Monday, July 13, 2009

Vegan Farfalle Pasta and Garbanzo Beans with Raw Walnut Pesto

Easy and Inexpensive
This easy to prepare recipe is high in protein and fiber, low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol. As a side dish, it can serve 16 people or more for less than 50 cents per person. Served with a fresh green salad it can serve 8 people as a dinner entree. It makes a lot so feel free to cut the recipe in half or enjoy the leftovers during the week. Although this is a "cooked" pasta dish, you can still get some of the benefits of raw food by using a raw sauce.

Garbanzo Beans - a Power Food and Excellent Source of Vegetarian Protein
Garbanzo beans, also known as chick peas, are a true power food. They are high in soluble and insoluble dietary fiber which helps lower cholesterol (total and LDL) and stabilize blood sugar levels. Garbanzo beans are an excellent source of molybdenum (see how it helps detoxify sulfites below) and manganese (important in energy production). They are also a good source of copper, phosphorus and iron (especially important for those who don't eat meat). Garbanzo beans contain all 9 essential amino acids.

Essential Amino Acid Content in 1 Cup of Cooked Garbanzos.

Tryptophan 115 mg
Threonine 442 mg
Isoleucine 509 mg
Leucine 845 mg
Lysine 794 mg
Methionine 156 mg
Phenylalanine 636 mg
Valine 499 mg
Histidine 326 mg

Garbanzo Beans and Wine, a Helpful Pairing
As previously mentioned, garbanzo beans are an excellent source of molybdenum, a component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which the body uses to detoxify sulfites. If a person is low in this trace mineral, they may suffer a reaction to sulfites. Sulfites are found in wine which is why some people get a headache and other allergic reactions when they drink it. Unfortunately, sulfites occur naturally in wine. In addition, they are often added during the winemaking process to stabilize the wine by inhibiting oxidation and stopping fermentation. Organic wines typically contain fewer sulfites than non-organic ones. In any case, the molybdenum in garbanzo beans may help detoxify these sulfites making garbanzos and wine a helpful pairing!

Walnuts - a Great Vegetarian Source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
It's fun to experiment with different nuts and herbs in pesto recipes. Classically, pesto is made with pine nuts and basil. Other nuts, like walnuts and pecans can also be used. I had a dish at a restaurant this weekend that used pumpkin seeds in their pesto. Basil can be replaced by parsley, cilantro, spinach and other green herbs and vegetables. Use your imagination and try different combinations. I like to use "raw" organic walnuts because of their high content of omega 3 fatty acid and their healthy ratio of omega 6 to omega 3. One cup of raw walnuts contains 44.6 grams of omega 6 and 10.6 grams of omega 3 fatty acids giving it a healthy 4:1 ratio. Pine nuts contain a similar amount of omega 6 (45.4 grams per cup) but almost no omega 3 (less than 2 tenths of a gram) giving it a 300:1 ratio (4:1 being optimum). In situations like this you can always improve the ratio by adding a teaspoon or so of flaxseed oil which is very high in omega 3.


Vegan Farfalle Pasta and Garbanzo Beans with Raw Walnut Pesto [serves 8]
1 pound organic farfalle pasta (or your favorite pasta)
Two 15 oz cans organic garbanzo beans
2 packed cups fresh basil
2 small cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw walnuts
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt plus 1/2 teaspoon for the pasta water

Drain and rinse garbanzo beans and set aside. Prepare a large pot of salted boiling water and cook pasta according to the "lower end" of the directions so it comes out "al dente". Run the garlic through the chute of a food processor until it is minced. Put the rest of the pesto ingredients in (basil, oil, walnuts, lemon juice, zest, nutritional yeast and salt) and process until smooth. In a large bowl, mix the drained garbanzo beans with the hot, drained pasta. Mix in the pesto and serve. As an entree, serve warm. As a pasta salad or side dish, it can be served at room temperature. As is, this dish is vegan. Vegetarians and others may top with shredded parmesan cheese.

Per serving: 372 calories, 12 g fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 13.1 g protein, 57.7 g carbohydrates and 6.5 g of fiber.

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