These 3 New, Creative and Delicious Recipes Are a Perfect Illustration of Prunes’ Versatility

A new cookbook showcases California Prunes’ versatility. These recipes prove that California Prunes can be an adventurous cook’s sweetest partner – an unexpected element in a pasta dish, an all-natural way to thicken a sauce and a sweet treat in a healthy breakfast

ROSEVILLE, CALIF. – April 10, 2024 – Consumer research shows that most U.S. consumers who buy California Prunes do so for prunes’ health benefits, or to eat them as a snack.[i] While prunes are delicious on their own and offer a wealth of nutrients, a new cookbook shows off how versatile they can be in everyday cooking.

The Smart Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 101 Brain-Healthy Recipes to Protect Your Mind and Boost Your Mood by Serena Ball, MS, RD and Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD (BenBella Books, Inc.) launches May 7, and the authors have partnered with California Prunes to publicize their collection of more than 100 creative, accessible recipes developed with brain health and mood-boosting in mind.

Three of the book’s recipes feature prunes’ sweet flavor, luxurious texture and all-seasons, all-dayparts versatility:

Prune & Pomegranate Risotto Pudding

In this recipe, California Prunes provide a sweet touch in an everyday breakfast. Rather than stirring (and stirring) the risotto until it’s creamy, the recipe requires just assembling milk, Arborio or other short-grain rice, vanilla extract and a touch of sugar and salt in a slow-cooker after dinner the night before. After a couple of hours on low heat, tomorrow’s breakfast is ready.

Ball recommends distributing the fragrant rice pudding among individual cups or ramekins, refrigerating them overnight, and topping them the next morning with sliced prunes, pistachios and a drizzle of pomegranate syrup – a combination that’s “decidedly Mediterranean, and decidedly good for lifting your mood early in the morning.” A self-care breakfast? Yes, please!

Fettuccine with Prosciutto, Prunes and Black Pepper

The authors said this recipe was one of their tasters’ favorites with its salty-sweet-peppery flavor combination, and it’s quickly prepared for a weeknight, yet sophisticated enough to pair with a glass of wine, a green salad and some candlelight.

Pairing prunes with pasta might not seem typical, but Mediterranean cuisines regularly match grains with the intense natural sweetness of dried fruit to balance out other flavors – in this case, prosciutto, savory Parmesan and black pepper. Prunes can enhance a dish’s appearance and serve as a concentrated source of vitamins and minerals that help maintain brain health and mental activity, Segrave-Daly says.

Mushroom Daube

Daube is the quintessential Provençal meat stew featuring beef, vegetables and herbs braised in a red wine sauce. The saying goes there are as many versions of daube as there are cooks in France. This vegetarian version highlights mushrooms with a savory sauce layered with flavors from wine, tomato paste, soy sauce, chopped prunes, orange rind and French herbs. The stew’s potatoes, prunes and a touch of flour work together to thicken it so that it’s velvety and satisfying. It can be served over mashed potatoes, polenta, or wide noodles, or simply as a stew with a baguette and a green salad.

Protecting the Mind & Boosting the Mood

Ball and Seagrave-Daly’s new brain- and mood-focused cookbook is their fourth, following the best-selling The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, The Easy Everyday Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, and in 2022 from BenBella Books, The Sustainable Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. Over time, eating a Mediterranean dietary pattern has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to protect and enhance brain health, halt inflammation, improve mood and help reduce daily stress.[ii] People in the more than 20 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea typically eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, bread and other grains, beans, nuts and seeds; olive oil as a primary fat source; and dairy products, eggs, fish and poultry in low to moderate amounts.

The Mediterranean Diet includes many foods rich in polyphenol antioxidants – such as prunes – that studies have shown that when eaten regularly may help limit neurodegeneration and have the potential to prevent or reverse age-dependent deteriorations in cognitive performance.

In addition to their rich polyphenol content, California Prunes have a unique combination of other antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that work together to benefit gut health, bone health, heart health and more.[iii] A serving – which is about 4 to 6 prunes, depending on size – is high in vitamin K and a good source of fiber, with potassium, magnesium, boron, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin b6. With no added sugar, California Prunes offer natural sweetness as a snack or ingredient with a low Glycemic Index of just 29.


Attention, Media: For complete recipes and high-resolution photos of the three new prune recipes from The Smart Mediterranean Diet Cookbook and interviews with Ball or Segrave-Daly, please contact Amber Gray at

About the California Prune Board: The California Prune Board was established in 1952 to represent growers and handlers under the authority of the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture. California is the world’s largest producer of prunes with orchards across 14 counties in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. Promoting a lifetime of wellness through the enjoyment of California Prunes, the organization leads the premium prune category with generations of craftsmanship supported by California’s leading food safety and sustainability standards. California Prunes. Prunes. For life. Visit to learn more.

About Serena Ball, MS, RD, and Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD: Ball and Segrave-Daly each have more than 20 years of culinary nutrition experience and have dedicated their careers to helping people making delicious and healthy meals. Together, they are the authors of four Mediterranean diet cookbooks. Segrave-Daly lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter, and Ball lives outside St. Louis with her husband and five children. Find them online at and doing weekly live-stream demonstrations on their Facebook page, Teaspoon of Spice.

Learn more about California Prunes’ versatility

California Prunes are the best in the world, with a smooth, silky mouthfeel and a legendary natural sweetness that has notes of honey and caramel. Whether whole, sliced, diced or pureed, they’re exceptionally versatile as a year-round pantry staple. They enhance the flavor and texture of both sweet and savory dishes – providing moisture to baked goods, thickening sauces, and serving as a natural sweetener.

Explore California Prunes’ versatility with these creative pairings:

  • Bright, tangy fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranate seeds and citrus
  • Creamy, sour dairy like Greek yogurt and crème fraiche
  • Flavorful cheeses – especially goat cheese, aged Gouda, Manchego and blue cheese
  • Roasted green vegetables like broccoli, green beans and sauteed greens
  • Toasted nuts – especially pecans, walnuts, almonds and pine nuts
  • Sweet root vegetables like caramelized onions, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes and other winter squash
  • Baking spices like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves
  • Spicy ingredients like chiles
  • Hearty grains like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice and basmati rice
  • Fresh, herbaceous ingredients like mint, ginger and basil pesto
  • Umami-heavy ingredients like craft beer, miso and mushrooms
  • Salty ingredients like olives, capers and anchovies
  • Meat and poultry – including beef, lamb, pork, bacon, chicken and duck
  • While the previous examples are more creative testaments to prunes’ versatility, don’t forget about some of the most common pairings! Classic dessert friends to prunes like chocolate, caramel, honey, maple syrup, ice cream, coffee, tea, brandy and cognac

[i] California Prunes Awareness, Attitudes & Usage Survey. The Sterling-Rice Group, 2024.