(Family Features) All aspects of health are important, but heart health is a crucial component of overall well-being. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans but it doesn’t need to be – lifestyle choices play a key role in heart health and it’s never too soon to adopt healthful habits.
From exercising and getting proper sleep to healthy eating – including heart-friendly snacks like grapes – consider these simple steps.
Adopting a balanced and nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats can impact heart health. One way you may lower your risk for heart disease is by
As an easy, convenient, heart-healthy food, grapes are a perfect ingredient for a heart-friendly eating plan that includes recipes like Grape, Broccoli and Avocado Salad with Toasty Oat Topping. Savory broccoli slaw pairs with the delicate sweetness of crisp, juicy Grapes from California while the toasted oat topping provides a crunchy finish.
Grapes are low in sodium and a good source of vitamin K, which promotes heart health, and contain 7% of the daily recommended intake of potassium, a nutrient critical to heart health. Grapes are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols and help maintain healthy circulation by promoting the relaxation of blood vessels.
In fact, according to a study published in the “Journal of Nutrition,” men with metabolic syndrome who consumed 1 1/2 cups of grapes every day showed reduced blood pressure, improved blood vessel function and a decrease in a key marker of inflammation.
Women who consumed 1 1/4 cups of grapes every day as part of a separate study published in the “Journal of Nutrition” benefited from reduced blood triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol levels, inflammatory proteins and other markers of heart disease.
Get Quality Sleep
Sleep is also critical for a healthy heart. Most experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. To help achieve that goal, create a bedtime routine by waking up and going to sleep at consistent times. Also ensure a comfortable sleep space by turning off electronics and setting the thermostat to a cozy temperature.
A regular exercise routine can have a positive impact on many areas of health. It can be especially beneficial for heart health by lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation and aiding in maintaining a healthy weight. At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity is recommended by the American Heart Association. Fuel your workout and recovery with heart-healthy and hydrating foods such as grapes.
Find more heart-healthy recipes at GrapesFromCalifornia.com.
Grape, Broccoli and Avocado Salad with Toasty Oat Topping
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Toasted Oat Topping:
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons steel-cut oats
- 1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup quartered red or green Grapes from California
- 1/4 cup wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 bag (12 ounces) broccoli slaw
- 2 cups lightly packed torn curly kale
- 1 1/2 cups halved Grapes from California
- 1/2 cup minced red onion
- 1/3 cup chopped dried figs
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 large, firm but ripe avocado, diced
- To make toasted oat topping: In medium skillet over medium-low heat, cook butter, almonds, oats, salt and Italian herb seasoning about 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring frequently.
- To make dressing: In small blender, puree olive oil, grapes, wine vinegar, honey, sea salt and pepper, to taste, until smooth.
- To make salad: In large bowl, mix broccoli slaw, kale, grapes, red onion and figs; season with pepper, to taste, and drizzle with dressing; toss well to coat. Add avocado and toss lightly. Transfer to six serving plates or bowls and sprinkle with toasted oat topping.
Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 5 g protein; 29 g carbohydrates; 22 g fat (62% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (10% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 160 mg sodium; 7 g fiber.
(Family Features) For those seeking to be more health-conscious, the idea of eating nutritiously seems simple. However, understanding what’s truly “good for you” can sometimes be confusing.
In honor of National Nutrition Month and Healthy Fats Day, Avocados From Mexico is sharing how avocados – a delicious food and source of good fats and several vitamins – make everything better. Avocados From Mexico conducted a survey and found that while 76% of respondents believe fat is an essential component of a healthy diet, less than one-third are confident they know why it’s important to have “good fats” in their diets.
For starters, according to the survey, nearly half of Americans didn’t realize foods with good fats, like avocados, can help with weight management. However, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in avocados can lower the risk of becoming overweight, according to research published in “Nutrients.”
