Have you ever thought of trying one of the many liver recipes on the net? No? Is it because you can’t get past the ‘Yuck factor’?
I get it – liver is an acquired taste. But don’t worry; learning to love liver isn’t really that hard. Especially after you try one of the mouth-watering recipes listed in this article.
In this article, I’ll debunk some common liver myths that don’t seem to want to die. You’ll also discover why liver is nature’s most potent superfood (one that doesn’t come from exotic countries and can be acquired for a few dollars). And of course, I’ll share recipes you absolutely need to try.
Liver recipes: what’s in it for you?
People are often sceptic when they hear that the liver is a nutrient powerhouse. But numbers don’t lie. Here are all the nutrients you can get from 100g of raw beef liver:
- Protein: 20.36g
- Fat: 3.63g
- Carbohydrate: 3.89g
- Phosphorus: 387mg
- Potassium: 313mg
- Magnesium: 18.0mg
- Copper: 12.0mg
- Calcium: 5.0mg
- Iron: 4.90mg
- Zinc: 4.00mg
- Vitamin A: 16,898IU [Vitamin A, RAE: 4,968μg]
- Vitamin D: 49IU
- Niacin: 13.175mg
- Vitamin C: 1.3mg
- Pantothenic acid: 8.8mg
- Vitamin B6: 1.083mg
- Riboflavin: 4.19mg
- Vitamin E: 0.38mg
- Folate: 290μg
- Vitamin B12: 59.3μg
- Vitamin K: 3.1μg
Health benefits of eating liver
1. Eating liver can help ward off anemia
Discussing the various causes of anemia is beyond the scope of this article. But if you suffer from vitamin B12 or iron deficiency anemia, consuming liver 3 to 5 times per week can help improve your symptoms.
In my practice, I usually advise anemic patients to skip iron supplements and get more liver in their diet. Blood tests usually improve dramatically within a week.
2. Liver contains an anti-fatigue factor
Exhausted? Instead of reaching out for some chemical-laden energy drink, you may want to try eating more liver.
In a lab study, researchers reported that rats who consumed powdered liver were able to swim much longer (from 63 minutes to 2 hours) compared to rats fed a basic rat with or without supplemental vitamin B complex. The rats in the control group swam for an average of 13.3 minutes before giving up.
The ‘mysterious’ nutrient is nothing else but vitamin K2!
3. Eating liver nourishes your liver
Our liver helps to neutralize and eliminate various toxins from the body. (This article describes the innate liver detox mechanisms in more details.)
To do its job effectively, our liver relies on various nutrients including vitamin A, zinc, B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, and pantothenic acid), glycine, methionine, cysteine, and glutamic acid.
And guess what? You can get all these nutrients by consuming liver!
Now that you know what makes the liver amazing, let’s bust some myths.
Myth 1: Liver recipes? Why would I want to eat toxins?
‘But the liver stores toxins!’
This is the most common response of patients when I tell them to get more liver in their diet. Most people see the liver as a filter that traps and stores toxins and poisons. Therefore, they believe that consuming liver would be like ingesting the animal’s toxins.
But the truth is that the liver is SO much more than a simple filter that accumulates toxins. This stunning organ plays many important roles. For instance, it acts like a ‘chemical processing plant’ which transforms toxins into water-soluble substances that can be easily eliminated from the body.
If the liver is unable to neutralize and eliminate certain toxic substances, the body will store it in fatty tissues and the nervous system.
Moreover, as mentioned earlier, the liver contains various nutrients that can help your liver rapidly get rid of toxins that have accumulated in your body.
[color-box]Take home messages: The liver does not store toxins – it processes these toxins to ease excretion from the body.[/color-box]
Myth 2: Liver recipes are only worth trying if the liver comes from grass-fed, organic, or free-range animals.
Consider yourself blessed if you can get your hands on livers coming from grass-fed or free-range animals. If that’s unavailable, then try organic calves, beef, and chicken liver.
However, if conventional liver is your only option, then it’s still better than no liver at all. If you live in the U.S., opt for conventional calves’ liver – in the U.S., beef cattle are raised on pasture during their first few months.
