Yep, that’s it. Hands down, lemon verbena has the biggest “wow” factor of any plant I know of when people ingest its wonderful aroma.
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citriodora)
I have seen people coo, croon, squeal and sigh on their first date with lemon verbena. When I hear people smell lemon verbena, the word that comes to mind is…delight. (Yes, I listen to people when they smell plants.)
The lemon verbena delight response transfers into the kitchen and all the wonderful drinks you can make using lemon verbena. Watch someone smell lemon verbena tea for the first time, you’ll see it. Their eyes light up and you’ll hear that little squeal of delight under their breath.
Over the years I just kept noticing how happy people become when they smell lemon verbena in the garden or in their tea. What is that fleeting moment of stress reduction worth? You won’t find this as a listed benefit in the herbal materia medica, but it feels vitally important to have an herbal ally that just helps you to take a deep breath, relax and feel good if even for a moment.
I have lemon verbena growing by my front door. When I come home I squeeze a bit of the leaf, take a whiff and instantly feel calmer and settle into being home.
Its delicious aroma, flavor and calming effect put lemon verbena into the category of “superb beverage herb.” It supports digestion and reduces oxidative stress and inflammation, but I don’t use lemon verbena to “treat” anything. I use it to make my teas taste better and to give people that little hit of happiness. We use lemon verbena all spring and summer long in drinks and smoothies. It’s cooling, calming with a splash of delight!
Before we get into the recipe, let’s talk a little about making herbal smoothies. As you’ll see, there are lots of possible variations and add-ons for you to experiment with.
Ingredients for Herbal Smoothies
- Herbal teas: Burdock, chamomile, elder flower, ginger, hawthorn berry, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, mint, oatstraw, orange peel, rose hips, rose petals and tulsi are good teas for making smoothies with
- Fresh herbs: Basil, cilantro, Calendula petals, dandelion greens, lemon balm, parsley, mint, rose petals
- Fruit: Fresh or frozen
- Creamy ingredients: Dairy, nut or coconut milk or yogurt (optional)
- Sweeteners: Honey, maple syrup, dates or sweetener of choice
- Add-on possibilities: Dash of herbal vinegar, powdered herbs or spice blends, powdered seaweed
How to Make Herbal Smoothies
- Make a tea with fresh or dried herbs; use a single herb tea or your favorite tea blend.
- Strain the herbs from the tea.
- Put the tea in a blender.
- Add fresh or frozen fruit.
- If using fresh fruit, add small handful of ice 6) Add fresh herbs.
- Add yogurt or milk of choice (optional).
- Blend everything well in the blender.
- Taste and decide whether you need sweetener.
- Herbal smoothies are a great place to sneak more greens into your diet. Even if you are making a sweet smoothie treat with bananas and strawberries, you can add a handful of fresh parsley or peppermint.
- Fruits like banana and apple don’t usually need a sweetener, whereas the astringent berries like blueberry and raspberry do well with a little honey or maple syrup.
- If you use frozen fruit, there is no need for ice. I put much less ice in our herbal smoothies than a smoothie you would buy at the juice bar. Too much ice is hard on the stomach, so only use just enough ice or frozen fruit to give your smoothie the thick, crunchy texture you are looking for.
- Enjoy your smoothie chilled but not too cold. Frozen drinks hinder digestion and cause congestion. Drink your cool smoothies in the heat of the day, not at night when your digestive capacity is waning. If you deal with congestion or allergies, refrain from cold smoothies altogether.
- One more tip: Avoid the mistake of carrying on with your spring and summer smoothie habit into the winter. Once the weather starts cooling down, transition into drinking beverages that are room temperature or warm.
Lemon Verbena Nectar Smoothie
Recipe from The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride (Conari Press, 2019). This is a simple and delicious treat that can be adapted to whatever fruit is in season.
What you’ll need…
- 1 cup lemon verbena tea
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup yogurt
- Handful of fresh mint
- Dash of cardamom
- Begin by making lemon verbena tea. Add 1 tablespoon of fresh or dried lemon verbena to 1 cup of water, bring it to a boil with a lid on the pot, let it steep for 1/2 hour and then strain out the herbs.
- Tip! If you are adding honey, it blends much easier if you add it before the other ingredients.
- Add blueberries and yogurt.
- Add mint and cardamom.
- Blend everything together in a blender.
- Smoothies are best made to order; they can store in the fridge for a day, but they taste best freshly made.
Now we’d love to hear from you!
What are your favorite herbs to use in smoothies?