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Cooking Light and Healthy

January 19, 2020 | by Elizabeth Kurtz

Healthy and easy recipes to add to your repertoire.

Try these healthy and easy recipes to start 2020 with a burst of great flavor that is soft on the waistline. With these recipes as part of your repertoire, the concept of healthy eating will become a standard practice, not just a New Year’s resolution.

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup with Pesto Dollop


Photo by the Domestic Chef

Serves 6 - 8

Thick, creamy (without the cream), and full of flavor. The pesto dollop adds a wonderful complexity of flavor and color to the soup. Drizzle it in a structured formal way (use a toothpick and drag the streaks to make a pattern) or just use a spoon drip it in or make rustic swirls. Both look great because the green pesto contrasts the whitish soup. Feel free to omit it too.

  • 2 (12 ounce) bags frozen cauliflower
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, roasted, recipe below
  • 2 cups almond milk, soy milk, or non-dairy creamer
  • 3 cups water
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Pesto drizzle, recipe below, or store-bought (add oil to give loose consistency)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, place cauliflower in a single layer. Sprinkle evenly with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, paprika, and turmeric. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat. Roast until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

In a large soup pot, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic pulp from roasted garlic and heat through, about 3 minutes. Add roasted cauliflower and any excess juices and warm through, about 5 minutes. Add almond milk and water and cook 10 minutes. With an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve warm with pesto drizzle.

Roasted Garlic

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil,as needed

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Slice the top off the head of garlic. Set the garlic on a large piece of aluminum foil.

Drizzle oil over the garlic, allowing the oil to cover the garlic completely. Wrap tightly

with the foil and place directly on wire rack. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the garlic is

softened. Remove from oven to cool, and then squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins.

Lots of Garlic Roast Chicken


Photo by Irena Macri

Serves 4

This is an easier, new version of the 40 cloves of garlic chicken that became famous about 15 years ago. Today’s version is quick and easy and includes the same rich, and creamy flavor of garlic.

  • 1 chicken, cut in 1⁄8's
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 40 peeled cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add oil, thyme, and garlic cloves. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Raise oven temperature to 425°F. Uncover chicken, drizzle honey all over and baste with natural juices. Cook an additional 7 - 15 minutes, until chicken is lightly browned on top.

Mediterranean Meatballs


Photo by

Serves 5

Turkey is a great and healthy alternative to meat, however lacks the robust flavor and satiating nature of beef. These spiced meatballs are great on their own, over spaghetti squash or put in the pita pockets.

  • Nonstick cooking spray, for coating the baking sheet
  • 2 cups frozen spinach (from a 10-ounce package), very drained
  • 1 pound ground turkey (use a combination of white and dark meat)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, or regular paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Tofutti (parve) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 pitas with pockets, cut in half and warmed
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and coat with cooking spray.

Cook the spinach in a large bowl in the microwave according to the package instructions. Let cool slightly.

Add the turkey, breadcrumbs, cumin, paprika, garlic, carrots, egg, 1 tablespoon of the dill, kosher salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until just combined. Scoop mounds of the meat mixture (about 2 tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheet. With damp hands, roll the mounds into balls and space them evenly apart on the baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together the tofutti sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and remaining dill in a small bowl. Season with more kosher salt and pepper.

Serve 3 meatballs in each pita half. Pack in shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with the sauce.

Salmon Tacos


Photo by This Lovely Life

Serves 5

Most fish tacos are made with trout, red snapper, flounder or tilapia. These salmon tacos are a bit heartier, which makes them more filling. Also, salmon is well liked by all and the zesty seasoning can hold up to this more full-flavored option. Free free to add corn, avocado, cilantro, jalapeno or any other vegetable or seasoning to the slaw that you enjoy.

This picture includes corn and jalapeno, feel free to add it to the salmon or slaw.

  • 3/4 pound green cabbage, cored and finely shredded (or 1 14 ounce bag shredded cabbage)
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeds removed and very thinly sliced (see note)
  • 1/4 cup good white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for greasing the pan
  • 1 3/4 pounds center-cut fresh salmon fillet, skin removed
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder, ancho chile powder or chile powder
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, divided
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 4 ripe Hass avocados, seeded and peeled
  • ½ teaspoon Sriracha, optional

At least an hour before you plan to serve the tacos, toss the cabbage, cucumber, vinegar, dill, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate, allowing the cabbage to marinate and melt a little.

When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush a baking dish with olive oil and place the salmon in it. Mix the chile powder, cumin, lime zest and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a small bowl. Brush the salmon with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and sprinkle with the chipotle seasoning mixture on top. Place in oven for 14 to 17 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until the salmon is just cooked through.

Wrap the tortillas in 2 foil packets and place them in the oven with the salmon. Roughly mash the avocados with the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice, sriracha, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

To serve, lay 2 warm tortillas on each of 6 plates. Place a dollop of the avocado mixture on one side of each tortilla, then some large chunks of salmon, and top with the slaw. Fold the tortillas in half over the filling and serve warm.

Kale Salad with Roasted Squash and Chickpeas


Photo by pinch of yum

Serves 6

I saw this salad on instagram from Pinch of Yum. Her feed usually features Indian, Meditteranean, and other full-bodied seasonings, which makes it a hit with me. This one, I altered a bit, but its stunning to look at and very filling.

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or a little more
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 cups Kale
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted Pepitas or other toasted nut
  • 1/2 cup craisins


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place squash and chickpeas on a sheet pan. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt. Place garlic cloves in the center of a small piece of foil. Drizzle with oil and fold it up into a little packet. Place the packet on the sheet pan. Roast everything for 30-40 minutes.

For the Dressing: Whisk oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and sugar together. When vegetables and garlic come out of the oven, mash up the roasted garlic and residual oil and add it to the dressing.

For the salad: In a large platter, drizzle the kale with a little bit of dressing. Massage the leaves. – until the texture has relaxed a little bit. Top with squash and chickpeas. Arrange little fanned-out apple slices on the salad. Sprinkle with pepitas and craisins, and drizzle with the rest of the dressing. Serve immediately.


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