CUCUMBER PASTA, NOT YOUR AVERAGE PESTO.

Ingredients:

-Parsley

-Cilantro

-Pine Nuts

-Hemp Seeds

-Coriander Seeds

-Pink Himalayan Salt

-Cayenne Pepper

-Half of a Jalapeno (no seeds)

-Black pepper

-Lemon

-3 Cucumbers

-1 Head of Cauliflower chopped into pieces

-Rosemary

-Garlic

-E.V.O.O

IMG_0727

My latest inspiration has been working with vegetable noodles.  I have been working on pairing the herbal flavors of the pestos to enhance the flavor of the vegetable noodles.  This is a go-to combination for the summer months.   It is highly nutritive and will set you taste buds off.  ENJOY!

Visual reference above, plates are appetizer size. (serves 2-3)

Noodle Preparation:

Begin with grating the cucumbers. If the cucumber is organic I grate with the skin.  If it is not organic cut the skin off and toss it.  Many of the chemical residues are found in the skin.  Just another reason to buy organic, because the skin of the cucumber contains many vitamins and minerals.   I find the best way is to grate into a strainer.  Use a pot underneath the strainer to catch the cucumber juice coming from the grated cucumber noodles.  Once all three are grated gently press to remove the rest of the juice.  pour the juice into a glass.  and save for the pesto.

Pesto Preparation:

Toss the Parsley and cilantro into a food processor or blender.  Next, throw in the plate of spices (as pictured above), including; hemp seeds, pine nuts, pink himalayan salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, half of jalapeno (no seeds), and a garlic clove.  Finish off by adding juice squeezed from half of a lemon and olive oil (a friendly dash).  Add a touch of the cucumber juice set aside.   If it is too thick, the cucumber juice does a great job of making it a lighter more whipped pesto which I find it great not only with pasta but also as a spread or a dip.

Sautéed Cauliflower

Put a half of the head in to a pan that is preheated over medium.  Drizzle olive oil over the top and toss the cauliflower a bit.  Cover with a lid or place another pan or pot over the vegetables to hold the steam in.  This will help to cook the cauliflower and hold flavors in.  Drop heat to medium low and toss every few minutes.  Once they are getting close to being done around 6 – 10 min., add in the chopped garlic, rosemary and sliced shitake mushroom. Add a little more olive oil.  Cover or put a little water in pan to help create more steam.  After a couple minutes the mushrooms will be cooked.  Finish off the Sautee with squeezed lemon juice, pink salt and black pepper to taste.  Toss well and put onto a cutting board.

Plating

In a mixing bowl, mix the pesto in with the raw cucumber noodles.  Start light on the pesto and continue mixing in gradually to find the right consistency.  On the cutting board, slice the cauliflower into smaller pieces, to plate add the cucumber and pesto to the plate.  Top with the sliced cauliflower and shitake mushrooms and garnish with a lemon wedge.  The wedge can be used for the dish or is great in the cucumber juice accompaniment!

Benefits of the Ingredients

Cucumber – Cucumber is a great source of fiber.  It is also high in Vitamin c and Caffeic acid,  both which aid in soothing the skin and preventing water retention.  The skin of the cucumber is high in minerals including, silica, potassium, magnesium.  These minerals aid in health connective tissue.  It is great for the skin whether used topically or ingested.  In fact cucumber naturally has the same ph as human skin and is also an astringent. The very high water content in cucumber makes for hydrated, glowing skin!

Parsley –  Studies show that myristicin, an organic compound found in the essential oil of parsley, not only inhibits tumor formation (especially in the lungs), but also activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps the molecule glutathione attach to, and fight against, oxidized molecules. Myristicin can also neutralize carcinogens like benzopyrene (found in cigarette smoke) that can pass through the body, consequently fighting against colon and prostate cancer.  Parsley also has an antioxidant arsenal that includes luteolin, a flavonoid that searches out and eradicates free radicals in the body that cause oxidative stress in cells. Luteolin also promotes the metabolization of carbohydrates and serves as an anti-inflammatory agent for the body. Furthermore, two tablespoons of parsley contain 16% of the RDA of Vitamin C and over 12% for Vitamin A.

Cilantro –  Cilantro is most often cited as being effective for toxic metal cleansing and rightfully so, as this herb is a powerful, natural cleansing agent. The chemical compounds in cilantro bind to toxic metals and loosen them from the tissue. Many people suffering from mercury exposure report a reduction in the feeling of disorientation after regularly consuming large amounts of cilantro over an extended period. Cilantro is also antibacterial and antifungal.  It aids in lowering blood sugar levels, so it is very useful for people suffering with diabetes.  Cilantro has also been studied for it positive benefits as an anti anxiety remedy. Made as a tea or along with food, it helps reduce stomache gas and is a great option for bloating.

Hemp Seeds – Hemp seeds are an amazing source of protein and perhaps most well known their essential fatty acid profile. Hemp seeds have  a ration of 2:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3.  Ideal ratio for humans is 4:1.  The hemp seed is great because often times humans are deficient in  Omega 3 and have too much Omega 6. Unlike other proteins, the high quality protein found in hemp seeds highly digestable. In fact hemp seeds also improve digestion.

Coriander Seeds –  In addition to medicinal properties, coriander has many qualities that benefit general, daily health. It is great for digestion, relieves gas, prevents nausea and is an excellent source of fiber. Ant-inflammatory properties not only aid in digestion as well, but also alleviate arthritis. Coriander works to detoxify the body and also protects against Salmonella bacteria. Similarly, it can be used both internally and topically to ward of allergic reactions.

Garlic – Garlic has a huge amount of health benefits as it is antibacterial, antiviral and contains high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (manganese, calcium, vitamin B1, B6 and C, phosphorous, copper, potassium, selenium and tryptophan). With all these qualities, garlic boosts the immune system. Specifically, garlic contains allicin, a sulfurous compound that provides immune benefits. Garlic also improves cardiovascular health in many ways by increasing circulation, preventing blood clots, reducing bad cholesterol and more.

Cayenne – Many herbalists argue that cayenne is the most useful and valuable herb in the herb kingdom – not only for the entire digestive system, but also for the heart and circulatory system. Capsicum (the active ingredient) is said to be unequaled in its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action.  Perhaps most importantly, cayenne acts as a catalyst and increases the effectiveness of other herbs when used together.

Pink Himalayan Salt – Pink Himalayan salt is millions of years old, pure and untouched by many of the toxins that pervade other forms of sea salt. Known in the Himalayas as “white gold,” it contains the same 84 natural vitamins and minerals found in the human body and promotes stable pH in cells, including the brain. In addition it encourages excellent blood sugar health and aids in the reducing of common signs of aging.

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