Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saag Inspired Raw Spinach Sauce topped Zucchini Pasta and Breakfast

Last night for dinner I decided to make something inspired by one of my favorite Indian dishes saag. I do make a cooked version which you will find here. However last night it was warm and sticky so I opted for a raw dish. I used many of the flavors of the cooked dish and made a very quick raw spinach sauce that I used to top zucchini noodles. Instead of cashews I used raw sesame seeds in the sauce to add fat and mouth feel as well as calcium. Here is what I did:

Saag Inspired Raw Spinach Sauce topped Zucchini Pasta
Serves 2


8 cups zucchini, spiralized (2 medium or 1 huge zucchini)
½ pound raw organic baby spinach
1/3 cup raw sesame seeds (1/2 teaspoon reserved for garnish)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
¼ - ½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ - ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
¼ - ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ - ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 splash vinegar (I used about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar)
sea salt to taste
1 tomato, finely diced


In your blender combine the spinach, bulk of the sesame seeds (use tahini if you aren’t using a high powered blender), garlic, ginger, and ¼ teaspoon of each of the spices. I would pregrind the seeds if you aren’t using a high powdered blender. Add a splash of vinegar to brighten the flavor. Process until you have a completely smooth sauce. Taste the sauce for flavor and add more seasonings to your taste. I used a ½ teaspoon of each spice but I like a lot of flavor you may prefer less. Add salt if you think it needs it.

To serve, toss the zucchini pasta with the sauce so that the “pasta” is thoroughly coated. Add tomato to the top of the dish and sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 277.22
Calories From Fat (44%) - 120.96

Total Fat - 14.47g
Saturated Fat - 2.02g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 147.09mg
Potassium - 2266.28mg
Total Carbohydrates - 31.67g
Fiber - 12.49g
Sugar - 11.16g
Protein - 15.13g


This was a good and quick dinner. From start to finish I had to ready in 15 minutes and did not need to turn on the stove. I love meals like this in the summer time.

Each serving of this dish contained approximately 12,200IU of vitamin A, 125mg of vitamin C, 450mg of calcium, 9mg of iron, 3.4mg of vitamin E, 1.6mg of B6, 400mcg of folate, 575mcg of vitamin K, 440mg of phosphorus, and 280mg of magnesium. I also love the potassium, protein and fiber it contains for less than 300 calories. It was a big plate of filling food.

Breakfast this morning:

I get a lot of questions about what we eat of breakfast since I don’t typically post that. Today I thought I would share breakfast since it is one of our usual meals. We started with a veggie and fruit juice right after we got up. Here is what I made:

Fresh veggie and fruit juice
Serves 2


1 head romaine
5 carrots
1 apple
½ lemon
1 inch fresh ginger
3 collard leaves
3 stalks of celery


Run everything through the juicer and serve in a cold glass (I store our juice glasses in the freezer so they are always cold) with a few ice cubes.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 205.09
Calories From Fat (8%) - 15.71

Total Fat - 1.93g
Saturated Fat - 0.29g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium  -226.88mg
Potassium - 1799.87mg
Total Carbohydrates 47.58g
Fiber - 0.00g **
Sugar - 22.02g
Protein - 7.56g
** zeroed out manually


We have variations of this juice every day. What changes are the greens we use. Sometimes I include baby spinach in place of romaine. Other times I use kale in place of collards. We also include a beet and beet greens when we have them. We also add a wheat grass shot or two when we have those in the freezer. The constants are the carrot, apple, ginger, lemon and celery. We think the taste is good and very fresh. But what we like most is the nutrition it provides. I make fresh juice every morning that we have before breakfast. In the past we had coffee or tea first thing in the morning and now we have fresh juice instead.

Each serving of this juice contains approximately 54,000IU of vitamin A, 120mg of vitamin C, 260mg of calcium, 4mg of iron, 2.7mg of vitamin E, 0.7mg of vitamin B6, 535mg of folate, 505mg of vitamin K, 200mg of phosphorus, and 90mg of magnesium.

