In-Shell Pistachios; Dip into Mediterranean Style

In-Shell Pistachios; Dip into Mediterranean Style

I received free pistachio samples from the Pistachio Health Institute mentioned in this post. By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Last week, while my neighbors were stocking up on bread and milk before the predicted snow storm, I was stocking up on foods that pair with pistachios! Why? Well first of all, you never should be without something healthy and delicious to snack on when a storm hits; and secondly, I was preparing to attempt to find the  ultimate in-shell pistachio experience  for the  Pistachio Health Institute‘s  Pistachio Pairing contest for Recipe Reduxers!

So for three days, (yes, that’s the number of days I was iced in) I played in my kitchen snacking on pistachios with oodles of other accompanying food and drink.  What did I come up with? Well, in my previous post I shared my Fit to a Tea In-Shell Pistachio Pairing. It’s 100% delicious and all under 200 calories. Today, I am bursting with excitment about my second in-shell pistachio pairing, a taste experience that will take you to the sunny Mediterranean! How does that sound about now, eh?

But before we take our food journey to the Mediterranean, I want to point out one of the common misconceptions people have about nuts. Yes, all nuts! Nuts have gotten a bad rap because they are high in fat. Yet,  recent research from Harvard University and published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded, eat nuts, live longer1! Who would have thought! Nuts are one of the healthiest choices we can include in  our diets, everyday!

If you are watching your weight, you too can enjoy the health benefits of nuts! Pistachios make a smart choice because  a one ounce serving of pistachios is  about 49 pistachios and  is more nuts per serving than any other nut! And a reduced serving (about 30 pistachios) has only 100 calories. 

But rather than counting calories, I like to emphasize practicing mindful eating.   That said, the pistachio principle is worth taking note of:

Crack ’em, Eat ’em, Love ’em, Leave ’em

In other words,  let the empty pistachio shells serve as a visual cue of how many nuts you’ve eaten.  Remember: don’t discard the shells after you have enjoyed the snack inside!

Now,  please escape with me to the land where food is grounded in the principles of enjoyment and pleasure:

In-Shell Pistachios; Dip into Mediterranean Style:

In-shell Pistachios

+

Greek Yogurt drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sprinkled with Za’atar

+

Crudite Platter of your Favorite Vegetables, whole or sliced, for dipping

+

Whole Wheat Pita Chips

+

Mediterranean White Wine

=

YUM

Greek yogurt drizzzled with EVOO and sprinkled with za’atar. Adding nutrition and pleasure to foods can be as simple as expanding the range of foods and flavors you choose. That’s why I am extending my palate with Za’atar, a spice blend native to the Middle East. So glad I did because the result is a  dip that’s  tangy and a bit nutty.  For those of you unfamiliar wih Za’atar, it’s a  blend of toasted seasame seeds, dried thyme, dried marjoram and sumac. Don’t underestimate the power of herbs and spices for health and for TASTE!

Crudite Platter : An abundance of food from plant sources is the mainstay of the Mediterranean diet and this traditional appetizer fits right in. It can consist of any of your favorite vegetables, whole or sliced, for dipping.  Let the seasons be your guide. I choose sliced mini zucchini, baby carrots, sliced mini sweet peppers, sugar snap peas, and a mix of red and yellow cherry tomatoes.

Whole wheat Pita Chips: Another dipping food, this one with whole grain. You can purchase whole wheat pita chips or make your own from whole wheat pita bread, cut into triangles, brushed with EVOO, sprinkled with coarse sea salt, and baked. It takes only about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Mediterranean White Wine: This  crisp white wine has citrus and floral flavors that complement  the saltiness of the pistachios and pita chips as well the pungent taste of the za’atar. The wine I selected is an imported wine, but many other white wines with citrus flavors would work such as an Arroyo Seco Chardonnay from California.