“Most people are aware of the Mediterranean Diet, but nearly half (40%) of survey respondents didn’t realize that this eating pattern does not limit fat coming from plantsources like avocados,” said nutrition expert and registered dietitianBarbara Ruhs. “These types of unsaturated good fats are also recommended by the American Heart Association for heart health. Eating avocados in place of foods containing saturated fat is an easy and delicious way to approach healthy eating.”
Virtually the only fresh fruit with good fats, avocados can help people meet both good fat and fruit and vegetable recommendations in the same bite with approximately 6 grams of good fats per serving (one-third of a medium avocado). They are nutrient-dense, making avocados a delicious food with super benefits. Avocados are also free of cholesterol and sodium and have nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.
Another finding from the survey is that while people believe fat is essential to a healthy diet, one-third of survey respondents believe saturated and trans fats are associated with health benefits, indicating confusion about the various types of fats. Many Americans need to balance their overall fat intake by reducing “bad” or saturated fat intake and increasing “good” or unsaturated (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fat intake. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help reduce LDL, or bad cholesterol levels.
Dietary fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are fat soluble, which means they can only be absorbed by the body with the help of fats. Per one-third of a medium avocado (50 grams), avocados contribute 6 grams of unsaturated fats, which are known to be essential for normal growth and development of the central nervous system and brain.
Make good fats a part of your next trip to the grocery store with this avocado-inspired Harvest Bowl Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program.
To find more nutritional facts and figures, along with recipes, visit AvocadosFromMexico.com.
Harvest Bowl Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/2 Avocado From Mexico, diced
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 Avocados From Mexico, diced
- 2 sweet potatoes, roasted and diced
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 cups kale
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts petals, roasted
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, diced
- 2 tablespoons roasted pecans, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons roasted pepitas, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- To make balsamic vinaigrette: In food processor, process avocado, avocado oil, shallots, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey and water to smooth consistency. Set aside.
- To make salad: In large bowl, combine avocados, sweet potatoes, quinoa, arugula, kale, Brussels sprouts petals, apples, pecans, pepitas and dried cranberries. Pour balsamic vinaigrette over salad mixture.
- Toss salad to coat. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 390 calories; 16 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g cholesterol; 370 mg sodium; 55 g total carbohydrates; 11 g dietary fiber; 12 g sugar; 15 g protein.
(Family Features) Bright, beautiful spring days often call for fresh, delicious meals that give you energy to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re hitting the pavement for a run, powering up for an afternoon at the office or picnicking with loved ones, nutrition and flavor can go hand in hand with an easy-to-make salad.
For your next springtime meal, lean on a versatile ingredient like sweetpotatoes as a key ingredient in this Sweetpotato Power Salad, a light yet filling solution that can feed the whole family. Easy to add to a variety of recipes to enhance flavor and nutrition content, sweetpotatoes can be used in sweet, savory, simple or elevated recipes. Plus, they can be prepared on the stove, baked, microwaved, grilled or slow cooked to fit your favorite dishes as a natural sweetener without added sugar.
According to the American Diabetes Association, sweetpotatoes are a “diabetes superfood” because they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, all of which are good for overall health. Due to their high carbohydrate content, they’re an ideal option for athletes before and after exercising with complex carbohydrates that provide sustained energy. Additionally, the antioxidants help reduce inflammation and aid in muscle repair, meaning sweetpotatoes can help both your endurance and recovery.
Another fun fact: the North Carolina Sweetpotato Commission deliberately spells “sweetpotato” as one word, a spelling officially adopted by the National Sweetpotato Collaborators in 1989 to avoid confusion with the white potato or yam among shippers, distributors, warehouse workers and consumers. However, this spelling isn’t universal; you can help teach others and update dictionary entries by signing the change.org petition to give this superfood its due.
