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How to Use Maca Powder: 10 Ideas

How to Eat Maca

Thanks to its wide-ranging health benefits, maca root has been gaining fans in North America and Europe where this South American superfood is typically sold in the form of powder. But what can you do with maca powder? If you need ideas on how to use maca powder in your cooking or raw food dishes, keep reading because below you'll find a bunch of easy recipes and clever ideas to help you incorporate maca root into your diet.

1. Add Maca Powder to Energy Bar Recipes

Maca root has long been used as a natural energy booster in South America, and there is even some scientific evidence suggesting that it may really help increase your energy levels. So, why not take your homemade energy bars to a whole new level by incorporating some maca powder into the recipe? Studies comparing the effects of black vs red maca show that while both types of maca can increase your energy levels, maca powder made from the red-skinned cultivar seems to have stronger energy-boosting properties (red maca powder is typically also cheaper than black maca powder).

2. Incorporate it into Smoothies

Looking for ways to reap the health benefits of red maca? As red maca is sweeter and has a milder flavor than black maca, it makes a perfect addition to homemade smoothies. Simply add a teaspoon or two of maca powder to your favorite smoothie recipe, or look for inspiration for healthy maca-enriched smoothies in books like Julie Morris' Superfood Smoothies. If you're using maca powder as a natural remedy for fertility problems, you may also want to check out this recipe for a fertility smoothie featuring maca.

3. Make Kale Maca Chips

One of the trendiest ways to use kale is to turn fresh kale leaves into dehydrated kale chips. Nutritional yeast is often added to boost the flavor and nutrient profile of kale chips, but there are also tons of other ingredients that can be used to add flavor and even more nutrients to these healthy chips. Many commercially produced kale chips, for example, contain superfood powders such as maca powder or baobab powder, but it's also easy to make superfood-enriched kale chips at home. Here's how to make kale chips featuring maca powder:

  1. Tear trimmed, rinsed and thoroughly dried kale leaves into chip-sized pieces, and toss the pieces in a large bowl with some extra-virgin olive oil, nutritional yeast flakes, maca powder, and a little bit of salt.
  2. Spread the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Be careful not to over-crowd the trays.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 225°F (107°C) for 15 minutes. Remove the tray and lightly toss the leaves to ensure even baking. Bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until your kale maca chips are nice and crispy.

4. Use It in Pureed Soups

Black maca has some unique health benefits which is why some people prefer to use black maca powder although it's typically more expensive and has a stronger flavor than red maca. With its earthy flavor, black maca powder works well in savory recipes such as pureed vegetable soups. As maca contains a slew of heat-sensitive nutrients, it's best to add maca powder to soups towards the end of the cooking process.

5. Make Maca Hummus

Add a burst of nutrients to hummus by adding some maca powder to the mix. Made of cooked chickpeas and a couple of other healthy ingredients, hummus is typically served with flatbread, such as pita, or as an accompaniment to falafel patties, vegetables or grilled chicken. Here's an easy recipe for maca hummus:

  1. Drain 1 can of chickpeas (keep the liquid for later use).
  2. Place the drained chickpeas along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of tahini, 2 teaspoons of maca powder, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a food processor.
  3. Turn on the food processor, and slowly add some of the reserved chicpea liquid.
  4. When the mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined, turn off the food processor and transfer your maca hummus to a serving bowl.

6. Pair Maca with Cacao Powder

Cacao and maca root are a great flavor pairing, and maca powder makes a wonderful, nutritious addition to everything from hot chocolate to raw food chocolate bites. Here's a simple recipe for decadent chocolate maca truffles that are perfect for people on a raw food diet:

  1. In a small but powerful food processor, puree 1 cup of soaked and drained cashews or other similar nuts, 1 cup of pitted Medjool or regular dates, 2 teaspoons of raw maca powder, and 1/4 cup unsweetened raw cacao powder until smooth.
  2. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and dust with cacao powder.
  3. Refrigerate the truffles for at least an hour prior to eating.

7. Add it to Homemade Pasta Dough

If you have one of those automatic pasta makers that make fresh pasta from scratch, or even just an old-fashioned manual pasta roller, take note: maca powder can also be used to add a health kick to homemade pasta dough! And, even if you don't make your own pasta from scratch, you can still incorporate maca powder into your pasta dishes by adding it to the sauce (see tip #9).

8. Use Maca Powder in Salad Dressings

Yet another great way to incorporate this superfood into your diet is to add a small amount of maca powder to salad dressings. The guide and cookbook Peruvian Power Foods by registered dietitian Manual Villacorta has a wonderful recipe for a creamy avocado maca dressing, but if you prefer something more traditional, try this simple oil and vinegar-based salad dressing:

  1. Pour 6 tablespoons of high-quality olive oil and 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar into a glass jar.
  2. Then, add 1 teaspoon of mustard, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil, marjoram or thyme, a pinch of salt and freshly-ground black pepper, and, if using, 1/4 teaspoon of maca powder.
  3. To combine the ingredients, simply screw on the lid, and shake well.

9. Eat it in Sauces

One of the easiest ways to use maca powder is to add it to sauces and gravies. And, thanks to the spices, herbs and other strong-flavored ingredients commonly used in sauces and gravies, adding a bit of maca powder minimally affects the flavor of the dish, even if you use black or yellow maca which taste stronger than the red maca.

10. Consider Freezing Maca for Later Use

Maca powder keeps just fine at room temperature. But if you have a lot of it and you think you won't be able to use it all up before it expires, you may want to freeze it and use it later in smoothies and soups. To freeze maca powder, simply put it in airtight freezer-safe bags or containers, and pop the bags or containers into the freezer. Properly frozen maca powder keeps for at least 1 year in the freezer.

Can't wait to start using maca powder?
If you got inspired by the maca recipes and serving suggestions described in this article but don't have maca powder in your superfood pantry yet, head to your local health food store. Or, buy it here through Amazon.