If, like many of us, you’ve already indulged maybe a little too much this summer (what, pie and wine aren’t a balanced meal?), it might be a good time to detox (but don’t run away just yet).
We have all known someone or heard of someone doing a "detox". Usually we associate that with eating nothing and drinking only juice or lemon water with cayenne pepper (ouch!). Well thanks to greatist.com and our knowledgeable staff, we were able to round up a bunch of delicious detox recipes for you that actually consist of REAL FOOD! When we say “detox,” we’re talking about refocusing the mind, body, and palate on healthy, tasty, and nutritious foods. Instead of going crazy-restrictive and nixing all food groups except kale and steamed fish (not exactly a sustainable diet), let’s explore new tastes, textures, ingredients, and cooking techniques. Most of these recipes are based on healthy staples like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and both vegetarian/vegan and meat protein sources!
The following round-up of recipes will get you super excited about eating well again (and might even help kick that cookie-a-day habit you picked up over the past week). For a super-easy meal plan, just pick one recipe from each category per day.
Blueberry-Coconut Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal
This year, make your New Year’s resolution to eat a healthy breakfast every morning. Kick off 2015 on a tasty note with this flavorful, baked version of steel-cut oats. Since it’s a baked oatmeal dish, you can make it the night before and heat it up for on-the-go mornings.
Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins
These gluten free beauties are far from ginormous (gut-busting) bakery muffins. Instead of a carb-fest of processed sugar and white flour, these healthy little guys are made with brown rice flour, flax seeds, and applesauce. They’re sweetened with dried dates and topped with fresh blueberries and sliced almonds. Healthy enough for seconds, we think.
Veggie Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Is your breakfast style more savory than sweet? With just a tiny bit of olive oil and plenty of veggies and protein, this bowl is the realbreakfast of champions. Pro tip: If your stomach isn’t ready for so much protein (egg, cheese, and quinoa) in the morning, this dish would make a bomb-diggety lunch or dinner, too.
Banana-Apple Buckwheat Muffins
Who needs sugar or white flour when you can make delicious, healthy muffins out of buckwheat flour, mashed bananas, apples, walnuts, and not much else? With plenty of fiber and healthy fats, and a bit of protein (from the eggs and buckwheat), these wholesome pastries will keep you full all morning.
Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl
Loaded with bananas, chia seeds, almond milk, raw almonds, hemp seeds, cinnamon, and dried fruit, this breakfast is a veritable superfood spectacular. Since most of the work takes place the night before, it's ideal for busy mornings.
Wholesome Winter Fruit Granola
Pre-packaged granola (and especially granola bars) are often loaded with sugar, preservatives, and other unsavory ingredients that won’t exactly help you recharge after a decadent holiday season. The solution? Make your own! This easy recipe contains just whole grains, a tiny bit of oil and maple syrup, and nuts and dried fruit for flavor.
The best way to eat healthy (without thinking about it too much) is to make sure there are a variety of colors and hues on your plate at every meal. This one-bowl salad takes care of lunch on that front. Chopped romaine lettuce, purple cabage, red pepper, and avocado provide a veritable rainbow of produce. Add sesame seeds and salt and pepper on top for flavor.
Pumpkin-Lentil Soup With Maca
Fall’s definitely over, but we’re not willing to forget about pumpkin just yet. This flavorful soup features maca, a cruciferous plant native to the Andes that has similar health benefits to cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. If you can’t find it in your area, feel free to omit and enjoy the blend of lentils, coconut milk, curry powder, and kale all on their own.
Sweet Potato, Fennel, and Olive Salad With Crispy Kale and Quinoa
This savory lunch option is reason #58462 that “detox” doesn’t have to mean “hungry all the time” and “boring” and "juice cleanse." Top quinoa with roasted sweet potatoes, crispy baked kale, marinated fennel, and olives for a healthy, filling lunch (or dinner).
Quinoa-Cranberry Chicken Salad
On days when you’re hungry like the wolf, a light veggie salad is notgoing to cut it. Instead of inhaling the contents of the vending machine, prep this super-filling, super-healthy chicken salad. Loaded with quinoa, chicken, and almonds, this nutritional powerhouse will satisfy even the heartiest of appetites.