Find more information and springtime recipe inspiration at ncsweetpotatoes.com.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Sweetpotato Power Salad
Recipe courtesy of Carol Brown on behalf of the North Carolina Sweetpotato Commission
- 4-6 North Carolina Sweetpotatoes, peeled and diced (6 cups)
- 2 teaspoons, plus 1 tablespoon, olive oil, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 bunches curly kale, rinsed and chopped (7-8 cups)
- 1/2 large lemon, juice only
- 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 large avocado, pitted and diced
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- 1/2-3/4 cup feta or goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic or white vinegar
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Place sweetpotatoes in large bowl. In small bowl, lightly whisk 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Toss on sweetpotatoes and place potatoes on large sheet pan. Bake 35-40 minutes until tender, flipping once during baking.
- Place chopped kale in large bowl. In small bowl, lightly whisk remaining olive oil, remaining salt and lemon juice. Pour over kale and massage with hands until mixed, about 1 minute.
- To make dressing: In bowl, whisk syrup, olive oil and vinegar.
- In bowl with kale, add garbanzo beans, avocado, cranberries, almonds, red onion, sweetpotatoes and cheese. Toss with salad dressing and serve.
- Note: Sweetpotatoes can be baked and refrigerated 1 day in advance.
(Family Features) One of the best parts of traveling is trying the local cuisine, and that’s particularly true on an international scale. No matter where you go around the globe, however, there is one ingredient you’ll likely find is an integral part of many cultures and cuisines: rice.
Grown on almost every continent, this staple ingredient is a large part of meals around the world, which means there are nearly endless varieties and recipes to try. However, you don’t need to go on vacation to try authentic-tasting international food; easy-to-make versions of popular dishes from around the globe can be made right at home in mere minutes.
Known for vibrant vegetables, savory sauces and incredible tastes, the Mediterranean is also home to a few classic rice dishes such as rich and creamy risotto from Italy. Other vibrant options include Spanish specialties like arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) and paella, which is made with an assortment of ingredients like seafood, spices and savory broth.
If you’ve ever been to an Asian restaurant, you’ll notice a large portion of the menu likely includes recipes made with rice. While it might be difficult to pinpoint where certain recipes originate, fried rice is a Chinese specialty. Over time, this delicious dish has made its way to many different countries and been reinvented with local ingredients. For example, this Kale and Kimchi “Fried” Rice is based on Korean cuisine and can be made in less than 5 minutes using Minute Jasmine Rice & Red Quinoa Cups, which combine the buttery taste and aromatic scent of authentic Jasmine rice with crunchy, 100% whole-grain red quinoa in a convenient, pre-portioned cup.
Much like other cuisines around the world, Middle Eastern cooking uses rice almost every day. A Turkish and Arab mixed dish, shawarma is now a global street food. Traditional Persian rice uses a variety of spices like turmeric, ginger and cardamom with dried fruits and nuts.
Latin American recipes vary from country to country and region to region, but rice is essential on the side or as part of the main dish across the board. A quick and easy morning meal, this Mexican Breakfast Scramble is ready in 4 minutes. Aiding the short prep time, Minute Jalapeno Rice Cups are ready in just 1 minute and can help spice up dishes with a tasty blend of onion, green peppers and jalapenos.
With bold flavors, few things say southern comfort quite like Louisiana cooking. Bring the taste of New Orleans to your kitchen with rice-based dishes like gumbo or jambalaya, or by pairing rice with another popular Cajun pastime – a classic shrimp boil.
Find more quick and easy international recipe ideas at MinuteRice.com.
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes
- 1 Minute Jasmine Rice and Red Quinoa Cup
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- 1/4 cup kimchi, chopped
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Heat rice according to package directions.
- In medium microwave-safe bowl, combine kale, kimchi and soy sauce. Cover and microwave 1 minute.
- Add rice and egg; mix well to combine. Cover and microwave 30 seconds. Stir and serve.
Serving Suggestions: Drizzle with sesame oil. Add cooked shrimp.
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes
- 1 Minute Jalapeno Rice Cup
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons salsa
- 2 tablespoons queso fresco
- Heat rice according to package directions.
- In small microwave-safe dish, combine egg, salsa and rice.
- Microwave 1 minute. Stir in cheese; microwave 30 seconds.
