Monday, July 13, 2015

Hello Fettuccine with Zucchini and Walnuts, You're Lookin' Gooooood!

Why is it that I don't eat zucchini more often?  It's such a versatile and nutritious little veggie; What is wrong with me that every time I visit the grocery store I just walk by this oddly shaped thingy and pay it no mind, almost as if to say - with attitude, "Pssshhhh, you ain't got nothing for me zucchini."  Well, not today because today is zucchini day and I've made a very hearty and healthy zucchini pasta dish with toasted walnuts to boot.  Yum, Yum, and Yum! 

First off, it's important to note that zucchini's are loaded with potassium.  So you don't have to stuff your face full of bananas all day long like a monkey to get this beneficial nutrient - you can look to the zucchini for some too.  Just one cup can provide you with the daily recommended value you need to be super healthy and feeling all kinds of good.

Potassium is vital to our bodies since it helps control blood pressure by reducing the damaging effects of salt in our system.  So high-five yourself for that one benefit alone because heart disease is no joke, and too much sodium in the body is dangerous.  Plus, zucchini's are also high in vitamin C which help blood vessels operate better and protects you against clogged arteries.  Another high-five moment!

I think the last time I remember eating zucchini was at a local restaurant in town about 5 months ago.  The zucchini wasn't cooked very well and it was kind of soggy and slimy for me.  I guess I was a bit turned off by that because I haven't thought about it much since that day until now.

For me, pasta can get some what boring when prepared the same way each and every time - with tomato sauce or something plain like that.  But now with the addition of garlic, mint and toasted walnuts, I'm taking what was once a veggie I used to ignore to a very memorable and delicious meal.  I think the toasty walnuts are what give this dish a kick in the behind - it's a sure winner in my book.

The aroma of the walnuts roasting in a pan gets me excited.  It reminds me of when I was a kid waking up at home on a Sunday morning to the smell of roasted almonds in the oven.  It was my dad up early in the A.M. fixing himself his usual healthy morning breakfast bowl - assembling all the ingredients he needed and topping it off with roasted almonds.  That's how he always loved his nuts - toasty and cozy, as he puts it.  :)

This is no dull dish by any means.  My husband enjoy his with pecans instead of walnuts, but either way, you will never look at zucchini the same way after this.  Enjoy!


3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 (12-oz.) package fettuccine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound small zucchini, shredded 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
dash of sea salt
dash of ground black pepper 
squeeze of fresh lemon  

1. Heat walnuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.

2. Prepare fettuccine according to package directions.

3. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add zucchini and garlic, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Toss with hot cooked fettuccine, walnuts, basil and mint. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately.


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