(Photos: Clay Williams.)
A classic green juice recipe will take you far in life. Just look at that champagne glass. (Photos: Clay Williams.) 

My personal household budget is roughly divided into three categories: rent, student loans and green juice. Luckily the gods looked favorably upon me last year, and now that I own a juicer, I’m cutting back on at least one of these categories.

For the same price as a single serving of cold-pressed greens, I’m making nearly quadruple the amount of juice each week, each pitcher customized to my preference. It’s my own vegetable nirvana, and contrary to what my carnivore father says, it does not taste like damp grass. Green juice is packed with vitamins (K, C), can help lower cholesterol, stimulates digestion, and is a great way to get your daily dose of vegetables. But remember that juicing strips vegetables of their fiber content, so it’s not a replacement for dietary fiber consumption.

Below is my template green juice recipe. I actually like this simple version so much that I rarely deviate from it, unless there’s (gasp!) a kale shortage at the market. In which case, collard greens, lacinato kale, arugula, or beet and carrot tops are all fine substitutes. As with all juice recipes, the key is proportion. If you prefer a sweeter juice, use an extra apple or cut back on the lemon, for example. This recipe as-is will deliver a slightly tart final juice, but the cucumber mellows out some of the acidic notes.

For the best juice, always use what is in season. Unfortunately farmers’ markets in January are loaded nearly exclusively with root vegetables, but luckily robust leafy greens like kale and collards are hardy vegetables and are available nearly year-round. This recipe calls for honeycrisp apples since they are very juicy and I can always find them locally; however, pick whatever looks best.

Many similar recipes call for parsley as well since it lends an herbaceous undertone and is packed with vitamin K. It’s a great entry-level modification to the below; for the more adept juicer, try splitting your greens between kale and spinach, or swap out celery for rhubarb.

© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com

A note on technique: There isn’t really an incorrect method for juicing; however, leafy greens, kale in particular, have a very low water content. For the best results, always follow any greens with a piece of apple or cucumber (something high in water) to help flush the kale through the centrifuge.