Serving Suggestion: For meal to go, wrap scramble in warm tortilla.
Source: Minute Rice
(Family Features) Family traditions and in-person connections are important parts of gatherings of loved ones, and many of those get-togethers are centered on food. The entire family coming together around a table covered with warm, delicious food to share stories and create new memories is what makes mealtime special.
Forty chefs from around the nation came together to create “Come to the Table,” which offers a delicious mix of cuisines from a variety of cultures, including this sampling of classic family favorites, sweet indulgences and family-style creations all inspired by what family means to each chef.
“Sales from this book will directly benefit the families we serve, so we are so grateful for each and every chef that has offered their time and talent to this cookbook,” said Jill Cumnock, CEO of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. “The way ‘Come to the Table’ has been created reminds me of a recipe that culminates in a feast for the senses. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 40th anniversary, particularly at a time when families are starting to reunite after the pandemic forced so many apart.”
Visit rmhdallas.org for more information and to order the cookbook.
Baked Stuffed Pasta Shells
Recipe courtesy of chef Kevin Curry
- 6 ounces jumbo pasta shells
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 5 portobello mushroom caps, gills removed then diced
- 1 pinch sea salt, plus additional, to taste
- 1 pinch pepper, plus additional, to taste
- 2 cups shredded kale
- 3 tablespoons water
- 15 ounces skim milk ricotta cheese
- 4 tablespoons pesto
- 1 tablespoon The Fit Cook Land spice blend
- 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat marinara, divided
- 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat mozzarella
- fresh herbs, for garnish
Preheat oven to 420 F.
Bring pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta shells according to package instructions. Drain then set aside.
Heat pot or cast-iron casserole dish over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, garlic, onion and mushrooms. Add pinch of sea salt and pepper as it cooks. Cook until onions turn brown and mushrooms shrink in size, about 3-5 minutes. Empty contents and set aside.
Place pot back over heat. Add shredded kale and water to create steam. Toss kale in pot until it turns vibrant green; set aside to cool.
In large bowl, mix ricotta cheese with mushroom mixture, kale, pesto and spice blend.
In casserole dish, spread about 1/2 cup marinara on bottom. Then one-by-one, stuff each pasta shell with approximately 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture and add to casserole dish. Repeat with remaining shells.
Cover shells with remaining marinara and mozzarella cheese. Cover casserole dish with foil and bake 20 minutes. During final 5 minutes, remove foil so mozzarella can brown.
Garnish with fresh herbs and salt and pepper, to taste.
Recipe courtesy of chef Nikky Phinyawatana
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons green curry paste
- 8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken, beef or pork, sliced thin
- 1 small Japanese purple eggplant
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup bamboo shoots, sliced
- 1/4 medium red bell pepper, sliced thin
- 8-10 Thai basil leaves, plus additional, for garnish, divided
- 2 cups cooked jasmine rice
In blender, blend spinach and water until mixture turns green and no leaves are visible.
In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add green curry paste and stir to release fragrance, about 10 seconds.
Add protein and cook 3-5 minutes.
Add blended spinach water, purple eggplant, coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring to boil. Add bamboo shoots and red bell pepper. Simmer 10 minutes.
Stir in basil leaves and turn off heat.
Serve with jasmine rice and garnish with additional basil leaves.
Daddy’s Birthday Flan
Recipe courtesy of chef Ninamarie Bojekian Mendoza
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (optional)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon, to taste
- In saucepan, heat granulated sugar and water over medium-low heat until melted.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Grease and flour 9-inch Bundt pan. Set aside.
- When sugar liquifies and turns golden brown, remove from heat and use silicone spatula or whisk to stir. While stirring, quickly pour into prepared Bundt pan.
- To make cake: In large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, use hand mixer on medium speed to beat butter and sugar, about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
- On low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture and buttermilk until combined.
- Fold in rainbow sprinkles, if desired.
- Pour batter into pans over caramel sauce.
