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Have you ever stopped and thought about which fruit and vegetables you’d vote for if there was an award show? What would win the most flavorful fruit? How about the best-roasted vegetable? This award season let’s celebrate the fruits and veggies that bring joy and nourishment to our bodies!

Here are the 2021 winners:

Versatile Veggie Award: Butternut Squash

  • Known for its vibrant orange color, butternut squash provides powerful antioxidants to help strengthen our immune system. Additionally, it keeps us full and satisfied, supports a healthy heart, and boosts our energy levels. This versatile seasonal pick is the perfect addition to any meal since it has a decadent, nutty flavor that pairs well with sweet, savory, or spicy dishes. Butternut squash can be enjoyed by simply cutting it into long slices, cubes, or chunks. From there, just roast, sauté, or steam. You could also try adding pureed butternut squash to baked goods, sauces, soups, stews, and casseroles.
  • When prepping, reduce food waste and stretch your grocery dollars by utilizing the whole squash. Roast the seeds with your favorite seasonings, like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for a protein-packed, sweet treat! You can save those skin scraps to impart flavor in your next homemade vegetable stock since they are a little too tough to eat. This seasonal superstar is nutrient-rich and sure to add a whole new layer of flayer to your dishes, which is why it’s receiving the Versatile Veggie Award this year!
  • This Butternut Squash Chowder is perfect for keeping your family warm and cozy this winter! https://recipecenter.giantfoodstores.com/recipes/115612/butternut-squash-chowder

 

Small But Mighty Award: Pomegranate

  • Since they’re only available in the late fall and early winter, pomegranates are a special seasonal treat. The skin of a pomegranate is inedible but cut it open and you’ll find hundreds of beautiful jewel-like seeds inside called arils. Every aril provides a crunchy pop of sweet flavor that’s perfect for topping yogurt, mixing into guacamole, or just enjoying on their own. Pomegranate arils are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C, as well as a good source of potassium and folate.
  • Although they can sometimes be thought of as messy, a simple trick is to submerge the cut pomegranate under water in a medium bowl and pop the arils out. This greatly helps to reduce the juicy mess that can happen! You can also purchase pomegranate arils ready to go, which takes away all the prep work! If you’re not a fan of the aril’s crunchy texture, consider sipping on the antioxidant-rich juice, which may help to reduce your risk of inflammation and chronic disease. This sweet and tart fruit packs a big nutritional punch in a very tiny package, which is why it receives this year’s Small But Mighty Award!
  • This Walnut Pomegranate and Roasted Pepper Dip is perfect with veggies as a sweet and tangy dip or spread on top of chicken at dinner. https://recipecenter.giantfoodstores.com/recipes/124619/walnut-pomegranate-and-roasted-pepper-dip

 

Most Filling Fruit Award: Avocado

  • There are so many ways we can enjoy avocados. From traditional guacamole to smoothies to sandwich spreads, this fruit is a produce department favorite. Avocados are a nutrient-packed pick with almost 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. This satisfying fruit is a heart-healthy addition to any meal or snack since it’s a good source of fiber (11% DV) and 6 grams of naturally good fats, plus it’s low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol and sodium.
  • Incorporating an avocado a day is a fresh way to keep your body fueled and full. For baked goods replace butter with creamy avocado using a simple 1:1 swap to boost the mono and polyunsaturated fats. For post workout recovery, pair it with eggs like with avocado toast or in an egg salad to support muscle repair and growth. The combination of fiber and healthy fats keeps us full plus provides benefits to our hearts, gut, and brain, which is why avocados receive this year’s Most Filling Fruit Award!
  • Who doesn’t love a delicious sandwich for lunch? These Smashed Avocado and Chickpea Finger Sandwiches will keep you satisfied all afternoon! https://recipecenter.giantfoodstores.com/recipes/151768/smashed-avocado-and-chickpea-finger-sandwiches

 

Best Dressed Award: Beets

  • Although they may not be the most popular vegetable, it’s hard to deny the beauty of beets! With their bright colors – golden yellow, vibrant red, or candy stripe – adding them to your dishes instantly adds a pop of color and flavor! Whether you enjoy your beets raw, roasted, pickled, juiced, or steamed, this root veggie is a nutrient-packed addition to your plate!
  • Beets are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. They also naturally contain nitrates, which can be beneficial for helping to lower the risk of heart disease by increasing nitric oxide formation. Nitric oxide allows our blood vessels to relax and dilate allowing blood pressure to reduce. Beets make a great addition to any sweet or savory dish, like salads, smoothies, sides, and dips! Add some nutritious flare to your dishes this season with this year’s Best Dressed Award!
  • Beets are the perfect side dish, especially when combined with other seasonal favorites, like in this Roasted Winter Vegetables recipe. https://recipecenter.giantfoodstores.com/recipes/101089/roasted-winter-vegetables

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