As an avid green smoothie connoisseur, I’m quite familiar with spinach and kale. I love how they taste, and the added benefit of fiber, vitamins A and C, and iron make it perfect for more than just a smoothie. But not everyone is as fond of the grassy and earthy taste of spinach, kale, or really any other lettuce. For you, there is a different option: sorrel.
Related to buckwheat, sorrel is a green, leafy vegetable that has a pretty different taste from other leafy greens. Instead of that grassy taste you may get (it doesn’t taste grassy to me, but everyone is different), it’s actually bitter and tangy tasting, similar to a Granny Smith apple or kiwi.
Sorrel gets it unique tart taste from oxalic acid, a natural chemical compound found in other greens such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and parsley. If oxalic acid sounds familiar, it’s probably because you heard about this “lethal” compound found naturally in rhubarb leaves (which—fun fact—is why many grocers remove the stems before selling them). But as with anything, the dose makes the poison, not its presence alone. Many vegetables contain oxalic acid, but unless you’re consuming 10 pounds of these vegetables a day, there’s nothing harmful about them. (But really, don’t eat rhubarb leaves, which possibly contain another poisonous compound.)
Nutritionally, sorrel is kind of a big deal. A cup contains more than 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamins A and C, which help support immune function, as well as 3.9 grams of fiber. It’s also an excellent source of magnesium, which helps prevent chronic disease, and it’s a good source of iron.
I’ve found that sorrel is a huge asset in getting an extra vegetable in my green smoothie. Because of its tart taste, it does a good job of neutralizing the bold taste of celery or carrots, and if you don’t like the taste of spinach and kale, it will do the same with those too. In terms of flavor, it’s also a nice change of pace. A green smoothie with sorrel, strawberries, and oranges tastes sweeter, almost like a dessert.
If I’ve piqued your interest about sorrel, you can find it in many natural food stores, but it can still be hard to find. Also, check the lettuce and herb sections, as some grocers will label it as a herb.
So if you’re trying to eat more green, leafy vegetables, or you’re just looking to vary your green smoothie game, check out sorrel.