- To make flan: In blender on high speed, blend eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until well combined.
- Gently pour through strainer and onto prepared cake batter.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on top.
- Place pan in water bath by putting it in larger baking dish, roasting pan, hotel pan or similar. Pour hot water halfway up sides to create water bath.
- Bake approximately 1 hour. Cake should be golden brown and jiggle when shaken when done.
- Remove cake from water bath and cool on rack 10 minutes.
- Run knife or spatula carefully around edges to separate. Place plate on top of cake and, while holding it, flip over carefully and quickly.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight before serving.
Photo courtesy of Ink Phinyawatana (Green Curry)
Source: Ronald McDonald House of Dallas
(Family Features) Next time hunger calls in your home, turn to a filling family favorite: pasta. With a nearly endless variety of pasta types, sauce pairings and recipe ideas, the options are aplenty, and cooking is often a breeze.
Consider these pasta cooking tips from Rouxbe, an online culinary school training people of all abilities to become better, more confident cooks.
- Use a large, straight-sided pot with 6 quarts of water for every 1 pound of pasta. Bring to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt for each quart of water and stir to dissolve.
- Wait for rapidly boiling water before adding pre-made pasta then cook according to package instructions for al dente, which means the pasta offers a slight resistance. For stuffed or fresh pasta, aim for a gentle boil and cook 1-5 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water for use in sauces then drain (never rinse) your pasta.
- Add pasta to your sauce; never the other way around. Pair thin pastas like angel hair with lighter sauces, seafoods, basil and light oils. Fettucine, penne and rigatoni complement spicy sausage, heavy creams and chunky ragu. When in doubt, spaghetti offers a versatile option.
Pasta is a natural fit for fresh veggies, and you can put your skills to the test with Pappardelle with Garden Vegetables or create Homemade Potato Gnocchi to freeze and enjoy later.
For more information, visit rouxbe.com.
Pappardelle with Garden Vegetables
Total time: 1 hour
- Salted water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons shallots or white onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups pappardelle noodles
- 3/4 cup vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons capers (optional)
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced in wedges
- 1 handful baby kale
- 1 fresh lemon, juice only
- 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
- sea salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 handful fresh basil, torn
- Bring large pot of salted water to boil.
- In fry pan on medium-high heat, add olive oil and onions; saute 2 minutes. Lower heat slightly and add garlic and chile flakes. Saute on medium heat 2-3 minutes. Add white wine and deglaze pan. Cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to add freshly cooked pasta.
- In pot of boiling water, add pappardelle. Cook according to package instructions then drain.
- Place fry pan back on medium heat. Add drained pasta; vegetable stock; capers, if desired; tomatoes; baby kale; and lemon juice. Add butter, if desired, and toss well. Cook 2-3 minutes, tossing occasionally, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, and fresh basil.
- Toss again, remove from heat and serve.
Homemade Potato Gnocchi
Total time: 2 hours
- 2 medium Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided, plus additional, for surface
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 large egg yolks
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Place potatoes on sheet of foil, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and water; wrap. Bake 40 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Peel potatoes while hot. Cut and rice potatoes. Let potatoes cool completely.
- To make dough, sprinkle potatoes with flour. Aerate with bench scraper then add remaining salt, nutmeg and white pepper.
- Break up egg yolks and pour over potatoes. Cover surface with flour. Continue cutting and gently lifting dough.
- Test dough by squeezing gently; it shouldn’t stick. Add flour, if needed.
- Shape dough into rectangle and fold several times, using fingertips to bring together. Flatten dough out until it reaches finger thickness. Sprinkle with flour and let rest 5-10 minutes.
- Cut finger-width strips of dough and sprinkle strips with flour. Roll out each strip and cut ropes into 3/4-inch pieces. Separate slightly and flour well.
- Fresh gnocchi can sit at room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.
