Cooking with Miss Contra Costa County: Pistachio Vinaigrette

Pistachio-Vinaigrette-American-PistachiosHi everyone! Angela Laird, Miss Contra Costa County 2015 here. Often times, as a “pageant girl”, I get asked: “but what do you eat?” There seems to be a stereotype that once you enter a pageant, you are forced to eat birdseed. Contrary to popular belief, I still eat pasta, burgers, and the occasional cookie. The lifestyle and fitness portion of the competition is meant to promote a healthy lifestyle filled with veggies, protein, lots of water, and being active, not starving oneself to become thin. Many girls who compete consume 6 meals, over 100 grams of protein, and a gallon of water a day!

Anyway, before I get too off topic, I’m here today to share with you one of my new recipes, made with American Pistachio Growers pistachios! Did you know that the Queen of Sheba decreed pistachios an exclusively royal food, going so far as to forbid commoners from growing the nut for personal use? No wonder pageant queens love pistachios! But seriously, they’re a great source of fiber and protein.  You’re likely to eat less but feel fuller, longer.  They are also one of the highest-fiber nuts.  Fiber helps control blood sugar, helps you feel full and aids with weight management!

Pistachio Vinaigrette
¼ cup American Pistachio Growers brand pistachios, chopped
½ cup olive oil

1 clove garlic (½ tsp chopped garlic)
2 tbsp vinegar
½ cup hot water
½ tsp sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (more to taste)


Pour all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve on top of your favorite salad and store in a salad dressing bottle.
My favorite salads are filled with spinach! For this recipe, I tossed spinach, bacon bits, cranberry raisins, and cheese. I would have loved feta cheese in this recipe if I had some! I settled for parmesan. I had 6 oz of grilled chicken on the side as well as a cup of steamed green beans (my favorite!). The vinaigrette tastes great with the saltiness of the bacon! Try out this recipe and tell me what you think! You won’t be disappointed, I promise!

Until next time!
Angela Laird
Miss Contra Costa County 2015