Mix up your meal prep with a heart healthy pasta dish like this pistachio and couscous salad.
I received free samples of Wonderful Pistachios mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time
A Simple Meal Prep Solution
What’s your plan for healthy eating during the week?
Do you like to prepare your meals in advance or cook foods as needed throughout the week?
I prefer having something ready in the refrigerator. What exactly that something is varies every week. It could be as simple as peeling fruit or could involve some cooking. That’s the best thing about meal prep, you do what’s right for your schedule and what’s most convenient for your family’s needs.
One of my favorite dishes to prepare ahead of time are pasta salads. They’re quick, easy, long lasting and can be customized in lots of different ways—from the pasta shape/size, added vegetable combinations to the protein choice. Making it a less likely you’ll get bored with the same ingredients every week.
A Heart Healthy CousCous Salad
Start your week off strong with this meatless pasta salad that can easily be prepared ahead of time. Not only is this delicious couscous salad a filling and well balanced dish, since it’s made with whole grains and a combination of fruit and vegetables. Giving this couscous salad another heart healthy boost is the addition of the pistachio nut.
One of the lowest calorie and fat snack nuts, pistachios are also known as The Fit Nut™ because they are one of the highest protein and ﬁber snack nuts that are part of a heart-healthy lifestyle, proving 6g protein and 3 grams of fiber per ounce. Scientiﬁc evidence suggests (but does not prove) that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Notice those beautiful colors while your cracking? This Colorful Nut™ green and red-purple hues come from antioxidants, which also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition to having a great taste and nutritional profile, this Happy Nut™ makes a for a happy snack option as well. Sitting down for a snack is important for keeping your body well fueled throughout the day which can control your appetite.
In-Shell Pistachios can also be considered the The Mindful Nut™ because cracking open the shell can have its own benefits. That pile of leftover shells helps provide visual cues for portions, this “Pistachio Principle” can potentially help curb your intake. One preliminary behavioral study found that participants who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41-percent fewer calories compared to those who consumed pistachios without the shell. Those who chose the “no shells” pistachios consumed an average of 211 calories, while those who chose the in-shell variety consumed an average of 125 calories, suggesting that empty shells may provide a visual cue for portions, potentially helping curb intake.
Pistachio Couscous Salad
- 1 cup whole wheat pearl couscous uncooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + more to cook cous cous
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dill
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper butcher ground
- ¼ teaspoon dried mint
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1½ cups chopped Israeli cucumber ~2 cucumbers
- 2 whole scallions sliced
- 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
- ¾ cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios 3 ounces or ~5 ounces including the shell
Cook cous cous according to package instructions.
Remove cooked cous cous from the heat. Stir in oil, lemon (zest and juice), vinegar and spices. Allow to cool slightly before mixing in the cucumber, scallion, pomegranate and pistachios. Serve immediately.
Pistachios will soften as they sit in this dish. To keep them crunchy, it's best to add them right before serving.