You’ve heard me say it once, and you’ll hear me say it 100 times more – greens are an incredibly important component of the human diet and are an amazing way to help fill in nutritional gaps in the diet.
And it’s not just dark leafy greens that are I’m talking about here. Algae and cereal grasses such as wheatgrass, barleygrass, spirulina, chlorella, plus matcha tea are also potent sources of essential nutrients that can help nourish and strengthen the body.
Now it’s all very easy to add a spoonful of spirulina powder to a smoothie in the spring and summer months, but by the time winter comes along, many people give up on smoothies altogether, and hey presto – no more greens powders.
So here’s where this blog comes in. I want to help you find delicious and easy ways to still get your intake of spirulina, chlorella and cereal grasses in so you can reap the benefits over this frosty season.
Winter is a prime time to be upping your greens intake, since we need all the immune boosting help we can find, not to mention the cleansing aid after one too many mince pies and celebratory drinks over the holidays!
Before we get into the recipes – lets just quickly cover what greens powders can help with and why you should be consuming them:
Cleanse, detox and alkalize the body
Greens are cleansing, detoxifying and alkalising to the body, and help to remove toxins from the body’s system and detoxify heavy metals and pollutants. This is thanks to their high content of chlorophyll which makes them especially good at neutralizing heavy metals and removing chemicals from the blood.
If you’re celebrating hard this Christmas and New Year, you may want to check out my previous blog Natural Hangover TIps for Before During and After Drinking Alcoholwhere Chlorella shines a bright ray of hope for your recovery.
Full of essential nutrients
Greens are very high in essential vitamins and minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll and enzymes and are a great source of potent antioxidants.
Check out my previous blog Nutrients to Nourish your Hair from the Inside for how greens powders such as spirulina can help with your locks.
Sky high in antioxidants
Greens are incredibly high in antioxidants and can help cells fight against environmental stressors and toxins, helping to reduce the negative effect of our daily exposure to harmful oxidizing elements.
Help to beat sugar cravings
Increasing your greens consumption can even help control sugar cravings and over-eating. Often we consume a lot of food, but it is not necessarily giving us the nutrients we need, therefore the body cries out for more food in order to try and obtain the nutrients it requires.
Spirulina can actually help ward off hunger since it’s very effective in combating cravings. It’s also a very digestible protein food that quickly satisfies hunger.
To help reduce portion sizes or prevent overeating make sure you’re getting your daily fix of spirulina. Simply take 1 serving 30 min – 1 hour before meals.
Greens and algae help to support detoxification organs, including the liver, kidneys, and gallbladder. Chlorella has been shown to remove a variety of toxins from alcohol, heavy metals and harmful environmental toxins.
It’s always a good idea to support your liver since the liver can become overloaded, overworked and stressed from our daily habits.
Ok let’s get to the recipes!
No. 1 – Matcha / Wheatgrass / Barelygrass / Spirulina Latte
Matcha is a type of green tea made by finely stone-grinding young delicate green tea leaves into a powder. This tea has a slightly sweet, grassy, delicate yet somewhat bitter flavour that’s relatively thick in texture. For more in-depth info about Matcha, see my previous blog What’s the scoop on: Matcha Tea
Wheatgrass and Barleygrass powder are well known for their rejuvenating and alkalising properties and have a somewhat sweet grassy yet earthy taste.
Spirulina is a blue-green microscopic algae with a full spectrum of nutrients that are highly nourishing to the body, containing vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, amino acids, chlorophyll and even some essential fatty acids.
This latte makes an easy, nourishing mid-morning or afternoon drink, helping you curb any cravings and power on through the day, naturally charged.
What you will need:
½ – 1 tsp Matcha Powder (depending on required energy levels) or 1tsp Wheatgrass / Barelygrass or spirulina powder
Hot Water (roughly 150-200ml) Make sure the water is a maximum temperature of 80°C and never boiling – this will damage the health properties of the tea and cause a very bitter flavour. The water can be cooler than 80°C if desired.
Plant-based milk (Oatly barista, oatly, almond, rice, soya, coconut milk)
A few drops of vanilla essence
A teaspoon of Raw honey
– Add the greens powder of choice to a small bowl or a cup and add a small amount of hot water to the bowl – roughly 45ml or less.
