We are almost done with B vitamins, I promise. One of the last ones I’m going to talk about is B9 or Folic Acid. This vitamin’s super power is particularly important because of its role in red blood cell production and cell growth & reproduction. This function makes it very important before & during pregnancy (a major time of cell multiplication) for the healthy development of the baby. So if you’re expecting, breast-feeding or of childbearing age; make sure you’re getting enough folic acid.
The best source of folic acid is foliage (makes sense) such as spinach, kale, chard, asparagus and broccoli. Starchy veggies are also a good source such as potatoes (regular & sweet) & parsnips and beans (chick & lima). Whole grains, wheat germ & milk are also good sources. Many types of fruit such as oranges, cantaloupe, pineapple, bananas and berries are also sources of B9.
If you eat a diet rich in fresh, unprocessed foods you are most likely getting your daily requirement of folic acid. I would recommend taking a supplement during times of increased estrogen levels; if you’re taking birth control or during pregnancy & lactation, and if you’re trying to have a baby. I would recommend taking 400mcg – 1000mcg of folic acid once per day.
Because potatoes are a great source of folic acid I thought I would include a yummy potato recipe that I made recently. First let me say, there is a common misconception with potatoes that they are a “bad” food, but they are actually quite good for you. Yes, they are considered a carb, but they are high in fiber & vitamins, so I would consider them a healthy choice. That being said, they tend to spike your blood sugar, so if you are diabetic or have symptoms of hypoglycemia, I would sub in sweet potatoes instead.
This original recipe is called “Winter’s Pasta-Less Lasagna” that I found on Eating Rules, but I have to re-name it so you’re not expecting lasagna. It’s really good, but don’t expect the taste of traditional lasagna. I tweaked this recipe a little and I call it:
Yummy Veggie Casserole
2 cups plain Marinara (Costco makes a great natural marinara sauce)
1 tsp grapeseed oil (for greasing the pan)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil for sauteing
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes (I used 2 or 3 tsp because I like it spicy)
3 or 4 cups of organic baby spinach (I used the leftovers from my weekly spinach container)
1 large russet potato, scrubbed and cut into ½ inch slices
1 portabella mushroom, cut into ¼ inch slices (or sliced cremini)
1/4 cup fresh basil (I didn’t have fresh, so I used the frozen cubes)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
¼ – ½ cup cauliflower, cut into small pieces (you can also use broccoli)
1 cup fresh light ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese (optional)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a rectangle metal baking pan or a regular casserole dish.
Chop all your veggies.
Warm 1 tbsp oil in a medium pan. Add garlic and pepper flakes, and sauté for a few minutes (make sure not to burn the garlic or it will taste bitter). Turn up the heat to medium-high and add spinach & some of the basil (save more for later). Sauté the spinach & basil for a few minutes until wilted.
Meanwhile, spoon ½ cup of the pasta sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange the potato slices on top of the sauce. Next, arrange the mushrooms over the potatoes. Spoon more sauce and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of basil over the mushrooms.
Spread out the sautéed spinach, basil and cauliflower over the sauce. Next, spread the ricotta with the remaining sauce over the layers of vegetables. Sprinkle with parm, black pepper and remaining basil. Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil over the top.
Bake for 40 minutes, cut into 4 or 6 slices (depends on your pan) and enjoy!