Spirulina: A Rich Vegetarian Source of Protein

July 10, 2016

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:

Baraa El Sabbagh, US Registered Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist, Personal Trainer in LebanonBaraa El Sabbagh, US Registered Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist, Personal Trainer in Lebanon Baraa El Sabbagh, US Registered Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist, Personal Trainer in Lebanon

 

Servings: 13 

Serving size: 3 balls

Ingredients: 

  • 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

 

Instructions: 

  • 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.

Nutrition Facts:

 

1 serving (3 balls): 112 kcal, 3 g protein, 7 g fat, 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber –> the perfect snack!

 

 

Green Smoothie

1

 

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cucumber, sliced up
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves
  • 1 green apple, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of Spirulina

 

Instructions

Mix the ingredients in a high-speed blender for around 30-45 seconds until nice and smooth.

 

Spirulina Hummus

2

 

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 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

 

Instructions

  • 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.

 

For more vegan and vegetarian tips, we highly recommend you attend one our regular nutrition workshop on this topic. Check out our upcoming workshops on Facebook or contact us to inquire.

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Sarah Jawhar - Healthy Happy Us Intern

Sarah Jawhar - Healthy Happy Us Intern

A current senior undergraduate student at the American University of Beirut working on launching her career soon in the field of Nutrition and Dietetics. Sarah's hunger for research drives her passion for sharing evidence-based facts with the community. She's a great listener and a problem-fixer for all of you who are struggling with achieving a healthy lifestyle.
Sarah Jawhar - Healthy Happy Us Intern

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