Moringa Oleifera Recipes
Fresh and Dried Leaves
The fresh and dried leaves make a tasty addition to any salad and are a suitable substitute for any spinach dish. Leaves can be mixed with other vegetables to make goulash or vegetarian casseroles or cooked like collard greens with some vegan butter and a little vinegar. You can also use the dried leaves as a substitute for dried parsley as a seasoning or garnish. Moringa is very potent. Eat raw / dried sparingly
I’ve never heard of any culture traditionally using Moringa leaves raw in dishes. If you are cooking with the fresh leaves, you could cook several cups of leaves for the whole dish, so each person gets a good helping of moringa. When cooking Moringa, some of the nutrients will be lost, but cooking is also known to make some nutrients in foods more bioavailable which may also be the case with Moringa. So if you have an abundance of Moringa, you could consume some in your cooking as well as some of the raw powder.
To give an idea of the conversion of fresh leaves to dried leaves / powder:
I measured 1 cup of washed leaves, and it weighted 1.5 oz. I then put them in our Excalibur dehydrator for several hours at 110 degrees so the leaves would remain raw and retain their full nutritional profile. The dried leaves weighed .36 oz (10 g), and were a little less than ¼ c. dried leaves (just scrunched up in a Ziploc bag). This means that the fresh leaves reduced to approximately 1/4 their amount and weight.
Then I put the dried leaves in our Vitamix and got 5 ½ tsp powder, which means that each tsp is approximately 2 g powder. The general recommendation is to take 1 tsp (2 g) powder once or twice a day. I have also seen Moringa tea bags contain 2 g powder, which would be the same amount. So roughly 1 cup of washed fresh Moringa leaves will make 5 tsp Moringa powder.
More on conversions . . .
This is a nutritional chart one often finds online showing the nutritional value of Moringa oleifera, broken down for pods, fresh (raw) leaves and dried leaf powder. The values shown are for 100 grams of edible portions. Source: The Miracle Tree, edited by Lowell Fuglie.
I've had people ask me what 100 g of fresh Moringa leaves equals in terms of volume, and what the equivalent amount in powder would be.
I found that approximately 3 cups of fresh unwashed leaves equals 100 g. (I washed them and reweighed them while still wet, and they weighed 173 g.) I placed them in my Excalibur Dehydrator for about 6 hours. I then removed the dried leaves and crumbled them, and they amounted to a little less than 2/3 cup dried leaves, weighing about 1 oz, or 27 g. I then put them in my Vitamix blender and they reduced to 1/3 cup powder, which equals approximately 5 1/4 tbsp. or 16 tsp. So approximately 16 tsp powder equals 100 g of fresh Moringa leaves.
The powder can be used to make traditional sauces as they do in Africa. Powder is also a powerful addition to those blended drinks and shakes that have become popular for health conscious people in the United States and elsewhere. Powder can also be added to soups and vegetable dishes to provide additional sources of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Simply pick the leaves and spread on a tray or screen to dry, or if you have a dehydrator, that works great. (I recommend the Excalibur Dehydrator because it has a fan and thermostat for quick drying and drying at low temperatures to retain full nutrition) When leaves are completely dry, crush into powder or put in a coffee grinder or blender / Vitamix to pulverize. Moringa is very potent. Start out slowly with raw and dried Moringa.
Moringa Oleifera Seeds
Our high germination rate seeds are from Africa. When planted, we normally see them poke through the ground in a week or two, depending on temperatures and conditions. We also love eating these seeds.
This is how our farmer friends in Africa like to eat mature Moringa seeds. The seeds are crushed and added to their food for added nutrition. The outer fibrous covers are removed from the seeds (much like you would do with sunflower seeds) and the inner kernals are pounded into powder. Some of the ways they eat the seeds include adding 2 teaspoons of the seed powder to a porridge that they make from rice, corn, beans and cassava. (which equals approximately ½ tsp seed powder per person). They add the powder to the food while hot, right before serving. They also add the seeds powder to hot tea, banana juice and mango juice.
