Grapes From California Can be the Secret to Healthy Comfort Food Says Celebrity Chef Ellie Krieger
The holidays and comfort food season are officially here, but satisfying meals don’t have to be unhealthy ones. Ellie Krieger, MS, RD, celebrity chef, TV host, and best-selling author, knows a thing or two about using natural ingredients and simple techniques to transform your favorite fall comfort foods into guilt-free meals.
“One of my favorite fall ingredients are grapes from California! They are rich in antioxidants and flavor—and they are still in season well into January,” says Krieger. “I like to use them to dress up a cheese plate and they can also be used in savory dishes like a Grape Rosemary Focaccia and other breads and casseroles.”
One casserole that is sure to be a hit on holiday tables this season is a Butternut Squash, Rosemary, and Grape Bake. The sweet combination of grapes and butternut squash is a lovely complement to the savory parmesan and breadcrumbs that are sprinkled on top and baked until brown and bubbly.
Another classic dish that Ellie’s family loves is a Waldorf Salad. Ellie’s version is filled with fresh, good-for-you ingredients like crunchy celery, Greek yogurt, and fresh California grapes. Her makeover drops the calorie count per serving from 430 to 150!
The good nutritionals are no surprise given that grapes are one of the star ingredients. Grapes of every color contain a variety of antioxidants and other polyphenols and natural components that may contribute to a healthy heart. And, with just 90 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, and virtually no sodium in a ¾ cup serving of grapes, you can feel good about mixing grapes into just about any dish or eating them one by one. Apart from being a natural source of beneficial antioxidants, grapes also contain potassium and are a good source of vitamin K, which plays a role in helping blood to clot.
Ellie’s final tip? Make sure you include fruit in dessert. Try Ellie’s elegant Grapes in Port Wine Sauce for a real crowd pleaser. Ellie’s cookbook, Comfort Food Fix, can be found wherever cookbooks are sold. For Ellie’s grape recipes and more delicious ideas using grapes from California, visit the Grapes from California Website.