I’ve happily consumed Matcha in a variety of ways for many years…it’s steeped (pun intended) in tradition, it’s healthful, and it’s stunning jade colour is so aesthetically pleasing, especially first thing in the morning. Why Matcha? It’s popular for several reasons, and the following points are certainly worth noting.
Matcha powder contains the amino acid L-Theanine which is shown to promote a calm and alert state of mind. L-Theanine promotes the production of dopamine and serotonin; two neurotransmitters that enhance mood, memory, and concentration. The calm, uplifting properties of L-Theanine will provide that desired stimulation without raising your blood pressure or heart rate. If you’re like me, coffee leads to jitters, which is why I have consistently chosen the benefits of Matcha over coffee, although, I do enjoy a good brew!
Like other teas, Matcha is high in compounds known as catechins, which essentially are very potent antioxidants. A specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha; EGCg in green tea is well studied for its reported anti-cancer properties. Matcha green tea, in particular, contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea available. Catechins have demonstrated antibacterial characteristics making them a great ally for your immune system. Matcha also contains substantial quantities of Potassium, Vitamins A & C, Iron, and Calcium…all beneficial for overall health.
Before Matcha is made, Camellia Sinensis (green tea) leaves are deprived of sunlight several weeks before harvesting. This causes an exponential production of chlorophyll in the leaves; this is what gives Matcha that vibrant green colour. Chlorophyll, is found in all leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, and has been shown to be extremely beneficial to human health in more ways than I could list.
You can very easily add Matcha powder to any smoothie recipe, but it works particularly well with creamy hazelnut milk and a touch of sweetness. I’ve combined two powerhouse green foods, Spinach and Matcha powder, into one delicious creamy blend. This recipe is naturally sweetened with dates, so its great if your watching your refined sugar intake. Also, note that this recipe does include soaking time, so be sure to account for that by soaking the hazelnuts the day before you plan to make this recipe. I often have a bowl of nuts soaking on the counter because I use them in so many of my recipes. You can also made a batch (or double batch) of hazelnut milk in advance, it will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
This beautiful, smooth and creamy jade drink will be sure to get your morning started in a calm and energizing way. I just love Matcha tea and hope you give it a try with this recipe. Oh, and Happy St. Patricks Day…enjoy your greens today!
SUPER GREEN MATCHA HAZELNUT BLEND
You can prepare hazelnut milk in advance and store it in the fridge up to 3 days. If you prefer, you can use pre-made hazelnut milk to omit the soaking time (if so, use 2 1/2 cups pre-made hazelnut milk for this recipe and start with step 2). Almond milk will also work in this recipe, however, the taste of hazelnut is superb. If you want a stronger pick me up, simply add more Matcha powder to your liking. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
| soaking time – 6-8 hrs |
| serves 2 |
| special equipment – nut milk bag, high powered blender |
For the Hazelnut Milk
- 1 cup shelled hazelnuts, soaked
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups filtered water
For the Super Green Matcha Blend
- 2- 1/2 Hazelnut milk (directions below)
- 5 medjool dates, pitted
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 tsp matcha powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Hazelnut Milk:
1. Place the hazelnuts in a bowl and cover with filtered water about 1″ above the nuts. Leave on the counter for ~6-8 hours (or overnight) to soften. Strain the soaked nuts in a sieve and rinse well. Add the hazelnuts nuts and the filtered water to a high powered blender; blend on high until creamy and no large pieces remain. Line a medium sized bowl with a nut milk bag and strain the mixture to extract the ‘milk’ from the hazelnut pulp. Gently squeeze and twist the nut milk bag to press out all the milk. You should have approx 2 1/2 cups of fresh, creamy hazelnut milk, but if you prefer a less creamy hazelnut milk, simply add an additional 1/4 -1/2 cup of filtered water; you’ll have some left over after making this recipe.
For the Super Green Matcha Blend:
2. Place the pitted dates in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Carefully drain the dates.
3. In a high powered blender, combine 2 1/2 cups of hazelnut milk, the soaked dates, spinach, Matcha powder and vanilla; blend on high until smooth and creamy (approx 30 seconds). Serve and enjoy.