One of the biggest misconceptions about healthy eating is that nutritious food is bland and boring. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Wholesome, healthful fare can be quite bold and delicious, given the right recipe with ingredients that blend together seamlessly to create a perfectly balanced—and flavorful—dish. Here, some of Atlanta’s finest chefs and restaurateurs share their own favorite healthy recipes, which are sure to impress even the pickiest palates and prove that good-for-you food is just downright good. The following recipes are as savory as they are beneficial to your body, and they undoubtedly will please everyone in the family
When it comes to eating well, seafood is one of the best, and most versatile options. It can be prepared in a wide variety of ways and featured in complex dishes to simple meals. Here, two of the most popular seafood selections come together in one extraordinary entree with an Asian twist.
Crispy Shrimp and Spicy Tuna Roll
Recipe provided by Chef Scott Serpas, Serpas Restaurant
Low in calories and saturated fat, shrimp is an excellent alternative to meat proteins like beef and pork. And with high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which can help lower triglycerides and increase good cholesterol, tuna is one of the most healthful fish around. According to Chef Scott Serpas, this light and refreshing recipe is perfect for spring or summer and very simple to make.
- 3-4 sheets of rice paper
- 6-8 leaves of bibb lettuce
- 6 ounces Ahi tuna, sliced
- 1 mango, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 6-8 16-20 ct. shrimp
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp Sriracha
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (seasoned)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup flour
- 3 ounces corn starch
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
Place dry ingredients in bowl and mix well. Slow drizzle in ice water until you have a ribbony consistency.
- Preheat fryer at 350 degrees.
- Peel, de-vein and split shrimp in half.
- Dip each shrimp half into the tempura batter and shake off any excess. Place in the fryer for 1 minute. Remove and dry on a napkin.
- Place the rice papers in a bowl half full of warm water until completely soaked and then wipe excess water off.
- Place rice papers on a clean, dry surface.
- Place 1½ leaves of bibb lettuce ¾ of the way down a sheet of rice paper.
- Place several slices of mango and avocado on the lettuce. Top with tuna slices.
- Place 3 shrimp halves on the tuna.
- With your fingers placed on top of the filling and your thumbs underneath the rice paper, fold the bottom lip of the rice paper onto the tuna roll. While pulling the filling, roll tightly. Roll until set.
- Slice the roll into 4-6 pieces and garnish with Spicy Mayonnaise, sesame seeds and scallions
About Chef Scott Serpas, Serpas Restaurant
A south Louisiana native and executive chef, Scott Serpas has a flair for carving out a style all his own, especially when he’s in the kitchen. Since 2004, Serpas has teamed up with partners Bob Amick and Todd Rushing as executive chef at TWO urban licks, where he created and executed a menu of wood-fired meats, fish and barbecue in a high-energy environment. Serpas began cooking at an early age, helping his parents prepare family meals, but he got his start in restaurants as a busboy in New Orleans and eventually became chef de cuisine under Executive Chef Mike Fennelly at Mike’s on the Avenue in New Orleans. Serpas later made the move to Atlanta when restaurateur Sia Moshk selected him as executive chef of his restaurant, Sia’s, in Alpharetta. Serpas accepted and later led the team that opened Moshk’s second Atlanta restaurant, Mitra, in 2003. Serpas now considers Atlanta his permanent home and spends much of his time volunteering. For more information, visit www.serpasrestaurant.com.
A truly complete healthy meal gives you everything you need on one plate, including plenty of protein and essential vitamins. Here's a delicious, nutritious one to try.
Grilled Hanger Steak with Spring Onion Puree and Roasted Beet Salad
Recipe provided by Jean-Luc Mongodin, Chef de Cuisine, BLT Steak Atlanta
A very lean cut of meat, hanger steak is perfect for the diner who wants to experience intense flavor from the first bite. A side of spring onion puree instead of mashed potatoes cuts down the starch factor, and a roasted beet salad not only gives the entire meal a splash of color, but also an infusion of betacyanin, a powerful cancer-fighting agent.
- 3 small-medium size beets (about 12 ounces), trimmed and scrubbed
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Marinade for the beets:
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 bunch watercress, cleaned and stemmed
- 2 Tbsp walnut oil
- 1 ½ Tbsp sherry vinegar
Spring Onion Puree:
- ½ pound spring onions
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 ounces heavy cream
- 12-ounce hanger steak
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Roast the beets. Rub the beets with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap each beet individually in foil. Roast the beets until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly.
- Marinate the beets. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, shallots and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. While the beets are still warm, remove the skin and cut into small dice. Gently fold the beets into the vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Dress the salad greens. In a large bowl, whisk together the sherry vinegar and walnut oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the watercress and toss well. Set aside.
