Spinach and zucchini are some of my favorite go-to veggies. The addition of lemon, oil, and garlic are great spices to add to make this dish taste great. Have you tried lime on veggies? Like its counterpart lemon, the tart taste pairs very nicely with the olive oil, veggies, and garlic in this dish. It is a great side for your main dish or you can have it as a snack.Jump to Recipe
Ingredients in This Dish Can Help Relieve Stress
The shopping list for this recipe calls for only five ingredients: garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lime, spinach, and zucchini. It provides a host of health benefits that help to relieve stress.
When we are undergoing stress out our bodies will deplete essential nutrients like zinc, B vitamins, and magnesium. Making sure you’re getting a diet high in nutrients will help your body cope with the physical stress response.Jump to Recipe
Spinach May Help Lower Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Spinach and zucchini are a good source of folate. Low levels of folate are seen in anxiety and depression. Chronic stress often is accompanied by anxiety and depression so getting enough folate is important. Not to mention folate is also an essential nutrient needed to maintain body function. It provides energy to cells and can give you
Many people do not get enough magnesium. Luckily spinach is a great source of this mineral. Adding foods like spinach to the diet can help to improve the function of your central nervous system (CNS) which plays a role in stress. Magnesium is also thought to control the part of the brain that triggers stress. Magnesium-rich foods may help to prevent and calm stress.
Nutrients in Zucchini Are Necessary For Combating Stress
You can never have enough vegetables in your diet. I like to try to add a vegetable serving to every meal. This ensures a wide variety of nutrients. It also can help with calming the body when it comes to stress.
Zucchini is rich in nutrients that help with stress relief. It contains vitamin 6, magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants including zeaxanthin.
Stress can increase blood pressure. The magnesium and potassium found in zucchini may help to lower blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency was also found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin B6 was also found to help lower blood pressure in animals.
B vitamins are responsible for increasing energy production so if you find yourself lagging this recipe provides nutrients that will give you an energy boost.
Chronic stress can affect the health of your gut. Incorporating more fiber into the diet creates healthy gut bacteria which can help to improve a stressed-out gut. Zucchini is a great source of fiber providing 8 grams in just one cup.
Zucchini is also rich in the antioxidant zeaxanthin which has been found to lower stress and reduce the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is released in response to stress. Excess cortisol is harmful to the body in large doses. Those with chronic stress may have an abundance of cortisol production which can weaken the immune system and put your health at risk.
Cortisol production may cause insulin resistance and increase blood sugar. This could put someone at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Consuming foods like zucchini help reduce cortisol and lower stress due to its abundance of nutrients.
Lime Juice May Help Lower Stress
Lime is often used in drinks and dishes but it’s got a tangy tart flavor that pairs well with garlic. Not only does this food taste good but it also provides a host of nutrition. Like lemons, lime juice is a good source of vitamin C giving you about 35% of your recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is helpful for providing immune support. Those with chronic stress may also benefit from foods with vitamin C as this nutrient is known for lowering anxiety.
Frozen and Prepped Veggies Can Save you Time and Stress
The biggest complaint I hear about cooking is the time it takes to make a meal. With all the things you have to get done in a day preparing dinner may be the last thing on your mind.
Dinner recipes don’t have to be lengthy and involved. There are ways to cut corners and still have a healthy meal that will satisfy your tastebuds.
One thing that has made dinnertime easy is using kitchen tools along with prepped and frozen veggies. I like having a freezer full of veggies on hand so I can just pull them out, season, and cook. It saves a ton of time.
In this recipe, I opted for frozen spinach If you’re partial to fresh veggies baby spinach can be easily substituted. When using fresh spinach you want to have 5 cups for the recipe.
Zucchini is also known as summer squash. This versatile veggie can be used in so many ways. I like to get fresh and put it in my salads or add it to muffins and meatballs to get an extra dose of veggies.
If you’re feeling lazy you can opt for the pre-prepped zucchini noodles that are available in many produce departments.
If you don’t have time to get to the food store you can use Instacart and let someone do the shopping for you. It gives you time to put together meal plans saving you time to focus on what is more important.Jump to Recipe
How to Prepare this Spinach and Zucchini
I like to cook with a cast-iron pan because it distributes heat and it provides a little extra iron to the diet. This type of pan is helpful because it lets you cook the vegetables over low heat preventing them from getting burnt.
The first thing you want to do is heat the pan for about two minutes to let it get hot. Then add the extra virgin olive oil and garlic. I like to use a cold or expeller pressed olive oil.
Once you have your garlic pressed you can add it to the pan. Let the garlic and oil simmer for about a minute or two.
Next, you can add in the spinach. I had let my spinach thaw before adding it to the recipe. I will usually take the bag and put it in the fridge the day before to completely thaw it out.
Once your spinach is mixed in with the oil and garlic you can stir in the zucchini ribbons and cook for 3 minutes until well mixed.
Zucchini ribbons can be made by using a special Julienne vegetable peeler. First, peel the skin off with a regular peeler. Then use the Julienne peeler to make ribbons. It’s as simple as peeling slices until the zucchini is no longer able to be peeled. You can even leave on the skin and just peel the zucchini with the Julienne vegetable peeler.
Last you will stir in the lime juice mixing well. Cover the pan and let cook for another three minutes. Let cool and it is ready to eat.
Equipment Used In This Recipe
Spinach and Zucchini with Garlic Lime
- 1 lb Thawed frozen spinach
- 1 medium Zucchini peeled into ribbons
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 cloves Garlic peeled and mashed with a garlic press
- 1 LIme juiced
- Peel the zucchini with a vegetable peeler and then make Zucchini ribbons peeling the zucchini with a Julienne vegetable peeler. Peel the zucchini until there it is no longer able to be peeled. Set aside the zucchini ribbons.
- Warm the skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes
- Heat the olive oil
- Add the garlic, stirring, and let saute for a minute
- Add the spinach stirring for one minute
- Add the zucchini ribbons and cook for 3 minutes stirring until well mixed
- Add the lime juice, mix well, cover, and cook for another 3 minutes
- Once done mix well, let cool, and serve
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