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Grapes are a way to make healthy easy

Roasted salmon with grapes and pistachios over fresh greens
(Courtesy of California Table Grape Commission)

If you’re like many people who put a priority on well-being, choosing simple yet healthy snacks and ingredients is a first step. For example, grapes are a popular and convenient fruit that also can be an ally in wellness, offering health benefits that can help you get (and stay) on the right track.

With no need to peel, cut, core or slice, grapes can go with you on hikes and bike rides or to the gym as a healthy and hydrating source of energy. They also deliver beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols and are a good source of vitamin K, which supports bone and heart health. They may even help support healthy skin. In a study by the University of Alabama, subjects consuming 2¼ cups of grapes every day for two weeks showed increased resistance to sunburn and reduced markers of UV damage in skin cells.

Grapes also are an easy, versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of recipes, including the three below.

Crunchy salad pizza on cauliflower crust

Crunchy salad pizza on cauliflower crust
(Courtesy of California Table Grape Commission)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

Nutritional information per serving: 490 calories; 9 g protein; 66 g carbohydrates; 22 g fat (40 percent calories from fat); 4 g saturated fat (7 percent calories from saturated fat); 30 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 4 g fiber

Ingredients:

• 1 frozen cauliflower pizza crust (11 ounces)

• 1 tablespoon, plus 4 teaspoons, extra-virgin olive oil, divided

• 2 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed

• 1 medium fennel bulb, quartered and trimmed

• 1 medium yellow bell pepper, halved and trimmed

• 1/2 medium red onion

• 16 black grapes, halved

• 1 cup canned or cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed, divided

• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

• 2 tablespoons pesto

• Salt, to taste

• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 1 ounce fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

• Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place frozen crust on large parchment-lined baking sheet and brush top lightly with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Bake until crust is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and cut into quarters.

• Using a mandolin, peeler or large sharp knife and cutting board, thinly slice carrots, fennel, bell pepper and onion. Transfer to mixing bowl and add grapes and 1/2 cup chickpeas. Add parsley, pesto and 1 tablespoon olive oil; toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

• Using fork, coarsely mash remaining chickpeas and remaining oil; spread among pieces of crust. Mound grape-vegetable mixture on top. Dot with goat cheese and serve.

Roasted salmon with grapes and pistachios over fresh greens

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7-8 minutes

Servings: 4

Nutritional information per serving: 360 calories; 31 g protein; 12 g carbohydrates; 19 g fat (48 percent calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (8 percent calories from saturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 105 mg sodium; 2 g fiber

Ingredients:

• 4 wild sockeye or coho salmon fillets (about 5 ounces each)

• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

• Salt, to taste

• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 1/3 cup dry white wine

• 1 cup green grapes

• 1/4 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped

• 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley

• 5 ounces baby spinach

• 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Instructions:

• Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a shallow, 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

• Pat fish dry and place skin side down in pan. Brush fillets lightly with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour wine in pan, scatter grapes around and sprinkle pistachios and parsley on fish.

• Roast salmon 7 minutes for medium-rare; 8 minutes for medium.

• In a large bowl, toss spinach, onion, remaining oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste; toss again and divide among four plates.

• Place fish on top of greens. Spoon roasted grapes around fish.

Warm spiced chickpeas and couscous with grapes and arugula

Warm spiced chickpeas and couscous with grapes and arugula
(Courtesy of California Table Grape Commission)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories; 12 g protein; 61 g carbohydrates; 9 g fat (17 percent calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (2 percent calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 160 mg sodium; 8 g fiber

Ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 small onion, chopped

• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional, to taste, divided

• 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

• 1 cup pearl couscous

• 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

• 1 1/2 cups water

• 1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added chickpeas, drained

• 1 cup red grapes, halved

• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 4 cups lightly packed baby arugula

• Lemon wedges

Instructions:

• Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and allspice; cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add couscous and stir 1 minute to toast lightly. Add turmeric and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until couscous is tender, about 15 minutes.

• Stir chickpeas, grapes and cilantro into couscous, then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer couscous-grape mixture to large bowl, add arugula and toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

Find more recipe ideas at GrapesFromCalifornia.com. ◆