Electric Green Spirulina Avocado Salad Dressing

by Gena on February 10, 2013

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Spirulina is a blue green algae that has been eaten by human beings since at least the time of the Aztec empire (14th to 16th centuries). The Aztecs harvested it from Lake Texcoco, where it remained abundant until the lake was drained for development. Today, spirulina is once again popular, now as a dietary supplement. It’s famous for being a complete protein, as well as a source of essential fatty acids and a trace source of vitamin B-12.

Go online, and you’ll see all sorts of grand health promises attached to this humble algae, from detoxification to the prevention of cancer, the flu, herpes, mumps, measles, and AIDS. Are these claims proven? Well, there is at least one clinical study on the impact of blue green algaes and HIV/AIDS, which suggests that algae is non-toxic and may even improvement clinical endpoints of the syndrome. That said, the study size was very small, and a great deal more data would likely be necessary for that hypothesis to be substantiated. What we do know is that essential fatty acids are increasingly being shown to have substantial health benefits, and any source that doesn’t require fish oil gets a thumbs up in my book.

I was recently contacted by the folks at Oriya Organics, who are makers of vegan, gluten free protein powder and a green medley. They asked if I’d like to try some of their products, and my answer was yes! I always love using new smoothie blend-ins and green boosts.

I used the protein medley in my carob blueberry smoothie, and it was great:

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The protein powder features

  • Sprouted Brown Rice Protein
  • Hemp Protein
  • Sprouted Chia Seeds
  • Chlorella
  • Spirulina

1 serving features 18 grams of protein, along with many other vitamins and minerals. Meanwhile, the green medley is made up of:

  • Wheat Grass
  • Barley Grass
  • Chlorella
  • Spirulina

A wonderful mix of greens! I recently added it to my super crunchy spirulina quinoa:

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That recipe really inspired me to try more savory recipes with spirulina (and other green powders). It’s easy to stick them into smoothies, but the real fun happens when one thinks of unconventional ways to use them. So today, I’m sharing the creamy, delicious dressing I made with the Oriya SuperGreen medley over the weekend: an avocado dressing that takes on an electric green hue with the addition of spirulina.

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This dressing is so healthy, it’s kind of crazy. It features hemp seeds for omega-3 fatty acids, avocado for additional healthy fats, zucchini as part of the base, a little miso, which contains healthy bacteria, and lemon juice to brighten things up. And that’s before we even get to the algae! Here’s how to make it yourself.

PicMonkey Collage

Electric Green Spirulina Avocado Salad Dressing

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 large avocado (or 1 small)
1 tsp green powder of choice (I used Oriya organics)
1 small zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 tbsp mellow white miso (or whatever miso you have)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup water

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till very smooth. Season to taste with a little extra salt if you like. You can also add any herbs that appeal to you.

This salad dressing is certainly green n’ healthy tasting—not for those who are new to the taste of green foods—but if you’re used to a lot of salad and green smoothies, I bet you’ll like it as much as I did.

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And it easily doubles as a dip for raw veggies, too!

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There’s nothing so nice as the sight of a huge bowl of greens, just about to be dressed.

I hope you all had lovely weekends! Mine was busy, and this week looks to be very busy, too. I miss being able to sit down and write my blog at night and ruminate on animal rights, ED recovery, veganism in the news, and the like. But those days will return soon, and for now, it’s always a treat simply to post what I post—even if it’s a little jar of salad dressing—and know that you guys are reading.

xo

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Taylor February 10, 2013 at 9:24 pm

So pretty! I am going to try this without the spirulina because I don’t have any and it’s always pretty pricey. But I bet the dressing is still delicious without it! I’m always looking for new salad dressing ideas, so I appreciate when you include them in your posts. I know how busy pre-med life can be…just wait, it gets busier! :)

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Gena February 11, 2013 at 6:41 am

Ha, I have no doubt whatsoever :) You’re a rockstar for making time to read CR.

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Meg Rushbrook February 10, 2013 at 9:51 pm

This dressing looks awesome! I can’t wait to try it!!! I think I may add some fresh parsley in it too!!! YUMM!

