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.
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
spiralizer (or sharp knife)
If using a spiralizer, cut both ends of zucchini off and get to work! Otherwise, cut zucchini into thin slices.
Wrap zucchini in paper towel to absorb excess liquid.
Use a food processor to combine basil, mint, walnuts, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice until a smooth paste is formed.
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.
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!
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
A low-glycemic, raw, vegan dessert just in time for summer solstice.
In anticipation for summer solstice I made these summery vegan cheesecakes which are low-glycemic, raw, vegan and gluten-free. Both lemons and lavender scream summer to me. Lemons are known for boosting our immune systems and improving digestion. They may also improve insulin and liver function. Lavender is commonly used in aromatherapy for its relaxation properties, however, the scientific evidence is limited. This herb can also be eaten and is a small source of calcium and iron.
Maple syrup and dates are two of my favourite natural sweeteners when trying to make healthier desserts. They are both low on the glycemic index which means they help manage blood sugar levels better than other sweeteners (ex. sugar, honey). This is especially important for women with PCOS who are predisposed to developing metabolic syndrome.
Ingredients (makes 12):
1 cup nuts (I used a mix of walnuts, almonds and cashews)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup dates
2 cups cashews, pre-soaked in water for 4 hrs
1/2 cup lemon juice (I used 3 small organic lemons)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tspns dried culinary lavender
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
Use parchment paper to oil muffin pan with coconut oil (prevents sticking).
Place long strips of parchment paper in each muffin mold for easier removal (I saw the Minimalist Baker do this and I think it is genius).
Process dates, nuts and chia seeds together in a food processor until you get a rough, sticky mixture.
Transfer spoonfuls of the mixture into the muffin pan and push down firmly and evenly. Set in freezer.
Blend all filling ingredients together in a blender until smooth and creamy. You may need to add liquid to help out (ex. almond milk).
Take muffin pan out of freezer and scoop filling on top of each crust, smoothing out to pop air bubbles. I used a 1/4 measuring cup to distribute the filling to each mold and then went back over with a spoon to even them out.
Decorate if desired (I decorated half with lavender before freezing and the other half with lemons after freezing).
Set in the freezer for at least 5 hours.
Gently pull each cake out holding the wax paper. The wax paper will make indents which I smoothed out easily.
Serve or store in freezer or fridge.
low-glycemic = helps maintain blood sugar levels
lemon juice = contains vitamin C which boosts immune system, helps improve digestion, may improve insulin function, boosts liver function
tree nuts = no cholesterol, high in unsaturated fats which help reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, help prevent cardiovascular disease
chia seeds = high in omega-3s which can help decrease high testosterone and improve egg quality
coconut oil = anti-inflammatory, may positively impact thyroid function, may improve cholesterol profiles by increasing HDL cholesterol, its use is controversial in the scientific community due to high saturated fat content so I use in moderation
Happy Solstice! I would love to see how you recreate this vegan cheesecake! Please share your photos with me on Instagram: @phruitfuldish
Call me a rebel but I like eating salad for breakfast. Spinach is the featured ingredient in this smoothie bowl because it is a champion at providing many vitamins and minerals including the following inflammation-fighters: vitamins K, A, C and B6. It’s also an excellent source of folate, magnesium, and calcium. I included vitamin C-rich strawberries to help with iron absorption (if you are trying to boost your iron intake, greens like kale and swiss chard may be more beneficial than spinach). Most uniquely, spinach contains various plant compounds including kaempferol, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, and nitrates, which have been shown to decrease blood pressure.
Avocado is the other green superfood featured in this breakfast bowl. A meta-analysis published earlier this year concluded that including avocado in our diets can assist in lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Also, its omega-3 content can help lower inflammation.
P.S. This smoothie bowl is banana-free! Previously, frozen bananas were my not-so-secret ingredient for achieving a thick consistency, however, in an effort to decrease my banana consumption I have discovered dairy-free yogurt makes a great alternative. Do you have other ideas for replacing frozen bananas? Let me know in the comments below!
The full recipe can be found in my vegan eBook: Cooking with Compassion – 30 Vegan, Gluten-Free Recipes to Nourish Ourselves, Our Families & Our Planet
spinach = anti-inflammatory, low glycemic index, anti-cancer effects, excellent source of magnesium & calcium, avoid large amounts if prone to kidney stones or taking blood thinners
avocado = anti-inflammatory, low glycemic index, high in fiber, may help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and maintain normal serum total cholesterol levels, contains glutathione which has anti-carcinogenic properties and may boost immunity