Let’s be real: You’re only going to eat healthy if it tastes good. Considering the time spent prepping and cooking, plus the cost of ingredients, a recipe that doesn’t turn out as you’d hoped is enough to make you Gordon Ramsay angry.
To ensure your dishes turn out delicious — and motivate you to stick to your healthy-cooking goal — use these pro tips for five popular healthy recipes.
THE FIX: SLOW DOWN
If you’re frustrated with limp, burnt or otherwise un-Instagram-worthy kale chips, you’re probably rushing things. “Low and slow method is the way to go for the perfect kale chip,” says Ashley Taraborelli, a product development manager at Rhythm Superfoods. If you’re pressed for time, roast kale for 20–22 minutes at 275°F. If you have more time, drying the chips for 2–3 hours at 175°F is ideal,” she says. So plan ahead and make your snack on a day you’ll be at home doing other things.
Another trick is to give your kale a nice massage. “When coating the kale, be sure to gently massage when mixing. This will help the kale become tender and leads to ideal crunchiness when done,” Taraborelli explains.
Here is our favorite crispy baked kale chips recipe.
THE FIX: DON’T TREAT THEM LIKE PASTA
Zoodles are easy — you simply peel or spiralize zucchini. But things can quickly go wrong, says Ali Maffucci, founder and CEO of Inspiralized.
“First, some people peel the skin before spiralizing. If you do this, you’ll end up with a soggy, soupy bowl of noodles,” she says. “Second, people salt their noodles and let them ‘drain’ before using them in a recipe. This wilts the noodles and causes them to become mushy and lifeless — not very pasta-like,” Maffucci adds.
The last mistake: Tossing zucchini noodles into a hot sauce to cook them. Maffucci recommends cooking your sauce and zoodles separately, then draining the zoodles. Next, transfer them to a bowl and top with sauce. This will reduce extra moisture and the chance of soupy noodles.
Here are five zoodle recipes under 400 calories.
THE FIX: ADD SOME FLAVOR
Banana “ice cream” has taken over healthy food blogs, perhaps because all you need are frozen bananas and a blender. But to keep things interesting, be sure you add flavor.
“One of the simplest tricks to elevating your homemade nice cream is to add more flavor before blending. Instead of just blending bananas by themselves and then stirring in chocolate chips or toppings afterwards, try adding a little pure vanilla extract, some cinnamon or even a tiny pinch of cardamom to the blender,” says Katie Higgins of Chocolate Covered Katie. Start out adding just a little and taste as you go. Remember: You can always add more extract or peanut butter, but you can’t remove ingredients if you add too much.
Whatever flavor you add, also add a sprinkle of salt, “Adding just a little will actually help bring out the sweetness,” Higgins explains.
Check out this recipe for nice cream.
THE FIX: USE YOUR WHISK
Searching for the perfect seed-to-milk ratio so your chia seed pudding doesn’t wind up clumpy or runny? Depending on your preference, it’s about 3 1/2–4 cups of milk for every 1/2 cup of chia seeds, according to by CHLOE contributing chef Lauren Kretzer. Less liquid means a thicker pudding.
But don’t just combine the two. “Whisk the chia seeds and milk thoroughly, then let set at room temperature for about 10–15 minutes, whisking every few minutes to prevent clumping. Transfer the covered mixture to the refrigerator to fully set — undisturbed — for at least 2 hours,” Kretzer says. And if you are using plant-based milk, as they do at by CHLOE, “be sure to use a creamy nut milk,” she adds. Think: cashew or coconut.
Here is a fun riff on chia pudding.
THE FIX: SQUEEZE OUT YOUR CAULIFLOWER
It’s disappointing to invest so much time to rice cauliflower, only to be left with soggy pizza crust that falls apart or sticks to the pan. “Chances are, you didn’t squeeze out your cauliflower,” says Monique Volz, recipe developer and founder of AmbitiousKitchen.com.
“Wait until the steamed cauliflower has cooled. Then place it in a clean, thin dishtowel or cheesecloth and squeeze the excess water out of it. You can squeeze the towel in different ways to get all the water out — consider it a good arm workout for you!” she says.
Volz also recommends flattening your dough to a 1/4-inch thick slab and following the recipe to a T. “Many people use substitutions when cooking, but because this is so specific, I wouldn’t recommend subbing anything,” she says.
Here’s our foolproof cauliflower pizza crust recipe.
Got any other healthy cooking tips? Comment below!