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Heather McClees February 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Gena! This is why I love you and your blog! I LOVE ME SOME SPIRULINA and how brilliant is this recipe??! I’ve never though to use it this way. I’m going to buy some miso and try this ASAP. Great, great idea!:) Thanks for always inspiring me to heighten my raw food intake!:)

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Kellymarie February 11, 2013 at 12:14 am

This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. What would you suggest substituting the miso with, though, due to food allergy? It seems like a pretty substantial ingredient, but I don’t know enough about it to think of what to use in its place. Do you or any of your readers have any yeast-free/soy-free suggestions? TIA!

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Gena February 11, 2013 at 6:41 am

Miso does add taste, but it’s honestly mostly just there for the salt. You can totally use 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of sea salt instead, and omit the miso.

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K. Bryan Noyes February 12, 2013 at 12:55 am

I believe that they make miso out of things other than soy. I think you can find it made with rice or chickpeas.

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Rachael February 11, 2013 at 12:45 am

I need a blender! Recently I did add some spirulina to a salad that was inspired by your blog. I had a breakfast salad of spinach and cantaloupe with a sprinkle of chia seeds and the cacao green superfood powder from Amazing Grass. I thought it was pretty tasty!

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Jana February 11, 2013 at 3:32 am

That post was fabulous, creative, informative, happy… Thanks for sharing!! :)

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Rose February 11, 2013 at 8:21 am

I’ll always read CR! This may just be a post about a little jar of salad dressing, but this stuff takes time! Plus, it sounds amazing… always looking for ways to sneak in some spirulina. Thank you Gena!

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Hannah February 11, 2013 at 8:41 am

Looks yum! Do you think massaging it into kale would be a bit excessive? (greens on greens lol). I see you put it on baby greens but I don’t usually do that cos they go soggy! Would love any serving suggestions.
Also sending you all best with this stressful time
P.s. Please could I share a video for eating disorders awareness week on your Facebook?
Thanks!

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Gena February 23, 2013 at 8:16 am

Hannah,

You can post a video if you think it’s not triggering and genuinely productive. Thanks!

G

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Nikki Eat To The Beet February 11, 2013 at 8:53 am

Gena, the dressing is so vibrant and delicious looking. I love spirulina, but haven’t taken it outside my smoothies. This looks like a great place to start.

You are amazing to me. As a full time NP student, I barely have time to do anything outside of work and school. I am always impressed with the frequency and quality of your posts. :)

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Rebecca February 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

Yum! I’ve been making this in soup form recently, but never thought to use as a salad dressing! and if you feel like making a big batch, and perhaps adding your salad to the blender too, it makes a wonderful, filling soup too, great for busy days which you seem to have ahead of you. good luck! and thanks for spreading the spirulina-love, always looking for new ways to use my favorite algae :)

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Delilah February 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

What a creative way to use spirulina, I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for the recipe!

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Ana February 11, 2013 at 9:58 am

I love avocados! Have them everyday in my smoothies and salads, and just like you Gena I totally like adding to salad dressings that can be used as dips!!
My question for you on this dressing is, does it turn brown when stored?
I want to make it tonight!
Thanks
Ana

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Gena February 23, 2013 at 8:16 am

Sorry for the late response, Ana. It doesn’t turn brown if you have enough lemon in it!

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Mizpah @ The Raw Food Solution February 11, 2013 at 11:39 am

I make a similar dressing and I love it on greens and tomato.

I also really enjoy putting spirulina in my guacamole. It gives a really complex and interesting flavor. I know you love guacamole so if you haven’t tried it already you just might like it :)

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Hannah February 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Ah, if only the blue algae that grows on/in Lake Burley Griffin back home was as useful as this is in smoothies, rather than capable of creating third limbs for those who chose to swim in it.

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erin @WELLinLA February 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Love the suggestion above to add spirulina to guacamole. And very much appreciate the savory recipes. I find myself a little “smoothied out” – you’re so right that the magic happens when you use foods in more unconventional ways!

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Heather February 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Smoothies can get boring and I’m always looking for new ways to cook with my spirulina! Can’t wait to try it!

