Each and every year, on March 17th, people all across the globe celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, one of the largest and longest-running St. Patrick’s Day parades has been held in Montreal since 1929. This tradition is clearly represented in Montreal’s flag which displays a shamrock located in its lower-right quadrant.
This festive Irish holiday brings people together, not only in the sharing of dance and drink, but also in the enjoyment of food and all that is green. During these fun and fabulous festivities, there is a way to incorporate some good tasting foods that are healthy for you too.
Did you know that the molecular pigment, chlorophyll, is contained in green and blue-green foods such as; broccoli, kale, spinach, and arugula? Research has shown that this pigment may decrease oxidative damage induced by radiation and chemical carcinogens. Likewise, chlorophyll rich foods have the ability to slow the growth of some types of anaerobic bacteria, giving it the superior health benefit of accelerated wound healing.
With so many benefits, you would think that everyone would be “eating their vegetables”. On the contrary, according to a Canadian Community Health Survey, only approximately 1 in 5 Canadians consume dark green foods on a daily basis.
It’s not that people don’t care about their health, it’s about finding the time and energy required to purchase and fit green foods into our diet. And then there’s the task of trying to get our kids to eat these green monsters! This can be seriously discouraging, especially if you happen to have a child who’s a picky eater.
One cleaver way to include some of these healthy green vegetables into your diet is to add them to some of your favorite dishes like dips, soups, and sauces.
Arugula Pesto Sauce
Here’s one great recipe for an awesome Arugula Pesto Sauce over pasta that takes only 20 minutes to prepare and cook.
Preperation:12 minutes Cook:8 minutes
1 Box/16oz dry pasta
4 cups packed fresh arugula
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt & 1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup pure olive oil
3 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
½ cup packed fresh basil
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
• Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl
• Bring a large pot of water to a boil
• Put the arugula in a large sieve and immerse it into the boiling water
• Stir the arugula so that it blanches evenly for about 15 seconds
• Remove & shake off the excess water, plunge the arugula into the ice water bath
• Stir again so it cools as fast as possible
• Drain well
• Bring a second large pot of water to boil for the pasta to cook
• Squeeze the water out of the arugula with your hands until very dry
• Roughly chop the arugula and put in a blender
• Add the garlic, salt & pepper, olive oil, basil, and 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts
• Blend for 30 secs minimum until all ingredients are well mixed & the green of the arugula is colouring the oil
• Add 2/3 of the cheese and pulse to combine
• Once the second pot of water reaches a boil, add the uncooked pasta in while stirring
• Cook pasta for 7-8 minutes or until al dente
• Mix arugula pesto in with the pasta
• Before serving, add tomato slices, the remaining 1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts, and remainder of parmesan cheese sprinkled on top
Any leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for several days in a tightly sealed container. The only step left is to enjoy the meal, bon appétit!