June 2016 Fig Focus

Happy Father’s Day

Try Soft Tacos with Chicken, Black Beans and California Figs for a crowd-pleasing Father’s Day dinner or anytime.  Set out an array of fun, colorful toppings and let diners build their own tacos.

Use a traditional chili powder or, for more complex flavor, use some ancho, New Mexico or chipotle chili powder that may be found with bulk spices or in the Mexican foods section of the grocery store.  Note that the heat level will vary.  For more or less of a spicy kick, adjust the amount of crushed red pepper.   

Soft Tacos with Chicken, Black Beans and California Figs

Ingredients for soft taco filling.

Toss chicken with half of spice mixture.

Sauté chicken in 1 tablespoon oil

Add red bell pepper and onion

Add ingredients and cook for 1 minute; stir in chicken.

Serve warm with your favorite toppings.

Soft Tacos with Chicken, Black Beans and California Figs

Makes 4 servings.

  • 2 3/4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken tenders, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil such as canola or olive
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, more or less to your taste 
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (15-ounce) black beans, drained
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed, halved and cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 8 corn tortillas or small whole wheat flour tortillas, warmed
  • Toppings (optional): Sliced green onion, fresh chopped cilantro, shredded cabbage or lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream

Combine chili powder, cumin and salt. Stir to blend.

Toss chicken with half of spice mixture. 

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and sauté until browned and cooked through.  Remove to warm serving bowl.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet and return to medium heat.  Add bell pepper, and onion.  Stir and cook until onion is soft.  Stir in garlic and crushed red pepper.  Add black beans, figs, water, tomato paste, lime juice and remaining spice mixture. Stir and cook for 1 minute or until hot and blended. Stir in chicken.  Blend well.

Serve in warm tortillas with your favorite toppings.  

Lorelle Del Matto, MS, RDN, is a nutrition and culinary professional who combines a passion for food (and California Figs) with a quest for nutrition knowledge. She believes well designed and tested recipes can be great communication tools. Lorelle has a Master’s of Science in nutrition biology and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Lorelle developed her culinary skills in France at La Varenne, Ecole de Cuisine. You can find more recipes and healthy lifestyle tips to inspire you to “savor the art of healthy eating” on her website lorelledelmatto.com and on Twitter and Facebook

Summer Love: California Figs

Summer’s almost here! As temperatures are heating up, we’ve pulled together tasty ways to stay cool with your favorite California Dried Figs. We’re bringing you Smoothie inspiration this month for a refreshing change to breakfast or snack times. Did you know California Dried Figs provide an added boost of nutrition to smoothies–try adding one or two to your preferred recipe. We know grilling is officially in season and California figs dress up grilled foods– make Franklin BBQ’s famous California Fig barbecue sauce or cook up a glaze to brush on cooked meats. Whatever kind of activities, parties, or car trips you’ve got planned for this summer, California Figs fit.

Count on California Figs

Our recipe this month helps to meet Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 that encourage us to eat more vegetables and fruits and less animal protein. A small amount of chicken is balanced with black beans, a source of protein, fiber and essential nutrients. Fiber- and calcium-rich California figs soak up the Latin flavors and balance all the ingredients with chewy texture and sweetness. Here is the nutrition information for our Soft Tacos with Chicken, Black Beans and California Figs (2 tacos):

Calories 492; Protein 22g; Carbohydrates 78g; Fat 10g; Sodium 707mg, Potassium 973mg; Dietary Fiber 17g; Calcium 151mg; Iron 5mg; Vitamin A 1293IU; Vitamin C 68mg.

Not only do these tacos deliver delicious Latin flavors, they also are lower in fat at 19 percent calories from fat and lower in cholesterol at 31mg. Of the 10 grams of fat in a serving, only 1 gram is saturated fat. The American Heart Association suggests Americans aim for less than16g saturated fat per 2,000 calories.

If you are watching your sodium, these are a bit high; try reducing or omitting the salt. You also could look for lower sodium black beans and tomato paste. The recipe provides great amounts of vitamin C, iron and vitamin A.

When it comes to fiber, you can always count on California Figs to really boost the nutrition profile of any dish. This recipe comes in at a whopping 17grams of fiber thanks to the figs and the beans. Your recommended amount of fiber for the day is 25g for women and 38g for men.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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