For most people, the word “mesquite” instantly makes them think of ribs and brisket, and the thought of putting it into a smoothie might stop them in their tracks. But the reality is, mesquite doesn’t taste savory at all — it’s a healthy, natural sweetener that has been used for centuries.
Read on to find out all about this nutritious sugar substitute.
History Of Mesquite
Native to South America and the Southwestern United States, both the bark and the pods of the mesquite plant have been used for many, many years. The bark is said to have been used by early Spaniards for their boats, and Native Americans used ground up mesquite pods for flour and as a natural sweetener.
How Mesquite Is Grown / Prepared
There are 45 different species of the genus Prosopis (the scientific name of mesquite), and the pods of each one have a distinct flavor, from bitter to sweet. Dry, hot climates are its preferred habitat, and it’s a good source of nitrogen, which means it’s beneficial to other plants around it
Typically, the beans inside the pods are picked and then ground up to make powder or flour.
The reason mesquite is so closely connected to barbecue is because its wood is often used to smoke meats, since it adds a sweet flavor. Mesquite flavoring is also commonly added to barbecue sauces.
Many people describe mesquite powder as having a rich, caramel-like taste, which is why it’s often used as a natural sweetener.
Health Benefits Of Mesquite
Mesquite flour is both gluten free and high protein (about 11-17% protein), making it a good alternative for people looking to avoid gluten and white flours. It also has a high solute fiber content, meaning that unlike traditional white flours or sugars, it won’t cause blood sugar spikes, and will actually help you feel fuller for longer.
Because of its low glycemic index number (25), mesquite is a great alternative to regular sweeteners in baked goods and other foods.
A Few Good Brands
As with most superfoods, finding organic, source-trackable brands of mesquite is the way to go.
Smoothies With Mesquite
Here at Green Blender, we often used mesquite to give our smoothies a rich flavor while still keeping them nutritious. A few of our favorites include:
Mesquite--it’s not just for barbecue! The seasoning adds a nutty flavor that makes this smoothie taste like a chocolate milkshake. Did you know that cacao is among the best dietary sources of magnesium, which helps improve muscle and nerve function? Add a date for sweetness and Swiss chard for some essential vitamins and minerals. Banana and avocado make it creamy! (Save the other half of the avocado for the next smoothie on this menu...)
Zucchini Apple Pie
Nothing says the holidays like a pie fresh out of the oven. Take that idea and make it super healthy with this nutrient-dense drink. In addition to having a few grams of protein per serving, collard greens have almost a full day’s worth of vitamin A, and half of your daily amount of vitamin C. A low calorie food, zucchini is also full of vitamin C, as well as fiber. Native to South America and the southwestern United States, mesquite has a luscious caramel flavor without any of the sugar, and provides a good amount of fiber, protein, calcium and iron per serving. Walnuts, a popular winter food, are a great source of plant-based Omega-3s.
Butternut Squash Super Smoothie
Is there anything that says fall more than butternut squash? Because of its sweet taste, this high fiber but low calorie vegetable is a great smoothie ingredient, and when combined with pear, cinnamon, and walnuts, creates a flavor profile that’s like a pie in glass. Mesquite, native to South America and the southwestern United States, invokes the flavor of caramel without any of the sugar, and provides a good amount of fiber, protein, calcium and iron per serving.
Spinach and Peach Energy Shot
Mesquite is not just for barbeque sauce. It actually has a soft, caramel flavor, making it a perfect addition to smoothies, and is a great source of fiber and protein. Grapes and peaches are hydrating, soothing fruits, and when paired with energizing spinach and oats, create a smoothie that goes down easy, and keeps you going all day!
Chocolate Raspberry Tart
This decadent smoothie tastes just like a delicious dessert! Walnuts contain gamma-tocopherol, the type of vitamin E that provides the most protection against heart disease. Paired with mesquite powder, they give this drink a complex nutty flavor. Cacao powder isn’t just tasty-- it supplies protein, fiber, and many of the B vitamins. Raspberries are tiny antioxidant vessels, full of free radical-fighting alpha and beta-carotene.
Apple Spice Cake
You may spot the mesquite in this recipe and think we made a mistake. One doesn't often think of mesquite as an ingredient in a sweet, dessert dish, like apple spice cake. But don't let the name deceive you, this mesquite powder does not taste like the kind found on baby back ribs or your favorite barbecue dishes. Ground from the pods of the mesquite plant, this superfood has a sweet, nutty flavor, making it the perfect natural sweetener for this decadent treat.
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