And remember, although grass-fed and free-range liver are more nutrient dense than conventional liver, even conventional liver is nutrient rich.
This being said, animals raised on pastures in the vicinity of industrial waste dumping grounds are exposed to more heavy metals and pollutants. As such, their livers could hold higher levels of heavy metals and toxins. But so would the muscle meat and all other cuts of the animals.
[color-box]Take home message: Conventional liver is the next best thing if liver from grass-fed, free-range, or organic animals are not available. However, you want to steer clear of any cuts of meat (not only the liver) that come from animals raised near industrial dumping grounds.[/color-box]
Myth 3: Pregnant ladies shouldn’t try liver recipes.
Pregnant women are often advised not to eat liver because of its high vitamin A content.
Yes, it is true that some studies indicate that moderate amounts of synthetic vitamin A (that is, supplementing with vitamin A) can cause issues and even birth defects. But the type of vitamin A in the liver is natural and will not cause toxicity since the liver also contains vitamin D and K. These two vitamins work together to prevent vitamin A toxicity.
Moreover, a 1999 study reported no congenital malformations among 120 infants exposed to more than 50,000IU of vitamin A per day.
[color-box]Take home message: Liver consumption is safe (and highly beneficial) during pregnancy.[/color-box]
Myth 4: Liver recipes are unhealthy since they’re loaded with cholesterol.
It is true that the liver is rich in cholesterol. But this will not increase your blood levels of cholesterol. Translation: Eating liver will not increase your risks of heart disease.
Consuming wheat, refined carbohydrates, and industrial seed oils will make you more vulnerable to a host of complications including heart issues.
Myth 5: People with gout shouldn’t try liver recipes.
Uric acid is formed when purines from foods such as liver are broken down. And one of the markers of gout is high uric acid levels. Therefore, the conventional belief is that people suffering from gout need to avoid consuming purine-rich foods like liver.
But the truth is that consuming dietary purines helps the body excrete excess uric acid. In other words, eliminating liver if you have gout is unlikely to solve your issues.
Check out this article on natural remedies for gout if you want to learn more about the real causes of gout.
Myth 6: Besides eating liver, there are no other ways of getting liver in your diet.
You can take desiccated liver in capsule form. Simply swallow the capsule with water or open the capsule and add the contents to broths, soups, smoothies, and gravies.
However, you want to make sure to choose a brand that uses liver from grass-fed animals and which is certified to be hormone-free and pesticide-free.
The downside with encapsulated beef liver is that it is expensive since you’ll need to take quite a few capsules to get a therapeutic dose.
[color-box]Take home message: If you aren’t up for the ‘eating liver’ challenge, you can benefit from all the same nutrients as fresh liver by taking encapsulated beef liver. But these are costly.[/color-box]
Ready to get more of this impressive organ meat in your diet? Try one (or all) of the following mouth-watering liver recipes.
Feeling brave enough to give this liver smoothie a try? With the amount of ingredients needed for this recipe, you’ll be having a huge batch on your hands. So, when prepping it for the first time, you’ll want to go easy on the ingredients.
Don’t worry, this detox smoothie doesn’t have a liver-y taste. It’ll be like having a vegetable smoothie with a slightly bitter taste.
- As leafy greens, you can use kale, arugula salad or even chard.
- Instead of MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil, use extra virgin coconut oil. Yes, MCT oil is easier to digest than coconut oil. But it does not contain lauric acid, a type of fatty acid with potent antimicrobial activity against gram positive bacteria and a number of fungi and viruses. If you have digestive, liver, or gallbladder issues, you may want to try digestive enzymes and ox bile. Of course, get the green lights from your doctor first.
Tip: Save time by washing, peeling, and chopping your veggies and fruits beforehand. Once you’re done, store them in individual zip lock bags and refrigerate them for later use.
Get ready to have your socks knocked off with this amazing smoothie shot! You may not believe it but frozen strawberries and raw liver go great together. Thanks to those juicy strawberries, you really can’t taste the liver.
- To add some more flavor to this shot, add some honey and cocoa in your blender.