- To freeze: Place gnocchi on tray, making sure they aren’t touching. Once frozen, transfer to plastic freezer bag and freeze up to 2 months. Cook gnocchi from frozen and serve with desired sauce.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
(Family Features) With spring and warmer weather comes salad season, offering a perfect canvas for creating refreshing meals and appetizers centered around tasty greens, juicy tomatoes and crave-worthy dressings. Give your salads an update by avoiding the same tired mixes and instead create tasty meals fit for the season.
One easy way to up your salad game is by starting with quality ingredients like Fresh Express salad blends, NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes and Litehouse refrigerated salad dressings. These fresh, flavorful ingredients can be combined in a dish like this Chimichurri Chickpea Salad, a perfect way to go green this spring for nearly any occasion.
Part of the appeal of dishing up a homemade salad is the unlimited options you have at your fingertips to make the bowl of greens uniquely “yours.” For many, this means one thing: the more toppings, the better. With grilled chicken, crispy bacon, tomatoes, ripe avocado, hard-boiled eggs, blue cheese and a bed of fresh lettuce, this classic Cobb Salad offers an ideal lunch or even a quick family meal.
Because both these recipes can be made in 20 minutes or less, they provide simple solutions when short on time. Plus, the fresh ingredients sum up everything spring meals are made of.
Find more ways to create easy yet delicious salads at litehousefoods.com/iheartsalad.
Chimichurri Chickpea Salad
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 2/3 cup fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chickpeas, drained
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bag Fresh Express Baby Kale Mix
- 1 cup NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium avocado, diced
- 4 tablespoons Litehouse Avocado Ranch Dressing
- In food processor, combine cilantro, parsley, oregano, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse until sauce is smooth.
- Place chimichurri sauce in small bowl with chickpeas and crushed red pepper flakes; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight, if possible.
- Divide kale, tomatoes and avocado between four bowls. Top each bowl evenly with marinated chickpeas. Drizzle with avocado ranch dressing and serve.
Total time: 20 minutes
- 3-4 eggs
- 1/4 pound bacon
- 1 bag Fresh Express Sweet Butter Lettuce
- 1 pound grilled chicken
- 1 cup NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes, halved
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced
- 1/4 cup blue cheese
- 1/4 cup Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressing
- Bring pot of water to boil. Use slotted spoon to place eggs in water. Boil 10 minutes then transfer to ice bath to stop cooking process. Peel eggs and slice.
- Heat skillet over medium heat. Dice bacon and add to pan. Saute until bacon is crispy and fat is rendered, about 7 minutes. Remove from pan with slotted spoon.
- To assemble salad, start with bed of lettuce. Top with hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, tomatoes, avocado, bacon and blue cheese; toss in ranch dressing.
(Family Features) As a key part of a nutritious eating plan, protein intake can be a healthy step to take in the new year. One increasingly popular way to add protein to your at-home menu is with protein-packed, plant-based foods like tempeh.
Tempeh’s roots date back thousands of years and originate in Indonesia. It’s an all-natural protein source made with simple, whole-food ingredients – most often fermented soybeans, water and rice – and is high in protein, packed with fiber and low in fat, sodium and calories. Tempeh is also loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium, manganese, phosphorus and iron, and has all nine essential amino acids. Because it’s fermented, the nutrients in tempeh are easy for the body to digest.
The health benefits of tempeh, including 18 grams of protein per serving, are one reason to give it a try, but another is it’s easy and versatile to cook. It has a firm texture, nutty taste and can be baked, fried, steamed or grilled. Tempeh also easily absorbs marinades, spices and sauces. To prepare tempeh, cut it into cubes, strips or crumble it then toss into a stir-fry, layer it onto a BLT sandwich or simply warm a skillet and sear it until golden brown.
The possibilities for tempeh are nearly endless, and it’s also increasingly easy to find. For example, Lightlife, founded in 1979 as “Tempeh Works,” was among the first commercial producers of tempeh in the United States. Today, it offers its Original Tempeh at more than 18,500 retail stores nationwide.