- Make the spring onion puree. Cut onion bulbs in half and thinly slice. Discard the stems. Melt the butter in a medium size sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Add the thyme, bay leaf and the cream. Simmer over low heat until onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove thyme sprig and bay leaf and discard. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
- Cook the steaks. Heat a barbecue or stovetop grill to medium high heat. Brush the steaks with the butter, and season with salt and pepper. Add the steaks and cook for 6-8 minutes, turning once, or until medium rare. To check for doneness, insert an instant reading thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. The temperature reading should be 130° to 135°F for medium rare.
- Serve. Remove the steaks from the grill and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. Slice crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the spring onion puree in the center of the plate, and top with a slice of the steak. Place 2 tablespoons of the beet salad next to the meat and garnish with the watercress salad
About Chef de Cuisine Jean-Luc Mongodin, BLT Steak Atlanta
With more than 27 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Chef de Cuisine Jean-Luc Mongodin brings a wealth of culinary knowledge and a passion for both food and excellence to BLT Steak Atlanta. Mongodin served as chef de cuisine at Atlanta Grill in the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta for more than 2 years. In October 2003, he assisted Chef Robert Guillou in opening Azure Bistro, using the skills he previously had refined as executive chef at Brasserie Le Coze, sister restaurant of New York’s Le Bernardin. During his tenure, Mongodin led the Atlanta culinary team to acclaim and took a leadership position in area benefits for such charities as the March of Dimes, Share Our Strength’s Taste of Nation and the High Museum of Art. Prior to his role at Brasserie Le Coze, Mongodin spent more than 2 years under the tutelage of Chef Joel Antunes. He also served as sous chef and garde-manger chef at Joel and chef de partie at The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. For more information visit www.bltsteak.com.
Grilled Chicken, Quinoa and Bok Choy
Recipe provided by Celebrity Chef and Emmy-nominated TV show host Marvin Woods
The protein in the chicken is complemented beautifully by the protein in the quinoa, an amino-acid rich grain that boasts a nutty flavor when cooked. When combined with bok choy, a Chinese white cabbage that is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium and dietary fiber, the two main ingredients take on a whole new character.
- 2 boneless chicken breasts
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper
- ½ cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
- ½ red onion cut into ½-inch thick slices
- 1 red pepper
- Bok choy, cut into inch-size pieces
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Tamari
- ½ fresh garlic clove minced
- 1 tsp cilantro
- 2 tsp honey
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Small paper bag
- Preheat grill to hot.
- Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place chicken on the grill and cook for 2 minutes.
- Find another hot spot on the grill and place the red pepper directly on the grill cooking until black on all sides.
- Go back to the chicken; change its position and cook on the same side for another 2-3 minutes. Then turn the chicken over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Similar to before, change the position of the chicken but leave it on the same side and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Check the chicken with a thermometer and make sure the internal temperature is at 165°F and then remove the chicken from the grill. Allow the chicken to cool down to the touch.
- Once the red pepper has blackened on all sides, remove the pepper and place it inside the paper bag. Fold over the bag to hold in the steam and let sit until cool to the touch.
- Place the Dijon mustard in a large bowl and add vinegar and Tamari. Add garlic, cilantro and honey. Pour in extra virgin olive oil in a slow steady stream while mixing with a fork or whisk.
- Clean the outside of the pepper off by rubbing your hands or a paper towel on the skin. Once the skin has been removed, cut into finger size strips.
- Dice the chicken.
- Dice the pepper and onions.
- Roughly chop the bok choy into 1-inch pieces. Add the bok choy, chicken, pepper and onions to the large bowl with the dressing. Toss together with the quinoa.
- Check for salt and pepper and serve.
About Celebrity Chef Marvin Woods
Chef Marvin Woods is an Emmy Award-nominated TV host, lauded cookbook author and celebrity chef. He’s recognized for his infectious personality, signature bandanas and his wildly inventive take on food rooted in northern Africa, South America, the Caribbean and the Low Country. Woods is a 23-year veteran in the hospitality and restaurant industry. His first big break came when he helped Donald Trump open Harrah’s at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. He then went on to New York City to build an impressive culinary pedigree, starting with The Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center. He further cultivated his talent in London. When Marvin took over as Executive Chef at New York’s Café Beulah’s, he won wide industry acclaim and caught the attention of publishers and television executives. Woods’ healthy, quick food was regularly featured in O Magazine, Food & Wine, Southern Living and many more national publications. In 2000, Marvin caught the attention of executives at Turner South who were looking for new talent for the newly created regional cable network. Marvin was selected to host Home Plate. The chef show was the perfect vehicle to showcase his charismatic personality, put a lighter twist on traditional Southern cooking, and to introduce the low country recipes on a national stage. Home Plate successfully ran for four seasons until the network was acquired by Fox Sports in 2006. The show spawned a second cookbook, Home Plate Cooking. For more information, visit www.marvinwoods.net.