- Blend the liver with some full fat coconut milk. Either make your own coconut milk or select a BPA-free brand that is unsweetened and does not contain added fillers and chemicals.
In the video below, you’ll learn how to choose the right coconut and how to make your own coconut milk.
Here’s a simple liver salad that’s bursting with flavors and goodness. The sweet potatoes, fresh mint and pomegranate juice instantly elevate this liver recipe. While this Moroccan salad tastes great on its own, it tastes even better with a dip or vinaigrette like the hazelnut and raisins vinaigrette below.
For this hazelnut and raisins vinaigrette, you will need:
- Raw hazelnuts (¼ cup)
- Water (¼ cup)
- Extra-virgin olive oil (2 tablespoons)
- White balsamic vinegar (2 tablespoons)
- Organic raisins (1 tablespoon)
- Himalayan salt to taste
To make this vinaigrette, simply blend together all the above ingredients until you’re left with a creamy dressing.
- You can tweak this recipe by coating your chicken livers with some almond flour before frying them. Then, just before they finish cooking, add in some scrambled eggs.
Prepped with coconut flour, apple cider vinegar, spinach, and watercress, this refreshing salad can be ready in under 30 minutes. Simply perfect for summer nights!
If you don’t do well with coconut (or if you just don’t have any on hand), you can replace the coconut flour with some almond flour.
- You can sub the blackberries with some pomegranate seeds or blueberries for a different twist on this dish.
C. Beef and Liver Burgers
This beef liver recipe has so much flavor and texture that you’ll change your mind about liver.
Not sure how to prepare beef stock? Just follow the instructions below.
- Roast a large amount of beef bones for about 30 minutes at 375oF.
- Place these bones in a crock-pot on low heat and cover them completely with cold water.
- Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to it.
- Let it cook for at least 6 hours.
Tip: Do not add any seasoning to your stock so that you can add it to different dishes.
Serving suggestion: This Italian style dish tastes delish with some mashed cauliflower.
This ready-in-30-minutes liver burger features ground grass-fed beef, ground liver, and some seasoning. Pretty simply, right?
Jazz up these rosemary burgers by adding the following ingredients to the recipe:
- Red onion, sliced (1 large)
- Sweet onion, sliced (1 large)
- Paprika, cumin, garlic and onion powder (1 tablespoon)
- Coconut flour (2 tablespoons)
- Whisked egg (1 large)
If you don’t like the taste of rosemary, try this ground beef and chicken liver recipe. These burgers provide you with a hidden flavor burst thanks to its coriander and red onions. And when you pair them with some tangy sauce, they become so addictive!
To prep 1 cup of homemade burger sauce, you will need:
- Mayonnaise (1 cup)
- Ketchup (4 tablespoons)
- Diced pickle (2 tablespoons)
- Ground mustard (2 teaspoons)
- Lime juice (2 teaspoons)
- Garlic powder (½ teaspoon)
- Onion powder (½ teaspoon)
- Vinegar (½ teaspoon)
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
Whisk together all your ingredients until you obtain a smooth sauce. Then, cover it and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Don’t have poultry seasoning? Simply use some minced fresh parsley, paprika, dried oregano, and minced garlic instead.
D. Liver Meatballs and Meatloaf
Don’t care for the taste of liver? Then, this recipe is just the one you need!
- For spicier meatballs, replace the ground cinnamon with some cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes.
If you’re a fan of Mexican foods, you’ll totally appreciate the deliciousness of this meatloaf. Lemon juice, almond flour, raw cacao powder and various spices blend perfectly well to give you an explosion of goodness.
Good to know: This meatloaf cannot be frozen because of all the stuffed fresh veggies.
- If beef isn’t your thing, just sub the ground beef with some ground chicken and the beef livers with chicken livers. You’ll have similar results but the color and flavor of your dish will be fairly different.
- Can’t eat meat without sauce? Avocado, tomatoes, black olives, fresh coriander, onions, cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper, make the perfect combo for a great tasting salsa.
E. Sautéed, Crispy Spiced and Grilled Liver
In this recipe, you’ll find that sautéing the chicken liver in some butter tones its slightly metallic flavor down a notch.
