Healthy Cooking and Recipes from Top Chefs
Top chefs share tips and recipes for healthy cooking that doesn’t skimp on taste and style.
Can healthy cooking and recipes for really tasty
dishes go hand-in-hand? Where do you start, what do you buy, and how do you
keep it from tasting like cardboard? WebMD posed these questions to four top
chefs, some of whom not only gave up high-calorie recipes, but changed their
lives in the process.
We've compiled their healthy cooking tips -- and a few recipes -- to help
you cook lighter and enjoy every mouthful.
How Healthy Cooking Changed One Chef's Life
Although he's long been committed to a dinner table loaded with veggies,
chef Michel Nischan admits he used to be a butterfat junkie, too.
"My mom was a farmer and I was raised on vegetables, but when it came to
using butters and oils and processed fats in my cooking, well, the sky was the
limit," says Nischan, author of several award-winning cookbooks including
Homegrown Pure and Simple. If healthy cooking meant recipes without
butter, well, forget it!
But when Nischan's young son, Chris, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, it changed
"As I researched the kinds of foods my son needed to eat -- and why --
my eyes opened and I began to see my responsibility as a chef from a different
perspective," says Nischan, who will share his insights on healthy cooking
and recipes in a show titled Pure and Simple, starting this summer on
the new LIME TV network.
Among the healthy cooking bylaws that now govern this chef's kitchen: Buy
seasonal local fruits and vegetables.
"If you buy local, you not only get the most nutrients and the best
prices, but you add a natural variety to your diet that is extremely
healthy," Nischan tells WebMD.
Another healthy cooking tip for recipes: Use the right oil or fat at the
Olive oil is healthy for your heart, but degrades when used to sauté foods
at high temperatures, he says. Instead, he suggests sautéing at high
temperatures using flavorless grape seed oil, then finishing your dish with a
drizzle of olive oil before serving.
"All you'll taste is the olive oil," Nischan says. If it's the rich
flavor of fried fish you crave, for a healthy recipe sear it in grape seed oil
till golden brown, then dip a pastry brush in room-temperature butter and coat
the fish before serving.
"Because the butter will be the first thing you taste, the entire meal
will taste butter-drenched, but with just a fraction of the calories than if it
was butter cooked," says Nischan.
Another of Nischan's healthy cooking tricks is to bypass nonstick pans in
favor of cast iron.
"Heat the pan for about three minutes over a medium flame, then coat
whatever you're going to fry in a thin layer of oil and drop it in the
pan," he advises.
The temperature exchange between the hot pan and the cool food protects the
oil, and you end up using less oil while still searing flavor into the