Next recipe:

After we have our juice I make us either a smoothie or oatmeal. This morning it is gray and rainy so we had oatmeal. Here is the serving size I made for myself; Dan’s was 50% larger:

Wild Blueberry Oatmeal
Serves 1


½ cup rolled oats (if you really want to make this more healthy use oat bran instead)
1 cup water
1 sprinkle cinnamon (to help the body process the natural sugar in the berries)
1 sprinkle ginger, powder (because powdered ginger is anti-inflammatory)
1 cup frozen wild blueberries (for their ellagic acid and antioxidants)
1 tablespoon flaxseed ground (for omega 3)
2 tablespoons walnuts, roughly chopped (for omega 3 and crunch)


Combine the water, oats, cinnamon, and ginger and cook until done. I use the microwave because it is easier. When the oats have absorbed the water I top them with the frozen blueberries and put the bowl back into the microwave so the berries with thaw but not get hot. I top the blueberries with the ground flax and walnuts. If you have a sweet tooth you may want to add a sprinkle of stevia, we did at the beginning. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 394.73
Calories From Fat (36%) - 143.78

Total Fat - 17.02g
Saturated Fat - 1.81g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 15.39mg
Potassium - 331.02mg
Total Carbohydrates - 54.87g
Fiber - 11.75g
Sugar - 15.25g
Protein - 10.72g


After the fresh juice and oatmeal we are satisfied and full for hours. It may be the 18 grams of protein that keeps us satisfied. I find it fascinating that we had no soy, tofu, beans or protein powder and get so much protein for breakfast. It seems to put an end to the “where do you get your protein” question doesn’t it?

This serving of oatmeal contains less nutrition than our dinner or juice but this because it is more grain (oats) and less veggies and fruit. From using the cookbook program to check nutrition for over a year now I can tell you that grains add bulk and calories but not a lot of vitamins and minerals. That is one of the reasons we try to keep our grain consumption (even whole grains) to a dull roar. This breakfast contains approximately 80IU of vitamin A, 14mg of vitamin C, 55mg of calcium, 2.6mg of iron, 1.1mg of vitamin E, 0.2mg of vitamin B6, 36mg of folate, 29mcg of vitamin K, 235mg of phosphorus, 91mg of magnesium and 12.7mcg of selenium. Quite a difference between this and the juice isn’t it? That is actually why we have both.

One thing I hope you noticed is that breakfast is a calorie dense meal at our house. Neither Dan nor I started out as breakfast eaters. However over the last 12 years we have worked to make breakfast part of every morning. At the beginning it was a tough habit to stick with. Now I can’t imagine starting my day without a big filling breakfast.

Unrelated note:

Today is much cooler but also gray and rainy. Since Dan needed to go into the office sometime this weekend he decided to go downtown today. He did spend the morning at home and just left for the office. I decided to forgo my exercising this morning to spend time with Dan before he left. We will see how afternoon exercising goes. I prefer to get exercise out of the way early in the day.

After exercising I am going to spend a little time in the kitchen. I want to see what I can come up with for dinner based on what I have in the refrigerator. This is something I try to do which has become sort of a game for me. What I can make from what I have. It is always a big question mark when I start.

Other than exercising and cooking I may spend time with a book or movie this afternoon. The rain is making me want to stay inside and curl up on the sofa.

I hope everyone is having a great Saturday. Talk to you all later when I come back with dinner.


  1. Your spiralized zucchini has inspired me, and I purchased a julienne peeler at a Pampered Chef party a couple of weeks ago. I've used it twice and it's great! It's basically the size of a horizontal-mount large-ish vegetable peeler.

  2. Cindy,

    That is a great idea! I had not thought of a julienne peeler to make zucchini pasta. Thanks so much for sharing the idea.

