Anyone else craving hearty, warming, satiating foods this January? *Raises hand emphatically!* That’s why I ended up creating this recipe. I wanted to make a pasta sauce rich in chlorophyll and healthy fats, and what I ended up finding was a really light, crisp pasta. I know that isn’t typical of winter but trust me. Your spring cravings will be satisfied, and your skin will be hydrated and nourished by all of the healthy, unsaturated fats and zinc. I added an optional, lower carbohydrate variation because I’ve also been feeling the aftermath of heavy, rich and ever-so-constant foods during the holiday season. But even the pasta version doesn’t sit heavy in my stomach due to the crisp vegetables in this dish, the abundance of chlorophyll-rich ingredients and the light, nuttiness of this Herbed Pumpkin Seed Oil Sauce.
There are so many reasons why I’m still on the pumpkin train in January. Not so much the pumpkin itself as much as those delicate seeds inside. Pumpkin seeds are incredibly rich in zinc, magnesium, manganese, and chlorophyll, due to their green tones! They provide us with the micronutrients that support our immune system, the fiber to feed our microbiome and improve our digestion, and the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to fight inflammation.
The Benefits of Flora Raw, Cold-Pressed Pumpkin Seed Oil
You’ll know you have a good quality, cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil when it’s a deep, dark green colour. It’s actually mesmerizing how green the oil itself is, and it’s all due to the high chlorophyll content of pumpkin seeds. Chlorophyll is a pigment unique to plant foods as they use it to make energy. When we consume it, it acts as a blood tonifier which can help alkalize the body from an acidic diet, a workout, or other factors. Because there are so many beautiful green vegetables and oils in this recipe, it offers so much value nutritionally.
Pumpkin seeds are also very high in magnesium. Just a quarter cup of the raw seeds contains half of the recommended daily intake. Magnesium has so many roles in the body, and very often we become deficient without realizing it. It’s often used up quicker in times of stress, when working out, and when consuming an acidic diet. It’s so important to replenish magnesium to support bone health, muscle and joint integrity, and to help us sleep and relax.*
Pumpkin seeds are often recommended in the diet due to their high zinc content. Zinc is actually the second most abundant trace mineral in our bodies behind iron. It has many critical roles within the body including strengthening the immune system, maintaining a healthy prostate in men, aiding in skin health and wound healing.* Supplementing with zinc long term can cause a copper deficiency in individuals because copper and zinc maintain a fine ratio, but usually when zinc is found in whole foods (like in pumpkin seeds), it also contains trace amounts of copper, keeping that ratio in balance. Just another reason to trust your diet because nature usually gets it right!
Multiple studies have shown that a diet higher in unsaturated fats, as opposed to saturated fats (namely, animal fat), promotes a healthy cardiovascular system, wards off chronic inflammation, and improves brain and eye health.* Pumpkin seed oil is very high in omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.
Plant-based, ketogenic/ paleo friendly option, gluten-free option
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup Flora Pumpkin Seed Oil
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Pepper to taste
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 8 Brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 cup snow peas
- 2 cloves garlic
- Olive oil or water, for cooking
- 1 zucchini, spiralized -OR- 6 oz spelt udon noodles*
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- Dollop of coconut milk or cream
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend on high for 3-4 minutes, until the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Set aside for now.
- Use one of the two options depending on your choice of “noodle”:
- For udon: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat and add pasta. Let it cook as per the boxed instructions (mine took about 8 minutes). Drain and rinse.
- For zucchini: Toss noodles with 1-2 tbsp Herbed Pumpkin Seed Oil sauce. Add to your vegetable skillet when the other veggies are just about done cooking. Allow the heat of the skillet to wilt the zucchini noodles. Remove from heat and serve with raw pumpkin seeds, micro greens and a drizzle of more sauce.
- Mince the garlic cloves into a heated skillet drizzled with olive oil or a bit of water, and let it cook until fragrant, without burning the garlic. Add the vegetables all at once, and cook on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, tossing occasionally. The vegetables should still be crunchy once they’re cooked, but you’ll notice the shades of green magnifying as they cook. When the vegetables are just about done, drizzle 1-2 tbsp of Herbed Pumpkin Seed Oil Sauce and toss into the vegetables.
- Toss the spelt noodles with 2 tbsp of Herbed Pumpkin Seed Oil Sauce and the cooked vegetables and serve with raw pumpkin seeds, micro greens and a drizzle of more sauce. Alternatively, serve chilled! This dish is really pleasant both warm and cold.
For a gluten-free option, use brown rice pasta or zucchini noodles. A ketogenic or paleo diet friendly version of this recipe is the lower carbohydrate option using zucchini noodles instead of pasta.
Lindsey Young is a registered holistic nutritionist, advocate for intuitive eating, and functional food recipe creator. For the original hot cacao post and more delicious recipes, follow her on Instagram @eatyoungnutrition and visit EatYoungNutrition.com.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.