The L.A. Times suggests you massage it. TLC advises you to chop and sauté it. Toss it into salads, says The Sacramento Bee. But smoothie franchise Robeks has found that customers go gaga for kale when you blend or juice it into a cold summer drink.

Robeks put its own spin on kale by creating a summer special, the Tropi-KALE Paradise smoothie, that combines the leafy green vegetable with pineapple and papaya to create a smoothie with the sweet, tart taste of a Granny Smith apple, even though nary an apple goes into the blender.

Thanks to publicity from celebrity kale enthusiasts like Dr. Oz and Ryan Seacrest, more Americans are discovering the benefits of one of the most powerful superfoods.

Kale is loaded with Vitamins A, C, and K—vitamins the Harvard School of Public Health says help the body build strong bones, repair the cardiovascular system, fight infections and germs, and clear free radicals.

"The Tropi-KALE Paradise smoothie has quickly become popular," Robeks CEO Steve Davidson says. "Customers have heard a lot about the benefits of kale, and are excited to have an easy and delicious way to add it to their diet."

The kale smoothie follows new vegetable juice offerings in many Robeks smoothie shops this spring and summer, a move that has helped the franchise's juicing sales double as health-conscious customers look for ways to add more raw vegetables to their diet.

Consider Stamford, Connecticut, firefighter Jim Tarzia, who began visiting his local Robeks for fresh vegetable juice in March after he saw the documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.” He's lost 10 pounds.

"I'm starting to turn the guys at the firehouse around to juicing," Tarzia says. "Everyone is watching me, thinking I'm crazy because I keep coming back to the firehouse with a big green drink, but the proof is in the pudding."

An entire refrigerator crisper drawer's worth of vegetables goes into several Robeks vegetable drinks and smoothies.

"I watch them put all the vegetables into the juicer, and I'm just amazed," Tarzia says. "I believe it's making me healthier."

Beverage, Menu Innovations, News, Robeks