– Using a bamboo whisk, whisk briskly in a figure of 8 or an up-and-down direction to make a thick, green paste with no lumps.
– Add a little more hot water to fill your bowl/cup up to the desired level (roughly half of the cup) and whisk until frothy.
– Next, froth your milk. Roughly 100-150ml, or however much you need to fill your cup. I have a milk frother that heats the milk, but you can use a little mini electric whisk to froth the milk after heating it gently on the stove, and more than a few times I’ve even added it to my blender to whisk it all together!
Of course if you have a coffee machine and steam wand, use that.
Sweeten if desired.
No. 2 – Spirulina Lemonade
What you will need:
Squeeze of Lemon
1 tsp Spirulina powder
– Choose a glass of choice and add the spirulina to the bottom.
– Add a little carbonated water to help de-clump and disperse the spirulina.
– Then fill up to the desired amount. Squeeze in lemon to taste.
No. 3 – Porridge
You could simply add a teaspoon or your chosen greens powder to your current porridge recipe, or why not change it up a bit?
Try making your porridge using oats, white quinoa, buckwheat or rice, like this recipe from Thegreenlife.ca
What you will need:
2/3 cup white quinoa
1 2/3 cup unsweetened plant-based milk e.g oat, rice, almond, coconut
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp chlorella or spirulina powder (or to taste)
1 tsp maple syrup optional
1 large banana mashed
Fresh berries, goji berries, chopped nuts e.g pistachios or walnuts, seeds e.g pumpkin seeds, hulled hemp seeds, flax seeds
– Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a sieve and drain.
– Blend the milk, greens powder of choice plus the maple syrup to combine.
– Heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir to prevent sticking.
– After about 30 seconds when the spices are fragrant, add the rinsed quinoa and stir to coat. Toast for another 30 seconds.
– Reserve 1/3 cup of the green milk for serving. Add the rest of the milk (1 1/3 cup) to the quinoa and stir. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the milk is absorbed and you get a thick and creamy consistency (about 20-25 minutes).
– Add the mashed banana to the quinoa and stir to combine. Cook for roughly another minute or two.
– Spoon the hot quinoa into two bowls and add your toppings. Pour some extra green milk on top if you like.
No. 3 – Green Chia Pudding
You can make a delicious green chia pudding using matcha powder, barleygrass, wheatgrass, spirulina or chlorella powder.
Alternate it during the week for a nice well-rounded dose of greens.
What you will need:
Makes roughly 2 servings
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 cup almond milk/rice milk/oat milk – any plant-based milk of choice
1 tbs raw honey, maple syrup, date syrup or rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 tsp greens powder e.g Wheatgrass/barelygrass/spirulina/chlorella/matcha/supergreens powder
Fresh berries, compote, dried berries e.g goji or mulberry, cacao nibs, granola, coconut, yoghurt, milk kefir or come spring, you can add a smoothie on top (also containing some greens!)
– Blend the milk, sweetener, vanilla, and greens powder together in a blender or with a spoon until smooth.
– Pour the liquid over the chia seeds. Stir thoroughly and stir again every few minutes for the next fifteen minutes. Then allow the mixture to sit for at least 3 hours, or best, overnight in the fridge).
No. 4 – Green Pancakes
Again, if you have a go-to pancake recipe, feel free to simply add a teaspoon of greens powder to your recipe, or alternatively try this recipe from www.rhitrition.com
What you will need:
80g Ground Oats (can also try with Almond/Coconut flour)
2 scoop Barley Grass
200g Greek Yoghurt/Coconut Yoghurt
Optional: blend some spinach and spirulina into your mixture
– Simply blend the base of your choice with the barelygrass, yoghurt and eggs
– Heat up a small frying pan and add a teaspoon of coconut oil before pouring a good dollop of mixture in.
– Fry lightly and toss after a couple of minutes. Keep your eye on them!
– Serve with some fresh berries, maple syrup or chia jam OR top with some avocado and mushrooms for a savoury take.
