To a lot of people I know and even to me at a certain extent, carob has a negative connotation. When I think of carob, I visualize these hard leathery pods that take minutes to bite into. I nearly dislocated my jaw from trying to chew into them. I have no objection to carob powder though. And I have been using carob powder as of late; mostly in my drinks. Carob is a pod like fruit that is native to the Middle East where is has been in cultivation for nearly 4,000 years. Akin to cocoa powder and chocolate, carob powder come from a tropical pod in which the pulp is roasted and ground into powder. Interestingly enough, most carob trees are monoecious. They contain individual male and female flowers. The dark-brown pods are not only edible, but also rich in sucrose and protein. Moreover, the pod has vitamin A, B vitamins, and several important minerals. Some nutritionists recommend using carob powder in lieu of cocoa powder and there is a reason for it. The nutrition facts on one tablespoon of unsweetened carob powder lists 25 calories, no fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and 6 grams carbohydrate. By comparison, one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder contains 12 calories, 1 gram of fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and 3 grams of carbohydrate. Despite the difference in texture and taste, a candy bar made with carob has about the same amount of fat and calories as a chocolate bar. Unlike cocoa powder and chocolate, carob is caffeine-free. Carob also contains three times as much calcium as cocoa powder. That doesn’t go to say that I am substituting cocoa powder for carob powder from hereon out. I am merely trying to accustom my taste buds to the flavor of carob powder. Plus the idea of making carob brownies and cookies is still of an interest to me. As of now, I will be sharing a carob smoothie recipe with you.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 cup of milk of your choice
- 4 cocoa beans shelled (you can use nuts as well)
- 2 tablespoons of carob powder
- 1 tablespoon of flax or chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Serve cold.
Yields 2 cups