Can you juice leafy greens in a juicer?


Juicing leafy greens like kale, spinach, and chard has become an increasingly popular way to get a concentrated dose of nutrients. While fruits often take center stage in juicing recipes, leafy greens pack a nutritional punch. Using a juicer to extract juice from leaves allows you to consume amounts that would be difficult to eat whole.

But can you actually juice greens? And will you get an enjoyable, drinkable juice out of them? In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at juicing leafy greens, including the benefits, which greens work best, tips for getting the most out of them, and some potential downsides.

Benefits of Juicing Leafy Greens

Here are some of the top benefits you can gain from drinking green leafy vegetable juice:

  • Increased vegetable intake – Juicing greens provides an easy way to meet daily vegetable recommendations. The average person struggles to eat enough veggies per day, but juicing makes it simple to consume several servings at once.
  • Nutrient absorption – Juicing breaks down leaves’ cell walls, releasing the nutrients and making them more bioavailable than when eaten whole.
  • Antioxidants – Leafy greens are packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and polyphenols that can help combat inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Alkalizing effect – Greens help alkalize the body. Their minerals balance out acidic foods and lower risk of chronic diseases tied to acidity.
  • Hydration – Vegetable juices provide hydration from their high water content.
  • Weight loss – Replacing higher-calorie drinks with green juices can promote weight loss. Greens provide nutrients with minimal calories.
  • Detoxification – Greens support detoxification by supplying nutrients involved in the process and by reducing oxidative stress.

Juicing greens offers a simple way to harness these health perks. Drinking just one serving can provide a major micronutrient boost.

Best Greens to Juice

You have lots of options when it comes to leafy greens. Certain varieties are better choices for juicing though. Here are some of the top greens to use:


Spinach is nutritionally one of the best greens for juicing. It provides vitamins A, C, K, folate, manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and various antioxidants. Spinach has a milder flavor than some other greens, making it a good choice. The leafy parts juice well, and you can add or remove the stems depending on preference.


Kale has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, including for juicing. Both curly and lacinato (dinosaur) varieties work. Kale supplies a laundry list of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It has a relatively strong flavor, so it’s best to combine it with fruits like apples, lemons, and oranges.

Romaine Lettuce

Romaine is a favorite for juices and green smoothies. It has a very mild, neutral taste. While not quite as nutritionally dense as kale and spinach, romaine still provides antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C. It also supplies some B vitamins and minerals like potassium, calcium, and manganese.

Swiss Chard

Both the leaves and stems of chard can be juiced. The stems provide a good source of fiber. And the leaves offer phytonutrients like syringic acid, kaempferol, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Chard has a slightly bitter, earthy flavor that balances well with sweeter produce.

Collard Greens

Collard greens contain chlorophyll, vitamin C, sulforaphane, and various antioxidants. Their bitter taste can be offset by fruits or by using baby collard leaves. Remove the tough stems before juicing or juice them separately.


Cabbage is an underrated green for juicing. Both green and red cabbage can be used. Cabbage offers vitamin C, K, B6, folate, potassium, manganese, and glucosinolates that support detoxification. Use young cabbage or soak leaves to soften them before juicing.


Watercress gives juices a peppery bite similar to arugula. It provides significant amounts of vitamins A, C, and K. Watercress also contains antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. Add just a few sprigs at a time to let its flavor shine through.


In addition to being a popular garnish, parsley works well for juicing. Its cleaner, herbal taste balances stronger flavors. Parsley is highest in vitamin K, followed by vitamins C and A. It also provides some calcium, potassium, and folate.

Tips for Juicing Greens

Here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of juicing leafy greens:

– Roll or fold leaves: Rolling or folding leaves before inserting them makes them easier to feed into the juicer shoot.

– Alternate greens: Alternate greens with pieces of fruits or root vegetables. This helps push the greens through the juicer.

– Drink immediately: For maximum nutrients, drink green juices right after making them. Exposure to light and air destroys nutrients over time.

– Use young greens: Baby greens and spinach are more tender and may be easier to break down and juice.

