Zucchini Pasta

Zucchini pasta adds sneaky vegetables while being naturally gluten-free, grain-free (paleo) and low carb!  I find zucchini is a very versatile vegetable in the kitchen as it is easily accessible, affordable and contains fibre, vitamin C,  vitamin B6 and manganese. This zucchini pasta can be used raw or cooked – use it instead of pasta or noodles in a pasta or stir fry.
This easy zucchini pasta recipe is suitable for those requiring meals that are PALEO, GRAIN FREE, GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, LOW FODMAPs.
zucchini pasta
What you  need for zucchini pasta…
Serves:  4
6-8 zucchinis
salt and pepper, to tasteveggie twister
Make the magic happen…

  • Cut zucchinis into ribbons, spirals or julienne strips. The easiest way to do this is to use a Veggie Twister like the one pictured to the right.  I bought mine on eBay but most kitchen shops will sell them.  A Julienne peeler will work just as well though.

 

  • Once zucchini’s are sliced, place into saucepan and cover with water plus an extra 3-4cm water. Bring water to a rapid boil. Remove from heat and pour zucchini through a strainer immediately.  Do not overcook or they will be soggy!  Serve warm with a sauce or topping such as our Pesto Pasta.

Coconut Oil – is it actually good for you?

Coconut oil has traditionally been seen as an unhealthy oil to use in cooking due to its high content of saturated fat. It is generally accepted that a diet high in saturated fat will raise cholesterol, therefore those with high cholesterol or even a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol have been advised tococonut-oil avoid coconut oil or foods cooked with it.  But, in recent years, several studies have begun to look closer at the health benefits of coconut as an exception to this rule. Coconut may actually be beneficial to health and may not need to be avoided.

Coconut oil is a solid fat at room temperature and it contains 97% saturated fat.  Due to its high saturated fat content, many nutrition experts have recommended avoiding this fat in diet. But, it is important to understand that there are many different types of saturated fats and not all of them act the same in the body. Coconut oil is made up of a type of saturated fat known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), such as lauric and myristic acid.  This type of saturated fat is different from the saturated fat found in animal fat which contains long-chain triglycerides which have a different molecular structure from the MCTs.  MCTs have been actually shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and lower total cholesterol.  One 2003 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry found that virgin coconut oil lowered the total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides and VLDL in rats. Researchers believe that this is due to the polyphenols in the coconut oil, which may act as an antioxidant, helping lower cholesterol. MCTs may also help reduce body fat by suppressing certain fat-producing genes.

Coconut oil may also be good to keep skin healthy. It is an excellent moisturizer and is high in Vitamin E. It can also be used to moisturize dry hair with split ends. If you are going to use it as a skin moisturizer use a very small amount as it goes a long way. It may also be important to test a small amount on one area just to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction.

Although this research is positive for improving the reputation of coconut oil, don’t believe all the hype. Coconut oil promoters believe that coconut oil is the miracle cure we have all been waiting for to get rid of all illnesses. Many books, websites, and so-called experts claim that coconut oil can do everything from helping you lose weight to curing pancreatitis, diabetes, and even HIV. Although coconut oil may not be as bad as originally thought, it is not miraculous either, so be cautious with claims that seem too good to be true.

Should you cook with coconut oil?

Coconut oil should be used with caution. Remember that regardless of its effect on cholesterol, it still contains 100 calories per tablespoon, like most fats. Coconut oil is a good option for cooking at high temperatures or for baking, since it is a saturated fat it is more stable when heated to high temperatures.  Due to its plant origin, coconut oil may be a better choice than most animal-derived saturated fats such as lard. Overall, coconut may not be the “evil” food we used to believe it was, but no matter what new research might say about it, moderation is always the key to any healthy diet.

 

Low Carb Spaghetti Bolognaise

Serves – 4

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garli,c chopped
2 x 120g lean mince (try kangaroo!)
1 large carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 x 500g jar low carb pasta sauce – Leggo’s spaghetti sauce with beef  OR  tinned tomato passata
6 green zucchini
6 yellow zucchini
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
freshly ground pepper to taste
pinch of sea salt (optional)
light spray of olive oil (optional)

Directions

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in a little water until softened. Add the mince and cook, stirring constantly for 5 mins, until browned. Add carrot and celery and cook for a further 5 minuted, adding a little water if necessary.
  2. Stir through low carb pasta sauce. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 mins.
  3. While sauce is cooking, use a potato peeler on the zucchini to create spaghetti
  4. Just before serving, blanch zucchini in a pinch of sea salt (optional) and bring water to the boil for 1 min to heat through, then drain.
  5. Toss with a light spray of olive oil (optional) and a tablespoon of the parsley.  Keep warm.
  6. Season saute with pepper. Fold in the rest of the chopped parsley just before serving.
  7. Divide zucchini spaghetti into serving bowls and top with bolognaise sauce.

 

OTHER IDEAS:

 ** Alternative to making spaghetti bolognaise is to make mince into a meatball mixture.  Add the below ingredients to the mince and roll to form meatballs.  Cook in a non-stick fry pan until becoming golden brown then continue at Step 2 to continue cooking meatballs in the tomato pasta sauce.

  • 1 egg
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • ¼ tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • pepper,
  • rosemary
  • basil
  • thyme

** Alternative to zucchini is to use carrot, cabbage (prepared in the same way) or SPAGHETTI SQUASH.  Directions for preparation of spaghetti squash as below.  (This was inspired by my client Gill who gave me her home grown spaghetti squash!)

  1. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a skewer so it will not burst while baking.
  2. Place whole squash in a shallow baking pan.
  3. Bake in preheated 180*C oven for 1 hour.
  4. When cool enough to handle, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise with a serrated knife.
  5. Scoop the seeds and fibrous strings from the centre of the cooked spaghetti squash
  6. Gently scrape the tines of a kitchen fork around the edge of the spaghetti squash to shred the pulp into strands.
  7. Cooked spaghetti squash is usually served with a sauce or gravy because the flesh is very bland in flavour.