HealthLife

Dairy + Plants: The Ultimate Superfood Power Couple

superfoods

When it comes to food pairings, plant foods and dairy foods are the ultimate superfood power couple. Each one contributes unique and important nutrients to the diet; they were made for each other! What one lacks, the other provides.

Take, for instance, the nutrients of public health concern, which are identified by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that many Americans are not eating enough of these nutrients and the lack of which can contribute to increased risk for many chronic diseases.

These nutrients include fiber, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D. Plant foods provide fiber, while dairy foods provide a powerful nutrient package that includes calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. The Dietary Guidelines advise increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy foods to help close this nutrient gap in many Americans’ diets. Additionally, dairy foods complement a plant-based diet by adding high-quality protein, important for flexitarians, and vegetarians.

Better Together

Beyond their nourishment, plants and dairy superfoods play a vital role together in sustainability. Without plants, it would not be possible to feed the cows that produce amazingly nutritious dairy products. Due to their 4-chambered stomachs, cows can eat parts of plants that may otherwise be discarded, and would potentially end up in a landfill. For example, citrus pulp left-over from making juice and cottonseed hulls that remain from making clothing. All these plants help to nourish dairy cows while, in return, the cows help to keep the plants’ by-products out of landfills.

Last, but certainly not least, the plant and dairy foods superfood power couple reign supreme as the stars of many favorite dishes. Together, plant and dairy foods help to create delicious bites like fruit & yogurt parfait in the morning, grilled cheese and tomato soup on a chilly night or a pizza that can be shared with friends. These Mini Naan Mix & Match Pizzas would be perfect for a dinner party! Set out a make-your-own-toppings bar and let family and friends mix and match to make their own perfect pizza.

Check out more of The Dairy Alliance recipes for additional ways to feature the ultimate power couple at mealtime. thedairyalliance.com/dairy-recipes/.

Mini Naan Mix & Match Pizzas

Prep time: 15 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 mini Naan flatbreads
  • 1 cup marinara sauce of choice
  • 1⁄2 cup pesto sauce
  • 1 cup mixed cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1⁄2 cup quartered artichoke hearts drained
  • 1⁄2 cup pancetta
  • 1⁄2 cup roasted red bell peppers drained
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 8-ounce fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 1 cup arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place the naan flatbreads on parchment paper-lined baking sheet(s). Spread marinara sauce on half and pesto sauce on the other half. Any combination of toppings work. Here are a few suggestions:
    • Pesto with cherry tomatoes topped with mozzarella pearls
    • Pesto with bell peppers and shredded mozzarella, topped with arugula after baking
    • Marinara with artichoke hearts, pancetta, and shredded mozzarella
    • Marinara with Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella pearls
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove and place on large cutting or serving board, cut in half, and serve directly on board or transfer to a platter.

Source: Rebecca Egsieker, The Dairy Chef

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