I picked up a package of maca powder at my local Trader Joe’s because it was sitting on a shelf next to organic cacao powder, which I needed to buy. The photo on the package of maca made it look like dark yellow cocoa powder.
Once I got home, I put the maca powder in a cabinet and forgot about it. (I do that a lot.) I noticed a maca smoothie on a restaurant menu recently, so I tried it. It was delicious! I went home and researched maca, and discovered it’s a “superfood.”
New to me, maca is a root that’s been around for centuries. It has a nutty flavor, a wee bit caramelish, slightly bitter and sort of dry. There are lots of health claims about maca, but buyer beware. One study I read claiming maca had health benefits for post-menopausal women had only 34 participants. If you’ve got thyroid problems, avoid maca, the reports say. I like the flavor, so that’s why I use it. Maca smoothies seem to give me a little extra energy, but that could also be because of the caffeine in the cacao.
The restaurant maca smoothie I tried was made with macadamia nut milk, which is delicious, but expensive. I tried making a maca smoothie with almond milk, and it tasted, well, blah. I substituted hazelnut milk (hazelnut butter and water), which has a sweet, delicate flavor that combines well with cacao and maca. For extra sweetness, I added dates and stevia, plus a little vanilla and plenty of ice.
If you don’t have a high-speed blender, try soaking the dates for a few hours or overnight in water to soften them before blending. Even my Vitamix has trouble blending dates. Dates are a great, healthy sweetener, which add heft to a smoothie, but if not blended thoroughly, can make it lumpy.
Hazelnut Maca Cacao Smoothie
- 1 banana
- 2 cups hazelnut milk (see NOTE)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 4 dates, soaked overnight in filtered water
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon maca powder
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups ice
Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend for 1-2 minutes.
Pour into a tall glass, and enjoy!
The fastest way to make hazelnut milk is to put 1/4 cup hazelnut butter into a blender with 2 cups of water. Blend for 1 minute, and you've got hazelnut milk. For smoother milk, filter the hazelnut milk through a nut milk bag to remove the solids, which you can save for baking or dry in the oven to use as nut flour. Alternately, you can put 1/2 cup hazelnuts plus 2 cups water into a blender, and blend for 2-3 minutes, then filter through a nut milk bag.
Maca, cacao, stevia, soaked dates, and a banana plus hazelnut milk form the basis of a maca smoothie.
Dates are easier to blend when they’ve been soaking in filtered water overnight or at least for a few hours.
Put all ingredients int a blender, add ice, and blend away.
A thick, chocolatey maca smoothie tastes great anytime.