16 September 2014

Carob Fig Superfood Smoothie


Fresh figs are one of my top three favorite fruits, so I had to laugh when I realized there are no fig recipes on the blog. I grew up eating them off of the tree in my grandmother's backyard, checking on the tree every so often for weeks in advance anticipating their ripening and hoping we'd get to them before the birds did. These plump deeply purple-brown jewels, when perfectly sun-ripened have a unique earthy, berry-citrus flavor and I love to eat them fresh, just as they are.

But I'm branching out today and decided the next best way to eat them is blended with carob in a late-summer smoothie. Surprisingly enough however, this has now moved up to my favorite way to eat figs because I feel like I can celebrate them in a special way while still enjoying them raw so as not to compromise their unique flavor.

Carob also flourishes in hot, dry climates so this is another example of following nature's cues by pairing foods that naturally grow up together. Carob is the newest member of my pantry community. It's great in raw desserts and smoothies when I want a hit of something rich and dark. Carob grows in pods on a tree and is ground into a powder resembling cocoa powder. It is often used in place of cocoa powder or cacao in baking, but it does not taste the same. It has a sweeter, more delicate flavor, and it does not contain the stimulating properties of chocolate, which I sometimes prefer. Here in particular the delicate, sweet flavor, together with a squeeze of orange compliments the fig nicely.



Superfoods
There is so much hype over superfoods like chia seeds, hemp seeds, goji berries, etc. that we overlook the powerful superfoods found in all of our markets: fruits and vegetables and accessible products like raw cacao and carob powder. Although I often enjoy chia and hemp seeds for the fantastic nutritional boost they provide, I choose not to talk about them much on the blog because I consider them to be a helpful supplement rather than essential for a healthy and whole diet. Carob and figs are just as much a superfood, and they are paired with chia and hemp seeds in this smoothie to give a super anti-inflammatory boost.

No matter what "diet" we subscribe to we should all be adding more anti-inflammatory foods to our daily meals, and the carob, fig, hemp, and chia seeds all play a role in fighting inflammation. In a few days I will be back with a post on anti-inflammatory foods and why they are so important. Until then, I hope you treat yourself to some fresh figs and enjoy them in this late-summer smoothie!


Carob Fig Superfood Smoothie
Serves 1 generously

1 cup (250 ml) water
2 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
2 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 small, frozen banana (separate peeled banana into 2-3 pieces and freeze in plastic ziploc bag overnight)
2 fresh figs (+ 1 extra to top smoothie)
2 tsp. carob powder
Spoonful nut butter (I used hazelnut butter)
1 1/2 Tbsp. chia seeds
Squeeze of orange (~1/4 of a small orange)

Add water, hemp seeds, cinnamon and salt to a blender and blend for about one minute, or until you have a smooth hemp milk.* Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl, top with sliced fig, and enjoy!

*This is my secrete shortcut to replacing nut milk in a smoothie when I don't have any on hand. No straining nut pulp required! And if I know the smoothie will not be as sweet I'll also blend a date or two into the hemp milk.

12 comments:

  1. Carob and fig, I have never done that one before but it sounds sensational...looks beautifully silky too x

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    1. Deena, thank you! This is a really silky smoothie - that's what chia seeds help with if you let the motor run long enough. :)

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  2. That looks delicious, Katie. What great wisdom to combine carob and fig. It's hard to find a food that pairs well with fig, as most overwhelm its delicate flavor. I love your photos - looks like it makes a great pudding, too. Thanks!

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    1. I agree, there are not many foods that pair well will fig without overwhelming. Thanks for your comment Laura!

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  3. This smoothie looks like it can be a decadent desert. Love the flavors, a definite must try

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    1. You're very right, it could be a great dessert especially after a lighter meal. Thanks for stopping by Kathy!

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  4. I totally agree with you Katie that there are plenty of "superfoods" about that are inexpensive and easily accessible - kale, berries, nuts etc. I eat quite a bit of chia seeds but not as much of the other more expensive/hard-to-find superfoods as I used to, I try just to include lots of nutrient-rich fresh vegetables and fruit instead which works quite well for me :)
    Love the sound of this smoothie - I've not had carob in years, I can't even really remember what it tastes like! I'm very much looking forward to your post about anti-inflammatory foods too!

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    1. Hi Dearna! Yes, I agree chia seeds are more accessible than other superfoods and I enjoy using them too. :) Try out the carob and let me know what you think! There's nothing that can or will replace cacao for me, but I love carob as an alternative at times not only in smoothies but also in raw energy balls, fudge pops, chocolate sauce, or baked goods.

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  5. I am with you on choosing more accessible highly nutritious foods in preference to more niche (but fantastic) ingredients. A lot of people that I see in my cancer nutrition course just can't afford some of these so-called super foods (calling things a superfood risks people super sizing on them and perhaps getting a less varied diet). I always tell them to concentrate in fresh, in-season produce from as wide a colour and taste spectrum as is easily accessible and affordable to them. I love this smoothie and hope to make it tomorrow (today is a fast day). Lovely. Pinning etc

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    1. Perfectly said Kellie. Even too much of a good thing is too much, especially if it's at the cost of less variety in one's diet. Thanks for your comment, and do let me know how you like it!

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  6. These are beautiful photos, and the smoothie looks amazing. I have loved all of the inventive fig recipes this summer.

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  7. This looks amazing! We've never tried cooking with carob, but you've convinced me. I adore figs, so this is right up my alley!

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