When My Nguyen, creator of the uber-popular blog My Healthy Dish (she’s passed the 1 million follower mark on Instagram), was thinking about how to frame her first cookbook, she wanted to target the most difficult eaters in her life.
“My youngest daughter was so picky and wanted carbs—noodles, bread, chicken nuggets, you name it,” Nguyen remembers. “I decided to beat her at her own game, making healthier versions of what she wanted.” That meant that when Nguyen’s kids begged for French fries, the blogger turned super-versatile cauliflower into tater tots; for mac and cheese, she swapped in nutritious squash.
But it’s not just the youngest eaters who could use a genius swap or two. “People are doing so much all of the time that cooking has sort of fallen on the back burner,” says Nguyen.
And with her new cookbook, My Healthy Dish, she hopes to bring all eaters—young and old, picky and adventurous—to the table.
All of the recipes in her book can be made in 30 minutes or less (except for her slow cooker foods, which technically take longer but she says are even easier for parents or people who work full-time to make). Even better? Most of them feature tried-and-true dishes with a healthy twist—meaning that you can still serve up BLTs and burgers to the pickiest eaters you know.
Here are 3 of the freshest, most mouth-watering recipes from My Healthy Dish—just in time for summer.
Watermelon Jicama Salad with Balsamic Reduction
1 mini watermelon
1 jicama root
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Peel outer layer of jicama root and cut into small bite size cubes. Cut and cube watermelon.
In a large bowl add watermelon, jicama, mint, feta cheese, and salt.
In small saucepan simmer balsamic vinegar until it reduces to half and drizzle over salad.
BLT Summer Roll
8-10 slices of center cut and nitrate-free bacon
1 head of butter lettuce
8–10 sheets of rice paper
Pre-heat oven to 375º Fahrenheit. Lay strips of bacon across cooking sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes. Remove bacon and place on paper towels to soak excess fat.
Slice tomatoes and scoop out seeds to avoid excess moisture. Wash lettuce leaves and pat dry with paper towel.
Wet rice paper in water, but do not wait until it starts to wilt. Make sure it’s still firm when wet.
Lay wet rice paper on cutting board, add 2 leaves of lettuce and 2 slices of tomato at the bottom. Roll and tuck once and place a strip of bacon on top. Roll and tuck again. This is to keep the bacon separate from getting wet from the tomato.
Take the right end of rice paper and fold in and do the same on the left. It looks similar to an envelope. Roll again to the very end of the rice paper. Serve with Mango Avocado Sauce.
Avocado Mango Dressing/Dipping Sauce
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
1/2 cup uncooked green lentils
2 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
1 1/2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 onion minced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Place lentils in colander and rinse under water.
In small saucepan add the lentils and 1 1/4 cup water, bring to a boil, down to a simmer and cover with lid. Simmer for 15–20 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and blend in food processor to a chunky consistency.
Pre-heat a large non-stick pan to medium, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and chopped crimini mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes while occasionally stirring mushrooms around with large cooking spoon. Drain any excess liquid.
In large bowl add lentils, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, garlic, onions, paprika, Dijon mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix all ingredients by hand and mold into 4-ounce burger patties. Heat a small non-stick pan on medium and 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 veggie burger patty.
Cook 4–5 minutes on each side or until slightly crispy on the outside. Repeat cooking process with each veggie patty, but be sure to wipe pan with wet paper towel each time.
To serve, Nguyen recommends a thick bread like a Brioche bun—slice in half, smear with a little Dijon mustard, ketchup, sliced boiled beets, and top with a big handful of microgreens. Note: If you want to keep this meal entirely vegan, make sure you choose a bread bun that has no dairy or eggs.
More of a take-out kind of girl? Yes, you can healthify those dishes too! And don’t forget dessert: These 5-ingredient (or less!) recipes are also low in sugar.