You probably never think about grape recipes. Grapes are one of the most under-rated fruits; you probably never think of them as a special treat, and yet they are insanely delicious, easy to eat, in season all year round, and totally mess-free. And it doesn’t hurt that they make wine, which is a big reason we will forever be indebted to these delicious bites of heaven. Oh, and did we mention that they are also really good for you? Grapes have been shown to help prevent cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and constipation. The skin of the grape is also loaded with “phytonutrients, plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing, compounds.”
And yet, despite all the qualities that makes these bite-sized fruits extraordinary, people always seem to first reach for the fresh strawberries or seasonal peaches when they hit up the produce aisle. It’s time to change that and put grapes at the top of your must-buy list when it comes to fresh fruits. We promise, if you hop on board the grape train, you won’t be sorry. But where do you begin when it comes to eating grapes, other than the obvious pop-them-in-your-mouth-like-candy tactic.
Read Related: 5 Great Out-of-the-Box Fruit Salad Recipe Ideas
Well, for starters, grapes make a perfect base for almost any fruit salad. Whether you mix them with melons or berries, grapes add color and crunch to your dish. You can even use them for decoration on a fruit platter, leaving them on the vine in an assortment of colors, making your dish look extra special and gorgeous.
In addition, grapes can add a little dose of natural sweetness to any salad, balancing out the savory ingredients. It might not seem like an obvious choice to add fruit to your salad, but especially in the summer when you crave light, fresh, and healthy dishes to satisfy your hunger, adding some sweetness you your veggie salad could be just what you need. This arugula salad mixes the bitter greens with grapes, almonds, shallots and manchego cheese for a dish that is balanced, light but flavorful, and really easy to whip up this summer, or any time of year.
Speaking of salad, you can kick your traditional chicken salad up a notch by adding grapes to infuse a little freshness and a little crunch. Grapes work really well with the creaminess of the mayonnaise and the chicken, creating a recipe that is filling, a little indulgent but also good for you. In this recipe Ina Garten also adds celery for more texture and fresh tarragon for an interesting and delicious flavor.
Because grapes are so good for you, they’re a really good fruit to incorporate into your breakfast routine, so you can start your day on a healthy, fresh foot. Sure, you could just snack on some grapes while you sip your coffee, or you could make a smoothie using a mixture of fruits (including seedless grapes) and a white grape juice as the base. It’s refreshing and loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. If you’re feeling a little more ambitions first-thing in the morning, try this oatmeal with grapes and peanut butter, for a healthy spin on PB&J.
You roast veggies, but have you ever thought of roasting grapes? They make the perfect accompaniment to a main course, working well with everything from roast chicken to baked fish and more. Simply toss the seedless grapes (in an assortment of colors for maximum impact) with shallots, thyme and olive oil and then roast on a baking sheet until the grapes are shriveled. This recipe pairs the grapes with roast chicken, and it’s so easy to make no one will believe it only requires 5 ingredients and one pan.
Last but not least, let’s talk about grape recipes and dessert. It’s no secret that berries make a great addition to any pie or cake, but what about grapes? This pistachio brown butter cake (drool) uses concord grapes, which are noticeably sweeter and work perfectly in this indulgent tart. In addition, for a perfectly refreshing dessert try this grape popsicle, which is so simple and so healthy you’ll even feel good about serving it to your kids. Just place some cut up grapes (and other fruits if you want to get creative) into a Popsicle mold, fill the mold with white grape juice and freeze. That’s it!