3 Recipes From Jess Damuck’s New Book, Health Nut
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3 Recipes From Jess Damuck’s New Book, Health Nut

Nutritious and delicious recipes to try this weekend

After spending years working alongside Martha Stewart, recipe developer Jess Damuck moved to LA, where she fell in love with the food scene. She went on to write a bestselling cookbook, Salad Freak, and now she’s back with another: Health Nut. It’s filled with feel-good recipes designed to make healthy eating enjoyable, accessible and fun. We’ve shared three of our favourites below.

Jess Damuck Recipes

Jess Damuck

Image by Jennelle Fong

Broccoli Pasta with Peas and Pecorino

Serves 4

Broccoli has always been one of my favorite foods, so this one is heavy on the broccoli. It’s not hiding the vegetables, but there are a lot more vegetables in here than you might guess—it’s really getting your greens in for the day. This has been a big hit with (even picky) kiddos. Swap nutritional yeast for the cheese if you’re vegan.

Ingredients:

Produce

  • 1 head broccoli (with stems) 
  • 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 2 lemons 

Pantry

  • 1 (14-ounce/400 g) can white beans 
  • ¼ cup (25 g) grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving 
  • Extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 pound (454 g) whole-wheat or chickpea rigatoni 
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Freezer

  • 1 cup (158 g) frozen peas

Method:

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice water. 
  2. Prep the veggies: Trim the broccoli into florets, and cut the stems into ¼-inch (6 mm) thick pieces.
  3. Prep the pesto: Drop 2 handfuls basil and 2 handfuls baby spinach into the boiling water, just until wilted and bright green, which only takes a few seconds. Transfer the leaves to the ice bath to cool.
  4. Put 1 cup (158 g) peas in a fine-mesh strainer and give them a dunk in the boiling water for 1 minute, and then add them to a food processor. 
  5. Add the broccoli and garlic to the pot and cook until bright green, 5 to 7 minutes, then carefully transfer the broccoli to the food processor. 
  6. Gently squeeze a little bit of water out of the spinach and basil and add the leaves to the food processor. 
  7. Blend the pesto: Drain and rinse one 14-ounce (400 g) can white beans and add them to the food processor along with ¼ cup (25 g) cheese and a little drizzle of olive oil, zest and juice from 2 lemons, and a good sprinkle of salt. Process until smooth. Taste for seasoning. 
  8. Cook the pasta: Add 1 pound (454 g) rigatoni to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Reserve about 1 cup (240 ml) of the cooking liquid, then drain. Return the pasta to the pot along with the pesto and about ¼ cup (60 ml) of the pasta water. Add more pasta water as needed to create a smooth sauce that coats the pasta. 
  9. Serve: Top with additional cheese and red pepper flakes, if desired.
Lemony chicken bowl

© Linda Pugliese

Lemony Chicken and Quinoa Bowl with Watercress, Cucumber and Avocado

Serves 4 as a meal

This simple meal makes a perfect easy lunch or dinner. I like sprinkling a handful of herbs on top if I have fresh mint, dill, or chives on hand—and sometimes I crumble a bit of soft feta on top for a little extra something salty. 

Ingredients:

Produce

  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 2 lemons 
  • ½ small shallot 
  • 1 (4-ounce/115 g) bunch watercress 
  • 1 English cucumber 
  • 1 avocado 
  • Handful fresh mint 

Dairy

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) unsweetened plain or coconut yogurt 

Protein

  • 4 (6-ounce/115 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

Pantry

  • ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • 2 cups (300g) cooked quinoa

Method:

  1. Prep the chicken: On a plastic cutting board, cut four 6-ounce (115 g) chicken breasts into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup (60 ml) yogurt and 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil. Grate 3 cloves garlic right into the bowl, followed by the zest of 1 lemon. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Let marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator. 
  2. Roast the chicken: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, toss, and bake for another 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Switch the oven to broil. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until the chicken chars on the edges. 
  3. Make the lemony vinaigrette: Peel and finely mince ½ shallot, then add to a small bowl or jar. Add the juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard, 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey, and season generously with salt and pepper. Screw on the lid and give a good shake, or whisk to emulsify. 
  4. Assemble and serve: Trim 1 bunch watercress from its root if still attached. Cut 1 cucumber into 1/4-inch (6 mm) half-moons or slices. Peel and slice 1 avocado. Arrange the quinoa in a bowl, topped with the chicken. Snuggle in the watercress and cucumbers and avocado. Serve drizzled with vinaigrette, fresh mint, and with additional lemon wedges on the side. 

Date sweetened carrot cake

Date Sweetened Carrot Cake

Serves 8 to 12

This recipe calls for a lot of dates, like maybe what seems like an unreasonable amount of dates—but it’s an extremely rich cake and, I think, absolutely worth it. It feels so moist, sweet, and decadent. The frosting is also sweetened with dates, which makes it taste more brown buttery and caramelly than a simple cream cheese frosting. Easily make the cake vegan by swapping eggs for flaxseed eggs and use your favorite vegan cream cheese and vegan butter for the frosting. I love the frosting to be kind of tart and not too sweet, but add another ½ cup (95 g) of dates or a bit of maple syrup if you prefer it on the sweeter side.

Ingredients:

Produce

  • 4 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes 

Dairy

  • ½ recipe Miso Tahini Butter (see below)

Protein

  • 3 large eggs 

Pantry

  • ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable or coconut oil 
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 g) cane sugar 
  • 2¼ cups (295 g) all-purpose flour 
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder ¾ teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • ¾ teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg 
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger 
  • Big pinch ground cloves

Method:

  1. Bake the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and place 4 sweet potatoes on it. Prick all over with a fork. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool before removing the skins, then use a fork, potato masher, immersion blender, or food processor to create a smooth puree out of the flesh (about 1¾ cups/425 g). 
  2. Prep the pan: Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Butter a 9 by 5-inch (23 by 12 cm) loaf pan. Make the bread dough: In a large bowl, whisk together 1¾ cups (425 g) sweet potato puree, ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, and 1 cup (200 g) cane sugar until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together the 2¼ cups (295 g) f lour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ginger, and a big pinch of ground cloves until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir, just until combined. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top. 
  3. Make the topping: In a small dish, stir 2 tablespoons cane sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together. Sprinkle over the top of the batter. 
  4. Bake and serve: Bake the bread for 65 to 75 minutes, until a tester poked into all parts of the bread come out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove the loaf, or let it cool completely in the pan before serving with miso tahi butter. I don’t think you’ll have any leftovers, but if you do, wrap in foil or plastic wrap and enjoy for up to 4 days.
  5. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove the loaf, or let it cool completely in the pan before serving with miso tahi butter. I don’t think you’ll have any leftovers, but if you do, wrap in foil or plastic wrap and enjoy for up to 4 days. 

Miso Tahini Butter

Makes 1 cup (240ml)

Angelica Kitchen in the East Village used to have a miso tahini spread that was SO addictive. The only thing I could imagine making it any better was the richness of butter, to create something pretty decadent to top quickbread (and corn on the cob). 

Ingredients:

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks/226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) tahini 
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • Kosher salt

Method:

I like to do this in a stand mixer, just to get it really whipped and smooth. If you don’t have one, maybe pop the miso in the microwave for 25 seconds just to soften it a bit so it combines more easily. Mix all ingredients until smooth and combined, and season with salt to taste. Store in an airtight container for about a month.

Health Nut: A Feel-Good Cookbook by Jess Damuck (Abrams, £25). Out 28 March.