Atlanta is home to a number of venues that offer healthy cooking classes throughout the year. Of course, the one place you wouldn’t expect to find such offerings is at your local family physician’s office. However, Sondi Moore-Waters, M.D., a family physician in Dekalb County, is changing all of that. In an effort to help her patients begin their journeys toward total health and wellness, she started offering healthy cooking classes several times a year in the kitchen at her practice, Family Practice of Atlanta LLC, located on Scott Boulevard. And those free classes are also open to the public. Classes typically run from 1-3 p.m., and reservations are required. For more information or to find out when the next class will be offered, call (404) 296-8100 or visit www.familypracticeofatlanta.com.
Try this delectable dessert recipe from Moore-Waters. It will be the perfect ending to any nutritious meal and a great way to get a couple of fruit servings in for the day.
Recipe provided by Sondi Moore-Waters, M.D.
- Non-stick cooking spray
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- 1 ½ cups Florida Crystals
- ½ cup Earth Balance Natural Spread, melted
- 4 green cooking apples (such as Granny Smith)
- 2 red cooking apples (Gala, Rome Beauty or Fuji)
- 2 medium mangoes, pitted, peeled and chopped
- Frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup toasted wheat germ
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Coat two 1½- or 2-quart baking dishes or a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- For topping, in a medium bowl, stir together ½ cup flour, oats, wheat germ,
½ cup of Florida Crystals and the cinnamon. Stir in the butter and set aside.
- Core and chop the apples and place them in a very large bowl. Stir in the lime juice. Stir in the remaining ½ cup of flour and 1 cup of Florida Crystals. Fold in the mango.
- Place the apple-mango mixture in the baking dish(es). Top with the oat topping. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the pecans and bake for 10-15 minutes more or until the apples are tender.
- Cool slightly. Serve warm. If desired, top with the dessert topping.
Tip: While mangoes are available year-round, they aren’t always at the peak of ripeness when you need them. So it’s fine to substitute 2 cups of chopped refrigerated, frozen or canned and drained mango slices for the fresh mango.
About Sondi Moore-Waters, M.D.
With more than 20 years of experience in clinical healthcare, Sondi Moore-Waters, M.D. has become a recognized leader as a primary care physician. She specializes in preventive medicine, women’s wellness, adolescent health and pediatrics. Dr. Moore-Waters has optimized good health results for her patients by practicing medicine safely, efficiently and effectively. She is a leading expert in primary care medicine and has been the primary care physician for a dual practice in the past, upholding the responsibilities of diagnosing, treating and managing patient illnesses and complex medical issues. Dr. Moore-Waters offers the patients of Family Practice of Atlanta her rich variety of medical experience. For more information, visit www.familypracticeofatlanta.com.
It’s a simple fact—pasta pleases everyone. And even though many popular pasta entrees are swimming in cheese and calorie-laden, you can have a pasta dish that’s as nutritious as it is delicious. Just check out these two fantastic recipes from FIGO Pasta founder Sandro Romagnoli.
Broccoli, Spinach, Acai and Kale Ravioli with Honey, Walnut and All Spice Compound Butter
Recipe provided by Sandro Romagnoli, founder, FIGO Pasta
- 1 bunch of kale leaves with stems removed
- 1 head of broccoli (florets only)
- 1 pound of baby spinach
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt or 1 tsp table salt
- ¼ cup whole milk shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup cream cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups unbleached white flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup acai powder
Honey, Walnut and All Spice Compound Butter:
- ½ pound salted butter, softened and cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 Tbsp all spice powder
- Chop the broccoli florets into small pieces.
- Remove the skin from the garlic and yellow onions.
- Slice onion into ¼-inch thick slices.
- In a large sauté pan, heat oil at medium-high heat until it is slightly smoking. Add all of the vegetables and cook at medium heat for about 10-12 minutes or until they start to wilt.
- Remove pan from the heat and place the vegetables in a pasta strainer so the excess water drains. Once the vegetables are cooled enough, press slightly with your hands so the water drains well.
- Chop the vegetables into very small pieces and place in a bowl.
- Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until the raviolis are made.
- Sift the flour and salt together.
- Place the flour mixture on a board, making a well in the center of the flour.
- Drop eggs into the flour well and, using your hand or a fork, break the yolks and beat eggs slightly.
- Combine the eggs and flour, gradually adding enough warm water to make a stiff dough.
- Knead dough well until smooth. Cover the dough and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Cut dough in half and roll each half of the dough out on a floured board into a very thin sheet (about 1/16- to 1/8-inch thick), or roll dough out in a pasta machine to the same thickness.
