A Real Orange Julius is Green

Orange Zest

Orange Green SmoothieSometimes after dinner on summer evenings, when the days stretched into 9 pm, mom and dad would herd us kids into the burgundy-colored station wagon and we’d drive the 15 miles or so over to Mentor and what passed in those days for a mall. Malls were special places back then. Rarities. Imagine: people actually enjoyed spending time in them. We’d walk past the shops, but rarely went into them. We weren’t there to shop. It was all about dessert. We were there for either Baskin-Robbins or Orange Julius, both of which were tucked away in one of those “side streets” that malls have; the dead ends and backwaters. Where the neglected step-children of the “anchor” stores were.

Do you remember Orange Julius?  The chemists there concocted bright orange drinks that had the after taste of St. Joseph’s Aspirin for Children – a taste, I confess – that I loved. Maybe it was supposed to be vanilla, maybe malt. I have no idea what was in the powder they added to the orange-flavored beverage, but whatever it was, it sure tasted good. I’d bet that if I sipped an Orange Julius today, I would find it overly sweet and about as close to tasting like an orange as a green apple Jolly Rancher candy tastes like a fresh Granny Smith.

My version of the Orange Julius is the real deal: real orange, real vanilla and a healthy pile of spinach to help us get our daily dose of green. No funky powder. By the way, you’ll probably be seeing a lot of smoothie recipes coming down the pike.  I’m working my new Vitamix like crazy.


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Orange & Vanilla Green Smoothie: The Real Orange Julius

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  • Author: Annie
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 2 1x


My version of the Orange Julius is the real deal: real orange, real vanilla and a healthy pile of spinach to help you get your daily dose of phytonutrients. No funky powder.


  • A big handful of green or red grapes
  • 2 oranges, peeled and quartered
  • 1 apple, quartered and cored (I used a Gala; a frozen banana would be good, too)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. orange extract
  • zest of an orange
  • 3 big handfuls of baby spinach


  1. Place the ingredients in a good blender or Vitamix in the order shown. If using a Vitamix, start on Variable 1 and turn to 10 (of if you are a Spinal Tap fan, crank it to 11 to get that extra little oomph) and then flip the switch up to High. Let it process for 30-45 seconds. Serve pronto.


  • Serving Size: 2
  • Calories: 257
  • Sugar: 25
  • Sodium: 404
  • Fat: 4
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 49
  • Protein: 17
  • Cholesterol: 0


Smoothie Ingredients

Smoothie Closeup

40 thoughts on “A Real Orange Julius is Green

  1. Choc Chip Uru

    What a super healthy delicious sounding drink – oranges = a winner 😀
    Writing up my potluck post as we speak my friend!
    Thanks again!

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. infinebalance

    Yummm. I am so jealous of your Vitamix. I’ve asked for one for Mother’s Day, for several years now., but my husband refuses to by me “something that plugs in”

    “Don’t buy me diamonds and pearls.. I just want a Vitamix” LOL — yeah, no. I’m not getting one.

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Trish, my husband about fell over when he saw the price of one…A blender at Walmart is $20 – so he was thinking along those lines. But, now that we have one, he “gets” it. And he LOVES the daily smoothies.

  3. Barb

    I used to looove Orange Julius when I was a kid! Didn’t they have raw egg in them? Maybe that was an urban legend. Anyhoo, yours looks delicious and much healthier!

  4. Know Thank You

    Thanks for the recipe – I’ll definitely try this. I used to love Orange Julius as a kid too, but haven’t had one in many years. Agree with Barb – I remember the raw egg craze and think that Orange Julius did this, at least temporarily.

    One of the things that really struck me about Orange Julius was that the entire orange was dropped into the blender, peel and all. I thought that was so weird and expected the pith, peel, and seeds to make it sour. It sure wasn’t though! Now I cook whole citrus in a pressure cooker then pop them into a food processor to make orange or lemon sauce. Once cooked the citrus loses its sour flavor and becomes nice and mellow. Yum.

    I remember those days too when malls were a new thing. Back then it was just “an indoor shopping center,” a novel experience. We didn’t spend any more time in them than we did, say, the shopping center on the corner with the grocery store. Our American mall rat subculture, use of malls as an entertainment destination, and tendency towards extreme overconsumption hadn’t kicked in yet. These days I enjoy shopping in outdoor market stalls or private shops – local vendors producing locally made goods. A big 180 from the malls we grew up with.

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      I vaguely remember the whole orange going in – actually pretty amazing. The pressure cooker/processor sauce sounds wonderful! Reminds me a bit of preserved lemons somehow, but a whole lot faster!

      And I completely agree! I’d much rather buy from a local purveyor, browse a used book store or grab ingredients for lunch at a farmer’s market. Let’s hope those things don’t disappear from the retail landscape!

  5. Somer

    That tastes delicious. I can all ready tell and it IS going to be breakfast this morning! We need to have blendtec and vitamix wars 😉

      1. Somer

        Ron Paul? Literally drinking the real orange julius now. Wowza! What a nice change from my normal breakfast green smoothie!!! I added half a frozen banana cause that’s how I roll. SOOO GOOD ANNIE!

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      The bubbles DO make it extra good! It’s going to be so fun to see what our creative minds have concocted, don’t you think? We’re all going to need a couple of weeks off of blogging just to make the recipes!

  6. Kristy

    We were on the same smoothie wavelength today! This looks fantastic- I love the addition of orange zest! See you at the potluck! 🙂

  7. Brittany

    I admit, I too LOVED the orange julius flavor. I haven’t had one in years..but I know that anything that replicates it (and is healthier) would be a staple in my diet!! I will be trying this recipe in my Blendtec ASAP!

  8. 40 Fit In The Mitt

    Oh no, my potluck post just posted, I deleted it and restored it into my dashboard, I guess I was incorrect with my 24 hour clock when I scheduled the post. My heart just dropped, but I think I have it fixed.

  9. Gabby @ the veggie nook

    I loved Orange Julius! When I was in high school, it was the cool thing to do to go out for lunch at the mall if you had a car- so all of us would pack into my one friends car and go to the Orange Julius. I probably gave them so much of my money! Haven’t been in years (doesn’t really fit in with my current lifestyle ya know 😉 ) but I think your version would be a lovely throwback!

    So excited for tomorrow! My post is timed for 12:01 am 🙂

  10. Elle Kay

    I just found out that we have a jug blender in the community kitchen! So happy I can make sauces (and cremes and shakes and frostings and…) while I´m in London. Still miss my amazing Moulinex macerator from home. He even pulverises spices, and you can make Pesto in 3 seconds… drool^^

  11. annesturetucker

    That is fabulous – yum!! And the Vita mix – you must love it!! My blender and my juicer are the 2 most important tools in my kitchen. I use them every day 🙂


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