You may be drawn to matcha’s gorgeous green color and rich, earthy flavor, but there are so many more reasons to love the powdered green tea. More so than other teas, matcha is positively packed with antioxidants that are thought to protect against cancer and stroke, boost your brain health and even fire up your metabolism. “You’re drinking the whole leaf rather than just steeping or brewing it, which gives you more of the tea’s health benefits,” says James Oliveira, tea expert and brand ambassador for Japanese Aiya Matcha. And thanks to the potent combo of caffeine and the compound l-theanine, research shows that a cup of matcha helps you stay energized in a calm, focused sort of way.
Best of all, making a mug of matcha is a cinch: Place half a teaspoon of matcha in a bowl or shallow mug and add 2 to 3 ounces of hot (about 185 F) water. Whisk until frothy, and then pour in an additional 2 to 3 ounces of hot water and serve.
Not feeling hot drinks now that the weather is warming up? Add matcha to your meal instead. Need some inspiration? Here are five tea-licious recipes.
Chewy apricots do more than add a hit of sweetness to this couldn’t-be-simpler granola. They also lend a fun color contrast to the oats, which turn Kermit-the-frog-green from the matcha.
Makes 6 1/2 cups
4 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons matcha
1 cup chopped dried apricots (preferably unsulphured)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, add the oats, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and salt. Toss to combine. In a measuring cup, add oil, maple syrup and matcha. Whisk to combine. Pour the oil and maple syrup mixture over the oat mixture, stirring with a spatula until the oats and seeds are completely coated. Divide mixture evenly between two baking sheets. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats and seeds begin to turn golden brown. Allow mixture to cool before stirring in dried apricots. Stored in a covered container, granola will keep for up to two weeks.
2Matcha Almond Milk Sorbet
Homemade almond milk makes this light, refreshing sorbet extra creamy. But if you’re pressed for time, no worries: Store-bought unsweetened almond milk is a perfectly acceptable substitute.
2 cups raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
4 teaspoons matcha
1 teaspoon almond extract
Sliced almonds, for serving
Place almonds in a large bowl. Cover with cold water and allow to soak for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight. Drain. Place drained almonds in a blender with 4 cups fresh, cold water. Blend until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Strain almond milk, reserving 1/2 cup of the solids. (Discard the remaining solids or save for another use.) Transfer almond milk to a stockpot. Stir in sugar, matcha, almond extract and reserved solids. Bring mixture to a simmer; do not boil. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and proceed according to manufacturer’s directions. Alternatively, pour mixture into a wide, shallow baking dish and freeze for 1 hour. Scrape and fluff mixture with a fork every 30 minutes for 2 to 3 hours, until mixture is completely frozen and has formed small crystals. Serve topped with sliced almonds.
3Matcha Green Grape Smoothie
Love the idea of a green, antioxidant-rich smoothie, but can’t stomach the idea of drinking kale? Sip this instead.
1 cup low-fat milk
1 medium frozen banana, cut into chunks
1 cup seedless green grapes
1 teaspoon matcha
1 teaspoon honey
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve immediately.
4Matcha-Mushroom Pilaf With Avocado
Simmering whole grains in matcha instead of plain water? Genius. To turn this simple side dish into a meal, top with broiled salmon or cubed baked tofu.
Serves 6 as a side
1 1/4 cups uncooked short-grain brown rice
1 tablespoon matcha
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a stockpot. Add rice and reduce heat to simmer. Add matcha. Cover and cook until rice has absorbed all of the liquid, 50 to 55 minutes. Fluff with a fork. While rice cooks, warm sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cooked rice to onions and mushrooms. Stir in soy sauce and sesame seeds. Transfer to a serving dish and top with avocado. Serve warm.
5Matcha Chia Pudding With Berries
You might think you’ve seen every chia pudding recipe out there, but we bet you haven’t seen one with matcha. Until now, that is! You can top this pudding with any berries you have on hand, but raspberries’ bright red hue is extra pretty.
1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk
1 teaspoon matcha
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon honey
Raspberries, for serving
Place soymilk in a microwave-safe mug. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, until hot but not boiling. Add matcha and vanilla and whisk to combine. Stir in chia seeds. Let chia seeds soak for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight; refrigerate if soaking overnight. Stir honey into the chia pudding. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with raspberries.