So You want to cook with mealworms.
I haven’t posted a recipe in approximately… forever months. “How do I cook with bugs?” (beginner level) is still one of the most frequent questions I get, and I’m sorry I’ve failed you on the prompt responses front there! 💡👀🌐
I CAN refer you to the websites of most insect brands – if you’re supporting a company by buying product directly from their site (which you should!), make sure you check out the “recipe” tab on their site – tons of dope recipes featuring their bugs in salads, sauces, smoothies, baked goods, and more! 🐛🐜🦗
In the meantime, I’ve included some simple recipes here below. As a rule of thumb, I like to take basic recipes and replace the crunchy element (croutons or nuts) or the protein element (in tacos, for example) with bugs! 🔄
(OH! Also – you can check out my show Cooking with Critters on the ON! Channel for more easy bug recipes!)
How do mealworms taste?
Much like crickets and many other whole roasted, dried insects, mealworms are sometimes considered flavor vehicles. They have a natural, earthy or nutty flavor but really take on the seasoning applied (think: potato chip varieties). They also vary based on their diet and other system parameters based on how they are raised.
Fun fact: mealworms are not actually worms, but rather the larval stages of the darkling beetle. Mealworms have one of my favorite plain flavors, with a nutty taste and a light, crunchy texture (earthier and nuttier like toasted roasted nuts). Their aroma is musty or earthy, reminiscent of the smell of parsnips pulled fresh from the ground. As such, one could say their flavor is close to lightly salted parsnip crisps, with a walnut-juice/almond dry subtle sweetness at the finish. Others describe mealworms as having a smell reminiscent of walking through a country farm.
See below for some basic mealworm recipes:
Mealworm Lentil Salad
Mealworm Lentil Salad
- ½ can 15 oz. lentils
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup chives
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup parsley
- ¼ cup roasted mealworms and/or grasshoppers
- Olive oil, salt, pepper to taste
- Rinse and drain lentils. Halve/quarter cherry tomatoes. Slice chives.
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl and toss to combine.
- Add in bugs and vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Stir and serve immediately or refrigerate to develop the flavors more.
Mealworm Mini Pizza
- English muffins
- Sweet peppers
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Pizza Sauce
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
- Place english muffins on a baking sheet
- Chop/slice toppings
- Top with spinach, peppers, cheese, and critters, dividing evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake until cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
Mealworm Soba Salad
Cold Soba “Salad” with Mealworms
- 1 package soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
- Sliced cucumber
- Sliced carrots
- Sliced radish
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Mealworms to taste
- Sesame seeds to taste
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- Cook soba according to package instructions. Drain.
- Thinly slice cucumber, carrots, radish, and chives to taste.
- In a bowl, combine cucumber, carrots, radish, chives, lemon juice, and oil. Add soba; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Toss with mealworms and serve.
Spicy Mealworm Mac N' Cheese
Spicy Mealworm Mac N’ Cheese
- 1 (8 ounce) box elbow macaroni
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Mealworms to taste
- Chili powder to taste
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 8 minutes. Drain.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour milk into butter-flour mixture while continuously stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Add Cheddar cheese to milk mixture and stir until cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Fold macaroni into cheese sauce until coated. Sprinkle mealworms and chili powder on top.