“I received free samples of Wonderful Pistachios mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
I’m pretty sure that I lured in my husband when we were dating because of Wonderful Pistachios. During the early courtship stage, I would bring him little food presents, most of which were pistachios in the shell. When you’re competing against everyone else on internet dating sites, you’ve got to give yourself an edge somehow! How can someone not like you if you give them the Happy Nut™ ?? Have you noticed how a pistachio in the shell looks like it’s smiling back at you? Will pistachios help you to wrangle in your future partner? Well, I can’t say for certain, but it’s worth a shot! 😉
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate and promote American Heart Month than with pistachios! When I was wooing my husband with pistachios, I had no idea at the time that he has a strong family history of heart disease. Pistachios are one of the tools that we have in our food arsenals to fight back against this killer!
Heart disease is real, people.
I feel like we throw around the phrase “heart disease” when talking about health and nutrition, but, especially when you’re young, it seems like this mythical and elusive thing. It’s not elusive. It’s actually the #1 cause of death. According to the CDC, 1 out of every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. Diabetes, obesity, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol intake and lack of physical exercise are all risk factors for heart disease, which can then manifest itself into heart attack and stroke.
Why are pistachios a powerful tool in the fight against heart disease?
Pistachios are known as The Fit Nut™ because they are one of the highest protein and fiber snack nuts that are part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Scientific evidence suggests (but does not prove) that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
They’re even known as The Colorful Nut™ because pistachios’ green and red purple hues come from antioxidants. We want LOTS of different kinds of antioxidants in our diets because they are anti-inflammatory! Not only are antioxidants good for the heart, but good for the brain too. I’m not done with the cute names! Pistachios are also known as The Skinny Nut™ because they are one of the lowest calorie and lowest fat snack nuts.
When I’m snacking, I always choose in-shell pistachios because they’re known as The Mindful Nut™. By cracking the shell off the nut, it slows you down and gives your hands something to do. One preliminary behavioral study found that participants who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41-percent fewer calories compared to those who consumed pistachios without the shell. Those who chose the “no shells” pistachios consumed an average of 211 calories, while those who chose the in-shell variety consumed an average of 125 calories, suggesting that empty shells may provide a visual cue for portions, potentially helping curb intake. You’re basically “fooling yourself full” ! I also think they’re just more fun to eat!
Are pistachios only for snacking? Of course not!
You can use pistachios in so many dishes! I buy the no shell variety so I don’t have to spend time removing the shells. I personally love using these little green gems in veggie based salads, bean/grain salads, as a garnish for cooked veggies, a crust for chicken and fish, dips, pesto, dressings, desserts, plus much more. You can even make pistachio butter in your food processor! My Kamut and White Bean Salad with Pistachio Green Goddess Dressing uses pistachios in both the actual salad, as well as in the dressing. Kamut is an a non-hybridized, ancient strain of wheat that has a great chewy texture. Combined with white beans, green apple, fennel, pistachios, herbs and olive oil, you’ve got a fiber-full, plant based dish packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
This salad tastes best when freshly prepared. If you want to prep part of it ahead of time, I recommend making the dressing, cooking off the kamut, and chopping the pistachios the day prior to serving. Close to serving time, just julienne the apple and fennel and combine with the kamut, beans, dressing and pistachios. Serve this salad on it’s own, or on a bed of baby kale, arugula or spinach for even more plant power!
Kamut is a non-hybridized ancient strain of wheat that is also a whole grain. I adore its slightly nutty taste and chewy texture. If you can't find Kamut, you can use spelt, farro, rye berries or wheat berries. If you need the dish to be gluten free, substitute the wheat with quinoa or rice.
Knife skills tip: To julienne basically means to cut into matchstick size pieces.
- 1 cup uncooked kamut
- 3 cups water
- 1- 15oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup juilienned sliced fennel, core removed (about 1/2 bulb)
- 1 cup julienned green apple (about 1/2 an apple & leave peel on)
- 1/2 cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- Place kamut and water in a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Place a tight fitting lid on the pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes, or until kamut is done and has a slight chewy bite. Drain remaining water if necessary.
- To make the dressing, place the Wonderful Pistachios, garlic, parsley, mint, tarragon and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 10 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl and add the lemon juice, oil and water. Process until smooth and creamy. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl a few more times.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the kamut, white beans, fennel, apple, Wonderful Pistachios and dressing . Adjust seasoning with salt or lemon if necessary.
- Garnish with additional chopped herbs and chopped Wonderful Pistachios if desired.
Serve at room temperature.
To prep salad in advance: Cook kamut, cool and refrigerate. Make the dressing and chop the pistachios. Prior to serving, sliced the apple and fennel. Combine the kamut with the beans, fennel, apple, pistachios and dressing.
Serve on it's own or on a bed of baby kale, arugula or spinach.