Asparagus and pine nuts…I love them both! So why not combine them? I love how these flavors complement one another in this simple, low carb dish.
Tender, but not overcooked asparagus is often a fine art. In this recipe, we steam the asparagus lightly before sautéing it with red wine vinegar. The final touch is chopped pine nuts sprinkled on top. Just a little goes a long way.
Asparagus is Extremely Nutritious
Asparagus contains Vitamins A, E, K, B6, B9 (folate), as well as magnesium, zinc, selenium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, copper, and manganese. It contains half as much fiber as carbohydrates, which halves the number of carbs to include in your daily total (if you count net and total carbs). It’s also low in calories, sodium, and fat.
Asparagus helps your eyes, reduces oxidative damage to your cells, rebuilds blood cells, and keeps your heart healthy. It can also help prevent liver disease and spina bifida.
Asparagus contains some components that allow it to help bolster the immune system and an extract from asparagus shows promise as a cancer preventative.
The flavonoid known as quercetin is also present in asparagus, and helps reduce the risk of developing a number of cardiovascular diseases and other health issues.
Asparagus is Good for Diabetics
Most interesting for diabetics is that asparagus contains chromium, which is a mineral necessary for insulin to transport glucose into cells.
There is also some preliminary evidence that Vitamin B6, contained in asparagus, can help regulate blood sugar levels.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of asparagus reduce the risk of diabetes. Asparagus can improve insulin secretion and improve beta-cell function, as well.
Pine Nuts Are Good For You
Actually a seed, pine nuts have many health benefits. They can suppress your appetite, partly by giving your brain the signal that you’re full and partly by slowing down the rate at which your stomach empties.
Pine nuts are packed with protein and are also an excellent source of fiber. They contain Vitamins E, K, and niacin, as well as potassium and magnesium.
Pine nuts are healthy for your heart and can reduce your cholesterol.
Finally, pine nuts also boast antioxidant properties, which protects your cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
Pine Nuts Are Expensive
Unfortunately, pine nuts have two disadvantages. They tend to be more expensive than many other types of nuts, partly because they’re so expensive to harvest. Since the trees they come from take years to mature and start bearing pine cones, and then each pine cone takes around two more years to fully develop, the process of growing pine nuts is extremely long. Then the harvest itself is incredibly difficult.
Pine Nuts Are High in Carbs
The second disadvantage to using pine nuts is that they are relatively high in carbs, compared to other nuts. While a pine nut has around 8 grams of carbs per serving, a serving of pecans is half that amount.
Watch Out for “Pine Mouth”
It’s also important to be aware of the condition known as “pine mouth.” The FDA describes pine mouth as a bitter metallic taste that develops between 12 and 48 hours after consuming pine nuts and lasts a few days to two weeks. Eating any other food while suffering from this condition exacerbates it, and as a result appetite and enjoyment of food both decrease significantly. Typically, this condition occurs most often when pine nuts are eaten raw. Some anecdotal reports suggest that pine mouth happens most often when consuming pine nuts from China.
Alternatives to Pine Nuts
So unless you’re adamant about only using pine nuts, you might experiment with cashews or walnuts to reduce both the carb count, the risk of pine mouth, and the cost of this dish! If you do really want to use pine nuts, then you could always try reducing the amount you use to cut down on the carb count.
Asparagus with Pine Nuts
Prep Time:5 minutes |
Cook Time:10 minutes |
Total Time:15 minutes
Nutritional InfoCalories 305Carbohydrates 8gFat 30gProtein 7g
Asparagus & pine nuts are both tasty and highly nutritious. Combine them for a delicious low carb vegetarian side dish and reap their many health benefits!
Ingredients1 bunch of asparagus1 T olive oil1/2 T red wine vinegarSalt and pepper to taste1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
1. Cut the ends of the asparagus stems.
2. Steam the spears for about 3 minutes.
3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat.
4. Add the red wine vinegar and asparagus and sauté for about 2 minutes.
5. When the asparagus starts to brown slightly it’s ready.
6. Season it with salt and pepper and topped with chopped pine nuts.
Substitute walnuts, pecans, or almonds for the pine nuts if you wish to reduce carb counts or cost. Experiment with which one tastes best to you and then let us know your favorite in the comments!