You are what you eat. The result of our lifestyles takes its toll on the way we look and feel. Pollution, fast food, stress and the sun will all put extra strain on our skin. The consequence of our busy lifestyles leads to increased production of free radicals - rogue molecules that accelerate ageing and increase our need for antioxidants to mop up the damage.
You can optimise your skin by ensuring your diet is rich in colourful fruits and vegetables, which are high in beneficial phytochemicals. These phytochemicals protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. This means they protect the skin against premature ageing. Make sure your dinner plate consists of a rainbow of colours!
This delicious pesto is packed with skin beautifying nutrients. Some of us call it kale – it's also known as cavolo nero, black kale or Tuscan black cabbage. Kale is a major strengthening food for your body - you can just tell by looking at its deep green, super hardy, waxy leaves. Kale is rich in vitamins A, C and K and folic acid, as well as calcium, potassium, copper and iron. These nutrients are necessary for maintaining healthy skin!
Kale also wages a powerful battle on free radicals by supplying copious amounts of antioxidants, called carotenoids and flavonoids, which help to maintain good skin. For our recipe today, kale is paired up with traditional basil for a flavoursome pesto - but using walnuts instead of pine nuts. Walnuts boast the highest content of omega 3 fatty acids (an important beauty fat) of any nut. Add to that they are rich in Vitamin E, which helps keep the skin hydrated. What I love about this dish is that the pesto can be kept for days in the fridge and used on raw crackers, on your eggs, or to marinate meats. Oh yes, this dish will become a good friend!
If you have decided to ditch the grain, you shouldn’t have to miss out on pasta. Our pesto for todays' recipe is served on a bed of raw zucchini pasta. Being raw, it provides loads of beautifying nutrients, and can be cut into super fine strips using a vegetable spiral cutter, which are available in most homewares stores now (alternatively, use a mandolin, or at a pinch, just slice your zucchini as fine as you can with a sharp knife). For those of you who are a little less purist (!!), this pesto can of course be stirred through your pasta of choice, it’s so versatile!
For the pasta
3 zucchinis, washed
For the pesto
½ cup Kale, cleaned and chopped
¼ cup basil leaves
½ cup walnuts
1 clove garlic
½ tsp salt
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
½ – ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 mini roma tomatoes, chopped
For the zucchini pasta
Slice your zucchinis using a Mandolin slicer or veggie spiral cutter, and place in a large bowl.
For the pesto
Boil a medium sized pot of water with a pinch of salt. Prepare a bowl of cold ice water. Add kale to boiling water and cook for two minutes. Strain and immediately immerse kale into ice water to stop it cooking.
Using a food processor, chop garlic. Add walnuts, kale, basil, salt and parmesan cheese. Slowly add olive oil while the machine is running.
Pour the pesto mixture over the zucchini pasta, toss through and garnish with a few basil leaves and sliced mini roma tomatoes.
You can store the pesto in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze it for up to two months.
HUGE thanks to Jacqueline for sharing her healing meal ideas with us this month! Stay tuned for the rest of the series where she'll offer up more nutritious, flavoursome recipes which tackle a variety of health concerns.
For more info on Jacqueline's naturopathy background and her beautiful locally made skincare range, do check out her website. Today's post also coincides with the release of four gorgeous new products in Jac's skincare range, launching in Melbourne at The Lab Perfumery tonight from 6.30pm, if you're free!