Okay, so my secret ingredient in making healthy food taste good is cashew cream which is simple enough to make, just start with a whole bunch of raw unsalted cashews place them in a large bowl and cover them with water. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours and up to 12.
Once that’s done, drain them out and pour them into the jar of a high-powered blender along with just enough water again to cover the cashews. Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes, adding water as necessary until you get a thick creamy cashew cream.
This stuff has myriad uses in making healthy dishes creamy and rich. It’s high in fat but it still has about half the fat of mayo and those are good fats ones that are perfectly healthy to eat in moderation as I shall now demonstrate. Let’s start with some very trendy overnight oats in a very trendy mason jar. I’m going to combine 1/2 a cup of old-fashioned rolled oats, a quarter cup of chia seeds, and a quarter cup of our cashew cream diluted with 3/4 of a cup of water to make cashew milk. You can also add things like vanilla extract the artificial sweetener of your choice and a pinch of kosher salt.
Close it up give it a shake, and then the overnight oats live up to their name by going into the fridge overnight. Then in the morning you will be greeted with a light sweet flavorful 2-3 servings of a nutritious base to start your day. I like to top this guy off with a few handfuls of the berries of my choice and a little bit of freshly chopped mint and this healthy filling breakfast clocks in at about 366 calories and I personally like it a lot, but it does taste very healthy.
How about something that tastes decidedly unhealthy? And for me, that’s a BLT. I’ve got four slices of low fat turkey bacon here which I’m frying up and what looks like a lot of oil, but that helps make the bacon super crispy and it barely absorbs any of it. Now on to making our cashew cream taste a bit more like mayonnaise to a couple tablespoons of the stuff I’m adding little sprinkles each of mustard powder cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder along with the requisite sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Give it a tiny whiskin’ and a taste and we’re off to the races as with the real version, a BLT is only as good as its T so try and find some heirlooms to make sure that it’s packed with flavor.
Next up I’m spreading some of our “mayonnaise” on some sprouted whole wheat bread, lightly toasted of course. And then you can use butter lettuce if you want the more traditional version, but I’m using a bit of spinach for a healthy boost, stacking high with the ingredients in the order of your choice.
Topping, tooth picking, and slicing in half along the diagonal. Is this as good as a real BLT? Of course not. Is it going to scratch the itch? Absolutely, and it’s gonna do it while only costing you about 357 calories. Now a big tenant of most training diets is to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day and next up, I wanted one absolutely packed with protein. So, gotta go with one of my old favorites: chicken salad, and I’m starting by butterflying three chicken breasts, pressing them betwixt sheets of plastic, and using a meat pounder (or a frying pan if you can’t find yours) Pounding them out to a uniform thinness because when we’re cooking breasts without bones or skin, we want them to cook as quickly as possible which we’re going to do in a pot of not-quite boiling water 185 degrees Fahrenheit to be precise.
Adding the breasts is going to lower the temperature so keep the heat on until the temperature comes back up to 185 Kill the heat and try to put the lid on… realize that you put a little bit too much water in there… wonder why you included that in the edit… cover it up and after about 15 minutes your chicken should have reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit internally.
This method of poaching chicken poaches it very gently and slowly which prevents it from getting all dry and stringy like chicken breast dropped into boiling water so it is an effective technique whether or not you’re on a diet. Anyway, once these guys have cooled off a little bit, 15 – 20 minutes we’re going to wrap them in plastic wrap and chill them completely for about an hour in the fridge, unless you want to eat your chicken salad warm, which is your prerogative, you weirdo.
We’re chopping these up into bite-sized pieces and adding a few tablespoons of our cashew cream, then I’m gonna toss some chopped apples in their, label and all — I’m just kidding don’t do that as well as some finely minced green onions and parsley but this is really where you can customize your chicken salad with whatever fruits, vegetables and herbs you like. I then like to spice my chicken salad with a little bit of curry powder– again this is up to you. You could go sweet, you could go savory, you could go Italian, you could go Mexican. Just make sure these are seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and you’ve got yourself a ton of protein and healthy fats. This recipe yields 3-4 servings depending on your appetite. I like to serve it over a bed of baby spinach, and it makes for a healthy filling meal with lots of flavor and texture coming in at about 439 calories per serving which might not come as much of a surprise, this looks and tastes pretty healthy. But what about when we need to eat some pasta? Well ya boy’s got a solution for that.
First, we’re gonna mise our place a little bit. Or is it place our mise? Either way it doesn’t actually make sense And then we’re gonna peel and devein about a pound of shrimp you can optionally hang on to all the shrimp shells to make some shrimp stock to give your pasta some extra shrimpiness It’s simple enough to saute the shells in a little bit of oil for about a minute and then add 2 cups of water bring that to a simmer and then boil until reduced by about half, leaving you with a nice basic seafood stock which is gonna make a great addition to our pasta.
In the cleaned out pan we are sauteing one small finely minced shallot jamming out with all our new-found health and energy adding about a cup of halved cherry tomatoes and our crushed clove of garlic sauteing together for about a minute before adding maybe a half a cup of water to help the tomatoes cook down then it’s time to add maybe a half cup of our shrimp stock and our shrimp spreading them out, so make sure they evenly exposed to the cooking liquid getting rid of any errant shells and then over here in a medium saucepan I’ve got some red lentil pasta. which is super high in fiber and protein while having a very mild flavor that goes super well with the sauce.
Flip the shrimp after about 2-3 minutes and let them cook an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side. Express your pain and strength through dance. And then once the pasta is about a minute away from being fully cooked It’s time to add about 1/2 a cup of the pasta water to the saute pan along with the cooked pasta, and let the pasta finish cooking in with the sauce.
I’m also adding a little bit of parsley and lemon juice and then tossing it around so the sauce emulsifies and becomes nice and creamy and cohesive. You can tell that it’s pretty much done when it clings to the bottom of the pan like this. We are of course going to season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and then just to kick the creaminess up to 11, a little dollop of our cashew cream which is gonna give the pasta an almost vodka sauce like consistency.
Which is just gonna enhance the fact that this is a packed full of flavor. Now this makes two servings and each one will run you about 472 calories and unlike normal pasta, It’s very high in fiber and protein.
And there you have it: four meals with a grand total of 1634 calories. Should you eat cashew cream with every meal of every day? No, definitely not. But whenever your diet is missing some of that special something it fills in the gap beautifully.
Otherwise, just stick to lean proteins and green vegetables cut out as much sugar as you can and use these recipes as tools in your arsenal of health. If you guys like these healthy basics, I will make more in the future, but for now, it’s back to business as usual with brownies and whiskey up next..