Tuesday, August 7

Zucchini Linguine with Tuna and White Beans

There was a time in the not so distant past that I thought "Carb-free?? You've gotta be kidding!" (Of course by "carb" I meant "grain" although I didn't realize that at the time;) I couldn't imagine depriving myself of big bowls of pasta or sandwiches on thick, sour dough rolls. And, as I discovered on my trip to Brazil last November, there is a REASON I couldn't imagine it.

In a nutshell, refined carbohydrates raise blood-sugar levels, setting up an insulin surge that drives blood sugar down again. This causes rebound hunger which explains why, a few hours after eating a starchy meal, we're hungry again. That insulin spike also interferes with leptin, the hormone secreted by fat cells that should tell the body to stop eating which is why a 90 lb girl can polish off a family sized portion of Fettuccine Alfredo. Lastly, consuming refined carbohydrates increases CRAVINGS which explains why someone who consumes starchy meals regularly feels like she would be "depriving" herself to do otherwise.

In preparation for my upcoming wedding I have been "depriving" myself of grains for three weeks and plan to continue doing so for the next three months (then returning to my grain-in-moderation approach which is about 2-3 times a week). The cravings wore off by the second week and I feel better than I have in months. Oh, and without doing a single sit-up I have rediscovered my abs!

Of course right after I made the decision to go grain-free I came across a delicious looking spinach linguine recipe. I ripped it out of the magazine and just as I was about to file it under "recipes to try in a few months" it occurred to me that I could substitute zucchini for the linguine. And thanks to my future mother-in-law, I actually have the tool to do it:)

So grab your Julienne peeler and prepare for one of the most delicious non-pasta, pasta dishes you've ever tasted....

Ingredients: (makes two servings)
3 Zucchini
8 oz canned tuna packed in oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained'
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cupe chopped Italian leaf parsley, plus whole leaves for garnish
1/2 thinly sliced lemon

Carefully run the Julienne peeler from one end of the zucchini to the other. This will create a half dozen long "noodles." (You can also start from the middle and work outwards to make shorter noodles.) Set aside in a medium sized bowl.
Drain tuna, reserving oil in a large bowl. Whisk juice, garlic, salt and pepper with oil. Flake tuna into same bowl. Add noodles, beans, onion and chopped parsley; toss gently to coat with dressing. Serve garnished with parsley leaves.

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