Or try out this savoury take by Green Kitchen Stories, and add in your greens powder of choice
No. 5 – Green Eggs
Adding greens powder to your eggs is a delicious, savoury way to enjoy the health benefits of greens. If you’re making an omelette or frittata, try adding some greens powder alongside that handful of spinach for a major splash of colour and nutrients.
I wouldn’t advise adding it to a fried egg, but scrambled could be fun! Especially if you add in a few diced red peppers, jalapeno, spring onions and so – the more colour the better!
No. 6 – Energy Balls
There are so many energy ball recipes out there, you’ll not have a problem finding one that suits your requirements, taste or ingredient-wise, so feel free to choose any and add in your chosen greens powder. Here’s one as an example:
What you will need:
1/3 cup oats
1/2 cup pitted dates
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 cup regular or toasted coconut flakes (desiccated coconut is also good here)
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds or sunflower seeds
1 tsp spirulina (or to taste)
1-2 tbsp matcha powder (optional to taste)
– Add everything to a food processor and pulse until a sticky dough is formed.
– Use a tablespoon to scoop out the mixture and roll into balls using your hands. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
If you’re feeling a surge for more greens, after refrigerating for half an hour, roll your energy balls in some matcha or spirulina powder. If that’s too many greens, they’re nice when rolled in desiccated coconut too 🙂
No. 7 – Barely Grass Nice-Cream
Ok, it may be winter, but sometimes you need a good icecream fix, and that’s where this take on ice-cream comes in – only it’s Nice-cream. Essentially it’s a very thick smoothie, or soft serve, but it’s super delicious and versatile flavour wise.
Here’s a simple 3 ingredient recipe, but try out others how you like.
I find cacao and berries helps to hide the flavour of greens, but try it out yourself. Perhaps you want to swap the Barley Grass for Matcha or Spirulina – go wild 🙂
What you need:
– 4 frozen bananas (peel and cut them in half before freezing in a freezer bag, and simply chop them up into coin shapes before adding to your blender or food processor.)
– 1 tsp chopped fresh mint leaves
– 2 tsp barley grass powder/matcha or any other powder of choice
– Using a food processor or blender, blend the bananas first until you get an ice cream consistency, much like a soft serve. If you are using a blender, you may need to add a few tablespoons of water but add as little as possible, otherwise you’ll end up with a smoothie!
– Then add the chopped mint and barley grass powder. Process/blend again for a few seconds to disperse.
– Then chose to either serve and eat immediately, or place in the freezer for 15 – 30 minutes or so to firm up slightly if you prefer a firmer consistency.
Here’s another great place you can throw in your greens and get them in each and every day.
No. 8 – Pesto
Simply add a spoon to your current recipe, or shop bought pesto, or try out this recipe:
Spirulina Pesto (vegan)
What you will need:
3 cups (roughly) of fresh basil
¾ cup whole raw almonds (preferably soaked overnight)
1 – 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (add however many you like – I’m a huge garlic fan but some people don’t want it as garlicky as I do!)
½ c extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp spirulina powder (or to taste – perhaps start with less and work up)
Salt to taste
– Pulse almonds in a food processor to start, and then add in the basil, garlic and salt.
– Slowly add the oil, processing until mixture is finely chopped.
– Pulse in lemon juice and spirulina. Add to your chosen dish – pasta is a great one.
No. 9 – Add it to Guacamole
Next time you’re whipping up some guacamole for that Mexican dish, why not add a teaspoon of greens powder too for an extra heaping of micronutrients?
No. 10 – Blend it into Hummus
The same goes for hummus. Either add it to store-bought hummus or make your own and add to taste. Why not combine the above and make an avocado-based hummus with a kick of greens powder?
No. 11 – Salad Dressing
What you will need:
1/4 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1-4 cloves garlic (to taste)
1 tablespoon Spirulina (to taste – start lower and build up)
Salt and Pepper (optional and to taste)
Optional: add fresh herbs of choice – parsley, coriander, basil etc.
Blend all ingredients together in a blender and serve over salad/wraps/savoury pancakes, or whatever dish you have created.
Naturally, the list doesn’t end there, but I hope I’ve given you some inspiration for getting in those nutrient-dense greens powders this winter!
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