Check out these healthy bug recipes from around the globe, and try not to wrinkle your nose before you try them!
Bugs. They're the uninvited bane of your summer cookouts. But in some parts of the world, they're a delicacy. Maybe, just maybe, they can even give your hamburger the exact crunch it's been missing! Check out these healthy bug recipes from around the globe, and try not to wrinkle your nose before you try them!
But where to get your bugs? There can be a great difference between bugs that are featured in recipes or restaurant plates and those you may find in your backyard or even a pet store. Before firing up your stove, make sure you've purchased your bugs from a reputable, dedicated supplier. Bugs should be kept as fresh as possible and handled as if they were any other raw food ingredient. Small Stock Foods and Girl Meets Bug are just two websites that have full lists of purveyors of bugs that are safe for human consumption.
Caramel Cricket Crunch
Not only is this recipe fun to say, but it also adds good nutrition to a snack that would ordinarily be full of empty calories. We found it on InsectsAreFood.com, a great source for tasty cricket recipes. To make this one, you'll need a bag of popped popcorn, chopped crickets and a few sweet additions. Crunch on handfuls of this mix during family movie night, while on a hike or at a ballgame. You may not find yourself singing "buy me some peanuts and Caramel Cricket Crunch," but you will enjoy the buttery-sweet bites.
Banana Worm Bread
The Entomology Department at Iowa State University has collected a few different bug recipes, and they all look delicious. We're most excited for this warm banana worm bread. Worms have about the same amount of protein as a cup of milk, and in some countries, they're used as treatments for disease. This is a pretty traditional banana bread recipe but with crunch worms — and who doesn't love a good crunch to their banana bread? You can substitute butter for margarine in a ratio of 1:1, so you could use 1/2 cup of butter in this recipe if you'd prefer. Also, make sure your bananas are overripe for the best banana flavor.
David George Gordon, author of The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, is one seriously adventurous chef. But these deep-fried tarantulas, while extreme, certainly look yummy. We found this recipe on his website, along with a few others from Gordon's book. (Visit Amazon to order a copy of the book.)
- 2 cups canola or vegetable oil
- 2 frozen adult Texas brown, Chilean rose or similar-sized tarantulas, thawed
- 1 cup tempura batter (instructions below)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 medium egg
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
To make the batter, beat the egg in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Slowly add the cold water, continuing to beat until evenly mixed. Add the flour and baking soda and beat gently until combined; the batter should be a bit lumpy. Let the batter sit at room temperature while heating the oil.
In a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat the oil to 350°F. With a sharp knife, sever and discard the abdomens from the two tarantulas. Singe off any of the spider’s body hairs with a crème brûlée torch or butane cigarette lighter. Dip each spider into the tempura batter to thoroughly coat. Use a slotted spoon or your hands to make sure each spider is spread-eagled (so to speak) and not clumped together before dropping it into the hot oil.
Deep-fry the spiders, one at a time, until the batter is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove each spider from the oil and place it on paper towels to drain. Use a sharp knife to cut each spider in two lengthwise. Sprinkle with the paprika and serve. Encourage your guests to try the legs first and, if still hungry, to nibble on the meat-filled mesothorax, avoiding the spider’s paired fangs, which are tucked away in the head region.
Orthoptera Kabobs aka "Sheesh! Kabobs"
This is another recipe from David George Gordon's book and allows you the freedom to use your choice of Orthoptera. So, regardless of whether you prefer a savory katydid or the gratifying crunch of a grasshopper, you'll enjoy theses skewers and the flavorful marinade.
- 12 frozen katydids, grasshoppers, or other large-bodied Orthoptera, thawed
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 11/2-inch chunks
- 1 small yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as parsley, mint, thyme, and tarragon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of freshly ground pepper.
Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a nonreactive baking dish. Add the katydids, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
When ready to cook, remove the katydids from the marinade and pat dry. Assemble the kabobs by alternately skewering the insects, bell pepper, and onion wedges to create a visually interesting lineup.
Brush the grill lightly with olive oil. Cook the kabobs 2 or 3 inches above the fire, turning them every two or three minutes and basting them with additional olive oil as required. The exact cooking time will vary, depending on your grill and the type of insects used. However, the kabobs should cook for no longer than 8 or 9 minutes.
Grasshopper Bacon Bits
Grasshoppers are a great source of protein — just one grasshopper can contain up to 6 grams of protein, about 1/9th of the recommended daily goal — and they're much lower in calories than actual bacon. They're a common recipe addition in many parts of Mexico, according to Time Magazine. Chef Aaron Sanchez recommends cooking them on a griddle and seasoning them with chili and lime. You could add these critters to your guacamole, or use them to add some texture to your tacos.
Enjoy your cooked creepy crawlers, everyone!