Establishing a regular pattern of healthy snacks and meals made from fresh, whole foods is essential to promoting good health. Fresh grapes always make a great snack because they are tasty, healthy and portable. Yet grapes can also be used as an ingredient to make good-for-you dishes that are just as satisfying as they are healthy.
According to an IFIC Food and Health survey, consumers are looking more and more to foods for health benefits, with cardiovascular health topping the list as the leading benefit sought. 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 low in sodium. Pairing heart-healthy grapes with other healthy ingredients – including fish, legumes, whole grains and vegetables – offers a vast array of options for nutritious make-at-home dishes.
In these recipes for Chicken Larb with Grapes, Trout with Grape and Lentil Salad, and Smashed Cucumber and Grape Salad, grapes add a juicy burst of flavor, vibrant color and crunch to deliver wholesome meals with bold flavors and fresh textures.
Go for a Grape Snack
Snacking, for many people, is a significant part of daily food consumption, thus making smart snack choices a vital part of promoting good health. According to a study conducted by Mintel, 94 percent of adults snack daily, and 55 percent of people said they snack 2-3 times per day. Grapes are a healthy and hydrating choice without the added fat, salt and sugar found in many processed snacks.
Trout with Grape and Lentil Salad
3/4 cup green lentils, uncooked
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 1/2 cups halved red California grapes
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, olive oil, divided
1 cup arugula
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus additional, to taste, divided
4 trout fillets (4-6 ounces each), skin on
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
In medium saucepan, combine lentils with water. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow lentils to steam 5 minutes; drain and let cool.
In medium bowl, combine lentils, shallot, grapes, dill, walnuts, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, arugula, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper, to taste; set aside.
Heat oven to broil. Move rack to highest position.
Sprinkle trout fillets with lemon zest, remaining salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; brush with remaining olive oil. Broil trout 4-5 minutes. Serve with lentil salad.
Nutritional information per serving: 480 calories; 40 g protein; 36 g carbohydrates; 20 g fat (38% calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 80 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 10 g fiber.
Chicken Larb with Grapes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups halved red California grapes
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Thai chilies, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint leaves
4 cups steamed jasmine rice
2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 tablespoons chopped roasted and salted peanuts
In medium bowl, combine onion, grapes and rice vinegar; set aside.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently until just cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Stir in chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, cilantro and mint.
Divide rice between four serving dishes and top with chicken, cabbage, marinated onions and grapes; sprinkle with peanuts.
Nutritional information per serving: 540 calories; 26 g protein; 65 g carbohydrates; 19 g fat (32% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 100 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.
Smashed Cucumber and Grape Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
1 1/4 pounds English or Persian cucumbers, ends trimmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1-2 teaspoons chili oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 cup halved California grapes
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Using rolling pin, smash whole cucumbers lightly, just enough to break open. Tear or cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces and season with salt. Transfer to sieve and let drain 10 minutes.
In large bowl, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, chili oil and sesame oil; stir in grapes and scallions. When cucumbers finish draining, add to bowl with grape mixture and stir to combine.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 1 g protein; 11 g carbohydrates; 2.5 g fat (32% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 170 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
For more meal inspiration for healthy eating, visit GrapesfromCalifornia.com.