April is National Pecan Month. Pecans are a naturally gluten-free, heart-healthy food that are not just for pecan pie. More about pecans:
·Naturally-occurring antioxidants in pecans may help contribute to heart health and disease prevention, according to a 2011 study at Loma Linda University.
·Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals: including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc.
·Pecans can be a heart-healthy benefit to any dish when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. They contain an abundance of “good” mono and polyunsaturated fats, which play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease. These unsaturated fats help lower total blood cholesterol when eaten in moderation. Pecans contain no cholesterol and no trans-fat.
I love to eat pecans on a mixed greens salad with a sprinkle of goat cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette. Check out the following recipes for some more ideas on how to enjoy pecans.
Herbed Pecan Snack Mix
5 c. cereal (any combination of gluten-free cereal…rice or corn Chex)
1½ c. gluten-free pretzels
1 cup pecan halves or pieces
1/3 c. butter or regular margarine (melted)
1 T dried parsley flakes
1 t. dried thyme (crushed)
½ t. celery salt
½ t. onion powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine cereals, pretzels (or chow mein noodles) and pecans in a 13x9x2” baking pan. In a bowl, stir melted butter (or margarine) and remaining ingredients together. Pour over cereal mixture, tossing gently until well coated. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Spread in a large shallow pan or on foil to cool before serving.
Tossed Salad with Pecan Basil Vinaigrette Dressing
½ c. fresh basil (chopped)
¼ c. fresh lemon juice
¼ c. olive oil
¼ c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. pecans (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced tomatoes and/or salad greens
In a bowl, combine basil and lemon juice. Whisk in oils and season with salt and pepper to taste. At the last minute, fold in pecans. Serve drizzled over sliced tomatoes and/or salad greens.
Courtesy: Georgia Pecan Commission