Serving suggestion: In keeping with the laid back lifestyle of the Mediterranean, serve in-shell pistachios, crudite, Greek yogurt dip, and whole wheat pita chips in wooden or pottery bowls and/or rustic baskets. Enjoy wine in your favorite glasses.

This snack is Nirvana for food and wine lovers; food and wine enhance each other! Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself! And don’t forget to check out the bottom of my post for more in-shell pistachio pairings, via the Recipe Redux, for the ultimate snacking experience.

1 Bao et al. Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J of Med. 2013;369: 2001-2011

In-Shell Pistachios; Dip into Mediterranean StyleIn-Shell Pistachios; Dip into Mediterranean Style

Pistachios; Fit to a Tea!

Pistachios; Fit to a Tea!

I received free pistachio samples from the Pistachio Health Institute mentioned in this post. By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

To snack or not to snack, that is the question. Professionally, I find this one of  the most frequently asked questions. And my answer, honor your hunger.

Now to the second most frequently asked question, “What can I snack on?”

It’s hard to overlook the recent study from Harvard University and published in the New England Journal of Medicine that concludes, eat nuts, live longer1!  Yes, all nuts! Nuts provide protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. I do love nuts and I’m partial to the taste of pistachios! That’s one reason I often include them in meal plans for health conscience individuals and in meal plans for athletes, including wrestlers. The other reason is because 30 pistachios have only 100 calories!

Here is a simple tip for anyone wanting to enjoy pistachios (aka the skinny nut), but remain mindful of portions. Follow the Pistachio Principle, a mindful concept developed by behaviorial eating expert Dr. James Painter, Ph. D., R.D., Chair of Family and Consumer Sciences at Eastern Illinios University:

Crack ’em, Chew ’em, Love ’em, Leave ’em.

In other words, let the emtpy shells serve as  convenient ‘visual cues’ of how many you’ve consumed. Brilliant! For more information about pistachio health check out the Pistachio Health Institute.

Now pistachios are not just stand alone goodness; they pair remarkably well with oodles of other healthy, delicious foods. So it’s easy to include them as part of a healthy diet. Today I am showcasing what I consider a knock the ball out of the park pistachio pairing, all for  under 200 calories.  It will satisfy  your sweet, your salty and your savory craving, and provide protein and fiber necessary to (as the saying goes) fill you up, not out.

Skinny Nut Snack

In-shell Pistachios

+

Roasted Edamame with Chinese 5 spice

+

Mini Mandarin Oranges

+

Iced Gree Tea

=

YUM!

Edamame: is a highly nutritious protein rich snack. Roasted they have a nutty, crunchy consistency and 1/4 cup provides approximately 50 calories, 2 grams fiber and 4.5 grams of protein. Chinese 5 spice takes this somewhat subtle tasting legume and adds sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty!

Mini Mandarin Oranges: Yes, these are very cute; only 1 1/2  – 2 inches in diameter and they provide 35 calories and  1 gram of fiber. They have a mild, yet incredibly sweet taste that pairs well with salty foods. Their thin rind is easy to peel, keeping snacking simple.

Green Tea: Over the past 20 years there have been numerous studies showing the health benefits of this beverage. But that’s not the only reason I have included it.  Green tea has  fresh tasting floral and vegetable like notes that provide astringent qualties and impart freshness to this snack. Unsweetened it provides zero calories.

To serve, fill your favorite bowls with in-shell pistachios and roasted edamame with Chinese 5 spice. Set out mini mandarin oranges and tall glasses of iced green tea.

I hope I’ve inspired YOU with my skinny nut snack pairing. This Pistachio Pairings Challenge runs for an entire week, so please be sure to visit the links at the bottom of the post today and come back as Recipe Reduxers unveil their culinary combinations with in-shell pistachios.  Warning: you will find everything from reduced calorie to uber indulgent!

Pistachios; Fit to a Tea!

Pistachios; Fit to a Tea!1 Bao et al. Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J of Med. 2013;369: 2001-2011

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial