Grilled Belgian endive salad
This grilled endive salad, from Finn's Pittsburgh restaurant Dinette, is upscale seasonality on a plate, with endive, watercress toasted walnuts, Maytag blue cheese, roasted baby beets and champagne vinaigrette.
Full of calcium thanks to their tiny, edible bones, sardines are the powerhouse ingredient in this dish from Dinette, served over pureed cannellini beans with roasted grapes and arugula, finished with smoked paprika oil.
Finn takes this summery cold soup into the early weeks of fall at Dinette with the use of earthy, roasted beets. Garnished with tzatziki (Greek yogurt plus shredded cucumber) and scallions, this ruby-red gazpacho at the Café Carnegie is made with roasted beets, cucumbers, green peppers, sherry vinegar and a bit of garlic and olive oil.
Togarashi blue fin tuna and seaweed
At Philips Exeter Academy, a private residential high school in New Hampshire, the super healthy option of seafood/brain food often pops up on the menu. This fish is seasoned with togarashi and served with a seaweed salad, which is also chocked full of nutrients.
Vietnamese spring rolls
Another eye-popping, fresh, flavorful menu item at Exter, these spring rolls put the pizazz in plant-based cuisine.
Also at Exeter, this bright pea soup gets flavored up with shallots, Thai basil, mint and crème fraiche. The garnish is brown butter ramps, which could be switched with scallions as seasons change.
Udon and zucchini noodles
Centerplate Executive Chef at the Music City Center in Nashville Max Knoepfel calls this dish “the perfect—and light—mix of substance and style.” The combo of zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) and udon makes this interesting in texture, and the veggies and black-eyed peas make it oh-so-healthy.
Build-your-own healthy Mediterranean plate
At Rex Health’s new heart-healthy restaurant, Kardia, customers can choose from a selection of housemade hummus, tabbouleh, quinoa salad, carrot salad, red lentil salad, Greek yogurt chicken salad, sweet potatoes and chickpeas. Wow, is that healthy!
Also at Kardia, this chicken salad is made healthier by swapping traditional sour cream and/or mayo with Greek yogurt. It’s served over fresh greens, tomato and cucumber with the option of toasted pita.
Palomar Health, a healthcare system in the San Diego area, has a menu that’s mostly plant-based. Chickpeas are a great secret weapon when replacing meat, as shown in this chickpea burger at Palomar.
Sea bass puttanesca
Palomar also serves some amazing seafood dishes, like this wild-caught sea bass puttanesca with a traditional zesty Italian sauce.
Hearty and steak-like, halibut is a center-of-the-plate natural. This pretty plate is also from Palomar Health.
You don’t always think “healthy food” when you think Iowa State Fair, but Chef Tag Grandgeorge of Le Jardin won the Healthiest Competition there (hosted by the Soyfoods Council and the Iowa Restaurant Association). Get the recipe here.
Za'atar veggies with green tahini
The University of Richmond’s culinary crew is always ahead of the trends, and they’ve picked up on za’atar as being the next “it” spice blend. A Middle Eastern seasoning blend with thyme, sesame seeds and sumac, it’s a low-sodium way to get stunning flavor in many dishes.
Still harvesting summer’s bounty? These veggie skewers by the chefs at TouchPoint Support Services at St. John Providence in Michigan are a great alternative side dish to potato salad or slaw for late-summer cookouts.
Poppy seed dressing
This tangy and sweet dressing features a healthy food buzzword ingredient: apple cider vinegar. Developed by the Williamsburg-James (Virginia) City County Schools’ culinary team, this dressing was featured recently at the schools’ booth at a local farmers’ market event. Get the recipe here.
The simplicity of a stir-fry lends itself to making a dish as satisfying as Chinese takeout but much healthier, as shown in this dish from the Humane Society of the U.S.