Lighten Up


It always bothers me when perfectly innocent foods such as chocolate, butter or bacon are demonized and described as “sinful” or “decadent.” After all, eating real food is nothing to feel guilty about. I’ll take a proper grass-fed steak over a processed soy burger any day, thanks.

That said, everything is best when taken in moderation and, around this time of year, many of us have consumed more than our fair share of rich, calorie-heavy meals. That doesn’t mean bland has to become your new buzzword. The following four dishes are hearty, rich and satisfying—and pack just as much of a flavor wallop as their more calorie-dense counterparts.

Slow roasting the tomatoes for the white bean dish brings out their gorgeous sweetness. (Hence my name for them: “tomato candy.”) This is a filling meal on its own, or serve with a lean protein such as white fish or pork tenderloin.

The Ethiopian lentils are smoky, spicy and oh-so-very good for you. For a complete meal, serve with a braised winter green. Meanwhile, in the spicy chicken soup, the light coconut milk keeps the calorie count down, while the chicken breasts stay super moist thanks to the fact that they’re poached right in the broth.

Finally, the Israeli couscous “risotto” is a lighter spin on the traditional buttery version of the dish. And if you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, this dish might just change your mind.

White Beans with Roast Garlic & Tomato Candy

Spicy Chicken Coconut Soup

Israeli Couscous “Risotto” with Roast Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Ethiopian-Style Spiced Red Lentils

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