Inspiralized Zucchini Noodles with Mint Pesto

A low glycemic alternative to pasta with a vegan’s take on pesto.

Once summer hits in British Columbia, farmers’ markets are in full swing. There is bountiful produce to enjoy, especially if you grow your own veggies or herbs. This recipe makes use of several market goodies: zucchini, tomatoes, mint, basil and garlic. Zucchini noodles are a low glycemic alternative to pasta and, for pesto-lovers, I have created a vegan, mint version high in flavour and healthy fats. Mint can help aid digestion and may even lower cholesterol. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment or sharing your versions with me @phruitfuldish.

Mint growing in garden.JPG
Mint growing in my parents’ garden.

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • cherry tomatoes
  • spiralizer (or sharp knife)

Mint Pesto

How to:

  1. If using a spiralizer, cut both ends of zucchini off and get to work! Otherwise, cut zucchini into thin slices.
  2. Wrap zucchini in paper towel to absorb excess liquid.
  3. Use a food processor to combine basil, mint, walnuts, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice until a smooth paste is formed.
  4. Combine zucchini with pesto and mix well. I added spoonfuls of pesto slowly until I reached the ratio I wanted, which resulted in half the pesto leftover.
  5. Add veggies, like tomatoes, or a high-protein source, such as beans or legumes, if you’d like to make this a meal. Enjoy your minty zoodles!
Pesto Zoodles
Zucchini Noodles with Mint Pesto

PCOS Powers:

  • zucchini = low glycemic alternative to pasta, anti-inflammatory, high in potassium which can help reduce blood pressure, fiber which can help lower cholesterol and polyphenols which may beneficially affect thyroid, adrenal and insulin regulation
  • walnuts = no cholesterol, high in unsaturated fats which help reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, help prevent cardiovascular disease
  • mint = aids indigestion, may help manage cholesterol
  • extra virgin olive oilanti-inflammatory, can manage cholesterol levels, studies show 1-2 tbsp a day can lower risk of certain types of cancers
  • garlic = helps lower cholesterol, an antibiotic, & blood cleanser which relaxes blood vessels for easier blood flow
PIN FOR LATER:

Zucchini Noodles with Mint Pesto (Vegan, Low-Glycemic)

My Matcha Life

Spaghetti Squash Boats (Low-Glycemic)

Low-glycemic ‘pasta’ dish in a fun boat.

Spaghetti squash is the perfect winter vegetable for PCOS fighters. Unlike many other squash varieties, spaghetti squash is low on the glycemic index and high in fiber. Both of these properties allow spaghetti squash to help stabilize blood sugar levels. It is also high in beta-carotene which may increase chances of conceiving by protecting the ovaries from free radicals (damage from free radicals interferes with progesterone production)¹. Additionally, one study found that people with the highest levels of carotenoids were least likely to develop diabetes or insulin resistance². This recipe will fill two squash boats, and may provide leftovers for the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup of corn, frozen or canned
  • 1-2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • basil to garnish

veggielayoutHow to:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
  2. Cut squash in half length-wise with a large, sharp knife (carefully, please!) This was tricky (I have seen a few recipes cook the entire squash first before cutting which I may try next time).
  3. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  4. Brush inner flesh with olive oil.
  5. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with the cut side down .
  6. Cook in oven for 35 minutes (any longer will make the squash soggy).
  7. Meanwhile, chop onion and garlic. Set aside.
  8. Prepare and rinse other ingredients (beans, corn, spinach, basil).
  9. Once 35 minutes is up, carefully pull baking sheet out of the oven (I found that the pan was surprisingly heavy and tippy).
  10. Flip over squash and let cool for 20 minutes.Spaghetti Squash Boats
  11. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet.
  12. Stir in beans, corn, and spices.
  13. Once squash is cool enough to touch, scrape out the inside flesh with a fork (should look like stringy spaghetti!).
  14. Finally add the squash and spinach to the skillet.Spaghetti Squash Boats
  15. Scoop veggie mixture into the squash bowls and serve.

PCOS Powers:

  • garlic = helps lower cholesterol, an antibiotic, & blood cleanser which relaxes blood vessels for easier blood flow
  • ginger = anti-inflammatory, may help decrease fasting blood glucose and HbA1c
  • onion = promotes liver detoxification, improves digestion & is high in chromium which helps maintain healthy blood glucose levels
  • spinach = high in calcium which helps alkalize acidity caused by inflammation and impaired glucose tolerance, high in magnesium which some women with PCOS are deficient in
  • turmeric = anti-inflammatory, helps lower blood glucose levelsSpaghetti Squash BoatsReferences:
  1. Schweigert, FJ et al., Concentrations of carotenoids, retinol and a-tocopherol in plasma and follicular fluid of women undergoing IVF. Human Reproduction. 2003, 18(6):1259-1264.
  2. Ford ES et al., Diabetes mellitus and serum carotenoids: findings from the third national health and nutrition examination survey. Am J Epidemiol. 1999, 149:168-176.

Cauliflower Kale Avocado Soup

The 3 primary ingredients are all nutritional powerhouses and PCOS-fighters.

Determining whether a meal is healthy can be complicated depending who you ask. In this case, however, there isn’t much to debate. The primary ingredients of this soup (cauliflower, kale and avocado) are all nutritional powerhouses and PCOS-fighters. By pureeing vegetables like cauliflower you can achieve a creamy soup without dairy or flour. In addition, unlike many soups this recipe is very low in sodium. Roasting the cauliflower, garlic and onion first helps achieve a richer flavor (and makes your home smell really good!). I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Cauliflower Kale Avocado Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower head, broken into florets
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (& extra to drizzle as garnish)
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 4 cups water (approx.)
  • A few handfuls of kale torn into chunks, organic if possible
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • salt to taste (I didn’t add any)

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, thyme and cumin.
  3. In a large bowl drizzle the olive oil mixture over cauliflower, onion, and garlic, and then toss all together to coat vegetables.
  4. Transfer all to a baking sheet and cook in oven about 20 min or longer. The garlic may need to be taken out before the rest.
  5. Once cauliflower is golden, remove from oven and turn oven off.
  6. Blend cauliflower, onion and garlic in a blender or food processor adding water until smooth. Transfer to pot on stove on low heat and simmer.
  7. Blend avocado and kale with water until smooth.
  8. Add avo/kale mixture to the pot on the stove.
  9. Serve once you have reached your desired consistency (adding water to thin it).
  10. Optional: Throw seeds or nuts on it for extra protein.

PCOS Powers:

  • cauliflower = anti-inflammatory, low on the glycemic index, & contains sulforaphane which improves blood pressure, kidney function and may prevent cancer
  • avocado = helps lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, low on the glycemic index, high in fiber, & high in B-complex vitamins which combat stress
  • kale = anti-inflammatory, high in fiber, & high in calcium which is important for egg maturation and follicle development
  • garlic = helps lower cholesterol, an antibiotic, & blood cleanser which relaxes blood vessels for easier blood flow
  • onion = promotes liver detoxification, improves digestion & is high in chromium which helps maintain healthy blood glucose levels

 PIN FOR LATER:

Cauliflower Kale Avocado Soup