In a previous salad post, Marnina lamented about how she had not eaten a real salad in many years. For the most part, the only salads that she can eat must consist of cooked veggies and a bit of iceberg lettuce if she feels like her intestines are up to the task. She gets overwhelmingly excited when she finds a salad recipe she can eat, which is exactly what happened when we found a pasta salad made of zucchini instead of real pasta. Zucchini is one of Marnina’s safer veggies, especially because of its soft outer layer and its low-residue nature. Marnina aims for an intake of less than 3 grams of fiber per food item, which is generally considered a low residue/low fiber diet.
The recipe called for a mandolin or handheld slicer, but since we had neither tool, I was cajoled into slicing five zucchinis into spaghetti-like strips. After about 30 minutes of slicing (while Marnina talked away on the phone), I thought I had cut the zucchini strips thin enough. However, Marnina took one look at the strips and declared that they needed to be much thinner. After another 30 minutes of slicing, I made the executive decision that the zucchinis were thin enough, and with a tired arm, threw the zucchini into the pot to be steamed. The recipe calls for everything to be raw, but we steamed the zucchini and shredded beets to make them more digestible and “Marnina-friendly.”
The finished product was absolutely delicious. The steamed zucchini served as a worthy replacement for pasta, and the curried nut pesto turned out to be a delicious sauce. We enjoyed the dish even more the following day after the zucchini had fully marinated in the pesto.
Nutritionally, steaming is much better than other cooking methods for most foods in terms of nutrient retention. Most veggies retain a large amount of their antioxidants after steaming. A study published in “Nutrition Research” in 2008 found that steaming green vegetables greatly improved their ability to bind to bile acids, which improves their cholesterol-lowering potential. The study’s authors recommended regular consumption of steamed vegetables to improve health and nutrition. Also, steaming softens the cell structure and in our opinion, makes the food more palatable.
According to our friend Karen Langston, red beets have unique phytonutrient pigments that provide powerful antioxidants to the body. Beets contain high levels of one of the many essential B vitamins, folate, which is very important for heart health and healthy tissue growth. What’s not to love?
Pictures and recipe are below:
Zucchini Linguine with Curried Nut Pesto
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon curry
- Salt and pepper
- 5 medium zucchini
- Shredded beets
- In a food processor, pulse 1 clove garlic and 1/4 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves. Add 3/4 cup raw cashews, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon curry powder; process until almost smooth and season with salt and pepper. Using a mandoline or handheld slicer fitted with the wide-tooth blade and set to 1/4-inch thickness, slice 5 medium zucchini lengthwise from top to bottom (rotating when you get to the seeds) into thin “noodles.” Toss with the pesto. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. Top with a mound of shredded beets.
Recipe adapted from Every day with Rachael Ray Magazine – http://www.rachaelraymag.com/Recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/side-dish-recipes/zucchini-linguine-with-curried-cashew-pesto