Asparagus is probably my favorite vegetable. Historically asparagus has been used to treat arthritis and rheumatism because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been used as a diuretic. It’s extremely healthy also. It’s low in calories at only 24 calories for a full cup! It’s also low in carbohydrates. It’s a rich source of protein compared to other vegetables and also a good source of fiber…When shopping you want to buy fresh dark green asparagus with the tips tightly closed and the bottom stalks not so dried out. When you get them home, if you aren’t going to cook them right a way, you can wrap the tips with a damp paper towel to store and maintain freshness. You should prepare asparagus within 2-3 days of purchasing to insure you are getting the most nutrients.
My favorite quick and easy way to prepare asparagus is baking. First you want to snap off the tough ends and rinse well. I lay them flat in a glass Pyrex baking dish and pour coconut oil over them. Then bake the asparagus at 400 degrees for no more than 10 minutes. At about 5 minutes, you want to take them out and toss them around to coat them evenly with the oil. Simple and delicious!
Steaming is one of the most popular ways to prepare, then just put a little oil or butter on them and eat.
They are excellent in stir frys, add to your pasta sauce, or my favorite is adding them to scrambled eggs. Lightly sauté a couple of chopped up spears with a handful of fresh or frozen spinach and make some killer scrambled eggs. Imagine starting your day off with two servings of vegetables right with that one dish.
I can’t recommend canned or frozen asparagus. Honestly once you’ve had fresh, you can’t tolerate the canned or frozen. And perhaps this is the only way you’ve had asparagus, so you must try it fresh.
For many people pasta is a staple in the diet, for others its something they try to avoid because of all the carbs. Or perhaps you have gluten intolerance and you just don’t like the alternative grains used to make gluten free pasta. What ever the case, there is no reason you shouldn’t enjoy a healthier gluten free version of this dish.
Spaghetti squash is a great alternative. Its easy to prepare, and when cooked, you simply take a large fork and scrape out the insides and crunchy strands fall out and it looks just like pasta. It is a winter squash. It is available from August through March.
Here is a comparison: for every 1 cup of spaghetti squash you get only 80 calories where as Whole Wheat pasta will run you about 175 calories. Spaghetti squash gives you 18 grams of carbohydrates, while whole wheat pasta delivers 37 carbs. Spaghetti squash is higher in fiber close to 6 grams of fiber and whole wheat pasta has only 4 grams of fiber.
Another great thing about spaghetti squash is it is a good source of potassium. 1 cup of spaghetti squash has more than twice the amount of a medium banana.
And Potassium is important and we don’t get nearly enough because of the high processing of our foods, and our minimal intake of fresh vegetables and fruits. Potassium is an electrolyte that gives every cell in the body a spark. Its extremely important in the function of water balance, muscle and nerve cell function, and heart function.
So how do we prepare it? First you need to cut it length wise, and if you don’t have the muscle for that, have the produce guy at the store cut it for you. You simply scoop out the seeds, then lay face down in a steamer and steam for 20-25 minutes for a good size squash, smaller ones less time. But check on it because if it overcooks, its just mush. You’ll need a large oven mitt to hold the squash because its hot, and then scrape the strands into a large bowl. Top with your favorite red sauce and serve.