Zucchini Enchiladas for a Low-Carb, Tasty Meal That's Heart Healthy
8 minute read
As a major comfort food, enchiladas and other carbohydrate-loaded meals fill you up and make the perfect winter dish or summer treat. With the recent shift to healthier eating and lifestyles around the globe, many of these favorite meals are losing popularity, in exchange for lighter, “greener” variations.
There really is no need to worry, however, because there are alternative ways to make those hearty favorites without the bulky carbohydrates and still have loads of great taste.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to get the benefits of eating more vegetables. In fact, replacing complex carbohydrates in your diet with vegetables is more common than ever.
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If you can have cauliflower rice, then you certainly can have a zucchini tortilla. The advantages of cutting down on carbs and increasing vegetable intake are numerous—not only will your body function at a more optimal level, but you will feel better too.
Cutting carbohydrates is a go-to option when it comes to losing weight and the addition of vegetables like zucchini only further help this goal. By using zucchini instead of a tortilla, as in the recipe below, you still get a favorite meal while supporting your goals.
The Benefits of Zucchini
There is much more to the zucchini besides its versatility in cooking, and your health will appreciate the new addition to your meals.
Zucchini is part of the squash family and is actually a fruit despite the fact that we all treat it like a vegetable. It can be grown and eaten all year round, making it perfect for summer salads, autumn soups, or winter comfort dishes.
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Apart from the extensive nutritional benefits of zucchini, the best part is its subtle flavor. This allows zucchini to be incorporated into any meal without compromising taste.
Improved Heart Health
The abundance of vitamin C and manganese allows zucchini to be one of the top heart-healthy foods. The presence of magnesium also helps to protect against atherosclerosis and heart attacks.
When combined with the potassium content, your blood pressure can also be maintained at healthy levels.
Most people think of vitamin C for immune system support, but it is actually very important to heart health. Vitamin C helps to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol which can clog blood vessels.
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The high fiber content of zucchini also helps to lower cholesterol levels, proving that this green treat is a dynamic booster of heart health.
Being full of essential nutrients means that zucchini is an ideal addition for those looking to reach optimal health levels. Zucchini contains virtually no fat, is full of water, and has numerous essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to thrive.
♦ Vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K
With such a wide array of vitamins and minerals as well as sugar, fiber, carbohydrates, and amino acids, zucchini is like an all-in-one option for boosting health and body function.
It goes without saying that if your health is at optimal levels, you have a better defense against the diseases out there. Luckily, with zucchini on your side, your defenses will be pretty high.
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Fiber-rich foods like zucchini help to remove toxins from your cells, which can lead to cancer, and vitamins B6 and C help to protect your cells from harmful chemicals or toxins. Many of the vitamins in zucchini also possess strong anti-inflammatory properties, allowing this vegetable to help protect against inflammation and the many serious diseases related to it.
Consuming zucchini as part of a regular diet can help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. By filling you up without delivering calories, you are satisfied and avoid overeating.
The high water and fiber content of zucchini fills up your stomach without bulking you up or weighing you down, and it eliminates the need to crash diet or overload on empty calories.
Great for Men
While zucchini is beneficial for everyone, it has a particular benefit for men. BPH or Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy is a condition in men in which the prostate gland becomes enlarged and interferes with sexual and urinary functions.
Extracts from zucchini combined with other phytonutrients have been shown to reduce the risk of developing BPH and can help decrease the associated symptoms.
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups enchilada sauce, divided
½ lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, for serving
fresh cilantro, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 375°F and in a pan heat the oil and onions over a medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and stir well. Then add the black beans, corn, one cup of enchilada sauce, lime juice, salt, cumin, and chili powder, and stir until completely combined. Cook the mixture until just simmering, remove from the heat, and set to the side.
2. Cut off the end of each zucchini and peel each one into wide strips using a vegetable peeler. Place 4-5 zucchini strips on a plate and spoon a large spoonful of the mixture on the bottom of the strips. Fold the ends of the zucchini over the filling and continue to roll, tightly, as you would with a tortilla.
3. Transfer the zucchini rolls to a baking dish, cover them with the remaining enchilada sauce and top with cheese. Bake the enchiladas in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and serve with sour cream and cilantro.
The Bottom Line
This recipe offers a way to get more vegetables in your diet without compromising flavor or those favorite dishes. The healthier dish still tastes great, fills you up and gives comfort. After eating, though, you don’t feel as heavy, as digestion is more efficient and more nutrients are readily available to you.
Carbohydrates, while necessary, have a tendency to weigh us down,” so by swapping some out of meals every now and then, you won’t feel the need to nap after breakfast, lunch, or dinner.