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Elisabeth February 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm

What a beautiful, verdant color! I’ve been experimenting with different dips for raw veggies to put in my lunchbox, and this looks perfect. Also, I made a collage today for my art class, and I included cutouts of avocado, lemon, and rainbow chard. How coincidental!

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Lauren (@poweredbypb) February 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I love spirulina, never thought of using it in anything other than a smoothie so this is a great idea, keen to try it out!

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Christine (The Raw Project) February 12, 2013 at 12:39 am

Great post and the dressing looks wonderful! I’ve been trying to use a variety of protein powders in my smoothies too either rotating daily or blending, usually hemp protein and Garden of Life’s Sprouted protein lately. Wish I could afford to keep a bigger variety on hand! :-)

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Michelle February 12, 2013 at 10:31 am

A salad dressing with all these green superfoods! Absolutely cannot wait to try this! Thanks so much for the incredible recipe!

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Christa @ Edible Balance February 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm

What a gorgeous dressing! Such a great way to use spirulina in something other than smoothies and juices, definitely making this soon :)

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Jane February 12, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Beautiful photos Gena! I’ve found that fermented spirulina digests better than regular, the Body Ecology Potent Proteins has been fermented for 6 weeks, it’s an amazing product worth looking into.

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zosia February 13, 2013 at 9:08 am

Although spirulina has many benefits, it should not be touted as B12-providing superfood.

Historically, people have promoted countless other ‘natural’ sources of B12: micro-algaes like spirulina and chlorella, etc. However, apart from the fact that the levels of naturally occurring B12 in these foods can vary greatly, they usually contain only the inactive analogue of the vitamin, which is not metabolized by humans even though it does show up in tests. In fact, these analogues may actually interfere with the metabolism of active B12.

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Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} February 13, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I agree, there’s nothing quite as beautiful as a giant bowl of greens! I love this dressing, looks thick enough to use as a dip and maybe also to massage kale with?? I’ve been using hemp seeds and hemp oil quite a bit for my salads lately as well as dulse. I am going to have to try spirulina next.

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Sophie February 20, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Everything on this post looks awesome! I was actually just looking into purchasing some spirulina or blue-green algae supplements online. I told a friend and she warned me (without much supporting information) that these algae may contain mercury and can be harmful? I tried to do some internet research but haven’t found much on the topic. I did check out the study you mentioned which seems like a step in the right direction. Any thoughts on this subject?

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Karen March 4, 2013 at 8:17 am

Gena -

I received some sample packs of this greens mix from Oriya, and loved it! In fact, I almost splurged on a container of both the spirulina and protein powder with spirulina – until I did further research. I have been aware of some concerns re. contamination, but was ultimately persuaded against purchasing this product by several notable doctors and health professionals – esp. Dr. Gregor, who has been warning re. the risks associated with spriulina for several years. He has a series of videos that convinced me that the risk-benefit ratio is too high (several very serious health conditions) have been associated with consumption of this “pond scum.”

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Gena March 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Karen,

I’d read some studies (Canadian, mostly) and knew there was a chance of toxicity, but it seemed to be a small chance. I’ll have to do additional research, and also perhaps ask the Oriya folks if they have any safety precautions (if indeed those are possible). Thanks for the feedback!

G

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Karen March 5, 2013 at 8:30 am

Yes…I knew there was some risk of toxicity too, but the more I researched, the more I became concerned. I’d love to hear your thoughts/an update after you view the Dr. Gregor videos, especially – he threw his personal stash of spirulina out in 2007 and has since posted re. additional dangers that support that decision. That was all the convincing I needed (though, I’m still craving that delectable packet of greens…yum!)

On a completely separate note, I recently made your buckwheaties (in a 170 degree oven) and adored them! I can never get all of the slime off those kernels before cooking regularly on a stovetop, so my finished batch of cooked buckwheat is always such a turnoff. But, when soaking X 2 and toasting in the oven, they turn out perfectly soft-crispy…my new favorite breakfast grain! Thanks for the recipe!

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Bee September 17, 2013 at 12:04 am

Gena, any updates on your thoughts/research on the potential toxins in spirulina?

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