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Discover How to Get All of Your Essential Amino Acids

Mareya Ibrahim

You probably already know that all animal-based proteins are complete sources of protein and that they contain essential amino acids the body needs, but did you know that you could get your essential amino acids from plants?

According to Mareya Ibrahim, author of, “Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive,” some produce may be richer in nutrients than others, so you can combine them to build a full range of essential AAs. Ibrahim says, “If you can’t remember what plant-based foods provide the complete spectrum, remember, quinoa is the bomb and beans and rice are oh so nice!” Spirulina is also a great source of essential amino acids; according to Healthline, it [spirulina] gives all the essential amino acids that you need. If you’re someone who follows a vegetarian or vegan diet or have dietary restrictions that limit the intake of animal products, then this news is music to your ears. For us, we also get pretty excited at the thought of having yet another reason to love produce.

Chef Mareya Ibrahim shares a super informative rundown of eight essential amino acids and what ingredients promote what in her new book. We’ve slightly modified the list to only include produce for quick reference. If you want the full list, be sure to pick up a copy of her new cookbook!

For our produce loving friends, you’ll love to reference this guide when you’re pondering what to make for your next meal while being mindful of those much-needed essential amino acids. Melissa’s Produce carries a vast selection of items from this list, so consider them your trusted brand while shopping with this nutritional guideline in mind.

8 Essential Amino Acids That You Need Using Real Food, Mostly Plants — Mareya Ibrahim


Soy Protein, Seaweed, Sesame Seeds, Spinach, Corn, Legumes, Grains


Nuts, Most Seeds, Bean Sprouts


Peas, Mushrooms


Nuts, Beans, Seeds, Broccoli, Avocado


Edamame, Nuts/Nut Butters, Spinach, Quinoa, Seeds, Artichokes


Oats, Tofu, Hemp Seeds, Chia Seeds, Nuts, Soy Protein Isolate, Asparagus


Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, White Beans


Legumes, Nuts, Avocado, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa


New science shows that there is a 9th essential amino acid now; Histidine.


Another great brand to have on your grocery list is Bragg — use their Liquid Aminos and you’re all set in the kitchen.

Chef Mareya Ibrahim’s Ultimate Frozen Buddha Bowl has everything we need, including all of those essential amino acids and more. The dragon fruit vessel makes this a brunch-worthy recipe for guests, giving off a treat-yo-self vibe without having to compromise on eating with intention and gratitude. As the weather continues to warm during summer months, this Buddha Bowl is exactly what we need to keep calm and cool down while being a little extra. We love how nutrient-dense this dish is,  providing a good source of vitamins B-1,2 and 3, fiber, biotin, iron and manganese. It’s also high in B-6, calcium, copper and magnesium! So what are you waiting for? Grab the recipe below!

Mareya Ibrahim dragon fruot recipe

The Ultimate Frozen Buddha Bowl

If you're looking to cool down during summer while filling up with essential amino acids, make Chef Mareya Ibrahim's Buddha Bowl using Melissa's Produce and you're all set!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine California
Servings 1 bowl


  • 1/2 frozen banana peel left on
  • 3.5 ounces frozen no sugar added acai or pitaya
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw coconut oil
  • 1 cup plain coconut yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw honey

Optional Toppings

  • Pomegranate arils
  • fresh pitaya
  • fresh peeled lychee fruit
  • grape halves Melissa's Tip: Frozen
  • hulled sunflower seeds or raw hemp hearts
  • maca powder
  • unsweetened cocoa powder


  • In a food processor or blender, combine the banana, acai, flaxseed, milk, and coconut oil. Blend on medium to high speed for 15 to 30 seconds, until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl and the yogurt, spirulina, and honey. Stir until completely smooth.
  • Top your Buddha Bowl with an assortment of toppings and feel zenlike immediately. Serve it in a fresh pitaya bowl to be super extra.


Melissa's Produce Tip: Freeze the grapes to add another element to your toppings.
Keyword dessert
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