Category — Superfoods
For my birthday I treated myself to an order of Meguminatto Natto and since then I have been coming up with Natto recipes and recipe ideas that I wanted to share with you. I am not only going to share with you some of my Natto recipes and recipe ideas, but also a full description of Natto, its nutritional benefits, and where to buy it in the U.S.
What is Natto?
Natto is cooked whole soybeans that have been fermented with the probiotic Bacillus Sunstilis. Fermentation enhances the nutrition of the soybeans and develops a unique flavor and texture. Natto has been traditionally consumed in Japan for over 1000 years. Just recently, Natto has been gaining popularity in the United States because of its reported health benefits.
What are the Health Benefits of Natto?
One of Natto’s health benefits is its highly absorbable high Vitamin K2 content. Vitamin K is known for strengthening bones and reducing blood clots by slowing arterial calcification.
*Please note that because Natto contains vitamin K it could conflict with some anti-coagulant medications such as Warafin. Please consult your physician before consuming.
Another benefit of Natto is that the fermentation process breaks down the protein content in the soybeans making the protein easier to digest and more bioavailable.
Below is a list of some of Natto’s Nutritional Elements
Enzymes: Proteinases, Lipase, Amilase, and Nattokinase
These days there are Natto derived supplements available on many popular supplement and health information websites. However, some believe that eating Natto fresh is the most effective and potent way to receive its benefits.
What Does Natto Taste Like?
Natto can be an acquired taste because of its gooey texture and its deep woodsy fermented flavor. I can’t really compare it to another flavor, the closest flavor I can think of would be a cross between a blue and a smoked cheese but more mild and less salty. The soybeans are super soft and the Bacillus Natto creates a sticky gooey texture around the soybeans. The gooey “strings” don’t bother me at all and actually remind me of the consistency of honey. In my opinion, Natto is a prized delicacy. Either you hate it or you love it, and I am one of those people that just absolutely loves the flavor and texture of Natto!
Where to Buy Natto in the U.S.?
Up until a little awhile ago the only way to get Natto in the U.S. was to make your own or purchase it at selected Asian markets. However, now a small company called Meguminatto has started making organic Natto in the U.S. with U.S. grown organic soybeans. If you order online they will deliver Natto straight to your home. Once the Meguminatto organic Natto is delivered, it will last over 6 weeks in your fridge.
I highly recommend the Meguminatto brand of Natto. Its organic and has a smooth mellow flavor with hints of sweetness, much less intense than other Natto brands I have tried before.
How do You Eat Natto?
You can eat it straight as is or try different Natto recipes. There are so many Natto recipe ideas out there and you can come up with you own Natto recipes as well. The flavor of Natto particularly lends itself to Asian flavors or you can use it as you would cheese or another type of legume such as garbanzo. The only caution is to not heat the Natto because it will degrade the beneficial bacteria and enzymes.
Natto Recipes and Recipe Ideas
If you decide to try Natto (Meguminatto brand or otherwise) here are some Natto recipe ideas to get your imagination and taste buds jump-started.
Here are a few Natto recipe ideas if you want to try some at home:
1. Traditional Method. Stir Natto into a warm (not hot) bowl of brown rice. Add some miso tamari and chopped green onions to your liking and stir again. Enjoy!
2. My Favorite. Boil up a serving of your favorite noodles (I like to use gluten free brown rice or black rice spaghetti or 100% buckwheat noodles.) Strain and rinse the noodles with cool water. Stir in Natto with chop sticks until the Natto strands make a sauce for the noodles. Finish with sea salt or miso tamari to taste.
3. Mustard. Add your favorite mustard to Natto and enjoy.
4. Sushi. Substitute Natto for raw fish in your favorite sushi recipe. Good with pickled ginger and a dollap of wasabi. Natto is also good in your favorite summer roll recipe.
5. Rice Cake. Spread a layer of peanut butter on an organic brown rice cake (I like Lundberg’s Tamari with Seaweed Organic Rice Cakes) top with Natto and drizzle a layer of equal parts raw honey and miso tamari mixed together for this sweet and salty snack. (For the raw version you can substitute the brown rice cake for a flax cracker and the peanut butter for raw almond butter.)
6. Japanese Sweet Potato. Natto is great over cooked and cooled Japanese Sweet Potatos sprinkled with a little miso tamari.
7. Cucumber Salad. Here is a beautifully presented raw cucumber Natto salad recipe I came up with. To get the full Natto recipe click here.
