Once in a while I come across a food that changes my life a little bit. This is due to some special quality it possesses making it really stand out. Usually it has to do with a combination of profound nutritional benefits paired with pure unadulterated yumminess. A few foods that fall under the life changing category for me include raw cacao, durian fruit, fresh home grown sprouts, vanilla bean straight from the pod, Thai coconuts, green superfood powders, goji, incan and mulberries, sea vegetables, blue green algae, fresh (not dried) dates, and the list could go on and on. If it weren’t for my interest in raw food nutrition I probably wouldn’t have tried some of the foods that are now my absolute favorites. One food that I fell in love with years ago which is still one of my favorites to this day is mesquite pod meal. It sounds fairly unassuming but it is such a tasty addition to recipes and lends a flavor that is very unique and hard to duplicate. It also provides vegans and vegetarians with some particularly useful nutrients.
Mesquite pod meal comes from the legume pods of deciduous mesquite trees that have been harvested and ground into a fine powder. RawGuru’s mesquite pod meal is of Peruvian origin and is sustainable and wild harvested. Mesquite meal is especially great for building strong bones being that it is high in minerals such as calcium and magnesium, as well as minerals potassium and iron. It also contains omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and 20-30% protein! The trees themselves are also beneficial to the environment; being a legume they help fix nitrogen in the soil. Since mesquite grows rapidly, readily and wild throughout the arid and semi-arid climates of North and South America it is a very sustainable food to harvest and consume. These trees grow in environments where many other trees cannot grow, and are therefore a very important part of the eco-system.
Mesquite is quite sweet and makes a great replacement for sugar in raw “baked” recipes like cookies, breads, cinnamon rolls, etc. The flavor is rich, molasses and caramel-like, with hints of carob and chocolate. It goes well in any recipe along side cacao, and also pairs well with vanilla and lucuma. Mesquite can also be used in raw chili and bbq sauce to add depth and a unique flavor that gives something special to these types of dishes. It goes very well with chili spice and smoked chipotle in savory recipes. I also love using mesquite in my batches of raw homemade granola, or sprinkled over chia or oat porridge for breakfast. Even though it has a sweet flavor it is very low glycemic and great for diabetics because the sugars are slow to absorb and go hand in hand with plenty of protein and fiber. It is a great low glycemic ingredient to sweeten up nut milks as well without having to use agave, honey, coconut sugar, stevia, etc. One of my favorite ways to use mesquite is in black sesame seed nut mylk with vanilla bean and just a hint of maple syrup. Mesquite pairs very well with the earthy flavor of the black sesame. Make sure to soak your seeds first before making sesame seed milk!
Here is a savory chili recipe using mesquite which is perfect for this time of year. You can gently warm it on the stove before serving for added warmth, although the cayenne, chili spice and garlic add quite the kick of heat!
Bring on the Heat Raw Vegan Chili
2 cups avocado
1 1/2 cup sun dried tomato, soaked
1 cup almonds, soaked
1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/s tsp Celtic sea salt
1 tsp chili spice
2 tsp dried cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp chipotle
1 tbs raw cocoa powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mesquite pod meal
Combine almonds, avocado, lime juice, tomatoes, and tomato soak water in blender and mix on high until blended smooth. Add all remaining ingredients except diced cherry tomatoes and mix for an additional minute. Stir in cherry tomatoes and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Autumnal Chili in Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine by Gabriel Cousens M.D.