Boosting immune function through a healthy diet has become an important new focus for many people these days. One key dietary recommendation is to eat more fruits and vegetables each day to improve immune function and prevent heart disease and diabetes. When looking to guide your family to healthier snacks and meals or simply trying to mix up your at-home menu, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.
Grapes make an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make good-for-you dishes that are also satisfying and delicious. Grapes of all colors - red, green and black - are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.
Try recipes like Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette, Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt, and Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes to pair heart-healthy grapes with other nutritious ingredients and add variety and fresh appeal in the kitchen.
MOROCCAN GRAPE AND GRILLED CHICKEN BOWLS
1 cup Israeli couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup carrots, thinly sliced
½ cup tomatoes, diced
½ cup parsley, leaves only
1 ½ teaspoons ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
1 teaspoon salt
2 chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
1 tablespoon harissa paste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup green grapes
1 lemon, juice only
1 preserved lemon, rind only
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup red grapes, halved
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
To make couscous: Cook couscous in boiling salted water. Drain, rinse with cold water and combine with olive oil. Add carrots, tomatoes, parsley leaves, ras el hanout and salt. Mix well and set aside.
To make chicken: Heat grill to medium-high heat.
Rub chicken breasts with harissa paste, olive oil and salt. Grill on both sides until just done. Set aside to cool. Slice into 1/4-inch slices.
To make vinaigrette: In blender, puree green grapes, lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil and cilantro until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Toss couscous mixture with vinaigrette and portion into four bowls. Top with sliced chicken, red grapes and almonds.
Nutritional information per serving: 590 calories; 30 g protein; 44 g carbohydrates; 32 g fat (49% calories from fat); 4.5 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 720 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.
SPICED CHICKPEAS, GRAPES and YOGURT
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1 cup grapes
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 ½ teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon salt, divided
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
In large bowl, mix chickpeas and grapes.
In small skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and cover. Cook until seeds stop popping then add cumin and fennel seeds; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes; pour over chickpeas and grapes. Mix well.
In separate bowl, stir yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and remaining salt. Spread on serving platter and top with chickpea mixture, cilantro and scallions.
Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (25% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 280 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
CAULIFLOWER STEAKS WITH GRAPES
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
1 large head cauliflower, leaves trimmed off
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 cup halved grapes
¼ cup chopped Castelvetrano olives
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped, toasted pistachios
Heat oven to 450 F.
Cut stem off cauliflower and cut remaining head crosswise into four 1-inch-thick slices, keeping as intact as possible. Place on sheet pan and brush sides with 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.
Combine remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, grapes, olives, parsley and pistachios. When cauliflower is roasted, transfer to serving plates and top with grape mixture.
Nutritional information per serving: 210 calories; 5 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (60% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.
Source: California Table Grape Commission