I received free pistachio samples from the Pistachio Health Institute mentioned in this post. By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.2014-02-05 16.48.32

This week is all about pistachio pairings!  I’ll be posting a few different examples as part of the above-mentioned contest, but I love the idea of creating a collection of complementary foods instead of a recipe.  With the better part of the country under a blanket of snow, I thought getting right to the richest category – indulgent – would kick things off nicely.

Though all nuts are rich in fat, which might be one indicator of indulgence, they’re also micronutrient and fiber dense.  If you aren’t already eating nuts on a daily basis, consider this:

From the Pistachio Health Institute:
“Pistachios make a great, everyday healthy snacking choice for people looking to satisfy a salty snack craving the smart way, and still do something good for themselves. Pistachios are a deliciously simple way to snack healthy. A one-ounce serving of pistachios equals approximately 49 nuts, which is more nuts per serving than any other snack nut, and a reduced serving of about 30 pistachios is just about 100 calories.

Crack ‘em, Chew ‘em, Love ‘em, Leave ‘em: Let the Pistachio Principle be your guide! Empty pistachio shells may serve as a “visual cue” of how many pistachios you’ve consumed, so don’t discard the shells after you’ve enjoyed the treat inside.  In fact, study participants who left pistachio shells on their desk reduced their calorie consumption by 18 percent compared to participants who discarded shells immediately after consumption.

People who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories than those who consumed pistachios without shells.2 This suggests that empty shells may be a helpful visual cue as to how much has been eaten – thereby potentially encouraging reduced calorie consumption.”

A mindful snack is a good snack!  So get cozy by the fire this week, and warm up with this luxurious combo:2014-02-05 15.57.27

Mascarpone cheese on baked whole wheat crackers with a drizzle of honey, a semi-dry wine (like Malbec or Cabernet sauvignon), and of course – pistachios!

Mascarpone cheese is one of the fattiest, lowest-protein (and most delicious) cheeses there is…it’s like cream you can spread, and a little goes a long way.  Smear a teaspoon on, add a drop of honey, and crack a pistachio for the piece de la resistance!2014-02-05 15.59.15

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Check out more pairings here:

1. Painter, J. “The Effect of Pistachio Shells as a Visual Cue in Reducing Caloric Consumption.”  Appetite. 2011, 57(2):418-420.

2. Honselman, C.S., Painter, J.E., Kennedy-Hagan, K.J., Halvorson, A., Rhodes, K., Brooks, T.L., & Skwir, K. “In-shell pistachio nuts reduce caloric intake compared to shelled nuts.” Appetite. 2011, 57(2):414-417.