Prepper recipes: How to make nutrient-rich pinole, an ancient Aztec superfood
01/01/2020 // Zoey Sky // Views

An important component in preparing for disasters is learning how to make nutritious food that can keep up your energy during a long-term survival scenario. If you're looking for one such recipe, try making pinole. (h/t to

What is pinole?

In Christopher McDougall's book, "Born to Run," he talks about people from the legendary Tarahumara tribe in Mexico who run 50 miles or more per day. They were able to achieve this amazing feat with the help of pinole, one of the Tarahumara's staple foods. Pinole is made with toasted cornmeal that's usually combined with ingredients like natural sugar, spices and water.

Pinole is a versatile food: You can eat it as a porridge or bake it into a cookie that you can eat on the run. (Related: Tips and instructions for making homemade whole wheat bread.)

The recipe below contains flaxseed, a superfood full of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), an omega-3 acid. Flaxseed is fiber-rich, promoting digestive health. It offers health benefits such as helping to reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes, lowering bad cholesterol and maintaining healthy blood pressure.

Adding chopped almonds adds fat, fiber and protein to pinole. Almonds also help reduce hunger.

Chia seeds come from a plant called Salvia hispanica. The plant produces very small black and white seeds that also help curb hunger. Chia seeds have a mild and slightly nutty flavor. The tiny seeds are ideal ingredients for pinole since they are full of carbs, fiber and protein, along with vitamins and minerals.


As a bonus, chia seeds have a long shelf life of about two years after a batch is packaged. Store chia seeds in sturdy, airtight containers to extend their shelf life for another year or so.

Making pinole

Pinole only takes seven minutes to make. The recipe below makes four servings with 232 kcals.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup almonds (optional)
  • 2 tbsp brown cane sugar or organic honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder


  1. Heat a cast-iron or stainless steel pan over moderate heat. Don't add oil.
  2. Gradually add the cornmeal and stir at intervals so it toasts evenly and doesn’t catch on the bottom. This will take about 10 minutes. Do this until the cornmeal changes color from white to a soft golden hue.
  3. Add the chia seeds, powdered cinnamon and sugar. Mix the ingredients while the pan is still over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the stove once the mixture is evenly toasted.
  4. If you're using honey, mix the cornmeal, chia seeds and cinnamon first. Add the honey when you're ready to eat the pinole or use it in a recipe.
  5. Let the pinole cool before storing it in an airtight container.

Pinole drink

You can use pinole to make a unique, gritty drink. Pinole from the recipe above can be used to make 20 mugs of pinole drink, with 46 calories per serving.

Add a tablespoon of the pinole mix to a cup of boiling water. Add a teaspoon or two of honey, stir, then let the mixture rest for 10 minutes before drinking.

If you don't want a pinole drink that's too gritty, omit the flaxseed and almonds from the basic pinole recipe.

Pinole porridge

The basic pinole recipe above yields four servings of pinole porridge with 232 calories per small bowl.

To make the porridge, add the pinole to a cup of water. Pinole porridge will make you feel full for a long time and it contains healthy carbs and proteins.

You can also serve pinole porridge with berries and plain yogurt.

Make nutrient-rich pinole at home and try pinole drinks or porridge to boost your energy during an emergency. Learn more prepping recipes that use natural ingredients at

Sources include:

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