In addition, 3 months before rainy season, they consume the seeds in order to prevent them from getting malaria. They eat up to 7 seeds in the morning after eating something first, as one can get a stomach ache if the seeds are eaten on an empty stomach. They remove the outer covering, then chew on the seed kernals, and then drink 16 oz of water. They do this for 7 days straight. One farmer reports, “And whoever did that the person would not get malaria sickness for the whole rainy season or even 1 year sometimes. I myself do it every year with my family and i see its benefits. Eating the 7 seeds would not stop mosquitoes from biting you, but no matter they bite you cannot get malaria.” They also eat the seeds throughout the entire rainy season, and some people eat one seed kernel per day in this way throughout the year for good health.
These people eat the seeds for many different health purposes, such as poor vision, low sperm count, insomnia, for quicker weight-loss and quicker headache relief. Some people peel off the outer layer and eat 2 or 3 seeds a day. They say it helps their diabetic condition. They never eat the seeds on an empty stomach. And eating too many seeds can cause a laxative effect, so if one chooses to eat moringa seeds for long term health reasons, it is recommended not to exceed 3 or 4 seeds per day.
Moringa seeds are very high in oleic acid, which is linked to reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease through its ability to lower cholesterol levels and reduce atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It also helps to regulate blood glucose levels, so the seeds are said to be great for diabetics. The seeds also contain omega 3 and omega 6 EFA’s, and are a rich source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and iron. The seeds are also shown to have an antibacterial effect.
People have told me that eating moringa seeds gives them energy and helps to curb their appetite. I also notice a calm alertness and sense of wellbeing from eating the seeds. Combined with Moringa leaves, these two are a treasure trove of nutrients, possibly the closest thing to a multivitamin in a single whole food source.
One note on eating Moringa Oleifera seeds – unless you harvest your own, do not eat any without first finding out where they are from to ensure they have not been grown with chemicals or have been sprayed. Ours seeds from Africa are all-natural and have not been sprayed or treated with any chemicals.
There are a number of ways you can enjoy moringa tea. You can use ½ to 1 teaspoon of dried Moringa leaves to a cup of water. If making the tea with fresh leaves, you can add 2 to 3 compound leaves to boiling water, cook the leaves briefly for a minute, then cover and let steep for 5 – 10 minutes. Or you can put ½ tsp moringa powder into hot water, cover and let steep. .Add some lemon peel and a little sweetener of your choice, or play around with other combos. I really enjoy moringa/peppermint tea.
Superfood Moringa Smoothie
1 cup coconut milk (can use almond milk, rice milk, etc.)
1 tsp moringa powder or dried leaf
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cardamom (or two cardamom seeds pods) ½ banana (fresh or frozen)
(can modify with other herbs, spices and superfoods like coriander, ginger, astragalus, etc.)
Blend and drink.
Moringa Leaf Sauce
5 Tablespoons of Moringa leaf powder
¼ cup of peanut butter
5 Tablespoons of oil, (vegetable, olive, or palm oil)
1 Medium onion - chopped
1 quart of water
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper or pepper flakes to taste
Add peanut butter and water and bring to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes on medium heat. Add oil, Moringa leaf powder and chopped onion. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. (or you can wait to add Moringa powder until the last few minutes of cooking) Add salt and pepper and red pepper to taste. Serve over rice or couscous and with vegetables.
Cooking The Leaves:
Moringa leaves can be cooked any way you would prepare spinach or collards or kale. One easy way to cook them is to steam 2 cups freshly picked leaves for just a few minutes in one cup water, seasoned with onion, vegan butter and sea salt. Vary or add other seasons according to your taste. You can also parboil them for just a few minutes, then take them out and cool them down with cold water, squeeze the water out with your hands and toss them with some fresh cut tomatoes and soy sauce for a salad. Then pour a cup of moringa tea using the water you parboiled them in.
Cooking the Pods:
Young moringa oleifera tree pods are edible whole, with a delicate flavor like asparagus.
They can be used from the time they emerge from the flower cluster until they become too pulpy/woody to snap easily. The largest ones usable will probably be 12 to 15 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter. At this stage of growth they can be prepared in many ways. Here are a few:
1. Cut the pods into one-inch lengths. Add onion, vegan butter and salt. Boil for ten minutes or until tender.
2. Steam the pods without seasonings, then marinade in a mixture of oil, vinegar, sea salt,pepper, garlic and parsley.
3. An acceptable "mock asparagus" soup can be made by boiling the cut pods until tender, seasoned with onion. Add vegan milk (soy, rice, almond), thicken and season to taste.
Even if the pods pass the stage where they snap easily they can still be used. You can cut them into three-inch lengths, boil until tender (about 15 minutes), and eat as you would artichokes. Or you can scrape the pods to remove the woody outer fibers before cooking.
Cooking the Peas:
Seeds, or "peas," can be used from the time they begin to form until they begin to turn yellow and their shells begin to harden. Only experience can tell you at what stage to harvest the pods for their peas.
To open the pod, take it in both hands and twist. With your thumbnail slit open the pod along the line that appears. Remove the peas with their soft winged shells intact and as much soft white flesh as you can by scraping the inside of the pod with the side of a spoon. Place the peas and flesh in a strainer and wash well to remove the sticky, bitter film that coats them. (Or better still, blanch them for a few minutes, then pour off the water before boiling again in fresh water). Now they are ready to use in any recipe you would use for green peas. They can be boiled as they are, seasoned with onion, vegan butter and sea salt, much the same as the leaves and young pods. They can be cooked with rice as you would any bean. The more mature the seeds, the more potent they are so you wouldn't want to eat too many at a time at their more mature stages.
12-15 moringa tree pods 1 medium onion, diced
4 cups grated coconut 2 vegan bouillon cubes
2 inches ginger root 4 Tblsp. oil
1 clove garlic
salt, pepper to taste
Blanch both peas and pods flesh, drain. Remove milk from 2 1/2 cups grated coconut by squeezing water through it two or three times. Crush ginger root and garlic, save half for later. Mix peas, flesh, coconut milk, ginger and garlic together with onion, bouillon cubes (or 1 tsp miso paste), oil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until the peas are soft, about 20 minutes. Fry remaining coconut until brown. Fry remaining half of crushed ginger root and garlic in 2 Tblsp. oil. Add coconut, ginger, garlic to first mixture, heat through. Serves six.
Caution: Moringa flowers can act as an abortifacient so do not use in pregnancy. The flower buds and blossoms should be cooked before consuming. They can be made into a tea, as well as fried by themselves or battered and fried. To make a tea, boil water, then place a cluster of flowers to steep in it for about 5 minutes. Add a little sugar or stevia as desired. The flowers can be used as a natural pesticide, as insects and other pests are repelled by the flower essence.
Moringa Soup (my favorite moringa recipe - Thanks Mom!)
Here is a basic recipe, which can be modified according to taste and availability:
Piece of Ginger root, sliced
Garlic, 1 or 2 cloves or to taste
Moringa, fresh, four cups (or more or less according to taste and availability).
NOTE: Frozen Moringa can be substituted. I’ve seen it available at an Asian Market.
Because I’m vegan . . . vegan chicken, pork, or tofu, 8 oz – 16 oz, depending on the number of people you are serving (figure adding 4 oz per person)
Tomato, 1 or 2 large, diced
Pure water, enough to cover ingredients. or more for extra broth
Pinch salt and pepper, or to taste
Put all ingredients but the Moringa in a pot and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add the Moringa after 20 minutes, and let simmer for another couple minutes, until Moringa is bright green. Soup is now ready to serve. The soup can be eaten as is or served over brown or white rice, with the soup juice poured over the top of the rice for flavor.
Once you try the basic soup, you can experiment with adding other ingredients for variety, like onions, other vegetables, vegan soup broth or other spices, different vegan meats, etc.
Fresh Moringa Leaf and Beans
Use this as a tasty side dish with any compatible entrée.
1 cup of beans, mongo beans are used in the
2-3 cups of water 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 small onion 1 medium tomato
1 cup fresh Moringa leaves Salt and pepper to taste.
Boil the beans until tender. While the beans are boiling, sauté the onions, garlic and tomato. When beans are tender add the tomato, onion, garlic to the beans. Strip the Moringa leaves from the stems, remove any excess stems from the leaves. Add fresh Moringa leaves. Salt and pepper to taste.
This is an excellent side dish for most any entrée. Quick and easy
16 oz of fresh Moringa 1 cup of vegan or soy Sour Cream
1 Package of Lipton’s Dried Onion Soup Mix (or portion thereof, to taste)
Wash the moringa and squeeze out excess water. Remove any excess stems. Mix with sour cream and the soup mix. Add more sour cream if you like a creamier consistency. Lightly oil a baking dish and use spatula to put mixture in the dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Serves four.
Moringa Leaves Gulay
1 cup coconut milk diluted with 1 cup water
1 cup tofu
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, sliced
1/8 tsp. sea salt
6 cup moringa leaves, washed
4 pieces chili peppers, crushed
Preparation: Boil coconut milk, tofu, garlic and onion for 10 minutes. Season with salt, stirring the mixture continuously. Add moringa leaves and crushed chili peppers. Cook 5 minutes longer. Serve hot. Serves 6.
2 Tblsp. vegetable oil 1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. minced garlic 5 cup water
2 Tblsp. sliced onion 1 lb. tofu cubed
1 Tblsp. ginger, cut into strips 2 cup moringa leaves, washed
Preparation: Sautee garlic, onion and ginger in shortening, in large fry pan. Add sea salt and water. Bring to a boil, and add tofu. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer. Serve at once, Serves 6.
Mung Bean Stew
4 Tblsp. vegetable oil 1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup miso broth 4-1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 T sliced onion 3 cups water
1/2 cup sliced tomatoes dash of pepper
3 cup moringa leaves, washed
1 cup dried mung bean, boiled
Preparation: Sautee garlic, onion and tomatoes in large fry pan. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Add mung bean, miso broth and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, then add moringa leaves and cook 5 minutes longer. Serves 6.
Sautéed Moringa Pods
2 cup fresh moringa pods 2 Tblsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. minced garlic 1 tsp. sea salt
2 T. sliced onion 1 cup fresh
1/2 cup sliced tomatoes 1 cup green cowpea or yard-long bean pods cut into 1-1/2" lengths and sliced lengthwise
Preparation: Cut moringa pods lengthwise into 4 pieces. Slice white pulp including tender seeds. Discard outer covering. Cut pulp into 1-1/2 inch lengths. Sautee garlic, onion, and tomatoes.
Cover, and cook 2 minutes. Season with sea salt. Add
Vegetarian Moringa Jambalaya
1 cup rice
1 onion, chopped 1 carrot, sliced thinly
3 Tblsp. oil 1 green pepper, sliced thinly 1/2 cup moringa leaves
1 cup peas or green beans 1 Tblsp. finely chopped celery
3/4 cup tomatoes, chopped 3 cup water
Preparation: Wash rice and soak in small bowl for 1 hour, then drain. Fry onion in cooking oil until tender, but not brown. Set aside. Add tomatoes. When boiling, stir in rice slowly on low fire. When rice is half cooked add the other ingredients. Cover tightly and cook slowly. Serve hot with sliced papaya. Seves 6.
Corn with Moringa Leaves
2 cup grated young corn 1 small sponge gourd (luffa) or zucchini
2 cloves garlic 1 cup moringa leaves
1 head onion 1-1/2 tsp all purpose seasoning
3 cup water salt to taste
Preparation: Sautee garlic and onion in medium fry pan. Add water and let it boil. Then add the corn, stirring often to avoid burning. When cooked, add the gourd and moringa.
1 cup pure coconut milk 1 small pc ginger
1/3 cup pure coconut milk reserve 3 pcs bell pepper, green & red, quartered
1/2 cup moringa leaves 1-2 Tblsp. cooking oil
1 onion bulb, sliced 1 head garlic, crushed
1 tsp. crushed black pepper 3 tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup peas 8-10 string beans beans, quartered or 1 cup cubed yellow sweet potato
Preparation: Sautee garlic in oil until brown. Add onion. Transfer to unglazed cooking pot, then add 1 cup pure coconut milk, peas, yellow sweet potato and ginger. Boil until half done. Add bell peppers and tomatoes. Season with salt and crushed pepper. Add the rest of the coconut milk and moringa. Boil for 5 minutes, and serve.
The 9-Tray Excalibur Dehydrator is the dehydrator we use to dry our moringa for making moringa teas and powder. I love it because it has a fan and thermostat so it dries the leaves fast and at a controlled temperature (I always set it at 110 F) so it retains as many nutrients as possible through the drying process. I prefer drying leaves inside a dehydrator over air drying outside to prevent dust and bugs from getting on the leaves during the drying process. If you do dry them outside, make sure to do so in the shade. With the Excalibur Dehydrator, I am able to wash, dehydrate and package the dried leaves within 12 hours of them being harvested, to ensure the highest quality dried moringa.