Plant-Powered Food Spotlight: Goji Berries!

A few years ago, goji berries were pretty ‘fringe’.  Now, we are seeing them in recipes and food products, as they truly are a very nutrient-dense “super food”!

How are they so special?  To start, gogi berries are very high in antioxidants.  Antioxidants are measured by a scale called the ORACtest.  The ORAC value for gogi berries is usually over 20,000 (depending on variety) – compared to 2,400 for blueberries (which are well known for their high antioxidant level)!

Next, these little berries are protein-rich.  They offer 18 amino acids, including the 8 essential amino acids that make up a complete protein.  Yup, folks, gojis will ‘pump you up’!

Goji berries are also quite rich in Vitamin A (which, among other things, is good for fighting viral infections).   In fact, just 1 ounce of these berries (that’s about 2 1/2 – 3 tbsp) will give you 140% of the RDA for Vitamin A!

And, if that wasn’t enough to convince you of goji’s star power, they are also a better source of vitamin C than oranges, and deliver trace minerals including iron and zinc.

These berries resemble raisins in size, but with a flattened shape and dusty pink-red color.  Their texture is chewy and slightly soft (though some brands may be softer and fresher than others).  Goji berries may be somewhat of an acquired taste for some – they were for me.  They aren’t as sweet as other dried fruit like raisins, or other dried berries like blueberries.  At first, I was underwhelmed with their flavor, and wasn’t sure if I would use them much.  I still don’t always eat them straight up, but do enjoy working them into snacks and recipes.  Here are some ideas to include goji berries in your daily diet, starting with…

Strawberry Goji Smoothie Photo credit: tahinitoo.wordpress.com

  • blend into smoothies, especially delicious in my Strawberry Goji Smoothie (get recipe)!
  • add to cold and hot cereals
  • mix into non-dairy yogurt
  • sprinkle in green salads (in place of dried cranberries)
  • add to homemade jams and also chutneys
  • use in place of raisins and dried cranberries in sweet recipes like muffins, scones, quick breads, granola bars, and cookies and in savory dishes like pilafs, and rice, grain, and bean salads (try substituting just partially at first). Also try my Strawberry-Goji Muffins recipe in LTEV!
  • add to your favorite trail mix (or buy trail mixes including goji berries)
  • use in your granola recipe in place of raisins or other dried fruit (add right at end of baking, else they will burn).
  • Try this Cocoa-Goji Granola recipe, also from Let Them Eat Vegan:

Cocoa Goji Granola (photo credit: tahinitoo.wordpress.com)

Do you like goji berries?  How do you eat/prepare them?

13 Responses to Plant-Powered Food Spotlight: Goji Berries!

  1. I like them as a snack or in oatmeal or baked into bars. I just got your Let Them Eat Vegan book so now I have several new recipes to try them in!
    Tami@NutmegNotebook recently posted..Chocolate Ganache PuddingMy Profile

  2. Cena says:

    Not to make you jealous, but I have 2 goji berry bushes! They like a Mediterranean climate like mine in CA. We eat them fresh, a little sour/strange, but then I freeze them for smoothies for the rest of the year. Each year they are getting bigger (still a small berry) and a little sweeter. Maybe I’ll dry some this year too.

    • Dreena says:

      Well that’s a first, Cena! Never heard anyone with a goji bush – or 2. And, I’m a little jealous. ;) I guess they get a little sweeter as they get bigger? Thanks for the note!

  3. Olivia says:

    Goji berries had long been used in chinese cuisine. Especially widely used in chicken soup. Famous for it’s nutrients. They are very safe. I personally not necessary love the flavour- very plain. However, I do use them in whenever I could, in soup, rice, or just snacks.

  4. Connie says:

    I started adding them to my Raw almonds for an afternoon snack. Perfect combo.

  5. Dreena says:

    Ohhh, that’s super kind vegyogini. I love that you love that granola so much. I never tire of hearing you say so! :) :)

  6. Johanna says:

    I LOVE goji berries. Mostly I just sprinkle them on my cereal in the morning along with other dried fruit. I also sprinkle them on anything that has nut butter. My current favorites are:

    rice cakes with almond butter and goji berries
    celery with peanut butter and goji berries

    They have a very mild taste to me which is not unpleasant. The texture is different almost like when you first put a piece of gum in your mouth and it is hard to chew but not in a bad way.

    • Dreena says:

      Johanna, that’s a good comparison to the gum! They are unlike other dried fruit with that somewhat hard texture at first. Pairing them with nut butter is a great idea!!

  7. mattheworbit says:

    I think a lot of us just are a little hesitant about these “super-foods”, as there’s always one around the corner, with inflated promises (and prices)! I will give these another go, on your recommendation. I didn’t love them to snack on, last time I tried.

    • Dreena says:

      Matt, I wasn’t very fond of them at first either. And, I rarely snack on them as is, I went through a time (I think during pregnancy) when I did, but mostly I like adding them to things. Maybe try the granola, if you like that kind of thing (and now that you have LTEV)!!!! :)

  8. Ricki says:

    I LOVE goji berries!! (And that smoothie looks fabulous, by the way). :D I usually just eat them by hand, but recently created homemade chocolates with ground-up gojis as part of the natural sweeteners. Divine. So glad to learn they’re high in Vitamin A, too!

    • Dreena says:

      ooooh, must check out your chocolates Ricki! I once bought some vegan choc covered goji berries – and LOVED them!!!

  9. Vegyogini says:

    I have made the Cocoa Goji granola a zillion times since I first tested it for you! It is one of my absolute favorite recipes in this book. You’re a genius.

Add Comment Register



Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

Related Interest

Vegan Cuts

Wildside Jar for green smoothies, thick and nut-based sauces and dessert purees. I use mine 1-2x/day.

Twister Jar is the BEST for healthy, homemade salad dressings and sauces


Top Food Blogs