Immune-boosting zucchini pasta

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Recipe by: Jacqueline Alwill, Accredited Eimele Nutritionist

Packed with high-fibre veggies and beans, this delicious vegan pasta dish will help keep your gut healthy and your immune system strong. Here’s why:

‘Fibre is the indigestible carbohydrate that we get from plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes. It helps to keep our bowels moving at a healthy rate and plays an important role in keeping the trillions of bacteria in our guts healthy,’ explains Sports Dietitian Harriet Walker.

‘Our gut is a key player in our suite of immune system defences. It provides a physical barrier to unwanted pathogens entering the body, and houses a full force of cells that sense, attack and remove unwanted molecules from our system. A fibre-rich diet helps the varieties of beneficial bacteria in our gut to thrive, and we need to habitually consume a range of different fibre for this to happen.’

To boost your immune system through diet, you need to follow a healthy eating pattern over time that exposes your body to a range of nutrients, says Walker. There’s plenty of foods that contribute to good health, and increasing your veggie intake can certainly help. So here’s a recipe to add to your home-bistro menu.
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Rainbow Capsicum Zucchini Pasta
Serves 2 | 403.8 calories per serve
Gluten free | Dairy free | Vegan  

You’ll need:
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 red capsicum (200g), seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 yellow capsicum (280g), seeded and sliced into thin strips
1x 400g tin cannellini beans, rinsed and drained OR 250g cooked cannellini beans
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 zucchinis (300g), spiralised or ribboned using a vegetable peeler
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup rocket leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly torn 

How to:
1. Heat a frypan on medium heat and add olive oil to coat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
2. Add yellow and red capsicum, cannellini beans and olives. Cook for about 6-8 minutes.
3. Add zucchini noodles and nutritional yeast, and toss to coat all the vegetables in the nutritional yeast. Cook for a further 5-6 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and toss rocket and basil through the pasta. Season with sea salt and black pepper to serve. 

For more healthy plant-based recipes to satisfy your taste buds any time of the day, check out our April/May special digital edition and only pay what you can afford! Happy home-cooking.