The Spiralizer! One kitchen gadget that makes making food seriously fun! When I was still in South Africa, my best friends bought me one for my birthday and I used it nearly every week. Now that I’ve managed to get my hands on one again (thanks my love 😉 and awesome 1-day.com deals) I’ve been creating Zucchini noodles and ‘noodling’ all week!
I think it’s such a great way to get more nutrient dense raw vegetables into your diet. Granted you can cook the noodles to give more of a pasta ‘feel’, but eating them raw is just as great, if not better!
Paired with a flavorful sauce made from scratch, this Zucchini Noodle Salad with Leek and Avocado Cashew Sauce recipe is perfect for those easy lunches and quick dinners. It’s even better if you’ve got little one’s, to get them involved! I’m sure they’ll love seeing how the noodles are made using simple vegetables. If I was a wee kiddie, I’d get excited about that. Hell! I get excited about that now and I’m nearly 30!
So, a couple weeks back in this post we delved into carbohydrates and how they function in the body. Today I’m going to share a bit of information about healthy fats, and how they are used in the body. As this recipe contains good nourishing fats from the cashew nuts, as well as the avocado, it’ll be great to understand just what processes happen inside our bodies once fats are eaten.
Function of Healthy Fats in the Body
- A source of energy – Our body uses the fat we eat, and fats we make from other nutrients in our bodies, to provide the energy for most of our life-functions
- Energy store – The extra calories that we consume, but do not need to use immediately, are stored for future use in special fat cells (adipose tissue)
- Essential fatty acids – Dietary fats that are essential for growth development and cell functions, but cannot be made by our body’s processes
- Proper functioning of nerves and brain- fats are part of myelin- a fatty material which wraps around our nerve cells so that they can send electrical messages. Our brains contain large amounts of essential fats
- Maintaining healthy skin and other tissues. All our body cells need to contain some fats as essential parts of cell membranes, controlling what goes in and out of our cells
- Transporting fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K through the bloodstream to where they are needed
- Forming steroid hormones needed to regulate many bodily processes
Why do we need fat?
Virtually all natural foods contain some fat. It is in foods because both plants and animals use fats as the most economical way to store energy. It is needed for their growth, development and function when there is a shortage of food supply (or a shortage of sunlight in the case of plants).
Certain specific dietary fats have other essential functions. We are much like other animals so we do actually need some fat from our diet to survive. And while in general, as with most things, too much fat is bad, a certain amount is perfectly compatible with good health.
Where do we find fats in our foods?
The fats that we eat in our foods are mostly “triglycerides”. These are made up of 3 (hence “tri”) fatty acids attached to a glycerol molecule.
Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products such as meat, cheese, milk, butter, cream and eggs. The main unsaturated fats are monounsaturated, found particularly in foods such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, peanuts and avocados.
Polyunsaturated fats are mostly found in plant foods such as nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, and in cold-blooded sea-foods. In natural foods, they come protected with antioxidant vitamins. There are two main classes polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6. These include the essential fatty acids. Oily fish (e.g. herring, salmon and mackerel) is a good source of omega-3, while omega-6 is mainly found in plant foods such as sunflower oil and rapeseed oil.
Trans fats can be natural or artificial. They are mostly artificially created through a process known as hydrogenation (which involves heating and chemical structure change). Artificial trans fats are mostly found in fast foods, fried foods and commercial baked products such as cookies and are the most unhealthy fats (even worse than saturated fats!). Natural trans fats can be found in small amounts in milk and beef, and in quite large concentration in cheese. Source
In the past fats have had quite a bad rap and powers have led the public to believe that fats encouraged weight gain. These days we are learning that it’s rather sugar, processed foods and excess carbohydrates that tend to lead to weight gain, and healthy fats are actually extremely important in a balanced diet.
- 2 Medium Zucchini's (Cleaned and ends chopped off)
- 1 Lime (Juice of)
- 1/2 Cup Raw Cashews (Soaked in water for at least 2 hours)
- 1 Medium Red Onion (Finely diced)
- 1/2 Large Leek (Finely Diced)
- 1 Vegetable Stock Cube (Good Quality)
- 1/2 Tsp Garlic
- 1 Lemon (Juice of)
- 1 TBS Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
- Pinch of freshly ground Black Pepper
- Clean and prep your zucchini's. Pop them in the spiralizer and get 'noodling'
- Place the noodles into a large glass bowl, and squeeze over the lime juice. Mix thoroughly and allow to marinate in the fridge while you make the sauce.
- Begin the sauce by sauteing the red onion and leek in the coconut oil on a medium heat. Add the garlic and continue to cook until soft.
- Crumble in the stock cube add a little water(1/4 cup) to allow the granules to dissolve.
- Mix well and when the water has reduced and the stock has dissolved, remove from heat.
- In a blender or Nutribullet, add the sauteed red onion and leek mix, along with the drained and rinsed soaked cashews, lemon juice, pepper and avocado. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate until cold.
- Assemble the noodles on a bed of greens, pour over the sauce and enjoy!
- Use Organic where possible