Try this delicious and nutritious mediterranean pasta dish. The bright colours indicate a myriad of phytochemicals, while the cooked and cooled pasta gives us our low GI carbs. The inclusion of raw olive oil and salmon provides valuable omega 3 fatty acids.
100g smoked salmon slices, cut into strips
2 cups (180g) bowtie (farfalle) pasta
2 zucchini/courgettes sliced
1 red capsicum cut in thin strips
1/2 red onion sliced
Ground black pepper
50ml extra virgin olive oil
Small bunch fresh dill leaves, washed and chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers, washed and chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Small handful of continental parsley
Cook pasta according to instructions on the packet, and let cool. Gentry fry zucchini and capsicum in a little olive oil until soft. Make a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and dill leaves. Combine pasta with smoked salmon, red onion, cooked vegetables, capers and dressing. Sprinkle with pine nuts and continental parsley to garnish.
Carbs are our bodies main source of energy, so a very important part of our diet.
Pasta sits squarely in the carb basket, and can be vastly underrated. Here are some reasons we think it’s a star carb.
It’s a slow digest compared with purer carbs
The simplest carbs, like rice cakes, boiled white rice or boiled potato are made from chains of glucose units. These are quickly digested and the glucose easily absorbed into the blood stream. This gives a portion of boiled rice a GI of 72 and potatoes 82 (where pure glucose is 100). A portion of boiled spaghetti has a GI of 46. The rise in blood glucose is slower and the energy available for longer.
Pasta wheat has protein
Regular pasta has one ingredient, durum wheat. This wheat needs the elastic protein gluten to give pasta it’s strong structure. No good if you can’t tolerate gluten, but otherwise a 90g dry serve gives a 200g cooked serving which provides around 20% of our protein requirement for the day.
Pasta is a vehicle for extra nutrients
Pasta is virtually fat free, but it needs a protein complement. To get a truly nutritious, delicious meal, there are endless additions we can make. We can add a rich tomato sauce with tuna, a simple Arabiata with chilli and anchovies or pesto with veg like peas and asparagus. It’s only the addition of fatty meats or creamy sauce that makes a pasta meal less healthy.
Served with a green salad, pasta has everything
Chilled reheated pasta has an interesting story of its own. Check out Carbs and Cooking at Diabetes UK for more on this.
If you would like to learn more about the Glycaemic Index check this out from the Better Health Channel.
It’s been fashonable to demonise carbs, but is it always justified?
The term covers too many foods to give a sweeping verdict on the lot. A few examples are the:
Instant energy carbs – such as the bananas we see tennis stars munching mid-match.
Slow release energy carbs – such as whole grain cereals which can keep us sustained for hours.
Complicated carbs – the barely digested carbs in pulses like chickpeas, which become food for our gut bacteria.
Junk carbs – sweets and biscuits, with virtually no nutritional value.
Chips, doughnuts and biscuits are obviously unhealthy carbs, but the foods with hidden sweetness are harder to spot.
Sugar – Genetically speaking, we have evolved to love the taste of sweetness. A quick look for sugars in the ingredients list of a packet of oaty, wholegrain, low fat, high fibre breakfast cereal and I find:
- glucose syrup
- partially inverted brown sugar syrup
- barley malt extract
Of all these ingredients, sugar is the least sweet. We have found so many ways to alter a starch or sugar molecule and enhance the sweetness. Chemically splitting a sugar or starch molecule results in small glucose molecules which have a more intense sweet taste. One danger is that we subconsciously develop a sweet food habit. We need to be warey of foods that look “healthy” at a glance! Always read the ingredients list.
Our aim with Moodilicious is to promote good food prepared from scratch.
We all eat food but our body needs nutrients.
We’ll explore delicious dishes with the nutrients we need to boost our immunity, energize our bodies and nourish our souls.
Sharing good food is an immense source of happiness, including the occasional indulgent treat.
An awareness of the abundance of nutritional value in simple foods is the first step to a Moodilicious life!
What’s Coming Up?
Anything we see on a plate and can’t resist sharing.
Plus the nutrition, nothing precious or preachy, we’ll stick to our Moodilicious credentials.
Topics we want to cover will start with our own favourites and move on to anything topical and interesting.
Demonising Carbs – Carbs have had a huge ‘fake news’ story. We want to bring a little love to the carbs in our lives.
Guts and Bugs – an unfolding story, research is ongoing. What we need to learn about our internal fermentation vessel and the importance of keeping our gut happy.
Mediterranean cuisine – it is delicious simplicity and nutritional excellence.
Suggestions for future topics will be happily received – or requests to dig deeper on anything of interest.
Join us on our journey…