Superfood in the spotlight: Zucchini
Zucchini originated in the Americas and was brought to Europe, with highlight to Italian cuisine, in the late 19 century. The super-squash can be prepared in an array of recipes: fried with special dips, grilled, stewed or even stuffed and baked in the oven.
They are very low on calories (17 calories per 100 grams) and high in folate, provitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium. Among its health benefits you’ll find antioxidant properties, protection against free radicals and the capacity to reduce cholesterol levels.
Eating this fruit can help protect your eyes against dangerous rays, due to the presence of phytonutrients that promote healthy eyesight (coming from the carrot family, zucchini is a great source of carotenoids). It works as a natural anti-inflammatory and thanks to the presence of omega-3 fats in the seeds, it’s believed to play a role in preventing type 2 diabetes.
To enjoy this amazing superfood in a different, fresh and raw dish follow this amazing recipe by Stacey from goodnessis.com (inspired by Vibrant Food) and see just how much healthy zucchini noodles behave so similar to carb-heavy pasta.
Raw Zucchini Pasta
2 large/800 g of mixed zucchinis (yellow and green are a nice combination)
1 tsp fine Himalayan salt
1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours)
2 tbsp of water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp of fresh mint leaves
freshly ground pepper
raw pine nut parmesan for sprinkling
- Wash, dry and cut the ends off the zucchinis. Take a box grater and place it on its side with the side with the largest grating holes on it face up. With pressure, push the zucchini along the top of grater, in long strokes in order to create long, thin ribbons of zucchini.
- Sprinkle the zucchini with the salt, toss gently, and place in a colander over a bowl for 20 minutes, allowing the excess liquid in the zucchinis to drain. Carefully and gently squeeze the zucchinis over the colander. Pat with a clean, absorbent kitchen towel to dry and soak up more of the liquid.
- Drain the soaked cashew nuts. Place in a high-speed blender or food processor with the water, vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add the basil, parsley and mint leaves and blend again until the herbs are well mixed together.
- Using your hands, gently toss the squash with about three quarters of the dressing. Sprinkle over the pine nut parmesan, a few rounds of fresh pepper and toss again, using more dressing if needed.
- To serve, garnish with more pine nut parmesan and small leaves of basil and mint. This dish is best served immediately.
PINE NUT PARMESAN
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp unhulled sesame seed
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (sold in the UK under Engevita & in Australia it is
called savoury yeast flakes)
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
- In a small food processor/upright blender, add the pine nuts, sesame, sunflower seeds, lemon zest, nutritional yeast and salt.
- Grind until coarsely ground (I like it quite coarse with a few seeds whole for a little surprise crunch). Check seasonings and adjust to your liking.
- Pour into a jar and store in the fridge.