Bring this simple recipe to a completely new level by using my coconut flour tweak.
- Coconut flour (1/8 cup)
- Dried oregano (1 teaspoon)
- Granulated garlic (1 teaspoon)
Proceed as follows:
- Whisk together the above dry ingredients and those found in the ‘sautéed chicken liver’ recipe in a bowl.
- Add the chicken livers to the mixture of ingredients, making sure that they’re evenly coated.
- In a frying pan, heat the butter over medium heat and then, gently add the chicken livers.
- Let each chicken liver fry for about 3 minutes before flipping them over for another 3 minutes.
Get ready to experience a flavor party in your mouth with the delicious flavors of paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and dried oregano.
Great to know: To avoid splattering and popping when cooking the livers in a hot iron skillet, use a splat screen. When you need to flip them over, just lower the heat, flip them, put the screen back on and increase the heat once again.
Tip for success: Before adding the chicken livers to your skillet, make sure that the oil is hot enough. Failing to do so will result in a lack of crispiness.
- Don’t have enough blanched almond meal? Just sub it with ½ cup of tapioca starch.
Still feeling a bit hesitant about trying chicken liver? I totally get you. How about this simple liver skewers recipe and lemon butter sauce?
Great to know: When you know exactly how to prep chicken liver, this offal meat can be tender, moist and unbelievably juicy. Cooking it for too long will make it tough, grainy and not as tasty. So, make sure that you’re cooking the liver on a very high temperature for a very short time. As such, the inside of the chicken liver will have a nice pink color.
- For a healthier option, replace the soy sauce mentioned in the ‘grilled chicken’ recipe with some coconut aminos.
- If you’re dairy-free, sub the pastured butter needed for the ‘lemon butter sauce’ with some coconut butter.
F. Liver Pâté
This creamy smooth liver pâté easily comes together with some onions, a chopped apple, white pepper, fresh nutmeg, full-fat coconut milk, and coconut oil.
If you don’t like mixing savory with sweet, you’ll definitely want to steer clear from this recipe. Although you can’t taste the coconut at all, the apple will confer a sweet flavor to the liver pâté.
Great to know: Even after one whole month, this pâté stays as good as fresh when stored in the freezer. Just make sure to freeze it in small portions covered with a plastic film whilst avoiding all contact with the surface to prevent it from oxidizing.
- For an extra taste, you may want to add fresh thyme and some pureed cherries.
This lamb liver pate is made using simple ingredients like butter, onions, garlic, sage, oregano and ground pepper.
Did you know? Some people cannot have liver at dinner time because it gives them such an energy boost that they can’t fall asleep! This is due to all the B vitamins in it which can be unbelievably energizing.
Want to avoid grains but don’t know with what to eat your liver pate? Simple. Just eat it on some cucumber or carrot slices.
G. Liver Gravy
Gravy tends to make any meat taste better, don’t you think? Compared to traditional gravies, this chicken liver gravy is much healthier as it doesn’t contain any flour, cornstarch, or dairy product.
- For a thicker gravy, add 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder. Feel free to play with this amount until you’re happy with the consistency.
Liver recipes like this one are filled with so much goodness that they’ll definitely become one of your favorites! The herby gravy and the cauliflower rice round out this yummy dish perfectly.
F. Liver Chili
Diced tomatoes, tomato paste, raspberries, orange bell peppers, Italian squash, and a mix of different seasonings. You can’t really go wrong with these ingredients, can you? This raspberry liver chili is so heart satisfying that you’ll gladly enjoy leftovers for a few more days.
This delicious beef and liver chili calls for coconut oil, juicy tomatoes, bone broth, and apple cider vinegar. That’s all!
Serving suggestion: This Chili pairs amazingly well with grain-free bread made from cassava flour.
G. Liver Spread and Dip
This spread is a brilliant way to get liver-haters to eat some liver.
- Omit the cloves garlic to make your liver spread a little bit sweeter.
This chicken liver dip gives out a delicate aroma thanks to its sea salt, organic Dijon, freshly ground pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika. Ready to make some of your own?
Now, I’d like to know: what’s your favorite way of eating liver?