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Besides being a superfood, the red powder that is mesquite flour has a very special flavor 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 pod flour is also so specialist and particular it is included in USA Slow Food's Ark of Taste
Why Eat Mesquite?
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 glycemic index and a high fibre content. And last but not least, it is gluten free.
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.
Image: David Lebovitz
The most popular mesquite recipes on the web are for baking recipes like David Lebovitz's chocolate chip cookies: Here is the recipe for chocolate and mesquite cookies.
The simplest idea for mesquite flour, but no less effective, is to put a tablespoon or two of mesquite into smoothies, or in tea or coffee to add texture and flavor. Here are some more ideas for using the mesquite in the kitchen.
The most original idea? Put a spoon of mesquite flour into your stew or chili 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.