Recently, I acquired a copy of Ella Woodward’s first cookbook (I highly recommend it), which features plant-based, gluten-free recipes. A lovely friend in Paris recommended it to me who is familiar with my love of real food and the foods I personally forgo in my diet (wheat, gluten, refined sugar and soy). I love Ella’s style of cooking, since it is so simple and even better, I already have most of the ingredients she uses on hand. Most importantly, her story of healing through whole foods is truly inspiring. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to try out a recipe and power it up a bit by adding in a couple of my favorite booster foods and protein powder, which I think compliment the recipe very nicely.
History of Maca
First, let’s talk about the history of maca and why I chose to add it to this delectable dessert. Maca root (lepidium meyenii) comes from the high altitude regions of Peru and it is said that the Inca warriors would consume maca before going into battle. They believed it increased their energy, strength and stamina. I think we could all benefit from a little extra energy and stamina, right? Because maca is an adaptogen, it helps the body adapt to stress and exerts a normalizing effect upon bodily processes in times of stress. So maca can help to balance our mood when the going gets tough. It seems the Incan warriors were definitely on the right track in choosing maca before battles.
Benefits of Maca
Being a member of the cruciferous family, like broccoli and cabbage, maca has amazing nutritional benefits. These benefits include: over 20 amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, vitamin C and E, iron, potassium and copper. The flavor of maca is relatively neutral with a hint of caramel and some say it has an earthy taste that is mildly nutty with a hint of butterscotch. Perfect for a sweet recipe, yes? It is best to start out with one teaspoon of maca daily and work up to 2-3 teaspoons depending on how you feel and your energy levels. Individuals who are on hormone altering medications or high blood pressure are advised not to use maca. (Axe)
Maca has amazing effects on hormonal balance for both men and women, it boosts the immune system, improves sexual function, increases fertility, assists the thyroid, aides the menstrual cycle and PCOS. It also has the ability to aide memory and focus. (Axe)
Love your liver with…Burdock Root!
On with the burdock root! Burdock (Arctium lappa) is the liver’s hero as it helps to flush out the liver ducts, as well as the bile and pancreatic ducts. Please read my post Love your Liver…you only have one! for additional liver support ideas. Even more, burdock is excellent for digestive health, it purifies the blood and helps to control heart rate and blood pressure. The magical component of burdock is its prebiotic fiber inulin; it is this prebiotic fiber that helps support the body’s entire immune system. Lastly, burdock is considered an anti-cancer herb and is used in Essiac and Hoxsey anti-cancer remedies. (Bauman, 2015)
Now for the recipe…
Your liver will love you for making these supercharged sweet potato brownies. With the addition of hemp protein, burdock root and maca, you have a dessert that is actually super balanced and healthy for your body. The burdock root powder is the secret to this recipe, as it provides a sweet and spicy flavor similar to that of nutmeg or cinnamon.
Maca Sweet Potato Brownies + Burdock Root
Makes 10-15 brownies
- 1/4 cup of Nutiva’s Organic Hemp Protein Powder 15g
- 14 Medjool Dates, pitted
- 2 medium to large sweet potatoes or yams steamed
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbs of almond flour
- 3/4 cup + 1 tbs of brown rice or coconut flour
- 1 tbs of burdock root powder
- 4 tbs raw cacao powder + 1 tbs maca (I used 4 tbs Natierra’s Organic Cacao with Maca)
- 6 tbs maple syrup
- pinch of sea salt
- 1-2 tsp of honey or whipped full fat coconut (optional for a sweeter topping)
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into chunks. Place the cubes into a steamer for 20 minutes, until they are very soft. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 F.
- After the sweet potatoes are super soft and breaking apart, let them cool for 5-10 minutes. Then put them in a food processor with the dates. Blend until you have a creamy and smooth batter-like consistancy.
- In a separate bowl, add the remaining ingredients and then stir in your creamy sweet potato date batter. Stir well to make sure all ingredients are combined.
- Place your mixture into a parchment lined baking pan and cook for 20-30 minutes. Pierce the center of the brownies with a knife or fork. When it comes out clean, your brownies are ready. Remove from oven and allow them to cool for 1o minutes, as this will ensure the brownies settle into the proper sticky texture.
P.S. For the ladies, these are the perfect sweet treat when that lovely friend comes to visit once a month!
In divine health,
Recipe inspired by Ella Woodward from Deliciously Ella. http://deliciouslyella.com/vegan-sweet-potato-brownies-gluten-free/
Bauman, Ed. & Friedlander, J. (2015) “Foundations of Nutrition.” Bauman College: Penngrove , CA.
Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.
Burdock Root Nutrition Facts. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/burdock-root.html
Dr. Axe. retrieved from http://draxe.com/top-5-maca-root-benefits-and-nutrition/