Ask the Chef: Maca

by Julie Morris, Navitas Naturals Executive Chef
July 15, 2013

Maca

Q: How do you use maca in smoothies? What’s the serving size and what flavors does it go with?

A: Maca is an exceptionally special superfood for several reasons. Among its many benefits, the Peruvian root is an adaptogenic herb which promotes energy and stamina, balances the adrenals, and boosts the libido! At Navitas Naturals, we offer maca in two easy-to-use forms for smoothies: a raw maca powder and a gelatinized powder. Navitas Naturals maca powder is also available in an encapsulated form of each of these.

The raw maca powder is a more “pure” form: the maca root is simply dried at low temperatures, then milled into a fine powder that would be considered “raw” and in its whole state. The gelatinized maca powder is maca root has been pressed to extract its starch, then drying out the concentrated maca juice into a powder. This form is easier to digest, as well as stronger in flavor and nutritional potency.

Regardless of which form you use, maca powder is simple to incorporate into smoothies as blends easily and adds a unique flavor. Kind of like an earthy butterscotch. This flavor is quite prominent, and certainly does not go with everything. It’s best used in smoothies that have a creamier, ice-creamy consistency; it goes wonderfully with nuts and seeds; and maca is a perfect flavor match for cacao and chocolate, giving it a delicious malty boost. Maca does NOT go particularly well with most fruits, as its radish-like undertones become more potent. There are a few fruit exceptions, and maca does pair quite well with bananas, pineapples, dates, goji berries, lucuma and dried mulberries.

In terms of serving size, maca is very powerful – most people use around a teaspoon to a tablespoon of maca powder per day, so when using it in smoothies, you can adjust this amount to the number of servings you’re making.

One of our most popular Smoothment recipes is for a Maca Shake, which shows off maca’s flavor profile in a dessert-like (but totally healthy) manner. Try it and see for yourself!

Have a superfood smoothie question of your own? Ask away! Just post it below and we may feature it in an upcoming segment of Ask The Chef.


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