* If you don’t have miso tamari available you can just use regular tamari.
Don’t be scared to try Natto, you just might love it! It is actually one of my very favorite foods.
Hope you enjoyed these Natto recipe and recipe ideas. Have you tried Natto? What is your favorite way to enjoy it?
May 15, 2013 1 Comment
It’s pomegranate season and pomegranates are one of my favorite fruits. They are famous for their high level of antioxidants and their beautiful sweet and tangy ruby red seeds. Here are two of my favorite pomegranate seed recipes. Enjoy!
Pomegranate Kiwi Salsa
This pomegranate seed recipe was inspired by simplyrecipes.com and is sure to be a hit at your next holiday gathering. You can serve it with raw flax crackers, jicama rounds, or baked tortilla chips for a healthy holiday platter. My husband enjoyed it over some black beans and it also makes a great topping to spice up a batch of quinoa.
4 ripe peeled and chopped kiwifruit
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 avocado chopped
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh jalapeño (seeds removed)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a bowl and gently fold ingredients together. Makes about 1 and ½ cups.
Pomegranate Radish Salad
This pomegranate seed recipe is a tasty way to eat radishes and it makes a great side salad or add your favorite greens and garbanzo or kidney beans for a more filling salad. (Radishes are a good source of potassium and vitamin C, they support the liver, and can help to relieve congestion in the respiratory system.)
5 red radishes chopped
3 tablespoons Citrus Honey Chia Seed Vinaigrette
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Add all ingredients together and let marinate for at least one hour before serving.
Hope these two pomegranate seed recipes inspire you to start adding pomegranate seeds to your cuisine! And as always, please share your favorite pomegranate seed recipes in the comments section below.
P.S. Note: Eating pomegranates might interfere with certain medications in the same way that grapefruit juice does. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about any drug interactions.
November 5, 2012 1 Comment
If you ever wondered how to use coconut oil read on . . .
By now you’ve probably heard of some of the unique benefits of coconut oil. Coconut oil is a unique fat because it contains 50 percent lauric acid, a rare medium-chain fatty acid found in mother’s milk that supports healthy metabolism and is now being studied for its anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial health-protecting properties.
It is also excellent for dry skin and hair and in my house we use coconut oil liberally both in the kitchen and bathroom. We prefer cold-pressed, organic extra-virgin coconut oil with a heavy coconut smell and taste.
Here are some of our favorite ways how to use coconut oil:
1. Make a delicious honey coconut oil spread:
Mix equal parts coconut oil and raw honey and a pinch of cinnamon to make a delicious spread for baked goods, pancakes, toast . . .
2. Make an herbed coconut oil:
Mix one cup coconut butter and a bunch of fresh herbs or assorted herbs (chives, basil, tarragon, cilantro, dill . . .). Blend in the food processor with the s blade until the herbs are finely minced and store in the refrigerator. Use on rice, baked potatoes, steamed vegetables . . .
3. Substitute coconut oil for butter in any recipe:
Use it in baking, sautéing, spread on mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, toast, popcorn . . .
4. Make a hot coconut oil treatment for your hair:
Warm coconut oil until liquid with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Put on clean dry hair and cover with a warm towel. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and then shampoo out.
5. Use coconut oil instead of shaving cream:
Spread on desired areas and then smoothly shave away!
6. Use coconut oil as an anti-frizz hair styling product:
Rub a little bit of oil in the palms of your hands and then comb your fingers through your hair.
7. Use coconut oil as a make-up remover:
Apply coconut oil to your made up face with your fingertips and wash away make-up gently with a warm moist wash cloth.
8. Use coconut oil as a massage oil by itself or mix with other oils such olive, sesame, or almond.
9. Use coconut oil to occasionally season your wooden cutting boards and keep them looking new.
10. Use coconut as a natural deodorant:
Mix with some essential oil such as lemon or lavender and apply under arms.
I hope this list gave you some ideas on how to use coconut oil, but I know this list is just the tip of the iceberg! Please share your favorite ways to use coconut oil in the comments section below.
June 26, 2012 13 Comments
(Please consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.)
You might’ve heard of Spirulina before but perhaps you have been intimidated to try it, or perhaps you have a jar at home you don’t know what to do with. I hope these simple 5 Spirulina recipes will give you the confidence to experiment with it at home.
Spirulina is a bluegreen algae that is available as a powder or tablet. Although Spirulina looks like food from the future, it was actually used as a food source for the Aztecs and Mesoamericans until the 16th century.
