Monday, December 3, 2018

The Green Smoothie: How To Use Spirulina

I'll start off with a very honest statement: the thought of Spirulina used to completely gross me out. After all, the thought of purposely putting a dark green powder made from blue/green algae into your food would seem crazy if you don't take the time to research its benefits. But as it turns out, Spirulina is incredibly good for you, from the amino acids it contains (aka the 'building blocks' of protein) to nutrients such as calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. Don't believe me? Check out more info here. And while yes, when you first open the bag it definitely has that 'from the sea' smell, mixing a small amount into whatever you're eating will hide it wonderfully. 

I first started seeing bright green smoothie bowls on Instagram and it instantly peaked my interest. I love to try out weird new foods, and anything that had such a vibrant color while being completely natural was too good to be true. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and give it a go. 

My first smoothie was awful.

I added a heaping scoop of the stuff to my usually delicious smoothie, which at the time consisted of unflavored/unsweetened pea protein, frozen banana, and cashew milk. It honestly tasted like I was eating grass-flavored ice cream. So with much trial and error, I finally have an incredible recipe that I make nearly every morning for breakfast, and it tastes like a treat. For those interested in trying out Spirulina, I hope this recipe helps you take that step! For those who think I'm weird for enjoying bright green food, well...you must not know me very well. I love it. Without further ado, throw some bananas in your freezer, pull out your algae powder, and get ready for a treat!
 (My two favorites - use what you love!)
Mean, Green, Protein "Ice Cream"

Ingredients:
- 90g frozen banana (approx. 1 small or 1/2 large banana)
- 2-3c ice (depending on the size of your blender)
- 3/4c plant-based milk (I use Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Cashew milk)
- 30g (approx. 1 scoop) protein of choice (I like Vega Salted Caramel or PEScience Vegan Chocolate Bliss)
- 1/2tsp Spirulina powder (find mine here)
- 1/2tsp Pyure or Stevia powder (I use this one)
- 1tbsp chia seeds (optional)
- 50g pumpkin puree (optional) - this mostly helps with consistency. If you are not vegan, you can substitute Greek yogurt to get the same result
- Toppings such as: 2 tbsp peanut butter of choice (I like PB2), frozen berries, granola, cereal, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, cinnamon, coconut flakes, etc.

Note: I have a Ninja, but this can be made in just about any blender. Smaller blenders/bullets may require you to crush the ice first

1. In the Ninja cup, add ice, frozen banana, pumpkin puree (optional), and plant-based milk. Blend on high for 5-10 seconds to break up some of the ice.

2. Add in the protein powder, chia seeds (optional), Pyure/Stevia, and Spirulina.

3. Blend until smooth. You may need to remove the blender cup, give it a few shakes, and continue blending. If it isn't blending smoothly, add small amounts of your plant-based milk.

4. Once thoroughly blended, transfer to a bowl and put it in the freezer.

5. Leave it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to thicken. During this time, I usually get out my toppings, make my coffee, get ready for work, etc. You can just eat it right out of the blender but it'll be more ice cream-like if you freeze it for a short while.

6. Add toppings and enjoy! I chose cereal, frozen berries, PB2, and a healthy amount of cinnamon in the photo below. Definitely going through a cinnamon phase right now...

7. Enjoy!

Let me know if you give this a try!

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