REVIEW The Food You Crave: luscious recipes for a healthy life

By Ellie Krieger

Cookbook review written by

The Food You Crave is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores

“To get people to eat well don’t say a word about health, just cook fantastic food for them.” Ellie Krieger

This quote perfectly sums up how I feel about Ellie Krieger’s cookbook, her recipes and overall approach to healthy eating. As a person who loves food, you’re not going to make me a fan of healthy eating by reciting facts and stats or scaring healthy food onto my plate. But give me healthy food that tastes incredible and I’ll be putty in your hands. The Food You Crave (published by The Taunton Press, $28.00 USD) will make a healthy food convert out of you without any bitter feelings of deprivation. The objective of the book is to take food you crave (such as pancakes, pasta, even sinful desserts) and recreate them in a healthier way without sacrificing any of the taste. So whether you happen to be lusting after creamy mashed potatoes or chocolate pudding, Ellie provides healthier alternatives that will satisfy your cravings.

This book follows the author’s food philosophy of Usually-Sometimes-Rarely. Anyone notice there is not a “never”? That is because Ellie’s approach to healthy eating does not include depriving you. Her goal is to teach you how to use ingredients that are typically off-limits when it comes to healthy eating, and use them strategically and in small amounts for maximum flavour impact. The Food You Crave is chockfull of creative recipes that are full of flavour and straightforward to prepare. The photography is fresh, and each recipe comes with a complete nutritional analysis. It also contains a list of essential nutrients for a healthy diet, along with suggested pantry items.

Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian, food writer and host of the Food Network’s Healthy Appetite. Her passion for food came early, and at the tender age of two she could polish off a whole chicken by herself! An international modeling career introduced Ellie to new tastes and flavours, influencing her approach to cuisine and nutrition and giving her recipes an exotic flair.

Pick-up a copy of this book, flip through the pages and prepare to be inspired into healthier eating habits. With the stack of dessert books on my desk waiting to be reviewed, I know I will continue to turn to Ellie Krieger’s book! Balance – it’s all about balance.

Chickpea & Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 (hearty salad full of flavour)

Click here for a copy of this recipe

THE TEST: While this recipe incorporates a variety of elements (chickpea vinaigrette mix, orange infused yogurt dressing, and spinach), each can be prepared ahead of time making this a perfect salad for entertaining. Be sure to assemble everything at the last minute to avoid a soggy salad, or simply serve the individual elements separately so guests can choose what they would like on their plate. This type of help-yourself-serving worked well for us, as the kids are not fans of the mighty chickpea.

THE RESULTS: This is a fresh, unique take on a spinach salad that combines a multitude of fresh herbs and exotic spices. The contrasting textures and flavours allow each ingredient to stand independently while still working well with the others. The aromatic lemon and cumin dressing provides a sharp brightness to the salad, which is cut nicely with the mellowness of the orange infused yogurt topping. The red onion provides a bite that is in stark contrast to the bland chickpeas, and the fresh parsley and mint are perfect partners for the tender spinach.

I will definitely be making this recipe again!

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream

RATING: 4 out of 5 (great use of fresh ingredients)

Click here for a copy of this recipe

THE TEST: Choosing this recipe was a no brainer for me! Nothing better on a hot summer day than a batch of figure friendly fish tacos bursting with fresh ingredients, plus I have been wanting to introduce more fish into our diets and this seemed like a good way to start.

The recipe came together easily and quickly and made for the perfect weekday meal. I opted to use halibut, and instead of grilling it on the BBQ I simply broiled it on the top rack of the oven for a few minutes. For the chipotle cream feel free to use plain non-fat yogurt, but I liked using Greek-style nonfat yogurt as there is no need to strain it first to thicken.

THE RESULTS: The tacos turned out great, and while the kids were not convinced of the deliciousness Mr. Spock and I both enjoyed this meal. The fish was light and flaky with a wonderful citrus flavour that could have been even more enhanced. The creamy chipotle sauce held a nice spice, and while Mr. Spock would have preferred flour tortillas I liked the raw earthiness from the corn. All of the fresh veg (corn, cabbage and cilantro) heightened the freshness of the tacos and provided a nice crunch in contrast to the soft fish.

Next time I would consider increasing the overall flavour profiles as everything tasted great but could have been louder. More lime, seasoning and chipotle would do the trick.


Savory Chinese Chicken Salad

RATING: 3.5 out of 5 (light, fresh & bright but didn’t last well)

Click here for a copy of this recipe

THE TEST: Salads with Asian inspired ingredients and dressings have been popular dating back to the 1930s, although the idea of raw salads is not traditional fare in most Asian countries. The best part about this type of salad is its versatility, so feel free to swap in/out whatever ingredients you wish.

In order to maximizing my limited time on the day I made this recipe, I must confess to buying a rotisserie chicken. Note that there is a simple recipe included to make your own chicken breasts from scratch.

THE RESULTS: This was a lovely dish full of intense Asian flavour without that super heavy oily feeling you can get from some versions of this salad. Next time I would definitely leave my cabbage more chunky, as the thin slices ended up turning mushier than I would have liked. The combination of carrots, green onions, almonds, water chestnuts and mandarin oranges worked well and I will be sure to include them again along with some bean sprouts.