Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Hooray for Pistachios!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on January 13, 2009

pistachioHere’s the scoop on PISTACHIOS, one of my favorite nuts. A recent study conducted at Pennsylvania State University found pistachios a benefit in more ways than just their ability to lower cholesterol. The study, a randomized, controlled feeding experiment focused on just 1.5 to 3 ounces of pistachios a day, or one to two handfuls. Both quantities were successful, but the 3-ounce quantity reduced total cholesterol by 8.4 percent and the LDL (bad) cholesterol by 11.6 percent.

This is awesome–researchers also found that pistachios contain higher levels of lutein, an antioxidant normally found in leafy green vegetables. Imagine—pistachios have levels of antioxidants that veggies like kale and collards are known for. The pistachios also contain greater amounts of beta-carotene and gama tocopherol than other nuts—more antioxidants. These antioxidants were shown to improve cardiovascular health by reducing serum oxidized LDL.

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Here’s a tasty pistachio recipe from my cookbook, The Nut Gourmet

I’ve served this super-easy appetizer to friends of all ages and all dietary preferences and can honestly say it’s a winner. I’ve even had this recipe on the menu for the cooking classes I teach with my husband, and our students have fallen in love with it, too. It’s the pleasing combination of peas, spices, and pistachios that creates the base of this Indian-inspired starter, while its uniqueness comes from the finishing splash of pomegranate syrup.

If you can’t find pomegranate syrup, don’t worry about it. Just leave it out and you will still have a very delicious appetizer. Serve the dip with toasted whole grain pita wedges or whole grain crackers.

Here’s another scrumptious way you can enjoy this super-easy recipe. Spread a generous layer of this dip over bread slices, top them with slices of tomato, place some cheese slices over the top, and broil until the cheese melts. Cut each slice into quarters or simply dig in with a knife and fork. Makes a great brunch or lunch dish!peakarachi

Yield:  5 to 6 servings

HOT KARACHI PEA DIP

1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup raw pistachios
5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup or pomegranate molasses

1.    Combine the peas, pistachios, water, lemon juice, salt, curry powder, and cayenne in the food processor and process until creamy.
2.    Transfer to a 1-quart saucepan and gently heat, stirring frequently, until thoroughly warmed but not boiling.
3.    Spoon into an attractive serving bowl and lightly drizzle the top with the pomegranate syrup.

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