When I first started my clean eating journey, I was only working from strictly clean recipes. And while this was great and I loved most of them, it can get a little tiring to only search for clean recipes. That is why this week I took some of my favorite recipes, like lemon chicken and chicken pasta, and either made my own or found a clean version. It is pretty easy to convert a recipe to being clean and it so beneficial to your health; you should give it a try! Below, you will find a small list I complied of good recipe swaps and a chart with a ton of great ideas for recipe swaps.
My favorite recipe swap so far is for one of my personal favorite dishes, pasta. I have always enjoyed a big bowl of warm pasta with creamy sauce and topped with melted cheese. Spaghetti night was my favorite night of the week growing up and is when I learned that I had the capacity to enjoy an alarmingly large portion of pasta. While in recent years I have tried to switch to only whole-wheat pasta, it just doesn’t have the familiar pasta texture and taste I have grown up loving. And while I can’t totally recreate that fattening and carbo-loaded pasta experience while eating clean, I have found some pretty close alternatives. So far, my favorite recipe swap for pasta has been using spaghetti squash instead of regular noodles. Spaghetti squash is so easy and delicious that it is a perfect fit in almost any pasta dish. If you are working from a recipe that calls for noodles or anything over noodles, just swap in some spaghetti squash. All you have to do to it is throw it in the oven at 375 degrees for around 40 minutes, or until a knife can easily pierce the skin. Then you just cut it in half, pick out the seeds and scrape out the insides that resemble little noodles with a fork. If it is hard to get your “noodles” out, stick it back in the oven for a few minutes. This is such a simple way to make a recipe clean and to make sure you are eating enough veggies. I served this Bruschetta Chicken over spaghetti squash and it was delicious. Another pasta alternative that you can use is thin, noodle-like slices of zucchini, like my zucchini pasta with spinach pesto.
Another way that I make sure my recipes are clean is by substituting any canned ingredients for fresh ingredients. For instance, when something calls for canned spicy tomatoes, I will use fresh diced tomatoes and add some cayenne pepper for heat.
Here is a little list of ways you can make normal recipes into clean ones:
- Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
- Use honey or agave nectar instead of sugar
- If a recipe calls for red meat, which I am trying not to eat, sub in chicken if it works with the recipe.
- Greek yogurt is a great recipe swap for sour cream or mayo.
- And you can use applesauce, olive oil or bananas in the place of butter in some recipes.
While these recipe swaps might not work for every recipe you try, they will work for most of them! Just use your best judgment and get creative in the kitchen! Check back in this weekend for my second week’s progress report and to see what meals I have planned for next week. As always, feel free to email me with any questions, recipes or general advice you might have at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you this weekend!
And if you want to catch up with my 30 Days of Clean Eating, here is what you’ve missed!