Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that has been consumed by humans for centuries. It has an intense blue-green color and is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like beta-carotene.
Adding spirulina powder to your diet can provide many health benefits, including reducing inflammation, protecting against allergies, enhancing endurance and energy, supporting heart health, and promoting brain function.
However, spirulina has a strong flavor that some find unappealing. That’s why it’s common to mix spirulina powder into foods and beverages to mask the taste.
1. Blend it into Smoothies
One of the easiest ways to consume spirulina powder is by blending it into smoothies. The bold flavors of fruits and vegetables in smoothies help disguise the taste of spirulina.
Some delicious smoothie ideas include:
- Green spirulina smoothie: Blend spirulina with spinach, kale, mango, banana, almond milk, and honey. The fruits add sweetness to balance the greens.
- Spirulina berry smoothie: Mix spirulina with frozen mixed berries, banana, Greek yogurt, and orange juice for a bright pink smoothie.
- Spirulina protein smoothie: Blend spirulina with peanut butter, banana, coconut milk, and chocolate protein powder for a nutrition-packed post-workout drink.
Start with 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder per smoothie until you get used to the flavor. Then you can gradually increase the amount as desired.
Key Takeaway: Blending spirulina powder into fruit and vegetable smoothies is a tasty way to hide the strong flavor.
2. Stir into Juices
In addition to smoothies, spirulina can be stirred into vegetable and fruit juices. Its bold color provides visual interest as well.
Some spirulina juice ideas:
- Celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, and spirulina for an earthy green juice
- Beet, carrot, orange, and spirulina juice for a bright pink drink
- Apple, spinach, and spirulina for a sweet green juice
As with smoothies, start with just 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder per serving of juice. Then slowly increase the amount as you get accustomed to the taste.
3. Mix into Hummus
Hummus is a thick, creamy spread made from blended chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon, and spices. It's commonly served as a dip with pita bread or fresh vegetables.
Stir just 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder into one serving of hummus to turn it green and add an extra serving of nutrients. The garlic and lemon flavors help mask the taste.
Key Takeaway: Hummus is an easy way to sneak spirulina powder into your diet thanks to its bold seasoning.
4. Add to Pesto
Pesto is a classic Italian sauce made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. It coats pasta beautifully while adding plenty of flavor.
Simply stir 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder into each serving of pesto sauce to give it a brilliant green color and extra nutrition. The garlic, cheese, and basil will disguise the spirulina taste.
5. Mix into Guacamole
Guacamole is an avocado-based dip that originated in Mexico. It also commonly contains ingredients like lime juice, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, and chili peppers.
Adding just 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder per serving of guacamole can provide color and nutrients without impacting the flavor much. The creaminess of the avocado and acidity of the lime help to mask it.
6. Make Blue Pasta
Here's a fun way to eat spirulina - add it to homemade pasta dough to create vivid blue noodles!
The flavor of the spirulina will be subtle, but the color will make your pasta look like something out of a sci-fi movie. Kids will love it.
- Mix 1 teaspoon spirulina powder per 1 cup of flour into your normal pasta dough recipe. Knead it to fully incorporate the powder.
- Roll out the pasta dough and cut into fettuccine, ravioli, or other fun shapes before cooking.
- Serve with your favorite pasta sauce and enjoy your colorful spirulina pasta creation!
Key Takeaway: Adding spirulina powder to pasta dough makes electric blue noodles that are visually stunning and extra nutritious.
7. Sprinkle on Popcorn
For a healthy spirulina-infused snack, sprinkle spirulina powder onto freshly popped popcorn. The popcorn's mild flavor won't compete too much with the spirulina.
Shake the popcorn to distribute the spirulina evenly. The vibrant green flecks on the popcorn look beautiful as well as adding extra nutrition.
8. Make Blue Breads and Muffins
Mix spirulina powder into bread, muffin, scone, and even pancake batters to bake up vividly colored goodies.
About 1/2 teaspoon spirulina per 2 cups of flour works well. It adds only a subtle herbal flavor while providing eye-catching teal color.
Some tasty spirulina baked treat ideas:
- Blueberry spirulina muffins
- Spirulina banana bread
- Green spirulina scones with cheese and herbs
- Bright green spirulina pancakes topped with fruit
Let the baked goods cool completely before adding any frosting or toppings so the color remains stable.
9. Blend into Ice Cream
Here's a cool way to eat spirulina - mix it into homemade or store-bought ice cream! The small amount needed to change the color won't alter the flavor much.
- For store-bought ice cream, allow it to soften slightly then mix in 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder per serving.
- For homemade ice cream, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon spirulina powder per 2 to 3 cups of ice cream base before freezing.
Mint, pistachio, vanilla, and lemon ice cream flavors pair particularly well with spirulina. The resulting green color looks festive while providing antioxidants.
Key Takeaway: Adding just a bit of spirulina powder to ice cream provides vibrant color and nutrition without overpowering the flavor.
10. Make Dessert Sauces and Icings
Transform desserts from basic to dazzling by tinting the sauce or icing with spirulina powder. For example:
- Add 1/4 teaspoon spirulina per cup of melted chocolate to make green chocolate sauce.
- Mix 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder into 1 cup vanilla buttercream frosting for green-tinted icing.
- Stir 1/4 teaspoon spirulina into 1 cup raspberry sauce for a bold pink color.
Drizzle the spirulina-infused sauces over cakes, ice cream, fruit salads, crepes, waffles, and more for impressive presentation and antioxidant benefits.
How much spirulina powder should I use in recipes?
Start with just 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder per serving of food or 2-4 cups of beverages. You can slowly increase the amount as you get used to the flavor. Most recipes use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon spirulina powder per serving.
What are the best ways to hide the taste of spirulina?
Strong flavors like citrus, herbs, spices, garlic, and chocolate do a good job of masking the earthy taste of spirulina. Smoothies and juices full of fruits and veggies work well too.
Should spirulina powder be added to hot or cold foods?
For maximum nutrient retention, add spirulina powder after cooking or just before serving rather than subjecting it to high heat. However, brief cooking won't destroy too many nutrients.
How long does spirulina powder last?
Kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, spirulina powder lasts about 1 year. It will develop a fishier smell over time but is still safe to eat.
Can I bake or cook with spirulina powder?
Yes, spirulina powder can be incorporated into baked goods like breads, muffins, and cookies. It holds up well to baking temperatures. Avoid boiling spirulina powder though, as extended heating times degrade nutrients.
Spirulina powder is an incredible superfood that offers a wide array of health benefits. By adding just small amounts of this blue-green algae to foods and beverages, you can easily reap the advantages of its concentrated protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
While spirulina has an intense flavor on its own, the ideas here show how mixing it into strongly flavored foods and masking it in creamy, fruity recipes makes enjoying spirulina quite pleasant. Smoothies, juices, hummus, guacamole, pasta, baked goods, ice cream, and sauces all readily lend themselves to incorporating this nutritious powder.