superfood spotlight: Pistachios
Here’s What You Need To know: Originally from Asia, but known for thousands of years throughout the Mediterranean, the pistachio has been cultivated in the English speaking world in Australia, New Mexico and in California where it was introduced in the mid-1800′s as a garden tree. It’s packed full of anti-oxidants and protein and assists in lowering cholesterol levels.
Why You Need To Use It: Pistachios have been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the good HDL cholesterol after only a short period of regular consumption. Eating pistachios may also help to prevent Type 2 diabetes. Pistachios contain two carotenoids not found in most nuts. These carotenoids, called lutein and zeaxanthin, function as protective antioxidants, defending tissues from damage from free radicals. These carotenoids protect the eyes! Moreover, pistachios are rich in Vitamin E, which does an excellent job protecting the skin from UV damage.
Let’s get together: Pistachio season is late summer & early fall. They can be eaten alone as a healthy snack or in this easy pilaf recipe perfect for the early fall season.
Quinoa Pilaf with Ginger and Pistachios
3/4 teaspoon grape seed oil
2 tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup defatted reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 drops hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the pistachios and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the nuts are fragrant and golden. With a slotted spoon, remove the nuts to a small bowl.
2. Add the scallions, apricots, ginger and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and hot pepper sauce and bring to a boil.
3. Stir in the quinoa and cilantro. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in the pistachios.