Find protein-packed meal ideas, like Sesame Ginger Tempeh Power Bowls with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes, at lightlife.com.
Sesame Ginger Tempeh Power Bowls with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes
Pickled Pink Onions:
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 package (8 ounces) Lightlife Original Tempeh
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cups baby spinach or kale
- 2 cups cooked tri-color quinoa, at room temperature
- 1/2 ripe avocado, cubed
- 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 6 red grape cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 yellow grape cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup pea shoots
- To make pickled pink onions: In small pot, bring white wine vinegar, sugar and salt to boil. Add onions and toss to coat 15 seconds. Turn off heat and let sit 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and bright pink. Set aside.
- To make sesame ginger vinaigrette: In small bowl, stir vegetable and sesame oils with ginger, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Pour into two small ramekins. Set aside.
- To make sweet potatoes: In large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add sweet potato slices and cook, turning occasionally, 15-17 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary until tender when pierced with knife. Remove to cutting board and cut each slice into quarters. Wipe out skillet.
- To make tempeh: Cut tempeh crosswise into eight triangles. In nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, heat vegetable oil. Cook tempeh with soy sauce until golden brown and warm, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove tempeh from pan and add baby spinach or kale; stir 1-2 minutes just until wilted.
- To assemble bowls: On bottoms of two shallow bowls or plates, spread cooked quinoa. Top with piles of warm sweet potatoes, pickled pink onions, sauteed spinach or kale, avocado, chickpeas, grape tomatoes and pea shoots. Top with tempeh and serve with sesame ginger vinaigrette.
(Family Features) Taking care of your heart requires a commitment to the right routines and smart decisions, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Simple ingredients already in your kitchen may offer powerful protection to keep your heart healthy.
For example, more than a decade of research shows 100% orange juice and its vitamins and minerals may play a beneficial role in helping lower blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease.
A study published in the “European Journal of Nutrition” by researchers at Eurecat, Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya, in Reus, Spain provides further support for 100% orange juice’s role in heart health, and offers additional insight into a unique component in orange juice, called hesperidin, that may have antioxidant activity and contribute to orange juice’s cardiovascular benefits.
The study, which was funded by the Florida Department of Citrus, determined that adults with pre- or stage-1 hypertension who drank about 2 cups of 100% orange juice per day saw significant reductions in systolic blood pressure and other markers of heart health and inflammation.
“Nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, scientific research director at the Florida Department of Citrus. “For those with mild hypertension, including something as simple and pure as 100% orange juice in your daily healthy routine may help make significant improvements in such a prevalent problem.”
Beyond its heart health benefits, many studies, including a National Health & Nutrition Survey published in “Nutrition Journal,” have found that 100% orange juice consumption is associated with higher diet quality and increased levels of key nutrients, including many that are under-consumed, like potassium.
“The vitamin C, antioxidants and potassium found in 100% orange juice can help maintain a healthy blood pressure, which is a big factor in heart health,” said Kaleigh McMordie, RDN and founder of the blog “Lively Table.”
With no added sugar and no fat, cholesterol or sodium, Florida Orange Juice can help you take advantage of these nutritious benefits from breakfast to dinner with dishes like Poached Salmon with Collard Green Salad, an easy way to add potassium and vitamin C at the family table, especially when paired with an 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice. For those busy mornings on the go, an Orange Kale Smoothie can be the fuel you need as a filling option with less than five ingredients that’s an excellent source of vitamin C, folate and vitamin K and a good source of potassium and thiamin.
For more information on the heart health benefits of 100% orange juice, visit FloridaJuice.com.
Poached Salmon with Collard Green Salad
- 1 1/4 cups Florida Orange Juice, divided
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 pound salmon filets
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 small bunch collard greens (about 8 ounces), stems and center ribs removed
- 1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray small glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set salmon in dish.
- In small saucepan over high heat, combine 1 cup 100% orange juice, white wine, garlic and 1 teaspoon grated ginger; bring to simmer.
