I Sing the Broccoli Electric: Veggie-Full Sweet Smoothie


Before we get to today’s broccoli-filled smoothie, can we have a little audience survey? You don’t have to press any of the buttons on your phone, and this call is not being recorded for training purposes.  Okay, here we go:

If you recognized the allusion to “I Sing the Body Electric” in today’s blog post title,  where is the first place you heard of it?

A) Original Fame movie (1980 ).  (The action in the video really starts around 2:15. And say, what the heck ever happened to Irene Cara, anyway?)

B) Lana Del Ray’s song of the same name (2012). (And who knew what would happen to Lana Del Ray following her SNL fiasco!)

C) Walt Whitman’s epic poem, Leaves of Grass (1855). (Okay, so to get this one, you have to be, oh, at least 160 years old.  In which case, I’d love to know how that happened to you!)


As it turns out, this smoothie has virtually nothing to do with Fame, Lana, or Mr. Whitman (though I suppose it could be argued that ol’ Walt was fond of broccoli).  The main connection between the line and the libation is the reference to “electric,” since that’s the shade of green you’ll see if you blend this up for yourself. I had no idea when I started up the VitaMix that morning that I’d end up with a psychedelic breakfast bowl. (Groovy, man!).

I actually had a little fun on the DDD Facebook page yesterday, challenging people to guess what was in this neon concoction.  My favorite guess was from Chloe, who said “caramel noodle soup”! Actually, most guesses were for soup (most of which contained cauliflower, avocado and/or turmeric). I think you were thrown by my use of a bowl for my smoothie–something I do often, as I prefer my smoothies uber-thick.


Actually, if my memory serves me correctly (and at my age, that doesn’t happen too often), I first learned about broccoli in a smoothie from my friend Shirley, who told me she adds it all the time. Of course, I’m used to spinach, lettuce, kale–even collard or chard–in a smoothie, but had never thought to add broccoli.  Given that it’s supposedly North America’s favorite vegetable, I figured, “why not?”.  I had some leftover cooked kabocha squash in the fridge and decided to throw that in, too.  I used hemp seeds for protein here, but you could always use a scoop of your favorite protein powder, too, if you liked.

I expected the smoothie to be green, but not this particular shade of radiated-neon-chartreuse! Something about the synergy of the kabocha and broccoli together worked to create this extraterrestrial hue.  This is a smoothie that lights its own way in the dark (handy this time of year, both because it *is* dark when you get up in the morning, and also because you get to save on those electricity bills!).  The pear and hemp seeds both contribute smoothness and creaminess. I found the texture of this to be really thick and silky, almost pudding-like; hence, the use of a bowl instead of a glass.  (Of course, if you prefer a sippable smoothie, just add a little more milk, or some water).

Thanks to everyone who played along to guess the ingredients.  I hope you’ll give it a try, despite the unusual pairing of veg and fruit here. And hey, if you don’t like it. . . . well, you can always use it to paint a 1960s-themed mural, alongside some hot pink flowers and peace signs.

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Last Year at this TimeMillet and Squash Baked Porridge (gluten free; ACD  All Stages )

Two Years Ago: Cinnamon Spiced Coconut Bark (gluten free; ACD All Stages )

Three Years Ago: Creamy Creole Eggplant Pasta Bake (gluten free; ACD 3 and beyond)

Four Years AgoSauteed Greens with Onions and Apples (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

Five Years Ago: Tofu Quiche with Millet Crust (gluten free; ACD  3 and beyond)

© Ricki Heller

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  1. I have juiced broccoli many times, I will definitely have to try it in a smoothie – yum!

  2. This is such a weird smoothie, Ricki! I guess I will have to try it to believe it. 🙂

  3. A. But, of course, I love musicals with all my heart and soul. I’ve put broccoli in smoothies a fair few times, but I really like using zucchini too 🙂

  4. Liz Handler says

    I know I sing the body electric from the Ray Bradbury story first, then from Walt Whitman. I don’t know of the movie or the song.

  5. You’re so sneaky! I would’ve never have thought this was a smoothie, let alone a broccoli/kabocha pumpkin one! I’ve tried most greens in a smoothie, Italian parsley and fennel being my favs with pear and apple and ginger, but not broccoli?! I love broccoli, but normally cooked, ESP this time of year not having fresh garden broccoli. Store bought just can’t compare to the sweetness of garden fresh. I’m spoiled and will keep this in mind until next summer. Forever creative you are!

    • Marty, you really don’t taste the broccoli in this! I find the same thing happens with spinach or kale. I like the idea of parsley/fennel with pear–maybe a new way for me to like fennel? 🙂

  6. You write beautifully. I had a broad smile reading the article.

    The smoothie, frankly, sounds different. Truely a unique idea.

  7. I never would’ve thought to throw kabocha into a smoothie, but what the heck – why not?!?!? It DOES look like soup Ricki!!!

  8. I have been trying little bits of broccoli in our smoothies – just using up leftovers. So far so good. I LOVE the colour of this smoothie, and I’m with you on uber-thick!

    • Yay for uber-thick! I was surprised that I could put 2 cups of broccoli in there and not taste it. . . then again, I can put 8 kale leaves in a smoothie and not taste it, so I guess my tastes buds have changed! 😉

  9. I’m always tickled when I’m happily reading one of your posts chuckling over whatever path you’ve gone down and then, whoa, there’s a reference to me! You surprise me every time with those, Ricki! 🙂 I think it was Melissa of Gluten Free For Good who taught me to peel the broccoli stems before using them in smoothies. I can’t remember what Melissa told me at the time, but I’ve read that that outer cover causes gas. Who wants that, right? But, interestingly enough, I never peel them before steaming. Anyway, there’s really not much of a limit as to what one can put into a smoothie. I suggest that folks experiment for that “body electric.” 😉 Anything that is fruit, vegetable, or non-animal protein has been added to my smoothies. When the taste is not quite right I just add something else. It’s actually quite fun to create such smoothies! I have to admit that personally I must drink my smoothies though. I just can’t do the cold soup method. LOL


  10. I first ‘I Sing the Body Electric’ in the Fame movie, but I *best* heard the song as done by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.


  11. A!!!! A, of course! I played Doris Schwartz in my high school’s production of “Fame”! Ahh, this got that song stuck in my head all day! (No complaints here.)

    This smoothie sounds unique and totally worth a try. Thanks for the recipe! (And the good soundtrack ;)).

  12. Well then, if I don’t eat up all this broccoli in my fridge very soon, I guess I know what to do!

  13. sadly I don’t think my blender would cope well with broccoli – it quite appeals just for that colour – I answered (a) to your quiz – recognised it from there straight away

    • That’s too bad–but I agree, little flecks of broccoli in your morning drink might not be the most appealing thing. 😉 Fame, on the other hand–what a great movie!! (or maybe it’s just my memory of it–?) 😀

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