Did you know that grapes are one of the oldest foods cultivated, dating back as far as 6000 B.C.? Or that a grape is technically a berry? This versatile grape is grown on almost every continent and comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Grapes can be eaten raw or can be seen in some of our favorite products like wine, jam, jelly, juice, raisins, vinegar, and grape seed oil.
The health benefits of grapes are vast. Some include: treating constipation, indigestion, and fatigue. Eating grapes can also help to prevent cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, aging and inflammation. So you may ask, how does such a small berry contain so many disease-fighting qualities?
Grapes are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are a rich source of vitamin A, C, K, B6 and folate; in addition to, containing essential minerals such as, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and selenium.
Sure, you can snack on a handful of fresh, frozen even dried (raisins) grapes. But did you know that grapes can be a versatile cooking ingredient? I love including grapes in savory meal preparations like this salmon recipe. They have a similar profile to a grape tomato so you could substitute grapes in recipes that call for tomatoes. Grapes pair well with pesto, curry and earthy herbs like rosemary and thyme.
Salmon With Roasted Grapes and Thyme
4 5-ounce salmon filets
1/2 pound red grapes, stems removed
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 springs fresh thyme, leaves removed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Preheat oven to 400.
Toss grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast in an oven safe dish for 20 minutes or until slightly browned.
Arrange salmon filets on a baking dish. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes or until desired doneness.
Top salmon with grapes.
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (2-3 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
1 cup halved, green or red seedless grapes
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the squash with half the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread onto a foil covered baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, turn and bake for an additional 15 minutes until tender. Set aside.
While squash is cooking, combine quinoa, water, curry powder, cumin and mustard powder in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes.
Combine cooked quinoa with squash, chickpeas, grapes, cilantro and pumpkin seeds. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm or cold.
Katie Cavuto MS RD
Photo: Yoni Nimrod