Eat for the Health of It Recipe Contest – We Have a Winner!

As part of our Eat for the Health of It nutrition challenge, WellMASS sponsored a recipe contest for all state employees, contractors, and temporary workers.  Employees were challenged to create an original recipe, or adapt one from an outside source, that contained at least one fruit, vegetable, or whole grain.  Recipes were judged by the WellMASS team and a group of Wellness Champions from various agencies on four criteria:  originality, nutritional value, skill level, and most importantly, taste.  We received over 40 entries to this contest, all of which looked just as delicious as they were nutritious. At the end of the day, however, there could only be one winner, and that honor went to Theresa Harkin of EHS and her recipe for Baked Nectarines with Pistachios.

Baked Nectarines with Pistachios
Recipe by Theresa Harkin, EHS

4 tablespoons shelled pistachios
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 drops (less than ⅛ teaspoon) almond extract (optional)
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 nectarines, halved and pitted
½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Chop 3 tablespoons pistachios in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter, confectioners’ sugar, almond extract, and salt. Process until combined.
  3. Place nectarines, cut side up, on a baking sheet.
  4. Place a generous tablespoon of pistachio mixture on each nectarine half.
  5. Chop remaining tablespoon pistachios, and sprinkle on top of nectarines. Bake until fruit is tender and topping is crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to four plates.
  6. Whisk together yogurt and granulated sugar. Spoon over nectarines, and serve.

Theresa first saw this recipe, which originally appeared on the WellMASS blog, in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ TGIF newsletter.  It caught her attention because, “In all honesty, I’m not much of a cook.  When I saw this recipe in TGIF it looked easy enough to prepare and I liked most of the ingredients.  I just tweaked it a bit to better suit my tastes.  I have made it several times for various functions and it is always a big hit.  You can even store the leftovers and enjoy the next day.”

Theresa, like many other home cooks out there, believes it’s important to prepare healthy meals and snacks, especially ones that have staying power:  “Now that I’m getting older, eating healthy is more of a commitment; the pounds don’t come off as easily as they used to.  This recipe is nutritious, delicious and repetitious!”

Our Wellness Champion judges chose Theresa’s Baked Nectarines with Pistachios recipe as the overwhelming winner of the contest due to a number of factors, most notably how great it tasted.   When asked to comment on the dish, tasters shared the following remarks:

“Delicious!  Great to bring to a party.”

“Hands-down winner!”  I like that the Greek yogurt adds protein value.”

“Very nice flavors and textures.”

“Would bring as a dessert to a party.”

“Impressively yummy dessert!  I would totally make this for a special treat.”

If you’re looking for a great healthy treat to bring to a party, or indulge in on your own, I’d encourage you to try these Baked Nectarines with Pistachios.  Theresa’s recipe, along with our other contest submissions, will be published in a forthcoming e-cookbook; be sure to ask your agency’s Wellness Champion for a copy!


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