Spirulina is frequently listed as a superfood. The cyanobacterial algae are supposed to be a great medical dietary supplement that for example helps to remove toxins from your body. None of these claims has been completely proven yet by medical studies (the ones that exist often lack a sufficiently large enough number of test participants). Nevertheless, harmful effects of Spirulina intake were not observed either (as long as the Spirulina stems from trustworthy sources of course).
Randomly, some dietary guides for vegans list Spirulina as an adequate source for protein, as the cyanobacteria consists of ~60% protein. There have been studies were Spirulina was used to replace substantial amounts of other protein sources in human nutrients (up to 60% apparently), but the recommended maximum amount of Spirulina intake lies well below these levels. Plus, pure Spirulina tastes like shit (sorry but this is true).
How to eat Spirulina then? At the moment, there is only one known contemporary cuisine with a traditional use of Spirulina: Chad (the picture above stems from Chad – from a group on facebook). Here, Spirulina is harvested from fresh-water lakes and dried into a cake called dihé. Dihé can be bought on local markets and is, for example, added to pepper-tomato sauces. In some regions of Chad, the average consumption of dihé could be as high as 50 g per person per week. Thus, it lies still below the recommended 56 g (absolute minimum – eat rather more) per day, but can potentially make up to ~10% of protein source. The whole story of dihé consumption in Chad is very interesting by the way, and I can recommend you reading up about it (besides the already listed sources, for example here).
The whole story made me curious and I wanted to try it out myself. Don’t get me wrong, I did not decide to eat as much Spirulina as the people in Chad – most likely my unaccustomed body would not appreciate this. Instead, I just wanted to know: is it true? If I mix Spirulina with a tomato sauce would it finally taste good? So, I took an average capsule of Spirulina (see photograph) and freed the greenish powder (not good – so yuk if you try to eat it). And, voilà, once I mixed it with any standard tomato sauce around (even some too sweet tomato grill dip I was presented with), it did taste good. Kind of cool sauces you can make this way…