New cookbook revamps classics with healthful eating in mind

By Paula Shoyer
The Washington Post
Updated 2/7/2018 10:49 AM
  • Eggplant With Capers and Mint

    Eggplant With Capers and Mint Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

  • Dry-Rubbed Roasted Salmon

    Dry-Rubbed Roasted Salmon Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

  • Ribollita

    Ribollita Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

  • Indian Barbecued Chicken

    Indian Barbecued Chicken Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Editor's note: While perusing Paula Shoyer's new "The Healthy Jewish Kitchen: Fresh, Contemporary Recipes for Every Occasion" (Sterling Epicure, 2017), it occurred to us that her dishes have appeal far beyond what is kosher. Many of the recipes are vegan and gluten-free, for example, and just about all of them are simple enough for entry-level cooks. The following is excerpted from the cookbook.

Most Jewish cookbooks have too many recipes with processed ingredients, not enough whole grains, too much salt and fat and too much sugar, even in savory dishes. My goal was to create recipes that use only natural ingredients. I banished margarine, frozen puff pastry, soup stocks and powders, and most jarred sauces. I gave up frying and created baked goods with as much whole-grain flour as I could. I reduced sugar; most of my desserts contain less than a half-cup. Kosher food is notoriously oversalted; these recipes have a minimal amount. I found that adding an extra pinch of kosher salt just before serving pumps up the flavor.

Winter Salad
Winter Salad - Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

My recipes include Jewish classics made healthier and updated for the modern table, and American and international recipes that reflect food trends beyond the Jewish culinary world. Some do require planning and time management. You can start soaking beans or rice before you go to sleep. You can gather ingredients long before you begin to cook. Make soups and freeze them in advance. And if you have 15 minutes free in the middle of the day, make a part of the meal.

Chopped String Beans With Basil and Pine Nuts
Chopped String Beans With Basil and Pine Nuts - Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Variety is the key to a delicious, nutritious meal and the best way to persuade your people to go on a healthier eating journey with you. When I plan a meal for my family, I make sure every dinner plate has colors and textures. I offer both raw and cooked vegetables.

This is a way for you to start eating better -- try a recipe or two each day. Good nutrition is about balance and finding a way to introduce into your diet more and more healthful food, as often as possible.

• Paula Shoyer, a pastry chef and culinary instructor who lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, blogs at

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