Versatility is an exceptional aspect to food. That comes by way of whole ingredients, rather than the overly-processed corporate meals that line our supermarket shelves. And when we dive into these pure foods, we find a bevy of possibilities awaits us. Case in point: Maca root.
Maca is the Peruvian tuber valued by native cultures all the way back to Incan times. It's a potent food with significant energizing and warming properties. It enhances immune function, balances hormones and elevates mood. While you can take maca as a tincture or supplement, it's a wonderful food with a unique flavor that works well sweet or savory. Here are three fantastic ways to incorporate maca into your whole food diet.
1. Sweet Potato Fries
This recipe comes from Chef Julie Morris' Superfood Cuisine cookbook. It's a sweet and savory twist on the standard sweet potato fry.
2 pounds sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 ¼ teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¾ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon mesquite powder
½ teaspoon maca powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon palm sugar
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the sweet potatoes into long fries, about ½-inch thick. Toss with melted coconut oil and spread out flat onto 2 baking sheets. Place in the oven and roast for about 15-25 minutes until fries are cooked through and begin to brown. (Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes for crispier fries.)
While the fries are cooking, mix together all the spice powders and remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl.
When the fries have finished roasting, remove the pans from the oven and immediately sprinkle some of the spice mixture on top (use amount to taste), tossing the fries around with a spatula to ensure even coating. Serve warm and with ketchup, if desired.
2. Hot Chocolate Maca
This is great for the morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Maca and chocolate go together like peanut butter and jelly! You'll feel warm and energized and a little bit like a kid sipping cocoa marveling at the perfection of such a simple treat.
4 tablespoons powdered cocoa
1-2 heaping tablespoons of powdered maca (to taste preference)
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or sweetener of choice
2 ½ cups fresh nondairy milk – make your own almond milk for delicious treat.
Pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients in saucepan and use whisk to break up powders. Heat slowly until just before boiling. Serve immediately. Optional: sprinkle atop with ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves.
3. Maca Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
While you're sipping on your Hot Chocolate Maca, snack on this delicious recipe for banana bread with chocolate chips and maca from the Paintbox Kitchen. Banana bread is one of the great warming, wintery treats that I remember playing such an important role in my childhood winters. The addition of maca brings a butterscotch-y flavor and potent superfood goodness! Enjoy!
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger