Spirulina: A Rich Vegetarian Source of Protein
For all of you who are searching for a plant-based protein source, “Spirulina” is the answer!
A type of non-toxic microalgea called “Spirulina” has been consumed for centuries due to its remarkable nutritional value. It consists of high protein concentration in which protein makes up 65 to 71% of its dry weight. In addition, it is unique for its vegetarian, complete protein property necessary for health and contains a total of 18 amino acids. This post has been edited and updated by Baraa El Sabbagh, US registered dietitian nutritionist, sports dietitian, personal trainer at Healthy Happy Us, a nutrition and diet center in Lebanon.
This “superfood” is rich in vitamins (such as B-complex vitamins, beta carotene, and vitamin E), minerals (such as manganese, zinc, copper, iron, and selenium), the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid), along with carotenoids and anti-oxidants which give it many additional properties that are being widely studied such as antiviral, anti-oxidant, antibacterial, and antiparasitic functions.
It is available in pill or powder form and the recommended standard daily dose is 2-3 grams (g) (4-6 tablets).
The powder form can be incorporated in many of our daily recipes such as:
Spirulina Energy Balls:
Serving size: 3 balls
- 1 cup or 150 g pitted dates
- 3/4 cup or 100 g almonds or brazil nuts
- 1/2 cup or 40 g desiccated coconut and 2 tbsp for rolling
- 3 tbsp or 20 g raw dark cocoa nibs
- 1 tbsp spirulina powder
- Combine all the above ingredients into a food processor and grind. If you want them to be a little crunchy, process for a shorter period of time, if you want a smoother texture, grind for a longer period of time.
- The fats (almonds, coconut, cocoa nibs) should release their oils during the processing which will make the mixture moist and ready for rolling. If you find the mixture to be too dry you can add 1 tbsp of organic coconut oil or 1 tbsp of water.
- Scoop 1 tbsp of the mixture and roll into a ball in your hand and dip into coconut shreds.
- Allow the energy balls to sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving.
1 serving (3 balls): 112 kcal, 3 g protein, 7 g fat, 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber –> the perfect snack!
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cucumber, sliced up
- 1 cup of spinach leaves
- 1 green apple, sliced
- 1 tablespoon of Spirulina
Mix the ingredients in a high-speed blender for around 30-45 seconds until nice and smooth.
- 1 cup of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 – 3 roasted garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 tablespoon fresh spirulina, paste
- 1/2 lemon juice
- Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas.
- Add all the ingredients in food processor and puree.
Where to Buy Spirulina?
Spirulina is not widely available in Lebanon but you can order it and collect it at Healthy Happy Us. Contact us for more information.