EMBRACING ALL THAT IS NATURAL
I was browsing the food pages of the Independent in London recently and spotted a story about the rise of no guilt pasta. Basically it’s vegetables transformed into spaghetti-like worms – or “courgetti”, as it’s now known. For those with a gluten intolerance – as well as the health conscious and vegans – vegetable pasta is a lifesaver. Sometimes literally.
Courgettes, beetroot, carrot, kohlrabi and cucumber make ideal pasta alternatives.
Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley are two bloggers who have been making vegetable spaghetti fashionable. Their beef ragu with courgetti has won them thousands of fans worldwide.
Another such bloger is Ella Woodward whose cookbook Deliciously Ella is an ode to all things vegetarian as well as offering diary and gluten-free food options.
The Independent wrote glowing of her recipe for courgette noodles with minted avocado sauce.
On her website she described it as “ the richest, creamiest pasta I’ve eaten in years, honestly it tastes like there’s a pot of cream in the sauce. The texture perfectly echoes that of carbonara…!”
Intrigued, I visited her website and discovered a fascinating story.
She started her blog as a way of dealing with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (type of dysautonomia, affects the autonomic nervous system), which left her exhausted, sleeping 16 hours a day, in chronic pain, with heart palpitations, constant headaches, stomach issues and so on. She was bedridden 95% of each day.
When conventional medicine didn’t help she started researching holistic and natural healing approaches.
“I took up a whole foods, plant-based diet and gave up all meat, dairy, sugar, gluten, anything processed and all chemicals and additives, which was a pretty drastic change. I literally never ate fruit or vegetables – I was a sugar monster!” she wrote.
Eighteen months after starting her new lifestyle she is pain free, full of energy and all her other symptoms have disappeared. She has also been able to come off all her medication.
Her website www.deliciouslyella.com is a delight. Brimming with enthusiasm it’s packed with useful information and deliciously healthy recipes.
I was a total vegetarian for about ten years. Didn’t even drink tea or coffee. But it’s a difficult lifestyle to follow if you are a vegetarian alone among your friends and family. But a good compromise is to reduce your meat intake and include more whole food and plant alternatives. I’m not sure if courgette pasta is a satisfying option if you are a pasta addict, but think of it as something you can include every now and again.
Another fad, thanks to the Banting diet, is using cauliflower as an alternative to flour (and in place of potato mash) but I think that is a bridge too far. Cauliflower mash is an acquired taste I won’t be acquiring. – Ingrid Shevlin
Ella’s courgette noodles with minted avocado sauce
In her recipe she uses a Spiralite Vegetable Spiralizer by Spiralz to make her pasta, which, she says “also slices numerous other fruit and veg in countless ways”.
As far as I can establish this is not available to buy over the counter in Durban but you can order from amazom.com. As an alternative I found that the Spirelli Spiral Slicer by GEFU does the job (buy from Li’vin kitchen shop at La Lucia Mall or order from yuppiechef.co.za). The picture above was achieved using the Spirelli and a cucumber. Pretty good I thought.
For the pasta:
For the sauce:
1 ½ avocados
a large handful of fresh mint leaves
12 brazil nuts
½ a cup of water
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ a lime
salt to taste
a dozen chestnut mushrooms
1 Start by making the courgette spaghetti according to the instructions on the individual machine. Place the spaghetti to one side and begin the sauce.
2 Cut the mushrooms into thin slices, drizzle with olive oil and gently heat in a large frying pan for about 5 minutes.
3 During this time place the brazil nuts in a food processor and blend for the same amount of time, until they become creamy. Then add in the avocado, olive oil, lime, mint leaves and salt and blend again.
4 Gradually add the water as the sauce blends to create exactly the right consistency for you.
5 Add the sauce and spaghetti to the mushrooms in the frying pan and gently heat for a couple of minutes to warm the dish up and soften the pasta a little, alternatively enjoy it raw. Both taste equally delicious.