Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘antioxidants in pistachios’

WHAT SORT OF NUTTY INDULGENCES WILL 100 CALORIES BUY YOU?

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 21, 2009

Gotta hand it to California pistachio grower Paramount Farms for the savvy way they chose to show off the pistachio by comparing 100 calories of pistachios to other snack foods. Those 100 calories deliver 1.1 ounces of pistachio in the shell, a very satisfying snack that can also rave about its good fats, high fiber, and high protein in addition to its vitamin A, its host of minerals, and its healthy measure of phytosterols.

Not so satisfying is 100 calories of chocolate chip cookie–that adds up to all of 1/2 of a cookie.

Also not too impressive is 100 calories of vanilla ice cream, which amounts to a mere 3 tablespoons. Both would still leave most people craving more.

You could also get 5 Saltine crackers for 100 calories (Oh, goody!) or 1/3 of a candy bar, but you wouldn’t be benefiting from anything good for you with those choices.

That 100 calories will buy you 14 gummy bears, but all you’ll get from those are 22 carbs (and not healthy complex carbohydrates at that) and 14.5 grams of sugar—neither will these rate high on the nutrition scale.

But that quiet little 100-calorie pile of 30 pistachios in the shell has so much more to give. While the other snacks contain less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, pistachios will give you 2 grams.

One ounce of pistachios out of the shell has even more fiber—2.9 grams and 5.75 grams of protein. Imagine, only 1 ounce can supply 5.75 grams of protein. That’s a pretty powerful little pile of nuts.

Packed with Minerals
The mineral content is where nuts really shine and pistachios are very generous. Here’s what 1 ounce will give you:

    30 mg of calcium
    34 mg of magnesium
    139 mg of phosphorus
    291 mg of potassium

Trace Minerals
Even the trace minerals are abundant in pistachios:

    1.11 mg of iron
    0.62 mg of zinc
    0.369 mg of copper
    0.340 mg of manganese
    1 mcg of fluoride
    2 mcg of selenium

Antioxidants
Pistachios even want to share some of their antioxidants with you—good guys that they are (I just love them!).

    Beta carotene 71 mcg
    Lutein + zeaxanthin 398 mcg
    Gamma tocopherol 6.41 mg
    Phytosterols 61 mg
    Campesterol 3 mg
    Beta-sitosterol 56 mg

From past experience and from observing how people behave at a party when they encounter the traditional bowl of nuts on the coffee table, I can predict pretty accurately that whoever is sitting in front of that little nut bowl is going to find those nuts very compelling. So compelling, in fact, that one little handful, about 1 1/2 ounces, will not be enough to satisfy. Within a short time, the nut bowl will be empty. That’s the typical snack addiction that catches people off guard.

So what’s the ideal quantity of nuts one ought to consider in the daily diet? Examining a number of nut studies, I noticed researchers recommend 1 to 3 ounces daily during the research trials.

I confess, that I am also a victim of the nut bowl snack addiction, but I’ve found a great
way to enjoy nuts, pistachios in particular, without getting caught up in their over-consumption.

MY SECRET IS TO PUT NUTS ON THE DAILY MENU BY INCORPORATING THEM INTO TASTY DISHES, RATHER THAN EATING THEM AS A SNACK. Nuts are so much more than a snack, They are wholesome, nutrient-dense food sources that can boost the healthfulness of any dish. If I include between 1/2 cup and 1 cup of nuts in a salad, soup, main dish, side dish, or even dessert, that dish will likely serve 4 to 6 people. That means that even if only 4 people feast on that dish, no one will be consuming more than 2 ounces of nuts at most.

Here’s a tasty way to enjoy pistachios, those wholesome little green wonders that bring us such pleasure:

This flavor-infused, layered vegetable casserole blanketed in a killer, thick, creamy, nut-based sauce is ideal when you need a dish to serve a large group. Like many recipes that include a blend of cooked ingredients, this one tastes even better when prepared a day ahead and reheated. If you take this delicious dish directly from the refrigerator, place it in a cold oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until warmed through.

PISTACHIO EGGPLANT NIRVANA

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

2 large eggplants, unpeeled, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 large onions, thinly sliced, slices cut in half
4 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced, stems discarded
1 to 2 teaspoons canola oil

Sauce
1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
2/3 cup pistachios
2 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons vanilla flavored soymilk
1/4 cup soy sauce

4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil 3 large jellyroll pans. Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside

2. TO PREPARE THE VEGETABLES, arrange the eggplants and onions on two of the baking sheets. It’s perfectly all right if some of the onions overlap, but keep the eggplant slices in a single layer. Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Arrange the tomatoes on one half of the remaining pan. Toss the mushrooms with the canola oil in a medium bowl and pile them onto the baking sheet with the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes and mushrooms under the broiler, about 3-inches from the heat source. Broil them for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are softened.

