Looking to cut down on your meat intake? Believe it or not, grasshoppers—that’s right, the ubiquitous insects—might be the solution for you.
The thought of eating insects might be a bit gross for some people, but in many places around the world, including Thailand and Mexico (where they're known as chapulines), insects are a popular snack. Insects also happen to be a great source of protein, minerals, and essential amino acids.
“They have a fair amount of omega-3 healthy fats and are a good protein source,” Maria Bella, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., and founder of Top Balance Nutrition in New York City, tells Men’s Fitness. “A 20-gram grasshopper serving can have more protein than an equivalent serving of chicken. You can even get [insect protein] in bar form now. Some are packaged as bars or cookies, and you may not even be able to taste them.”
The Seattle Mariners have found some major success selling roasted grasshoppers as a stadium concession, but if you can’t make it out to the Pacific Northwest, you can give the dish a try yourself for a protein boost.
Thoroughly clean the grasshoppers, then boil them until they turn a reddish color. Make sure you cook them well to ensure you kill any parasites. Then remove the wings and legs.
Heat some oil with a mix of garlic, pepper, chilis, lime powder/lime juice, onions, or whatever seasoning you prefer for the grasshoppers.
To create your own chili lime salt, take salt, lime flavoring/wedges/or zest, and chili powder/spice, and mix it together to create your own seasoning.
Using a saucepan, put the grasshoppers over medium heat in the oil.
Cook the grasshoppers for 30-60 minutes, waiting until they are golden brown and crispy.
Take the grasshoppers off the heat, then drain and dry them on a paper towel or tray.
Once dry, sprinkle the chili lime salt or other seasoning on the grasshoppers for extra flavor.
Eat the grasshoppers on their own, or use them in a taco.