This incredibly nutrient-dense kale tonic is inspired by the popular First Watch green juice. It is very easy to make at home, no juicier needed, and so full of nutrition, such as vitamins and antioxidants. Naturally vegan, raw and gluten-free.
If you enjoy the kale tonic juice from First Watch restaurant, then know that you can actually make it yourself very easily right at home!
It is one of their most popular item on their menu and for a good reason: it is nicely tangy, super refreshing, just a little sweet and SO good-for-you.
It is a little similar to a green smoothie, but in a more smooth and juicy consistency. It has a nice punch of flavor to it and can be a fun and flavorful way to stay hydrated.
A homemade kale tonic is actually very easy to make even if you don't have a juicer: simply combine some kale, apple, cucumber and lemon juice to a blender and blend until smooth. This will give you a thick mixture that you can then strain to remove the pulp and froth. You are then left with a thin bright green juice loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
This lively tonic juice is all done within 5-10 minutes and makes for a perfect addition to a healthy diet to stay energized, hydrated and make sure you maximize on all the nutrition from green vegetables to help support your immune system.
It makes for a great drink to boost your lunches with more nutrition or similarly to what I like to do with my turmeric ginger glowing shots, you can have a small glass in the morning to start the day just right!
I hope you give it a try! ❤️
Highlights of this recipe
- Simple recipe that's very easy to make
- Versatile and can be used as a base to make all sort of healthy raw juices
- Cheaper than store-bought
- Made without a juicer
- Bright green appetizing color
- Very tasty with a mix of tangy, grassy and sweet flavors
- Great recipe to complement your diet with more antioxidants and vitamins
- Raw, vegan and naturally gluten-free
Ingredients you'll need
- Fuji apples: they are sweeter than many other kind of apples, which is why they work well to make a juice with kale to balance out the mild bitter flavor. But, feel-free to use any apples you have!
- Kale: I love dinosaur (Lacinato) kale for its hearty and sweeter flavor, but curly kale would work too.
- Cucumber: English cucumbers are mild in flavor and have a thin skin, which makes them a good choice for juicing.
- Lemon: I used a large lemon, but if you only have small ones, then you might want to use 1.5 or 2 lemons. I like to also add more lemon slices when serving.
If you are looking for a fun blender juice to make regularly and help support your health, then don't look any further, this kale tonic is supercharged with nutrients! It makes for an easy-to-make at home kale green juice to boost your diet with so much valuable nutrition.
Kale, the main ingredient of the tonic, has been a popular health food for a while: it is low-in-calories, very rich in vitamins (such as vitamins A and C), full of antioxidants and rich in fiber. It has such a high nutrient concentration compared to the amount of calories that it has been considered a superfood by many. Blending and straining the kale will remove a lot of its fiber, but drinking a vitamin-rich kale tonic juice as part of a healthy complete meal can significantly boost its overall nutrient content.
Lemon and apple are also rich in vitamin C, but they also help sweeten the juice while adding more bright flavors to balance the natural grassy taste from kale.
Cucumber has a subtle flavor that feels super refreshing, but also, it is very rich in vitamin K and so full of water, which makes it a great ingredient to include when making a raw vegetable juice.
How to make a First Watch kale tonic
Clean and prepare the ingredients
Start by cleaning the vegetables and fruits very well and then roughly chop them. Keep the peel on the apples and cucumber! Remove the stems on the leaves of kale so it blends easier (and the stem don't have as much nutrients compared to the leaves).
Transfer the chopped apple, cucumber and kale in a blender and then, juice the lemon and pour the water in the blender. You can also add the lemon still whole (peeled) to the blender, although I prefer to juice it to ensure the tonic isn't too bitter.
Blend the juice ingredients until smooth, which can take 1-2 minutes. You can check after a little while to see if there are still a lot of fibers still intact and blend more as needed.
Strain and serve
Place a fine-mesh colander over a large bowl and pour the blended juice over. Then, use a spoon to help push the clear juice through the mesh. This can take 2-3 minutes. You should be left with about ½-3/4 cup of pulp to discard.
The kale tonic can be enjoyed right away, but I like to first chill it in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, which gives it a nicer crisp taste.
Watch how to make it
- This juice is raw, so you want to make sure to clean the fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
- You might need to work in batches if your blender is smaller. I filled my large Vitamix container with this recipe.
- If you don't have a high-speed blender, then I recommend you keep blending longer or until there are no larger pieces of fiber anymore. But, since you will be straining this recipe, it is ok if the juice does not become super smooth before passing through the colander.
- This kale juice is better in flavor when cold, so if you want to serve it right away, then be sure to serve with ice cubes or even, blend a few ice cubes at the end to help chill it.
- If you have a nut milk bag, you can definitely use this instead of a fine-mesh colander.
- For a sweeter kale tonic, then blend 1-2 extra apples!
It is easy to include adds-on when making a kale tonic! You can add other healthy vegetables or herbs, such as
- Parsley or cilantro
- If you love health juices that have a nice kick, then also add some fresh ginger or turmeric to the blender. See my turmeric ginger glowing shots for inspiration!
- Also, if kale has too much of a strong taste for you, then swap for baby spinach.
For a little sweeter juice, you can add some:
- Freshly pressed orange
- Freshly pressed grapefruit juice
- Swap the regular water for coconut water
- Use very ripe pears instead of apples
Also, if you don't have lemon juice, you could use lime juice or even apple cider vinegar. The tangy flavor brightens up the juice's flavor!
This juice stores well for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. It has a fresher flavor and brighter green hue when just prepared, so try to enjoy within 24-48 hours. That being said, you can make more of it and enjoy it for a few days without any problems.
I recommend to keep the kale tonic in a glass jar for best storage. The kale tonic will separate while storing, so be sure to shake or stir very well before serving.
You can drink it like a smoothie if you want, but I think the texture isn't as pleasant with all the pulp.
Yes you can and I often make it that way! In that case, I would skip on using any water and add double amount of cucumber and apples to have more juicy ingredients going through the machine. Also, when using leafy greens, I like to add it to the juicer early in the process to give it enough time and fluid to grab on all the nutrients in the pressing system.
Yes you can! Try to freeze it right away if you can to maintain the nutrients. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Yes! This recipe is a good way to use frozen greens such as kale or baby spinach. Just add the leaves while still frozen to your blender. This will also help make your juice nice and cold.
More recipes like this
- Lemon chia seed water
- Beet kale smoothie with apples
- Mango water
- Lemon ginger lemongrass tea
- Blueberry lavender almond milk
- Banana carrot smoothie
- Hibiscus chia seed tea
I hope you enjoy this kale tonic as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
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Kale Tonic (First Watch Copy Cat Recipe)
- 4 large leaves of kale - stems removed
- 2 fuji apples - seeds + core removed and roughly chopped
- 1 English cucumber - roughly chopped
- 1 lemon - juiced, or more to taste
- 3 cups water
- Add the apples, cucumber and kale to a blender and pour the water over. Also, add the lemon juice to the blender.
- Blend on high until smooth (about 1 minute).
- Place a fine-mesh colander over a large bowl and pour the blended juice over. Then, use a spoon to help the clear green juice fall into the bowl. Discard the pulp.
- You can serve the kale tonic right away or chill it first (30-60 minutes) for a colder juice. Serve with ice cubes and lemon slices.
- Store in a glass container for a few days in the fridge. The juice is best when enjoyed within 24-48 hours.
- You can include other fruit or vegetables, such as oranges, beets, carrots or parsley. You can also swap the kale for baby spinach for a smoother flavor.
- You don't have to strain the juice, although I think the pulp gives it an unpleasant consistency.
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