Healthy Recipes and Simple Substitutions to Put a Spring in Your Step
April 2021 Issue
by Chef Lynn Michelle
There’s no better way to welcome in spring than by incorporating some healthy habits—and healthier eating—into your life. With its promise of increased daylight hours, beautiful weather and more time spent outdoors, which triggers the production of energy-boosting Vitamin D, the start of spring is the perfect time to think about ways to lighten up and get healthy.
Now that some of our less-healthy habits of winter are behind us, including our tendency to indulge in many of the winter “comfort foods” we all love, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the fresh foods of the season that are emerging from gardens and markets throughout the region. Spring beckons us to get creative and have fun when it comes to healthy spring recipes.
There are many easy and delicious ways to eat healthy this spring, and if you’re following a Keto, gluten-free and/or sugar-free diet, there are simple things you can do to “spring clean” your diet. Whether taking advantage of the nutritious, bursting-with-flavor, springtime produce for a vegetarian menu inspiration, or finding a creative way to turn your favorite “parmesan” dish into a more nutritious springtime spin on the original, the following spring menu ideas are exactly what the season is all about: foods that are light, fresh, healthy and delicious! Just wait until you try the lighter-than-air, gluten-free Raspberry Angel Dessert—a healthy and delicious treat that tastes like spring on a plate!
Relish all the warm and happy feelings that come from welcoming in this wonderful season, and be sure to incorporate some healthy habits in your lifestyle, including enjoying these simple healthy recipes that are sure to put a spring in your step … and help you spring forward to a healthier life.
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan | Keto [Pictured Above]
½ tsp Fine sea salt
2 Tbsps Extra-virgin olive oil
1 (15 oz) can Garbanzo beans (chick peas)
2 to 4 Tbsps Water
2 Tbsps Fresh lemon juice
1-2 large Garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tsp Cumin
½ cup Tahini, optional
2 Tbsps Water, or as needed
Feta or vegan cheese
1/2 cup Kalmata olives, chopped
Olive oil, drizzle
12 Grape tomatoes, sliced Naan bread and fresh veggies, for serving
Drain and rinse garbanzo beans, and place in blender or food processor. Add all hummus ingredients and blend until smooth. Place mixture in a medium size serving bowl. Let rest for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Taste and add additional water, lemon juice, and/or salt, if necessary. Mix together Kalamata olives and tomatoes and place over the top of hummus. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Feta. Serve hummus immediately with Naan Bread and fresh veggies or chill for later. Leftover hummus keeps well, chilled, for about 4 days.
Arugula & Fresh Fennel Salad
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan | Keto
1 pkg. Arugula greens 1 whole Fennel bulb, sliced
1/2 Lemon, juiced ¼ cup Red onion, thinly sliced
Salt & Pepper, to taste 1 cup Pomegranate seeds or berries
3 Tbsp Olive oil (or lemon olive oil)
2 tsp Balsamic vinegar (your choice of flavor)
2 cups Gluten-free Quinoa, cooked (Exclude for Keto)
¾ cup Roasted pine nuts or almond slivers (optional)
Crumbled Blue Cheese, Feta, Goat Cheese, or Vegan Cheese
Mix arugula greens, sliced fennel, pomegranate seeds, red onion and quinoa together. Blend olive oil, lemon juice, flavored balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and pour into salad. Toss and place on individual plates. Top with roasted nuts and cheese.
Roasted Vegetable Risotto
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian
3 Garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsps Butter 3 cups Vegetable stock (gluten-free)
1/4 tsp Black pepper
1 cup Arborio rice, uncooked ½ medium Onion, finely chopped
Salt, to taste 1/4 cup White wine, optional
4 Tbsps Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups chopped carrots, mushrooms, peppers and celery, cubed, tossed in olive oil and roasted in oven until tender
In a large saucepan, heat stock, set aside and keep warm. In a large sauté pan, melt butter, add onions for 2 minutes, or until tender, add garlic, rice, salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat, and stir in wine and 2 Tbsps of Parmesan cheese. Cook and stir until all of the liquid is absorbed. Add stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Allow the liquid to absorb between additions. Cook just until risotto is creamy and rice is almost tender (about 20 minutes). Fold in vegetables, stirring until heated thoroughly. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Cauliflower Parmesan with Pomodoro Sauce
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian
1 cup gluten-free Flour
2 large heads Cauliflower, washed, cut into large pieces
1 Tbsp Garlic powder
Sea salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 cup gluten-free Italian bread crumbs
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp Dried Basil (fresh optional)
1 cup Milk or oatmilk
2 cups Parmesan cheese, or vegan cheese
3 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded, or vegan Mozzarella
(Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan | Keto)
1/8 tsp Salt
1 (14.5 oz) can Diced tomatoes, undrained
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Fresh Basil, snipped
1 small Onion, chopped
1 Tbsp Butter or vegan butter
Dash of black pepper
1/2 tsp Sugar or ¼ tsp Splenda
Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix flour, breadcrumbs and spices in a large bowl. Cut cauliflower into large pieces. Beat eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Using a pair of tongs, dip cauliflower slices into egg bath, then into the bread crumb mixture. Place coated cauliflower into medium heated skillet with canola oil just covering the bottom of skillet. (You will need to add more oil to skillet as you fry the cauliflower in batches.) Layer the cauliflower just like you would lasagna— cauliflower then Pomodoro sauce, until you have used all the cauliflower, and lastly, sprinkle with the 3 cheeses. (I always put a skim of Pomodoro sauce in the bottom of my pan— using my cast iron skillets as much as possible!) Cover with foil and place in oven 25-30 minutes, until the cheeses on top are bubbling! Remove from oven. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Pomodoro Sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt butter and sauté chopped onion until tender. Add minced garlic and stir. Carefully add tomatoes, stir. Add sugar (or Splenda), salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in fresh basil and set aside. Reheat when needed.
Raspberry Angel Dessert
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan
1 large box Raspberry Jell-O, sugar-free optional or vegan alternate
1 cup hot Water
1 pkg frozen Raspberries, thawed (use fresh for sugar-free)
2-3 cups freshly whipped Cream, or Non-Dairy Cool Whip, sugar-free optional
1 pre-made Angel Food Cake (see note)
In a large bowl, mix together hot water and raspberry jello. When jello is dissolved, add the thawed raspberries and juice (or fresh raspberries). Set aside. Break apart bite size pieces of Angel food or pound cake into a bundt or cake pan. Lightly fold the whipped cream or Cool Whip into the jello mixture. Pour the jello/ whipped cream mixture over the angel food pieces. Softly move around the mixture and cake until moistened. Chill for a few hours and serve.
Note: Pre-made Angel Food Cake is available in Gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free. Pre-made pound cake is also a great option.
Chef Lynn Michelle is a personal chef located on Hilton Head Island serving the entire Lowcountry. Whether it’s preparing healthy, gourmet, family-style meals, or expertly creating elaborate dinner parties, Chef Lynn and her team do it all—planning, shopping, cooking and clean up. www.cheflynnmichelle.com (843) 422-5280