- Pour poaching liquid over salmon and cover with aluminum foil.
- Poach in oven 15-20 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through.
- In lidded jar, combine remaining 100% orange juice, remaining grated ginger, olive oil, vinegar and shallot; shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cut collard greens into thin ribbons and transfer to large mixing bowl. Pour dressing over collard greens; toss well to combine and fully coat.
- Remove salmon from liquid and serve on top of collard greens. Sprinkle with almonds.
- Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.
Orange Kale Smoothie
- 2 cups Florida Orange Juice
- 1/4 cup frozen pineapple
- 1 cup kale, tough stems removed
- 4 mint leaves
- In large blender, blend 100% orange juice, frozen pineapple, kale and mint leaves until smooth.
- Pour into tall glass.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
(Family Features) With more than half of Americans willing to eat more plants and less meat in 2020 (and beyond), according to a study conducted by Yale and Earth Day Network, one thing holds true: Even when food is better for you and the planet, families crave quality taste.
Walnuts are one of the original plant-based superfoods that can carry sweet or savory flavors to satisfy snackers, add hearty crunch to salads or breakfast dishes and serve as a simple, whole-food meat alternative. In addition to being a delicious plant-based staple, 1 ounce of walnuts contains important nutrients including 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and good fats with 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat and 13 grams of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5 grams of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Try walnuts as an alternative to meat in recipes like Walnut “Chorizo” Tacos or Sweet Potato Walnut Falafel Bowls, and find more plant-based recipes at walnuts.org/plant-based.
Sweet Potato Walnut Falafel Bowls
- 1 raw sweet potato (12 ounces), peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup California walnuts
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 egg
- vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- sea salt, to taste
- 4 cups loosely packed curly kale, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 1 avocado, sliced
- toasted, chopped California walnuts, for garnish (optional)
- minced red onion, for garnish (optional)
- To make falafel: In food processor, pulse sweet potato until finely minced. Add quinoa, walnuts, ground cumin, onion powder and garlic powder; pulse until all pieces are uniform in size. Add flour and egg; pulse until well mixed, scraping down sides as needed.
- Using wet hands, shape mixture into 16 equal balls.
- In deep skillet or pot, heat oil. Cooking in batches, fry falafel balls 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Let drain on paper towel-lined tray.
- To make tahini dressing: In small bowl, whisk tahini, lemon juice, water, maple syrup, ground cumin, garlic powder and salt.
- To prepare bowls: Place equal amounts kale, quinoa, carrots and avocado in four large salad bowls. Place four falafel balls in each bowl and drizzle with dressing. Garnish with toasted walnuts and minced red onion, if desired.
Walnut “Chorizo” Tacos
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 medium jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
Walnut Chorizo Crumble:
- 1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups California walnuts
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 16 whole wheat tortillas
- olive oil
- thinly sliced romaine lettuce
- fresh cilantro leaves
- lime wedges
- To make pickled vegetables: In small bowl, stir lime juice, sugar and sea salt. Stir in radishes, jalapenos and garlic slices; let stand 30 minutes to pickle.
- To make walnut “chorizo” crumble: In food processor, pulse beans and walnuts until coarsely chopped. Add 2 tablespoons oil, white vinegar, paprika, chili powder, oregano, salt, chipotle, cumin and coriander; pulse until mixture is finely chopped and resembles ground meat, stirring several times and moving mixture from bottom of food processor bowl to top to evenly mix.
- In large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat remaining oil. Add “chorizo” mixture and cook 10 minutes, or until mixture is browned and resembles ground meat, stirring frequently.
- To prepare tacos: Brush each tortilla lightly with oil. On skillet over medium-high heat, cook briefly to brown on both sides, keeping warm in foil until all tortillas are cooked.
- Remove pickled vegetables from liquid and discard garlic slices. Fill each tortilla with equal amounts “chorizo” and pickled vegetables. Garnish with lettuce and cilantro; serve with lime wedges.
Source: California Walnuts