Stuffed Sweet Potato With Israeli Couscous

What is Israeli Couscous and why is it imperative for our gut?


Despite the name, it is not a type of couscous, Israeli couscous, or ptitim, is actually a type of toasted pasta shaped like tiny pearls made from semolina flour and water. It is a popular choice for many dishes served in countries like Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. Not only is it easy and quick to prepare, it is also packed with a variety of nutrients such as: plant-based protein, calcium, iron, and selenium!

One of the most important nutrients in couscous is selenium. Selenium is an essential mineral with many health benefits. It's a powerful antioxidant that helps your body repair damaged cells and decreases inflammation. Selenium is also important for thyroid function, as well as hormone production and regulation. Proper thyroid function is essential for gut health especially because the Thyroid-Gut-Axis has a big impact on gut function. In fact, a review of 69 studies including over 350,000 people displayed that high selenium blood levels may protect against certain cancers, though the effect was associated with eating selenium-rich foods, rather than taking supplements.

In addition to the health benefits of incorporating Israeli couscous into your diet, it is also a great option of fiber as it is essential to provide bulk to stools and allow food to move through the intestines quickly. 1/2 cup contains 4 grams of fiber.


Ways to eat it


Make Israeli couscous the star of the dish and use it as the base of a grain or salad bowl! Add lots of herbs and vibrant vegetables! You can also add it into your favorite broth based soup in place of rice or traditional pasta. Also, bulk up lettuce-based salads and make them more filling and include some protein in them!

Recipe: Stuffed Sweet Potato with Israeli Couscous

Picture from happyfoodstube.com

Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):

  • 1/2 cup israeli couscous, cooked

  • 2 medium sweet potato

  • 3/4 cup lentils, cooked

  • 1/2 cup zucchini, sautéed

  • 1/2 cup spinach, sautéed

  • 1/4 cup guacamole

  • 1/4 cup broccoli sprouts

  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast

  • a lemon to absorb more iron, squeezed

Homemade cashew cream sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Poke holes in sweet potato and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

  2. Then cut it in half and open it up to prepare it for stuffing.

  3. Stuff the medium sweet potato with the remaining ingredients.

  4. Drizzle homemade cashew cream sauce: (blend: drained soaked cashews, water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt.) Enjoy!

Heal With Each Meal!


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References

Goodson, A. (4, June, 2018). Is couscous healthy? Top 5 health and nutrition benefits. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/couscous-benefits.

Knezevic, J., Starchl, C., Tmava Berisha, A., & Amrein, K. (2020). Thyroid-Gut-Axis: How Does the Microbiota Influence Thyroid Function? Nutrients, 12(6), 1769. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061769.

Smith, L. B. (n.d.). Israeli couscous nutritional information. Livestrong. https://www.livestrong.com/article/352479-israeli-couscous-nutrition-information/.

Vanegas, S. M., Meydani, M., Barnett, J. B., Goldin, B., Kane, A., Rasmussen, H., Brown, C., Vangay, P., Knights, D., Jonnalagadda, S., Koecher, K., Karl, J. P., Thomas, M., Dolnikowski, G., Li, L., Saltzman, E., Wu, D., & Meydani, S. N. (2017). Substituting whole grains for refined grains in a 6-wk randomized trial has a modest effect on gut microbiota and immune and inflammatory markers of healthy adults. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 105(3), 635–650. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.116.146928.


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