Seedless Grapes Star In Salad

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - April 23, 2008
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New Yorkers Randi Strauss and Peter Shapiro are frequent visitors to Hawaii and read this column every week in MidWeek online.

They especially enjoy keeping up with events in Hawaii, as they have close relatives here.

Randi is in the entertainment business and Peter is studying law. When they visit, they spend time relaxing on the beach and find the laid-back pace a nice change from the Big Apple.

Randi and Peter are getting married this May. I would like to extend hearty congratulations and dedicate this recipe to them with good wishes for a wonderful life together!

The grape is one of the oldest fruits in the world, dating back thousands of years to the earliest civilizations. The exact origin of the grape is not known, but it is believed to be Asia Minor, the Caspian Sea region or Armenia. Common varieties in the United States include the Concord, Flame, Ruby and Thompson.

When you purchase grapes, choose firm, undamaged and evenly colored fruit that are firmly attached to the stem. Green grapes are sweeter if they have a yellow tint. Avoid grapes that are very soft, wrinkled or whitened at the stem end, as they are probably not fresh.

Grapes are almost always treated with chemical substances and must be washed carefully before eating. To prevent the stem from drying out, remove small clusters of grapes with a scissors rather than pulling them off individually.

The grape is a good source of potassium and contains vitamin C, thiamine and vitamin B6. It is said to have numerous medicinal properties such as being diuretic, providing energy, aiding digestion and having a laxative effect. They are also said to help in purifying the system, thanks to their invigorating and cleansing qualities.



* 1 12-ounce package bowtie (farfalle) pasta, cooked al dente and drained
* 1 pound salad shrimp, cooked and cooled
* 11/2 cups seedless grapes (any color), halved
* 1/4 cup diced Maui onion
* 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
* 1/2 cup cooked green peas (Note: Frozen peas work best; cook until just tender)
* 1 large, firm, vine-ripened tomato, diced

For Dressing:

* 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
* 1/4 cup nonfat sour cream
* 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
* 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
* 2 teaspoons sugar
* 1/8 teaspoon caraway seed
* 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
* salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine pasta, shrimp, grapes, onion, bell pepper and peas. Toss to mix. Add tomato and toss lightly.

Mix all dressing ingredients and whirl in blender until smooth. Pour over salad and toss lightly to coat. Chill for about three hours and serve.

Makes six servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 264
Fat: 6 grams
Cholesterol: 107 milligrams
Sodium: 500 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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