Spirulina is a very new-age protein made from an algae called Arthrospira platensis. In the wild, this protein-rich algae grows near mineral-rich bodies of water (via Auroville), but has since been cultivated indoors to maximize its growth. Consumers can purchase spirulina in one of three forms: powdered, pilled, or fresh. Research indicates fresh spirulina contains more bioactive components like carotenoids, chlorophyll, phenols, and flavonoids than dried spirulina.
Spirulina’s taste, like some other vegan proteins, is acquired. Its algal profile can make the taste of spirulina resemble seaweed. Despite its flavor, spirulina provides a bright blue hue to foods like smoothies. Although less popular, spirulina can also be used in pesto, eggs, and omelets as well. According to Healthline, 1 tablespoon of the algae provides 4 grams of protein and 20 calories. You’ll also find a hefty amount of your recommended daily intake of copper, iron, and vitamin B2.