A Functional Medicine Doctor’s Favorite Healthy Dinner Recipe for Easy Weeknight Eating

Photo: Nicole Franzen

food what the heck should i cook
Photo: Little Brown Spark

Functional medicine practitioner Mark Hyman, MD, has become the go-to doc for demystifying what it means to eat healthy. His plant-forward food philosophy, which he dubbed pegan, isn't anything complicated. At its core, it's a combination of Paleo and vegan eating: “A pegan diet is low-glycemic, high in plant foods, low in sugar, and includes adequate protein for appetite control and muscle synthesis,” Dr. Hyman previously told Well+Good.

With his new book, Food: What the Heck Should I Cook? ($23), Dr. Hyman aims to make healthy eating a bit easier (and less intimidating). Out today, the book has science-backed tips on how to eat—and cook—to reduce inflammation, and dozens of recipes for every meal, including snacks and dessert.

When it comes to grocery shopping, Dr. Hyman says his first stop is the produce section. "Every single time I’m at the market I’m grabbing veggies," he says. "I always recommend making 75 percent of your plate colorful non-starchy veggies, and this is the way I eat myself. I like to see what’s in season and what looks fresh, but some of my favorites right now are red kale, arugula, fennel, and wild mushrooms. This is a great time of year to get a variety of tasty winter squash and pomegranate, too, which I’ve really been enjoying."

Once he gets cooking, Dr. Hyman says extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, sea salt, and all sorts of herbs are his most-used pantry items. "Buying healthy food is one thing but cooking it the right way is another," he says. "I use olive oil for drizzling on salads since it’s delicate and avocado oil for higher heat cooking because it is more stable. Herbs and spices are an incredible tool for making every meal a new experience and boosting your health at the same time, through anti-inflammatory effects, promoting circulation, supporting brainpower, and so much more."

"Buying healthy food is one thing but cooking it the right way is another." —Mark Hyman, MD

One of his favorite healthy dinners is the grain-free cauliflower tabbouleh from his new cookbook. "I love Mediterranean food and have so many fond memories of growing up with special dishes prepared by my mom and grandmother for holidays," Dr. Hyman says. "Tabbouleh is one of them, and it’s traditionally made with bulgur wheat, so I came up with a recipe in order to create a gluten-free, grain-free version that is much more blood sugar friendly. The cauliflower rice trend got me thinking about new ways to use cauliflower and after playing with herbs like fresh mint and parsley—and of course a generous drizzle of olive oil—this tasty dish was born."

Mediterranean food is *full*of health benefits. Check out the video below to see why:

If you've never riced cauliflower before, Dr. Hyman offers up this pro tip: "Make sure it’s very dry. I like to wash it and let it completely dry before ricing, then I blot it again with towels after chopping. A food processor is the easiest way to rice cauliflower, especially if you have the grating attachment, but, if not, be sure not to over-process with the blade or you’ll get cauliflower purée."

Grain-free cauliflower tabbouleh

Serves 4

1 large head cauliflower
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, minced
1⁄3 cup capers, minced
1 Tbsp pressed garlic
2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp lemon juice, plus more for seasoning
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
1/3 cup minced green onions
1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and minced (optional)

1. To rice the cauliflower, remove the outer green leaves and most of the stem and chop the remaining cauliflower into medium chunks. Pulse in a food processor until the cauliflower resembles fine grains. Alternatively, you can grate the cauliflower on the large holes of a box grater.

2. Blend the parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small food processor until combined into a chunky paste.

3. Add the parsley mixture to the riced cauliflower and stir well. Add the olive oil, mint, green onions, and olives (if using) and toss together. Add more lemon, salt, or pepper to taste.

Now that you know how to eat like Dr. Hyman for dinner, here's how to eat like him for breakfast and lunch.

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