How to Eat More Spirulina – Why You Gotta Taste So Weird?
Yes, it’s true. Life would be easier if collard greens taste like potato chips, if seaweed tasted like chocolate. But, I suppose you might say, “where’s the fun in that?”. Unpopular vegetables that taste like chocolate actually sounds like a lot of fun to me, but whatever.
However, I must admit, I actually find myself craving kale. I crave fresh, bitter greens, a macintosh apple that’s perfectly in season, deeply roasted turnips and brussel sprouts. That’s the cool thing about eating well: The healthier you are, the healthier your cravings.
Our palate can be trained. Take out excessively salty or sweet things from your diet for a period of time and you will sensitize your taste buds. Fruit that used to be tart and acid turn into honey and vegetables that used to seem bland are now complex and flavourful.
The reason I’m telling you this is that even if you’ve tried spirulina before and it made you gag, it doesn’t mean it always will.
That being said, the main purpose of this article is to share with you a few recipes that tone down that oceanic flavour, and render spirulina a touch more palatable.
Spirulina is a true superfood. It is rich in vitamins* and minerals, particularly beta-carotene, iron, calcium, and magnesium; is a complete protein; and is a source of healthy fats. Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae. Its green colour comes from chlorophyll, a detoxifying, oxygenating antioxidant found in all green plants, and its blue colour comes from phycocyanin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that has also been shown to increase the growth of stem cells.
Other than breast milk, spirulina is nature’s richest source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid that is helpful for improving skin, balancing the nervous system and the hormones, and in reducing inflammation. Spirulina is also a very potent source of zeaxanthin, an essential antioxidant for improving and preserving vision.
*Please note that although spirulina, like many other algaes, contains vitamin B12, it does not raise blood levels of B12 in humans. If you are B12 deficient, do not rely on spirulina as a therapeutic B12 supplement, despite the claims on some labels.
But how does it taste?
Spirulina taste like the sea, or like a mouthful of lake water. It is green and earthy with a slightly sulfuric edge. While it can certainly become an acquired, pleasant taste, most people initially wrinkle their noses. Which is why I am providing some recipes to help you include spirulina in your diet more regularly, without the wrinkly-nose.
Here they are!
Back to the aforementioned ideal world: Spirulina that tastes like chocolate!
1 100g bar of organic dark chocolate (I’m an 85% kind of girl), chopped into squares
1 tsp-1 Tbsp of spirulina
1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate squares until just barely melted. Allow to cool, and while it’s still smooth and liquid, add in spirulina, small amounts at a time, stirring frequently. Stir until all lumps are gone.
2. Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap and pour the mixture onto it. Stick it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, remove from freezer, then cut into small squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Spirulina Athletic Recovery Drink
This recovery drink knocks that other recovery drink that rhymes with schmatorade out of the park!
2 cups filtered water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup or coconut sugar
1 tsp spirulina powder
2-5 drops stevia (optional)
A pinch of sea salt
Add all ingredients to a large shaker cup or jar and shake until spirulina and honey has dissolved.
Spirulina Salad Dressing
Green on top of greens! It’s green lovemaking!
½ cup olive oil
3 Tbsp apple cider or balsamic vinegar
¼ cup pitted green olives
2 tsp spirulina powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp raw unpasteurized honey
Add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Serve over your favourite salad!
Spirulina Gomasio Shaker
Gomasio, a traditional Japanese seasoning blend is usually made with sesame and salt, sometimes with seaweed added. This version is even more nutritious. Spirulina is competitive like that.
1 cup lightly toasted sesame seeds
2 Tbsp spirulina powder
1 Tbsp sea salt
1. In a large skillet, lightly toast sesame seeds over medium heat until slightly golden and fragrant. Allow to cool, and add it and the salt to a coffee grinder and pulse a few times. Grind it only enough to break up the sesame a bit- there should still be some texture.
2. Stir in spirulina and store in a shaker container, ready to be used over soups, salads, avocado, cooked veggies, eggs, or whatever else you’d like to season.
Click here for Spirulina Tahini Freezer Fudge (halva) recipe
All of these recipes are highly adaptable. If the given amounts of spirulina are too strong for you, start with smaller amounts, and work up to larger amounts when you’re ready. Don’t force yourself, but be open!
Written by Alex Picot-Annand, BA (Psych), Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach