Butterfly pea flower turns these frosty protein bites a beautiful blue and full of nutrition after a sweaty workout or busy day.
Lemon Butterfly Pea Flower Protein Bites (3-ingredients, white beans)
A Healthy, Whimsical Tea
Today, I decided to add another version to the list.
And feeling whimsical, I decided to play with colors using a special tea – butterfly pea flower tea. I love this unusual tea for it’s nutritional strength – same as green tea, caffeine free aspect and mood-ring-like entertainment value.
And I used bananas since I wanted a really creamy texture, and bananas also provide sweetness and a strong enough flavor to overcome the any bean flavor. And, as with my other workout snack bites, the protein in these recipes comes from white beans.
I have used white beans quite successfully in the other high protein bites I mentioned earlier, this wildly popular white bean cookie dough recipe here, and even a few more recipes – you can see a few under my white bean recipes listing here.
How Healthy are White Beans?
In these protein bites, white navy beans provide the perfect blank palate to carry the fruity flavor of ripe soft fruits. So the result is highly nutritious and energizing.
The beans themselves are full of protein, fiber and a slew of other nutritional benefits. These include potassium and iron, good for shiny hair; thiamine for your cognitive abilities; heart-supporting folate and magnesium; and copper to fight inflammation, and antioxidants.
I chose to use organic canned beans though I’m sure freshly cooked beans would work as well. If you use canned, be sure to use organic, to be sure the beans don’t have additional ingredients. And I chose unsalted so I could control the sodium.
In this recipe, the addition of butterfly pea flower tea brings the same health benefits of green tea, but without any caffeine. It tastes like green tea too. (Although I add so little to this recipe, the taste isn’t evident.)
But what is really fun about butterfly pea flower tea is it’s fun color-changing characteristic.
If you aren’t familiar with it, it becomes a deep blue once steep in hot water.
And then, if you add a spot of lemon, the acidity turns the color purple. (Oh, and if you regret your choice, add in some baking soda to reverse the color change – although don’t do that to this recipe please, experiment on your own time, hahaha)
And then there is the glorious banana. I use them as ripe as possible so it sweetens the recipe. And the fiber and potassium the fruit contributes, really pairs well with the white bean contributions to make a nutritionally robust pop-in-the-mouth snack.
All About the Lemon
The lemon addition comes from the tea, of course, but more strongly from the addition of a superfood powder I love, Baobab.
Baobab is made from a fruit native to South Africa and has long been used for medicinal purposes given it’s antioxidant strengths and incredibly high levels of bio-available vitamin C.
It even has decent levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and protein. And it tastes like lemons! Perfect for this recipe.
I like using molds or mini cupcake papers to shape these because then, frozen, they can be readily popable into the mouth prior to a workout, or when you just plain hungry for something nutritious and fruity.
I keep a giant bag of all sorts of flavors frozen, and when we want to eat some, we let them sit on a dish for a few minutes until soft enough to dissolve in the mouth. Best energizing candy ever!!
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Lemon Butterfly Pea Flower Protein Bites (vegan, white beans)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 butterfly pea flower tea bag
- 1/4-1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 can (15oz/425gms) white beans (navy beans, organic & precooked - I have used Eden and Whole Foods 365 brand)
- 3 medium bananas (very ripe, chopped & frozen)
- 3 tbsp baobab powder
- 1/4-1/2 cup plant milk (or more if you need it to make mixture pourable; I use a thick milk like hemp or oat but you can use what you happen to have available)
- 1/2 cup brewed butterfly pea flower tea (recipe above) (with lemon added to change color)
- Chop and freeze the bananas the night before.
Day of Recipe
- Remove frozen bananas from freezer at least 20 minutes before making recipe so they can thaw.Line a mini-cupcake pan with paper liners.Line up your heart molds on the counter if you are using those.
- Brew the butterfly pea flower tea by adding a tea bag (I used tea bags, not loose tea; see link in ingredients) in 1 cup of just-boiled hot water for 3 minutes. The tea will turn a lovely blue. You can leave it this shade if you want your bites to be more blue.
- If you want to achieve a more periwinkle or purple/violet color, add 1/4 tsp of lemon juice to the water. The tea should turn purple. If you want a deeper change, add a touch more. (I am told too much lemon juice moves the color into pink although I haven't tried that yet.). Let the tea cool.
- To a high speed blender, add 1/2 cup cooled tea, the baobab and the thawed bananas.Open the can of beans, drain and rinse them. Add them to the blender.Lastly add 1/4 cup of the milk, and begin blending. Add only enough milk to be sure the texture is creamy but pourable.
- Add a bit more plant milk if the mixture is not pourable enough to get it into small molds - it all depends on how big your bananas were, and how thick your choice of plant milk is.
- Taste-test as this point and be sure the mixture is sweet enough for you. If not, you can add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup or maybe some ripe green grapes. The color will change, but the taste will be sweeter.
- Pour the mixture into the mini cupcake pan or the silicon heart molds or any vessel you choose to freeze them in.
- Freeze them at least four hours or until hard enough to remove from the molds; keep them frozen in a freezer-friendly, air-tight container. We've had them at least a month frozen and they still taste wonderful.
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients . On this blog you’ll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in immunological nutritional studies and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.