- To fill the ravioli, drop 1-1 ½ teaspoonfuls of filling about 1½ inches apart along the dough. When the sheet of dough is fully dotted with the mixture, cover the filling with the other sheet of dough.
- Using your fingers, gently press dough between each dab of filling to seal it.
- Cut ravioli into squares with a sharp knife. Allow ravioli to dry for 1 hour before cooking.
- To cook the ravioli, drop it into 6-8 quarts of boiling salted water and cook 10-15 minutes, or until dough is tender.
- Remove cooked ravioli with a skimmer or large slotted spoon and strain well.
Mix all ingredients together and whip until the butter starts to turn light in color and become fluffy.
Compiling the dish:
- Place cooked raviolis in a sauté pan and add ¼ cup of compound butter; heat on low until the butter has melted slightly.
- Toss the ravioli well and top with 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan.
About Sandro Romagnoli, founder, FIGO Pasta
A native Italian and the passionate creative force behind FIGO Pasta, Sandro Romagnoli is committed to sharing amazing food with everyone in a way that makes each person feel special and right at home. From the comfort of eight Atlanta-area locations, Romagnoli leads FIGO in feeding the city’s hunger for authentic Italian pasta, sauces and dishes served at an incredible value in an inviting and relaxing atmosphere that feels like an old friend’s warm kitchen. Romagnoli was inspired to achieve his lifelong dream of making people happy after he had worked in Atlanta as an international sales manager for an Italian company, the job that brought him to the United States in 1995. During his time as sales manager, he reflected on his life, discovering that he was happiest when he set out to see the world and worked at the restaurant in The George Hotel of Stamford in England. Although far from his hometown of Certaldo, a small town outside of Florence, Italy, Romagnoli continues to embrace the Italian way of life, welcoming guests and treating them like family. For more information, visit www.figopasta.com.
Healthy Eating Glossary
A closer look at some of the good-for-you ingredents for these featured recipes
Ahi tuna - One of the most popular fish available today. The meaty ahi (or yellow fin) tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which lowers the risk of heart attacks, and selenium, which promotes healthy liver functioning.
Avocado - An excellent source of Vitamin K, dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, folate and copper. This tropical fruit has been shown to help lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, promote overall heart health, protect against breast cancer and prevent oral cancer.
Beets - Promote optimal health through high levels of betacyanin, a powerful cancer-fighting agent; the root vegetable has proven itself to be very effective in fighting colon cancer.
Bibb lettuce - A variety of butterhead lettuce, this has loose, delicate, crisp leaves that boast a buttery flavor; it is a good source of Vitamin A and folate (a form of water-soluble Vitamin B) and is low in calories and fat free.
Cinnamon - Features an array of essential oils that can help protect against blood clotting, stop the growth of bacteria, control blood sugar, boost brain function, improve colon health and protect against heart disease.
Cooking apples (Gala, Rome Beauty or Fuji) - One of the most popular fruits, these promote overall heart health through a combination of high fiber content, antioxidants and flavinoids.
Mango - Low in calories, this is one of the most healthful fruits around. One mango is full of the antioxidant betacaroten, as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and potassium.
Rice paper - Low in calories, fat and carbs, this edible “paper” is used to wrap dumplings, spring rolls and other Asian foods.
Rice vinegar - Made from fermented rice or rice wine. When made from black or brown rice, it contains high amounts of amino acids and blocks two fatty peroxides from forming—one that damages the free radicals in the body and another that facilitate cholesterol buildup.
Rolled oats - High in fiber, antioxidants and magnesium, oats can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, prevent heart failure, stabilize blood sugar, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and protect against breast cancer.
Sea salt - While sea salt has the same nutritional value as standard table salt, the ingredient does have more than 100 minerals in it and can help stabilize abnormal heartbeats and maintain the electrolytes in the body.
Shallot - In the same family as onions and leeks, this offers a milder and sweeter flavor and is high in Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folic acid, calcium and iron; it also is a good source of protein.
Sriracha - A Thai-style hot sauce made from sun-ripened chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt, it features many of the health benefits of chili peppers, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the frequency of headaches, improving cardiovascular health and increasing metabolic rate.
Walnut oil - Has cancer-fighting properties that are linked to the presence of the antioxidant ellagic acid. The condiment also is a good source of magnesium, copper, melatonin and omega-3 oils.
Watercress - A green, leafy vegetable with a unique chemical called PEITC, which serves as a cancer-fighting agent. It also has high levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which helps promote eye health and lowers the risk of macular degeneration.
Wheat germ - Considered one of the top 10 healthiest foods because it has so many essential vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, including B vitamins such as folate and niacin, calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, protein, selenium and zinc. It also has phytosterols, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and promote heart health.
Compiled using information from AssociatedContent.com, eHow.com, HealthMad.com, Suite101.com, WalnutsWeb.com and WHFoods.com