Today it is used as a supplement and considered a superfood because of its nutritional content. Spirulina contains about 60% (51–71%) protein and Spirulina’s lipid content is about 7% by weight and is rich in GLA , ALA, EPA, and DHA among other fatty acids. It contains B vitamins (not a reliable source of vitamin B12), vitamins C, K, A, E, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, and Zinc. Plus, bioavailable pigments such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. Go here for the nutritional analysis.
Where you get your Spirulina is very important because you want it to be fresh, mild tasting, and free of contaminants. My favorite source is from healthforce.com.
Just to warn you, Spirulina is an acquired taste. It has a slight fishy flavor, but not as strong as seaweed. The easiest way to use Spirulina is to add it to juice or a smoothie. It tastes good with apple juice or in a smoothie with bananas or mangos. Start with a teaspoon or less at first and add more only when you are sure you can tolerate the taste.
And for the adventurous, here are some simple Spirulina recipes:
Spirulina Green Juice
1 English cucumber
2 medium sized apples (I like Fuji apples best, but any variety will do)
1 small lemon or lime
1 teaspoon Spirulina powder
Juice the produce in a juicer (such as the Omega 4000) and then add 1 teaspoon of Spirulina powder to your juicer. I prefer to blend the Spirulina with the juice in a blender, but you can mix it well if you don’t have one. Makes 16 ounces of juice, double the recipe for 32 ounces.
Spirulina Mango Pudding
3 cups ripe mango, chopped
zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Spirulina powder
Blend all ingredients in a powerful blender (such as the Vitamix Blender) until smooth. If not sweet enough, you can add your sweetener of choice such as dates, honey, or stevia powder to taste.
3 tablespoons raw honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Spirulina powder
Mix all ingredients together and use as you would regular honey by drizzling it on fruit, putting it in your tea, cereal . . .(etc.).
Spirulina Seasoning Salt
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon Spirulina powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
Sprinkle this seasoning salt over air popped popcorn, kale chips, steamed veggies, baked potato . . .(etc.)
Simple Spirulina Salad Dressing
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Spirulina powder
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
Sprinkle of garlic powder and cayenne pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and pour over your favorite salad. Some people make the dressing without the lemon juice and zest, so you can experiment with what you like best.
Although Spirulina is an acquired taste, I hope these Spirulina recipes will give you the courage to try it! And please do share your favorite Spirulina recipes below.
May 21, 2012 6 Comments
I was lucky enough to find fresh turmeric at my local Whole Foods Market and decided to try a few fresh turmeric recipes. If you have never seen fresh turmeric, it looks like ginger except for it is a bright golden orange inside. I love the sweet and slightly spicy taste of the fresh turmeric compared to the powder, but the powder is more widely available.
You might have heard of all the amazing health benefits of turmeric lately some people even call it Indian gold! It is most widely known as a natural anti-inflammatory.
It contains a natural compound called curcumin and an overview published in Advanced Experimental Medical Biology in 2007 states, “Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses.”
If you are lucky enough to get a hold of some fresh turmeric here are a few fresh turmeric recipes and ideas, but if you can’t find it, just substitute with the same amount of powder as the fresh root.
Fresh Turmeric Recipes
Fresh Turmeric Almond Milk
1 ½ cups almond milk
1-2 teaspoons honey
1/4 -1/2 inch knob turmeric
pinch of cinnamon powder
Make a batch of almond milk with a nut milk bag. (Click here if you don’t know how to make raw almond milk.) Then put the milk back in the blender with the turmeric, honey, and cinnamon. Blend until smooth. If you have a powerful blender such as a Vitamix Blender you might not need to strain the milk again, but if it’s grainy strain it first and then enjoy!
Fresh Turmeric Tea
Bring four cups of water to a boil.
Add one teaspoon of grated fresh turmeric and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Strain the tea through a strainer into a cup and then add honey to taste.
You can also add ginger if you want to make a spicier turmeric/ginger tea.
Fresh Turmeric Juice
Fresh turmeric tastes especially good with the juices of pineapple, orange, apple, pear, beet and carrot.
At a local restaurant called True Food Kitchen they make a delicious juice called “Bright Eyes” which contains pear, pineapple, beet, ginger, and turmeric and there is no reason you can’t make this juice at home.
Hope you learned a few things about using fresh turmeric and if you have a fresh turmeric recipe to share please post it below in the comments section.
March 13, 2012 5 Comments