‘Creamy’ High Protein Cauliflower Sauce with Butternut Squash Tortellini

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I was checking my favourite food blog ohsheglows.com yesterday and Angelas’ delicious looking cauliflower-based pasta sauce inspired me to create a high-protein version that would work as a meat-replacement.  Either to encourage those protein-must-be-in-every-meal folks to take part in the meatless monday idea or for those who want a more economical meal without a loss of nutrition (meat is expensive!!).

Believe it or not this dish has a full serve of protein (30g) for each person in it and features protein powder plus 4 plant-derived power foods:

MyoPure MF Whey Protein Isolate – has excellent nutritive value with the full range of essential amino acids and next to no fat or lactose. Great for immune support and made in New Zealand from pasture fed cows.

Butternut squash -low in fat, butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice and almost half the recommended daily dose of vitamin C (the other half  is in the cauliflower!). It also contains significant amounts of potassium, vitamin B6 and folate.

Most importantly it’s beautiful orange colour reflects a high content of  carotenoids, which have been shown to protect against heart disease. In particular, the gourd boasts very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body automatically converts to vitamin A), identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in fetuses and newborns.

Hemp hearts – two tablespoons (30 g) of hemp hearts contain seven grams of protein, the same as in a large boiled eye. Sixty-five percent (65%) of the protein content is from edestin which is readily absorbed by the human body and has benefits to the immune system booster plus all the essential amino acids.

Hemp seeds also contain both essential fatty acids necessary for muscle and joint repair including the especially beneficial type of omega-6 fat called GLA that works in the body as an anti-inflammatory and promotes healthy hair, teeth and nails.  Fatty acids in hemp also help lower cholesterol. They are also rich in phytonutrients and anti-aging antioxidants like vitamin E  that protect the cardiovascular system from damage. All this plus a healthy dose of  magnesium and substantial amounts of zinc, calcium, manganese and iron.

Cauliflower – Part of the cruciferous vegetable group cauliflower is high in vitamin C and K, providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cauliflower also contains phytonutrients called glucosinolates that can help activate detoxification enzymes and regulate their activity. Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables have also been linked to cancer prevention.

Spinach – There is no denying it, dark leafy greens pack a punch. In addition to being a rich source of important minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium, as well as vitamins K, C and E, spinach and family members also contain lutein, an important phytonutrient for health eyes.

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Creamy Cauliflower Sauce with Butternut Squash Tortellini

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 4 heaping cups cauliflower florets (1 small/medium cauliflower)
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (from 2 med/lg cloves)
  • 1/2 cup milk or almond milk
  • 1/8-1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/8 -1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Myopure MF Whey Protein Isolate (other MyoPure protein powders can be used)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Frozen butternut-squash ravioli (we used hand-made but lots of specially supermarkets sell it or you can use any kind of pasta)
  • 2-3 handfuls of spinach (or as much as you want!)
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Add cauliflower florets in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a low boil. Once boiling, cook for another 5 minutes until fork tender. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, add the oil and minced garlic into a pan and saute over a low heat till tender but not browned (around 5mins). Leave to side.
  3. In a high speed blender, add the cooked and drained cauliflower (I suggest letting it cool and dry out for a few minutes first), garlic, milk, hemp hearts, parmesan cheese, protein powder, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until a super smooth sauce forms (as long as you balance the amount of solid to liquid you could also blend your squash or spinach in with the sauce at this point). I just used the ‘sauce’ setting on my Blendtec.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiled add your pasta and cook till al dente or as desired. Drain.
  5. Just after adding your pasta add your cauliflower sauce and spinach in a pot on very low heat to allow the spinach to soften and the sauce to very gently warm.
  6. Add your drained pasta and stir.
  7. Serve with fresh cilantro and black pepper.

Notes: If you’d prefer to just use regular pasta instead of a ravioli, try roasting some butternut squash as a side or toss it in in cubes, the flavour of the squash and the creamy sauce go brilliantly together. If you’d like to go gluten-free this would also be brilliant with spaghetti squash. For a vegan version see: http://ohsheglows.com/2014/01/20/cauli-power-fettuccine-alfredo-vegan/#ixzz2rGbPP7ZR

 

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Delicious! A meat-less dinner without any withdrawals.

 

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