– Soak tough greens: Soaking collard greens, kale, and chard for 5-10 minutes softens them before juicing.

– Add lemon: A squeeze of lemon can help cut bitterness and rounds out the flavor.

– Balance flavors: Combine sweeter produce like apples, carrots, beets, and oranges to balance strong-tasting greens.

– Strain pulp: For smoother juice, strain out leftover pulp by pouring through a mesh strainer after juicing.

– Clean juicer: Scrub the juicer right after using, so leftover green bits don’t stain and are easier to remove.

– Drink on empty stomach: Consuming the juice 30 minutes before meals allows your body to best absorb the nutrients.

Downsides of Juicing Greens

While juicing leafy greens has some excellent benefits, there are a few potential downsides to consider:

– Lower fiber content – Blending whole greens provides more fiber. Juicing removes most of the insoluble fiber content.

– Nutrient loss – Some nutrients are damaged by heat from friction. Minimize this by drinking juice right away.

– Oxalate content – Greens high in oxalates like spinach may not be suitable for those prone to kidney stones.

– Missed nutrients – Juicing discards plant compounds found in the skin, seeds, and pulp. Eat whole veggies too for balanced nutrition.

– High sugar fruits – Combining greens with high-glycemic fruits can spike blood sugar. Opt for lower sugar produce like berries.

– Time intensive – Prepping and cleaning a juicer requires more time than popping veggies in a blender.

The drawbacks of juicing can be mitigated by also eating greens whole or blended. Drinking veggie juices as part of a balanced diet is ideal for optimizing nutrient intake.

How to Juice Greens in a Blender

While juicers excel at extracting liquid from greens, you can also juice greens in a blender. Here’s a simple process:

1. Chop greens and place in blender. For each cup of loosely packed greens, add 1-1 1⁄2 cups water.

2. Blend on high for one minute, stopping to push greens toward the blade if needed.

3. Pour blended greens through a mesh strainer over a bowl, pressing pulp with the back of a spoon to extract liquid.

4. Compost pulp or save for other uses like veggie patties. Stir juice and drink immediately.

Compared to a juicer, blending gives a lower yield of juice per amount of greens. But it still let’s you harness their powerful nutrition.

Top Juicers for Leafy Greens

Extracting juice from fibrous greens takes a powerful machine. These juicers are especially adept at juicing leaves:

Juicer Key Features
Omega NC900HDC Slow juicer with dual-stage masticating extraction, adjustable end cap for maximum yields
Tribest Slowstar Minimal oxidation, duo-blade auger, vertical design
Breville JE98XL 850-watt dual speed centrifugal juicer, extra-wide chute
Omega VSJ843 43 RPM slow juicer, automatic pulp ejection, 15-year warranty
Aicook Slow Masticating 80 RPM, reverse function to reduce clogging, quiet motor

Masticating and triturating juicers generally get higher yields from greens than centrifugal models. But all have adjustments to optimize juicing fibrous leaves.

Delicious Juicing Recipes with Greens

One of the best parts of juicing greens is that you can mix and match an endless array of ingredients. Here are a few tasty combinations:

Green Lemonade

– 3 cups spinach
– 2 apples, cored
– 1 cucumber
– 1 lemon, peeled
– 1 inch ginger

Green Grapefruit Reviver

– 1 cup kale leaves, stems removed
– 1 grapefruit, peeled
– 1 Granny Smith apple
– 1 celery stalk
– 1⁄2 lemon, peeled

Orange Collard Delight

– 4 collard leaves, stems removed
– 3 oranges, peeled
– 1 carrot, ends trimmed
– 2 celery stalks
– 1⁄2 beet, scrubbed

Tropical Kale Blend

– 1 cup kale leaves, chopped
– 1 cup pineapple chunks
– 1 orange, peeled
– 1 lime, peeled
– 1⁄2 cup coconut water


Juicing leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard, lettuce, cabbage, and other varieties offers a simple way to get a concentrated dose of nutrients. Choosing the right greens and proper juicing techniques gives you the most juice yield and nutrition. While juicing does remove fiber and some other components, it can be an easy habit for increasing your daily vegetable consumption.

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