TRAVEL UPDATE: I got to Iceland this morning around 04:00 (they use the 24-hour clock here) and have been walking around the entire day. I am physically exhausted but mentally hyped because this city is gorgeous and stylish and way too cute. I'll be putting together an Iceland post soon, but not before I share my vegan guide to Montréal! Anyways, let's drink.
Vegan food can be as boring, exciting, strange or common as any other kind of cuisine. It's up to you. But personally it feels like I tend to eat more of the unusual stuff because I am constantly having to preface what I'm about to say about my food with "I know it sounds weird, BUT..." And when I am sharing a recipe that has spirulina as an ingredient, this is certainly the case.
Spirulina is an excellent food: it's nutritious and full of protein and iron. The energy needed to grow and harvest it is less than many other protein sources like, let's say, animal flesh. Generally, plant-based foods have less of a negative impact on the environment since they require less land, water, energy, etc. to be grown. Watch Cowspiracy to learn more. I love to use spirulina in recipes in place of green food colouring (chlorella is another great option for that). But the thing is: it sounds very UN-sexy when you explain what it is. Basically: spirulina is a blue-green algae that's been dried and turned into powder, flake or pill form...
Yeah, I know. But I *swear* it's not as nasty as it sounds. You only need a little bit at a time - a teaspoon normally suffices - and it actually adds a lovely flavour once you get used to it. In this recipe I combine it with sweet banana, mango and orange, creamy cashew milk, and some vanilla. Apparently spirulina has been consumed globally for centuries, with good reason. It's considered a dietary supplement because it's so nutritionally-dense. I try to get some in every few days. Some other super power foods I aim to eat multiple times a week? Turmeric, black pepper, ginger and cinnamon. These foods have been eaten for hundreds - if not thousands - of years throughout the world because they have healing, protective and longevity-promoting properties. I used to assume fresh was best, but often they are more potent in dried, powder form.
CREAMY CASHEW, BANANA + SPIRULINA SMOOTHIE
[ serves one lucky person ]
1/4 cup cashews (preferably soaked in water for 6 hours then rinsed)
1 1/2 cups water
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup frozen mango
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon spirulina powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/3 cup chia pudding (optional)
Blend the water and cashews together until smooth. You just made cashew milk. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Adjust according to taste. Pour the chia pudding into the bottom of a glass, then pour your smoothie overtop. Enjoy!
NOTES: you can use chlorella powder instead of spirulina; you can use vanilla extract instead of vanilla powder; you can use any non-dairy milk instead of using cashews and water.