We are never too young to start a healthy diet. We definitely benefit from it as we age.
Almost two years ago, I decided to no longer eat meat. Partly due to health concerns, partly due to spiritual acknowledgements, and partly because I don’t hunt or raise animals for food. I have no idea how the meat sold in stores was processed, how the animals were treated.
I tried several times over the years to become vegetarian, but I never followed through because I was too used to cooking with meat. Trying to figure out what to eat that was vegetarian, that tasted good to me, that was within my cooking skill range, was a bit daunting. In the end, I would always go back to tuna casseroles and sloppy joes; smothered chicken breast; and breaded pork chops.
Once I made the commitment to “go vegetarian”, I made it my mission to make sure I was not only getting all the nutrients and protein I needed, but to find easy but tasty wholesome meals to make.
While going vegetarian isn’t for everyone, it never hurts to cut back on meat consumption and fill up on healthy vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts.
Luckily, we now have many tools at hand where we don’t have to purchase a whole vegetarian cookbook that has only a handful of recipes we like to eat. There are tons of free on-line recipe sites with plenty of options and lots of information on switching to a vegetarian diet.
One of my favorite places to go for recipes is Pinterest. I am going to share with you a recipe from GreenValleyKitchen.com that I found there that is easy and fast to make and was a hit with both me and my carnivore husband.
Along with being tasty, it’s very healthy. Let’s look at some of the ingredients and go over the health benefits:
*Asparagus is loaded with nutrients, helps to protect against and fight cancer, reduces inflammation in the body. It’s a brain booster and a natural diuretic.
*Walnuts help reduce bad cholesterol, improve metabolism, control diabetes, boost mood and have anti-inflammatory properties.
*Lemon aids in digestion, helps absorb Vitamin C, and boosts energy and mood.
*Parsley improves digestion, has anti-inflammatory properties, helps control cancer, diabetes and arthritis, and is a diuretic.
Ravioli With Sautéed Asparagus and Walnuts
1 – 8 oz package of fresh ravioli – I used ravioli with spinach and cheese
½ pound of asparagus – snap off the tough ends – chop asparagus into thirds or smaller.
1 half lemon
2 tbs butter
¼ cup walnut pieces
2 tbs minced parsley
6 twists of pepper ( I honestly wasn’t sure what twist of pepper is, I just used a pepper grinder)
2 tbs grated parmesan, plus some to serve at the table.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, chop your asparagus into thirds (snap off tough white ends and discard). Mince parsley, squeeze lemon, and measure out walnuts and butter.
In a large saucepan, melt 2 tbs of butter over medium heat until frothy. Add chopped asparagus to the pan, stir slightly to coat asparagus with butter and cover with the pan with a lid. The asparagus should be slightly damp when adding it to the pan. The pan should only be on medium heat so you don’t burn the butter or the asparagus. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes – depending on thickness of asparagus.
While asparagus is cooking, add ravioli to boiling water and cook as per the package instructions – my package said 4 minutes. Drain when done and add to a bowl.
When asparagus is done, remove asparagus with a slotted spoon. There will be some browned butter left in the bottom of the pan. Add asparagus to the bowl of ravioli.
Add lemon juice and 6 twists of black pepper to the pan with the remaining browned butter and bring to a boil and stir for 30 seconds. Pour the butter lemon sauce over cooked ravioli and asparagus. There will not be a lot of sauce – you just want enough to lightly coat the ravioli.
Add walnuts, parsley and 2 tbs parmesan cheese – toss gently to mix.
Served with a side salad, this really was a simple, wholesome meal.