Wild Northerner Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 38

HEADLINE: Fan favourites made healthy


For Wild Northerner

Do you ever wish your favourite comfort foods were healthy? Well, your wish may have come true, because five fan-favourite dishes have been made-healthy and dietitian-approved. No need to avoid pizza or Alfredo sauce any longer because Performance Dietitian Danielle Rancourt has the recipes you’ve been looking for.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup (GF, V)

Roasted red pepper soup is a Sudbury favourite. The best part about this recipe is the soup is smooth and creamy, without any added milk or cream. It’s delicious.

Ingredients – Yields six cups (48 oz.)

4 medium red bell peppers, halved, seeded (or 8oz in water)

1 cauliflower head, diced into florets

2 Tbsp. (30mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion or 2-3 shallots, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups (32oz) low sodium vegetable (or chicken) stock

1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tsp basil

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground pepper

½ - 1 cup (4-8oz) water or additional stock (optional)


Skip steps 2, 4 and 7 if using canned/jarred roasted red peppers.

Cover one or two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place halved, seeded bell peppers face-down on one baking sheet and broil on high (top rack) until blackened across the top (10-15 mins). You can also roast peppers at 450F for 15-20mins.

Meanwhile, chop cauliflower into florets and place on baking sheet. At this timeMeanwhile, also chop the onion and garlic.

Remove peppers from oven and immediately transfer to a Ziplock bag or sealed container. Allow peppers to cool and steam for 10-15 minutes.

Broil cauliflower florets for 20-25 minutes, turning them halfway. While the cauliflower roasts, heat oil over medium heat in a large pot, then add onion and garlic. Sauté over medium-low heat until onions are soft and caramelized (4-5 minutes). Add stock, basil, paprika and whisk to combine. Simmer over medium heat.

While it simmers, remove the skins from peppers.

If using canned/jarred peppers, rinse and drain. Next, chop peppers into smaller pieces and add to pot.

Remove cauliflower from oven and add to pot. Mix to combine. Simmer over medium-high heat for 15-20 mins.

Add soup to a blender (DO NOT fill more than halfway).

Cover blender with a paper towel so the steam doesn’t burn your hands and blend until smooth and creamy. Keeping the paper top over the lid, VERY SLOWLY remove blender lid to avoid an explosion (this happened). Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining soup mixture.

Once all blended, return soup to large pot. Add water or additional stock to stretch out the stopsoup.

Add salt and pepper and additional spices to taste.

Simmer until ready to enjoy or allow soup to cool before dividing into jars or containers.

Protein-Packed Alfredo (GF, V)

We all know Alfredo is not the healthiest item on a menu. Loaded with calories, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, this beloved comfort food unfortunately provides little nutritional benefit. However, if you’re a fan of Alfredo, you’re in luck because this recipe is not only easy and tasty, and it’s healthy.

Alfredo Sauce – Serves four

1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped (1 ½ cups (200 g))

1-2 cups (240-480 mL) low sodium vegetable broth, divided

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

4 large garlic cloves, minced

¾ cup raw whole cashews (100 g, 3.5 oz)

1 Tbsp. lemon juice, more to taste

1/3 cup nutritional yeast (25 g, more/less if preferred)

Other Ingredients

8oz (227g) fresh broccoli florets, steamed

16oz sliced fresh mushrooms, sautéed

Other vegetable recommendations: peas, roasted bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, etc.

2 cups (200g, dry measure) Explore Kitchen Organic Spaghetti (GF)

Other pasta recommendations: Banza pasta, Spaghetti Squash, Whole Wheat Pasta,, etc.

--Important Notes--

Do not substitute or eliminate any sauce ingredients

If you do not have a powerful blender (Vitamix), pre-soak cashews in hot water overnight. Doing so will result in a smooth and creamy (not gritty) sauce. Drain and rinse cashews after soaking.


Add chopped onion and ONE CUP of the broth to a large pan over medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes until the onion is very tender.

Meanwhile, cook pasta of choice, adding 1 tsp salt to boil the water. While the water boils, cook desired vegetables then set aside. Strain preferred pasta and set aside.

Once onion is cooked, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. By this time, all of the broth should have evaporated. If not, continue to cook until the broth has evaporated, so the end result is thick and creamy.

Transfer the onion and garlic to a blender. Add 3/4 cup (6oz) of the remaining broth and remaining ingredients (salt, pepper, cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast). Blend on high for 1-2 minutes until very creamy and smooth.

If needed, add additional broth to reach desired consistency.

Taste and add more salt & pepper, or lemon, if desired.

Serve over preferred pasta and add veggies of choice.

Garnish with parsley, lemon zest and salt & pepper, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving, original recipe): 418 kcal, 13g fat, 41g carbohydrates, 36g protein

Turkey Taco Salad

Usually, taco salad comprises lettuce, beef, cheese, salsa, tortilla chips and some kind of high fat, high calorie dressing. Though it could be worse, it could always be better. This made-healthy recipe is just as colourful and crunchy; , minus the extra empty calories.

Ingredients – Serves 4

1lb (16 oz) lean ground turkey OR 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

8oz canned corn, drained and rinsed

1 avocado, diced

1 lime, quartered

6 cups greens of choice (romaine, spinach, etc.)

¼ cup crushed whole grain tortillas

3 tsp chilli powder, divided


Combine 2 tsp chilli powder with ground turkey, cook thoroughly.

Meanwhile, make the creamy avocado lime dressing.

Assemble salad: greens, avocado, tomatoes, corn, turkey, dressing.

Divide into four portions.

Sprinkle each salad with tortilla chips, chilli powder and serve with a lime wedge.

Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing


1 ripe avocado

1 lime, freshly squeeze

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

2 tbsp olive oil

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1/4 cup water


Blend all ingredients.

Add water to thin out the dressing if necessary.

Adjust ingredients as needed based on personal preference.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Banana Bread Muffins (GF)

Typical banana bread, whether store-bought or homemade is usually extremely high in fat and sugar. The recipe below is the best of both worlds; it’s not only moist and delicious, it’s healthy as well!

Ingredients (dry) – Makes 12

2 cups oat flour (blend or pulse oats)

1/4 cup quick oats

1/4 cup coconut or brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup (or less) mini semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Ingredients (wet)

1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

2 large eggs

2 large overripe bananas

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F and spray muffin pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.

Blend wet ingredients or whisk very well until no clumps remain then add to dry ingredients and combine. Do not over-mix.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Bake for 15-20 mins. Do not over-bake.

Per muffin (makes 12): 128 kcal, 3g fat, 21g carb, 2g fibre, 5g protein