From battering and frying cookies and cakes to the “everything’s better with bacon” trend, food fads may not always be good for us. In support of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, Home Care Assistance has organized a 5-part series featuring nutritious – yet delicious – takes on the latest culinary trends.
This Week’s Tasty Trend: Vegan
Trend data suggests that the appeal of vegan dishes is expanding beyond the small group of people who avoid animal products for ethical reasons to include consumers seeking healthier but still flavorful options. Research has found that vegans tend to be at healthier weights with lower cholesterol and blood pressure than meat-eaters.
The below vegan adaption of traditional pasta with pesto uses nutritional yeast in place of cheese, and spaghetti squash in place of pasta. With a cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is a great alternative for the parmesan cheese of traditional pesto sauce. Nutritional yeast is a “complete protein” that contains all the amino acids we need and is also rich in B12 and iron, low in fat and sodium, and free of sugar and gluten.
Pasta, which is composed entirely of carbohydrates, provides close to no nutrition. Spaghetti squash, on the other hand, is not only low in calories but also packed with vitamins A, B, C, E and K, and essential minerals such as calcium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. One cup of the squash contains 10 grams of total carbs and 2.2 grams of fiber.
Vegan Pesto & Squash Pasta
1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2-3 pounds)
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil
2 large garlic cloves
½ cup raw, unsalted pine nuts
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400⁰F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise – if the skin is too tough, you can leave the squash whole and double the cooking time to one hour.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, leaving the flesh. Discard the seeds or save them to roast later – they make a great snack!
- Place the squash halves cut-side down in a roasting pan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook the squash for 30-45 minutes until tender.
- While the squash is cooking, blend all of the other ingredients together in a food processor to create the pesto.
- When the squash is tender, use a fork to scrape out and separate the flesh into strands. Top with the pesto and serve immediately.
As part of our mission to change the way the world ages, we are dedicated to promoting a happy and healthy lifestyle. Our holistic approach to care through the Balanced Care Method™ encourages positive habits like following a healthful, balanced diet to promote longevity and quality of life.