If you’re looking for something indulgent tasting but not at the expense of your waist-line then this Creamy Butternut Quionoaslaw is the lunch for you. Gluten-free, grain-free with roasted butternut squash quinoa, carrots, walnuts, raisins, spring onions in plain goats yoghurt.
Creamy and sweet with an added crunch it’s also full of lots of super ingredients packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals (see the good stuff below).
It’s been a funny old week and one that has reminded me why I write this blog. One such reminder came in the form of this article, ‘Wheat is a Drug Like Morphine’, highlighting the comparison between gluten and Morphine on the brain.
People often ask me why I don’t eat gluten? I tell them about the connection to neurological disease, my family history, my own period of illness and that gluten can also cause a host of additional auto immune diseases and disorders such as depression, migraine and ADHD (see my FAQ’s). And sometimes you see that look in their eye of ‘OK crazy lady’ or ‘if it works for you’.
Reading this article reminded me that I really need to get to grips with the science of what gluten can do to our brains and how.
So how can eating gluten affect the brain?
The human body breaks gluten down into a collection of polypeptides that are released into the bloodstream.These gluten-derived polypeptides are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain.
The article also highlights how eating gluten can give you a slight high as polypepetides cause a morphine like low grade high to the brain. Which is why some people get withdrawal symptoms of fatigue, or brain frog when stopping eating gluten, slightly ironically as in the long run your body will gain more energy and you will feel sharper and alert by not eating gluten. But this explains why it is so difficult for many to stop eating gluten as some are literally hooked on cereal, pasta and bread.
I also came across this other interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, ‘The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease’ . I linked to this article on my Facebook Page but if you haven’t read it is a must read, detailing some of the reasons historically we have been miss educated and encouraged to eat high carb, refined sugar.
I started this week struggling for inspiration of what to eat for lunch, I was tight on time and Littlest was having a party with the dirty plates in the dishwasher and emptying the cupboards. Ah two year olds, so sweet and so full on! .
I needed to make lunch and fast I looked in the fridge and found some quinoa from a batch I’d cooked up earlier in the week, roasted butternut squash left overs and not much else except some goats yoghurt, a couple of carrots and spring onions.
A thought crossed my mind, what if I simply combined the ingredients to create a kind of slaw? I was a little nervous about using goats yoghurt as a dressing with quinoa. I use it in other coleslaws and salad dressings but I wasn’t sure if it would mix well with quinoa. It did.
And I think it will become a firm favourite in our house as it is perfect to take on picnics or packed up for lunch in the office.
There is much debate as to whether quinoa is a seed or a grain and not one I’m really interested in getting in to here. I do sit on the seed side of the fence and find it agrees with me, as with all things if I don’t eat it all the time. My personal advice with all food is to listen to your body and eat and do what’s best for you.
I shall leave you with a link to Zed Clarity ft Foxes which has also inspired me this week and you might enjoy whilst knocking up this delicious creamy roasted butternut slaw.
Lunch To Go: Creamy Butternut Slaw (GF, V, GF)
Quantities feed 2 as a main course, 2 as a side or starter.
- 1 x butternut squash peeled and cut in to bite size squares (ideally organic)
- 1 x cup of quinoa (ideally organic)
- 2 x carrots peeled and gated (ideally organic)
- 2 x spring onions washed, trimmed and sliced (ideally organic)
- 4-5 x tablespoons of plain yoghurt (I use St Helen’s goats)
- 1 x generous handful of crushed walnuts
- 1 x generous handful of sultanas
- Maldon Sea Salt (or alternative quality sea salt) and Pepper
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 180c, 356f
- Gently roast the butternut squash in your preferred oil of choice, for approx. 40 mins. I used Virgin Extra Olive Oil or raw organic Coconut oil.
- Cook your quinoa. NEVER FOLLOW THE PACKET INSTRUCTIONS AND ALWAYS RINSE THE QUINOA. I then cook by equal cups water:quinoa bring to the boil, then simmer covered for 10 or so mins, check the seeds are cooked if not give an extra minute or two then cover the pan with a tea towel for 5 mins before fluffing with a fork.
- In a large bowl Mix the butternut squash together with the quinoa, carrots, walnuts, spring onions and sultanas. Then add the yoghurt using less or a bit more depending on your preferred type of slaw (heavily or lightly dressed).
- Season with salt of pepper and Enjoy!
The Good Stuff
A great source of healthy carbs, magnesium, antioxidants, and vitamins C, A and B6. It is great at fighting inflammation, lowering risk of heart disease and stroke, maintaining a healthy gut. It is also a very beneficial food for pregnant women.
A complete source of protein and a great source of anti-inflammatory, monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Known to reduce unhealthy LDL cholesterol (that can lead to hardened of the arteries) and is full of antioxidants. Helping to protect against free radical damage, naturally gluten-free its easy to digest strengthens connective tissues.
Rich in beta-caroten, which helps the body make vitamin A, antioxidants, fibre, calcium, Lutein and lycopene. Carrots help maintain good vision, aid digestion, help lower cholesterol, and can help prevent some cancers
Full of vitamins E, B, B6, Zinc, manganese, potassium, folates, iron, calcium, omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants. They are great for maintaining optimum health and energy and are also anti-inflammatory helping reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and breast, colon and prostate cancers