    I love the textural change that happens to zucchini when you make it into pasta. I am very happy we are in zucchini season. This is something I will miss in the winter. ;-) Even Dan likes zucchini made into pasta and he is a much tougher sell on healthy food than I am.

    enjoy your weekend, I hope it isn't raining at your place,

  3. This is a awesome meal. I love Saag too.. Have some in my refrigerator.. Need to buy spinach to make saag..

  4. RV,

    Thanks! I love saag too but sometimes it is just too hot for the original. I never get tired of Indian food, in spite of my Italian DNA. ;-)


  5. My hubby just came in from the garden with a wire milk crate FULL of zucchini and yellow squash. One ridiculous zucchini is four inches in diameter! My wrist is going to get a workout with that julienne peeler in the next month or so!

  6. I love the zucchini noodles and the plant juice. I have been eating zucchini noodles the past two days as well. I am going to have to try saag. I've never had/

  7. Rainy days make me want to curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea :-) I am sorry Dan had to go into the office, but I hope you have fun in the kitchen on your rainy day!


  8. Cindy,

    Sounds like heaven to me, LOL. I wish I were a little better gardener. Last time I tried to grow zucchini the wild rabbits ate them all. ;-)


  9. Carissa,

    Zucchini noodles are an obsession of mine in the summer. And fruit and veggie juice happens here everday. ;-) If you like Indian food you will like saag. It is one of my favorite Indian dishes.


  10. Courtney,

    Rain seems to want to make everyone get all cozy. I have sepnt a bit of time on the sofa today, LOL.

    I decided soup was in order today since it is a bit coolish. Well cool for July. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  11. As always, the food looks so good and so fresh. I hope you've had a great day despite the gray.

  12. Heather,

    Fresh is a very good description of dinner. It was surprisingly filling considering how low in calories it was.

    It is still raining and gray. I ended up on the couch working on a new lifting routine. I have my spreadsheet all set up to fill in my sets, reps and weight. Yay!

    enjoy the game,

  13. i loved your comment about the protein:) im so with you. that pasta looks so good also!!! im going to try and get some today.

  14. Hi Michelle,

    Nice to have you back! :-)

    If you haven't tried zucchini spaghetti yet I think it is something you will love. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  15. I am going to have to get a spiralizer or figure out how else to make zuchinni pasta. Are they pricey and where can I find such a thing? This dish looks incredible.

  16. It's very interesting that you get so much protein in that breakfast, I wouldn't have guessed it.

    Is it a bad idea to make enough juice to last for two days? Do the fruits/veggies lose nutrients faster than normal when they're juiced?

    I just bought a spiralizer and am anxious to try it, maybe this afternoon. Your recipe looks delicious.

  17. Lolly,

    I have a spiral cutting attachment that goes on my mandoline. However they sell stand alone spiralizers. The one that everyone else seems to have is called a Saladacco by Joyce Chen. I think it is it under $20. They sell them on Amazon. Cindy (first comment) is using a julienne peeler to make zucchini spaghetti. Oxo makes a julienne peeler too.

    Somehow spiral cutting the zucchini makes it a very different food. Though I don't know how that is. Even my elderly omni parents like my zucchini pasta.

    I hope you are having a good weekend,

  18. Laura,

    I thought the protein was surprising too that was why I wanted to make certain everyone noticed it.

    "They" say you should make juice and then drink it right away. I assume that is best but I make juice for the day. As easy as the juicer is to clean I only want to do it once a day. ;-) I have not seen anything science based that indicated how quickly the veggies lose their nutrition after being juiced. If I do I will let you know.

    I can't wait to hear what you think of the spiralizer. As we were going through the market this morning when Dan saw the zucchini he immediately said, "More zucchini pasta in my future I assume?" We have it all the time, LOL. In fact we may have it today at lunch.


  19. The pasta looks absolutely amazing. I have got to get a spiralizer!

  20. Jessie,

    As you can tell I love spiralized zucchini. It makes it so much easier to give up the wheat pasta. I thik you will enjoy it too. ;-)



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