Lucuma fruit is a sub-tropical plant native to Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Cherished by the Incans, lucuma is the subject of several ancient art pieces. Peruvians have even revered lucuma as a symbol of fertility. Lucuma has an earthy, sweet taste—kind of like a combination of a sweet potato and maple syrup. (Sounds good, right?). Lucuma has been linked to a slew of health benefits. High in beta-carotene, vitamin B3, and antioxidants, lucuma may help boost your immune system while fighting off inflammation. Lucuma also contains protein, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Although scientific studies on lucuma as treatment for disease are limited, alternative medicine credits lucuma with lowering blood pressure, boosting fertility, stabilizing blood sugar, and curbing unhealthy food cravings. Lucuma may also have antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. Given that we haven’t sufficiently studied lucuma in a medical setting, it may be too soon to rely on lucuma as a treatment for a health condition—but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it in a tasty recipe and reap the nutritional rewards! Although lucuma isn’t widely grown in the states, lucuma can be purchased in powdered form. Look for organic lucuma that’s been dried at low temperatures (low temps preserve the fruit’s “rawness” and nutritional value). Lucuma powder may be blended into ice cream, smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt. Given its sweet taste and low-glycemic index, lucuma is a suitable sugar substitute for diabetics. For everyone one unit of sugar or traditional sweetener, use 2 units of lucuma powder.
YIELDS1 cup (2 servings)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 tbsp raw organic lucuma powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk avocado, lucuma powder, vanilla extract, and unsweetened coconut yogurt until smooth. Alternatively, blend ingredients together in a high-speed blender. 2. Serve into small bowls, and top with chopped almonds and fresh blueberries.
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Photo: Mary Hood