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Help Me Cook for My boyfriend the Health Nut!

So here's the quandary I'm in. My boyfriend and I are both foodies and we love to cook (I more than him though). My boyfriend is also a big health nut and convinces himself that it's ok if he eats rich food out at restaurants as long as he eats healthy at home (he used to live on Tofu dogs and veggie frozen burritos). Since we moved in together, I've been cooking dinner, which he loves, but is getting whinny about my recipes being too unhealthy. I, on the other hand, am a big live well die young girl and while I do try to keep things kind of healthy (EVOO, avoid unnecessary starch sides, etc.), my repertoire of really healthy dinners is pretty limited. I’ve tried to look for recipes on line, but it seems like most health nuts have no taste buds as their recipes seem to be wholly uninspired to outright bland.

The only ones I really liked that I found so far are miso & mirin glazed halibut w/ brown rice and cold poached salmon pressed in fresh herbs over salad greens. These at least required a little culinary skill and tasted like something at the end!

You all are my last great hope. Post recipes that will easy his fitness conscience and inspire my food soul. Both of us are adventurous eaters, so feel free to explore whatever ethnicity or ingredient of food you like (the only boundary is no pork products).

Help!

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  1. I just got a book out of the library which I'm likely to buy since it looks really great; it's called Spices of Life by Nina Simonds, and it's all healthy food, with a definite ethnic twist (mostly asian but not entirely). Last night I made a hot and sour soup with lemongrass and scallops and it was amazingly good. (A reviewer on Amazon said something like, it's a healthy food book where the food doesn't taste like "health food"). It's heavy on the vegetables, but not at all vegetarian.

    1. Try these lentil burgers:

      http://cooks-hideout.blogspot.com/200...

      After soybeans, lentils are probably one of the most healthy things you can eat: low fat, lots of protein and fiber. Mujadarrah is another great lentil dish, it's basically just rice, lentils, and onions:

      http://www.recipefiles.org/view_recip...

      1. Check out the newly published Esalen Cookbook - many great healthy and super yummy recipes....all based on whole foods and unrefined sugars/good fats.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jbyoga

          Just bought this cookbook and the recipes seem to have some mistakes in the translation that must have been made from cooking for many to a few. It was a complete disaster. I went online and found other reports of this from the cookbook. Example: calling for 2 1/2 tablespoons when it meant 2 1/2 teaspoons.

        2. Look for Indian vegetarian recipes, particularly from South India. I love the food which is intensely flavorful with layers of spices. The emphasis is on pulses (lentils, beans, whole grains) with proteins like paneer and lots of vegetables, cooked in blends of spice.

          I had a lot of fun last year exploring Middle Eastern foods. Look at Spice by Ana Sortun for lots of creative ideas based on Turkish cuisine. Paula Wolfert and Claudia Roden have both written extensively on this area. If you google these writers you should find plenty of online recipes to get you started.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cheryl_h

            I have to agree with cheryl and Buckethead about lentils - quick and easy and healthy. The secret is getting some really good curry spices. Then just saute some onions in oil, add lentils (I like red lentils) and the curry spices and water and you have a delicious soup. Cook for 30 minutes, but otherwise very easy to prepare.

          2. The most exciting but healthy (I think this is healthy...it seems to be) recipe I've tried recently was from the General Chowhound topics board under a post entitled "Kaffir Lime Leaves" this week for Spicy Thai Basil Chicken...my goodness, it was SO delicious, different and exciting (for us, anyway!)...here's the link to the recipe:

            http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/reci...

            NOTE: If you can't buy the kaffir lime leaves near where you live, it might not be a good option for you because this ingredient totally makes the dish, along with the basil. I used one very large jalapeno pepper WITH seeds--can't imagine using 12-20 peppers but I don't know how hot or large Thai peppers are. It only has a pound of chicken and you can substitute anything for it, it sounds like. Next time, we'll try shrimp, I think. My son came in the house and said "Whoa, what's cooking? Smells so great!"

            2 Replies
            1. re: Val

              Real Thai food can be EXTREMELY hot by American standards, it's very rare to find a Thai restaurant in the US serving food at authentic Thai heat levels.

              Thai peppers, in my experience (and I've grown them) are very similar to fresh red cayenne, so this recipe confuses me in saying that you could substitute 4 - 6 jalapeños for 20 Thais. I would think the ratio would be reversed.