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Photos: Stocksy/Kristin Duvall Stocksy, Unsplash/Brigitte Tohm
Photos: Stocksy/Kristin Duvall Stocksy, Unsplash/Brigitte Tohm
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There are tons of reasons why maca is one of this year’s most buzzed-about superfoods: It increases libido, boosts energy levels, and regulates stress, for starters. (Call it an adaptogenic friend with benefits).

But confusion still reigns. After all, with its distinctly nutty-spicy-sweet flavor, this root (used in South America for thousands of years before it found its way to our smoothie bowls), isn’t an ingredient like kale or quinoa that can be easily thrown into any salad or bowl. And so, despite all of maca’s good press, many of us are left confused about how, exactly, to incorporate the powerhouse root into our diets.

That’s why we tapped three nutrition experts for their go-to maca recipes—treats and tonics they make at home that could, conceivably, serve as an everyday source of this potent food.

Scroll down for a crash course in Maca Consumption 101—no, you won’t be tested on this, but we won’t be surprised if you decide to study hard and ace your own kitchen-side exam.

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Photo: Unsplash/Brigitte Tohm
Photo: Unsplash/Brigitte Tohm

Dr. Frank Lipman’s Maca Hot Chocolate

Dr. Frank Lipman, who sometimes uses maca in his morning smoothies, notes that “this root is known to help balance hormones and increase energy and libido.” His advice: Look for a brand that dries the maca at low temperatures, which preserves the nutrition of the root, and to consume about one tablespoon per day.

Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened nut milk
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp maca powder
A sprinkle of cinnamon
1/4  tsp raw honey

Mix all of the ingredients and serve warm.

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Photo: Moon Juice
Photo: Moon Juice

Amanda Chantal Bacon’s Nourishment for the Mogul

“Maca helps the body adapt to stress by countering the negative effects of tension and anxiety while tonifying and boosting the endocrine system,” says Amanda Chantal Bacon, the founder of Los Angeles’ popular Moon Juice. “It also delivers abundant energy, mental stamina, hormonal balance, enhanced libido, and an elevated mood.” She uses it all the time: blending a heaping spoonful into milk potions (like the one below), teas, confections, juices, puddings, cereals, and ice cream. “Maca’s nutty and complex caramel flavor complements other medicinal foods and herbs,” she notes.

Ingredients
12 ounces spring water
2 Tbsp Moon Pantry almond butter
1 scoop Moon Pantry vanilla mushroom protein
1 Tbsp Moon Pantry maca
1 tsp Moon Pantry Brain Dust
1 drop stevia
1/2 tsp Moon Pantry mucuna pruriens

Combine all of the ingredients in a high-powered blender for 20 seconds.

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Photo: In My Bowl
Photo: In My Bowl

Alexandra Dawson’s Banana Avocado “Ice Cream”

“Think butterscotch!” raves In My Bowl blogger Alexandra Dawson of maca powder, which she likes for its “warming, sweet and nutty, malt-like flavor.” As for pairings: “Maca tastes best with warmer spices and sweeter flavors, like cinnamon and ginger, honey and maple syrup, and ripe banana and summer berries. It lends itself well to sweeter smoothie bowls, overnight oats and warmer porridge pots, homemade granola, and even pancake and waffle batter.” In other words, it’s a surprisingly versatile breakfast booster.

Ingredients
1 medium banana, peeled and frozen
1/4 ripe avocado, peel removed
1/2 cup fresh spinach or kale
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground maca powder
5 ice cubes
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Place all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender; start with 1/2 cup almond milk, then while blending, gradually add more until the smoothie has a soft-serve ice cream-like consistency. Pour into your favorite bowl and sprinkle on your favorite toppings.

Craving more superfoods? Check out these stellar recipe collections starring turmeric, miso, and—surprise!—chocolate