4. When the eggplants, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms are done, set them aside and raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees while preparing the sauce.

5. TO MAKE THE SAUCE, place the pumpkin seeds and pistachios into the food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer them to a 2-quart saucepan and add the soymilk and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring well. Adjust the heat as needed to avoid a messy boil-over.

6. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl or cup and stir to form a smooth runny paste. Add the paste to the gently bubbling sauce, a little at a time, stirring well with a wire whip until the sauce is quite thick, about the consistency of oatmeal.

7. TO ASSEMBLE THE DISH, layer half the eggplant slices on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, followed by half the mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes.

8. Pour half the sauce over the tomatoes. Layer with the remaining eggplant slices, mushrooms, and onions and spoon the remaining sauce over the top. Top the sauce with the remaining tomatoes and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.

9. Bake the Pistachio Eggplant Nirvana for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

For more data on the health benefits and nutritional information of pistachios, visit the Pistachio Health website.

Posted in Antioxidants in Nuts, Minerals in Nuts, Nut Nutrition, Nut Recipes, Nuts and Health, pistachios | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NUTTY BAKER GOES WILD IN THE KITCHEN!

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

I know I’m not alone when I say I have a thing for pistachios. They’re so darned lovable in practically every dish I’ve put them into. I had this wild idea to create a totally whole-grain, no-yeast bread and pack it with pistachios. I did it and it’s a winner!

Preparing, baking, and eating this bread will feel like Mother Nature paid a visit to your kitchen. This is not the airy white bread that comes from highly processed grains and leaves you with little nourishment. Because, this bread is made from truly whole grains and is prepared without yeast, it will be heavier, considerably denser, and delightfully earthy because it’s full of flavorful savory ingredients that give it a chewy texture.

Most of all, it’s delicious, but there’s something else very special about this bread. Wheat berries and oat groats deliver an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, 20 in all, plus protein, fiber, and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. The oat groats add another dimension to the nutrition package—they contain soluble fiber that helps to lower cholesterol naturally.

pistcaperbread

PISTACHIO CAPER BREAD

Yield: 2 small loaves (4 to 6 servings per loaf)

5 1/2 cups water, divided
1 cup oat groats
1 cup wheat berries

1 tablespoon psyllium seed husks

2/3 cup raw pistachios
2/3 cup dehydrated onions
1/2 cup well-drained capers
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Place the oat groats and wheat berries into a large bowl and rinse the grains. Add 4 cups of the water to the grains and soak for 8 to 24 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a large jellyroll pan with parchment paper. Drain and rinse the soaked grains and put them into the food processor with 1 1/4 cups of the remaining water. Process the grains for about 2 minutes, or until they are ground to a coarse meal and all the liquid is well incorporated. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. If your processor has a small capacity, process the grains in 2 batches.
3. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of water with the psyllium husks in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside for about 30 seconds to allow the mixture to thicken. Add the thickened psyllium to the processor and process it into the grains.
4. Transfer the grains to a large bowl and add the pistachios, onions, capers, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well to distribute the ingredients evenly.
5. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared jellyroll pans in two even piles and use the spoon to shape the loaves into thick rectangles about 5 x 7-inches.
6. Lightly cover the loaves with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes longer. Cool completely, slice, and serve.

Notes:
Oat groats and wheat berries are available in natural food markets. Psyllium seed husks absorb water and act as a binder. They are also available in natural food markets.

If not serving right away, wrap the breads separately in plastic bags and refrigerate for up to one week. Bring to room temperature before serving or wrap in aluminum foil, shiny side inside, and warm in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes.

I like to prepare these breads in advance and freeze them to give as gifts or to enjoy when guests come for dinner. To freeze, wrap the cooled breads separately in heavy-duty zipper-lock plastic bags. Frozen, they will keep well for up to 4 months.

Posted in Antioxidants in Nuts, Nut Nutrition, Nut Recipes, Nuts and Health, pistachios | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Antioxidants in Nuts, Nut Nutrition, Nut Recipes, Nut Studies, Nuts and Health, pistachios | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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