Pumpkin Seed & Pea Pasta Two Ways
Anyone else craving hearty, warming, satiating foods this January? *Raises hand emphatically!* That’s why I ended up creating this recipe. I wanted to make a pasta sauce rich in chlorophyll and healthy fats, and what I ended up finding was a really light, crisp pasta. I know, that isn’t typical of winter. But trust me, your spring cravings will be satisfied and your skin will be hydrated and nourished by all of the healthy, unsaturated fats and zinc. I added an optional lower carbohydrate variation because I’ve also been feeling the aftermath of heavy, rich and ever so constant foods during the holiday season. But, due to the crisp vegetables in this dish, the abundance of chlorophyll rich ingredients and the light, nuttiness of this Herbed Pumpkin Seed Oil Sauce, even the pasta version doesn’t sit heavy in my stomach.
There are so many reasons why I’m still on the pumpkin train in January. Not so much the pumpkin itself, but those delicate seeds inside. Pumpkin seeds are incredibly rich in zinc, magnesium, manganese and chlorophyll, due to their green tones! They provide us with the micro nutrients that support our immune system, the fibre to feed our microbiome and improve our digestion, and the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to fight inflammation.
You’ll know you have a good quality, cold pressed pumpkin seed oil when it’s a deep, dark green colour. It’s actually mesmerizing how green the oil itself is, and it’s all due to the high chlorophyll content of pumpkin seeds. Chlorophyll is a pigment unique to plant foods as they use it to make energy, and when we consume it, it acts as a blood tonifier which can help alkalize the body from an acidic diet, a workout, or other factors. Because there are so many beautiful green vegetables & oils in this recipe, it offers so much value nutritionally.
Pumpkin seed oil is also very high in magnesium. Just 1/4 cup of the raw seeds contains half of the recommended daily intake. Magnesium has so many roles in the body, and very often we become deficient without realizing it. It’s often used up quicker in times of stress, when working out, and when consuming an acidic diet. It’s so important to replenish magnesium to support bone health, muscle and joint integrity, and to help us sleep and relax.
Pumpkin seeds are often recommended in the diet due to their high zinc content. Zinc is actually the second most abundant trace mineral in our bodies, behind iron. It has many critical roles within the body including strengthening the immune system, maintaining a healthy prostate in men, aiding in skin health and wound healing. Supplementing with zinc long term can cause a copper deficiency in individuals because copper and zinc maintain a fine ratio, but usually when zinc is found in whole foods (like in pumpkin seeds) it also contains trace amounts of copper, keeping that ratio in balance. Just another reason to trust your diet because nature usually gets it right!
Multiple studies have shown that a diet higher in unsaturated fats as opposed to saturated fats (namely, animal fat) promotes a healthy cardiovascular system, wards off chronic inflammation, and improves brain and eye health.
Pumpkin seed oil is very high in omega -6 and omega -9 fatty acids, which aid in inflammation, play a role in hormone creation, and help reduce arterial plaque.
Pumpkin Seed & Pea Pasta
Plant based, ketogenic/ paleo friendly option, gluten free option
herbed pumpkin seed oil Sauce:
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup Flora Pumpkin Seed Oil
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp sea salt
Pepper to taste
2 stalks celery, diced
8 brussels sprouts, halved
1 cup snow peas
2 cloves garlic
Olive oil or water, for cooking
1 zucchini, spiralized
6 oz spelt udon noodles*
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
Dollop of coconut milk or cream
To prepare the Herbed Pumpkin Seed Oil sauce, add all ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor and blend on high for 3-4 minutes, until the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Set aside for now.
Use one of the two options depending on your choice of “noodle”:
If you’re preparing this dish using pasta, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat and add pasta. Let it cook as per the boxed instructions (mine took about 8 minutes). Drain and rinse.
If you’re preparing this dish using zucchini as your noodles, Toss noodles with 1-2 tbsp Herbed Pumpkin Seed Oil sauce into your vegetable skillet when they are just about done cooking (at the end of step three), and allow the heat of the skillet to wilt the zucchini noodles. Remove from heat and serve with raw pumpkin seeds, micro greens and a drizzle of more sauce.
Mince the garlic cloves into a heated skillet drizzled with olive oil or a bit of water, and let it cook until fragrant, without burning the garlic. Add the vegetables all at once, and cook on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, tossing occasionally. The vegetables should still be crunchy once they’re cooked, but you’ll notice the shades of green magnifying as they cook. When the vegetables are just about done, drizzle 1-2 tbsp of Herbed Pumpkin Seed Oil sauce and toss into the vegetables.
Toss the spelt noodles with 2 tbsp of Herbed Pumpkin Seed Oil sauce and the cooked vegetables, and serve with raw pumpkin seeds, micro greens and a drizzle of more sauce.
Alternatively, serve chilled! This dish is really pleasant both warm and cold.
For a gluten free option, use brown rice pasta or zucchini noodles.
A ketogenic or paleo diet friendly version of this recipe is the lower carbohydrate option using zucchini noodles instead of pasta.