After maca and açai, it's time for another lesser-known superfood hailing from North America: mesquite.
Besides being a superfood, the red powder that is mesquite flour has a very special flavour and aroma: a heady mix of cocoa, molasses and hazelnut.
What is mesquite?
Mesquite is a plant (Prosopis glandulosa) that grows mainly in the United States and Northern Mexico.
The red flour which is used in cooking is obtained by grinding the plant's seeds, contained in a pod similar to that of the peas or carob. Not only does the special flour have a characteristic flavour and unmistakeable aroma it also has extraordinary nutritional properties.
Mesquite powder has many proteins (about 17%), all digestible, is rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and zinc and also contains lysine, an essential amino acid.
Despite the sweet taste it also has a low glycaemic index and a high fibre content. And last but not least, it is gluten free, making it a fantastic choice to replace flours that contain gluten for those who are coeliac or intolerant to gluten.
Blending all those cinnamon, coconut, cocoa and hazelnut aromas (which otherwise might translate as 'too good to be true') makes mesquite obviously great to use in desserts. Being completely free of gluten, it's also suitable for any gluten free recipe.
Mesquite flour can be substituted in part for 'classic' flour in recipes, although it's best not to substitute it completely, for fear of the flavour overwhelming the other ingredients. Also, because it doesn't contain gluten, it's impossible to make it into a dough.
The most original idea? Put a spoon of mesquite flour into your stew or chilli recipes or with meat accompanied by slightly spicy sauces. The combination, with a distinctly chocolatey taste, as taught by the Mexican school of cuisine, will be extraordinary.
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