Raining cats and dogs… Shakin’ in my boots… Cool as a cucumber… these are all expressions I use on a regular basis.
However, if you had asked me last night whether I was feeling “cool as a cucumber”, I definitely would have said noooooo! The violent weather throughout Ontario spawned a tornado that touched down in a nearby neighbourhood only about 10 km away from where I live.
Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling very “cool” with the wind and rain literally hammering the windows, the electricity cycling on and off continuously, and the sense of fear trying to herd my cats into the basement (downstairs with the dog, really mom?!) Fortunately, despite what appears to be significant damage to many homes in that neighbourhood and a state of emergency for our township, no one was seriously hurt.
We can all be grateful and so thankful for that!
If you’re having one of those days, hopefully this smoothie can help you feel cool, calm and collected quickly enough.
About a month ago I was approached by the fabulous folks at Meghan Telpner Inc. and the Academy of Culinary Nutrition (where I am a proud graduate of the Culinary Nutrition Expert program!) and offered a chance to develop a recipe using moringa leaf powder for a cookbook for Organics 4 Orphans. I mentioned this tremendously cool organization before in my post about the From Scratch cookbook I was part of, with 100% of proceeds going to support the organization’s work. (By the way, we helped raise over $4,000 for them with that cookbook. A big thank you to everyone of you who bought a copy!)
I immediately jumped at the chance because a) I love to develop new recipes, and b) I love to experiment with new ingredients in the kitchen.
Moringa leaf powder is super nutritious but in my experience not always super delicious. I had several (total, utter flops) while developing a snack or smoothie recipe using this superfood. Fortunately, I persevered and this smoothie was ultimately born from the ashes!
My Cool as a Cucumber Smoothie is minty, zesty (from the lime), barely sweet but unbelievably luscious. I love avocados in smoothies for just this reason! They provide creaminess but not necessarily the sweetness that bananas (my other not-so-secret fav smoothie-thickening ingredient) do. I use avocados a lot in smoothies and this one is more savoury than sweet. Sort of like my Lean, Mean Peaches & Green Smoothie recipe I posted in April.
Although you could also make this smoothie without the moringa leaf powder, I highly recommend it (though please make sure it’s right for you). Here’s why: moringa leaf powder is a true superfood in every sense of the word. It’s reputed to contain more than 92 nutrients, including vitamins A through K, omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, all essential amino acids and 9 non-essential amino acids (the very building blocks of protein), antioxidants (46 of them!), anti-inflammatory compounds (36!), minerals and various other nutrients. You can check out more info here and some info here about moringa uses, side effects, doses and interactions.
For many people, it sounds like an easy way to supplement with an extra boost of nutritious goodness. Of course, as with any nutritional supplement, it’s always recommended you talk to your doctor, health care practitioner or nutritionist before using or consuming moringa leaf or any products made from it first.
I find that moringa does have a bit of an acquired taste so combining it with other bossy flavours (mint, lime, even the cucumber) helps hide the somewhat grassy and bitter undertones of this powerful green superfood. In fact, I couldn’t taste it at all in this smoothie. And isn’t there an expression like “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down?” Well, there isn’t any of that in sight but the apple does lend some much-needed sweetness to this smoothie.
You can add more moringa leaf powder than the ¼ tsp I’ve been using. However, you’ll want to be careful about adding too much because moringa leaf powder can have a powerful detoxifying and/or laxative effect for some people (take my word for it… especially after several days of recipe development… I’ll leave it at that).
With that visual in mind, here’s the recipe for my cool, calm and cucumber-y smoothie:
Cool as a Cucumber Smoothie
- ½ cup cucumber slices
- 1 medium avocado peeled
- 1 sweet red apple cored
- ¼ tsp moringa leaf powder
- Juice of ½ lime
- ½ Tbsp packed fresh whole mint leaves
- 1 cup water or more to desired consistency
Freeze the cucumber slices until solid.
Once frozen, add the cucumber slices and the rest of the smoothie ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.
Add more water if you prefer for a thinner consistency.
Once more info is released about the moringa leaf cookbook, I’ll let you know. Hopefully you, like me, can’t wait to get your hands on a copy.
But if you’d rather skip the greens for a sweet treat, stay tuned for a chocolate-rich recipe next week featuring cocoa powder!