You’re not really living if you’ve never made zucchini into pasta: a recipe
As we head into the colder months, I start to want warm foods. Cooked foods are easier to digest because the nutrients have been partially broken down by the cooking process. Your body spends a large amount of energy on digestion, so when it’s given a break by eating cooked foods, it has more energy to use keeping us warm.
One of my favourite dishes is Zucchini lasagne – created by me, perfected by my amazing husband. It’s naturally gluten free and lower in carbs, so I don’t get any bloating or slumps in energy after eating it. I like mine full of local grass-fed ground beef, lots of veggies, and just a little organic shredded cheese on top, but it is easily adaptable to suite any dietary preferences. Kids love this recipe because most of the vegetables are blended into the sauce so they don’t even notice them (although my kids will eat just about any food now!).
Fresh locally sourced organic ingredients are always best, but just always do your best with the time, energy, and resources you have. I like to use canned tomatoes in this recipe because they’re easy to keep on hand, but fresh roma tomatoes would be lovely as well!
Visit your local farmers markets and get to know the farmers there to source as much of your food as possible. Look for animals raised with love and respect, giving them lots of time outdoors with space to move freely, and the most natural and good quality food possible. If you are what you eat, then you are also what your food eats. Not only will you and your family be receiving the most nutrients possible and avoiding many toxic substances contained in most grocery store meat, but you’ll be supporting the hard work of a family raising good food for a living. Support those around you who are doing good things in the world. There are also some great companies that will ship right to your door such as TruLocal and NutraFarms. Here is the recipe:
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (if desired)
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef or vegetarian whole food substitute such as diced mushrooms, cooked brown lentils or beans
- 2 tbsp organic or non-irradiated italian seasoning
- Pepper and sea salt to taste
- 3-4 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 large or 2 medium sized cooking onions, roughly chopped
- 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
- 2 celery stocks, roughly chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 medium sized zucchini, sliced with mandolin
- 1 cup organic mozzarella or white cheddar cheese, shredded (Use nutritional yeast instead if avoiding dairy)
- In a high-powered blender, throw in the garlic, onion, green pepper, celery, canned tomatoes, and tomato paste. Blend until smooth.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the coconut oil until melted. Add the beef or beef substitute and cook until browned.
- When the meat is almost finished cooking, combine the italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and continue cooked until meat is fully cooked through.
- Pour contents of blender into the saucepan with the meat and reduce heat to low. Stir the sauce occasionally until it begins to bubble. Then reduce to simmer.
- Next cut off the ends of zucchini. Using a mandolin, slice the zucchini in thin slices.
- In a 9×9 glass baking dish, add a thin layer of the sauce. Next, layer the zucchini in the pan, overlapping each piece by almost half. Next add a third of the sauce.
- Continue layering the zucchini and sauce until you have three layers of zucchini and sprinkle the cheese or nutritional yeast on top.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and enjoy! Serves 4-6.
Always remember to practice good meal time habits for optimising digestion and getting the most out of your food. You are not just what you eat, but what you absorb, and it’s difficult to absorb food that you only half chewed! Sit down at the table without any electronics or distractions other than the company of others. Chew your food until it is mush and does not contain any large pieces. Put your fork down in between bites. Avoid drinking a lot of water with your meals. A few sips is fine, but water, especially cold water, greatly inhibits proper digestion.
Peace and good health,
Nutritionist Chelsea xo