Black Bean and Quinoa Chili
For cold winter days, there’s no better lunch than a cup of homemade soup. Kick it up a notch with this spicy, veggie-rich chili. This stew gets its unique flavors from a variety of spices and herbs, including cinnamon!
Variety is the spice of life—or at least the spice of lunch. Sick of blah-looking salads? Mix things up with this homemade vegetarian sushi. Pick your own fillings (crunchy veggies, tofu, seitan, or even slices of omelet), choose white or brown rice, and get rolling.
Fall Mexican Rice Bowls
Pretty much anything tastes better when it’s served in a bowl, which is probably why this dish (basically a deconstrcuted burrito) is so darn appealing. Layer spicy rice, sweet potatoes, kale, and chicken in bowls and serve with plenty of lime wedges, avocado, and salsa.
Wild Rice and Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole
We’re happy to present a healthy casserole that doesn’t involve dumping a can of cream-of-something soup on top of egg noodles and topping with a mountain of cheese. This wholesome baked dish is loaded with nutritious ingredients such as butternut squash, ground turkey, wild rice, spinach, and just a bit of cheese.
Lemon Chicken Stew
When life gives you lemons (or cold, gloomy days), make lemon stew! This rib-sticking concoction features dark meat chicken, celery, carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, orzo pasta, and of course, lemon. Make it more of a one-pot meal by subbing in a heartier whole-wheat pasta like penne or rotini.
Green Goddess Enchiladas
Healthy enchiladas? Nope, it’s not a joke. This Tex-Mex entrée features chickpeas and veggies and gets its creamy consistency from greek yogurt and a small sprinkling of low-fat cheese. Rev up the flavor by adding more chilies, scallions, and plenty of pepper.
Thai Curry with Tilapia and Veggies
Fish and vegetables, the mainstay of any detox program or low-cal diet, gets the royal treatment with this exotic recipe. Coconut oil, coconut milk, cilantro, lime, and red curry paste make this light, fish-focused meal far from boring. Feel free to sub in tofu to make this dish a vegetarian option.
Maple Roasted Chickpeas
Whip up a batch of these tasty chickpeas to ensure plenty of healthy snacks for the week. With a drizzle of maple syrup, a sprinkling of brown sugar, and a touch of cinnamon, they’re a healthy way to enjoy a sweet treat.
Savory Pumpkin-Flaxseed-Onion Crackers
Looking for something crunchy to eat with your favorite dips and spreads? These healthy crackers contain just nine ingredients (including salt and pepper)—compare that to your favorite brand of store bought crackers. Plus, with flax seed and pumpkin seeds making up two of the main ingredients, these crispy crackers pack quite a nutritional punch.
Cinnamon Fruit Kabobs
Turn regular old raw fruit into a fancy snack (or dessert) with this simple cooking technique. Cut fruits into bite-size chunks, put them on skewers, and cook them on the grill, basting with a mixture of cinnamon and honey, until they’re golden brown. The recipe calls for pineapple, white nectarines, and plums, but other similarly-sized fruits would probably work just fine.
Honey-Roasted Cauliflower With Pine Nuts and Crispy Sage
Crispy, herby, and slightly sweet, this side dish hits plenty of flavor high notes. With just a few tablespoons of olive oil in the whole dish, it’s a super-light way to take advantage of cauliflowers cancer fighting nutrients.
Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese
Take advantage of these slightly sweet winter root vegetables by making this side dish, stat. It’s super simple—just roast beets in a sauce made from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and thyme. When the beets are cooked all the way through (about 30 minutes), slice them up and sprinkle with creamy goat cheese.
Braising artichokes (aka cooking them for a long time in hot liquid) is an excellent way to bring out the veggies’ complex flavor and soften up even the toughest leaves. Before sticking them in the oven, make sure to remove the hard outer leaves, choke (the fuzzy stuff in the middle), and the pointy spines at the top of each leaf.
Roasted Cabbage Wedges
For some reason, cabbage is not exactly the season’s hottest vegetable (it’s especially odd given that brussels sprouts, basically mini-cabbages, are super trendy right now). Join Team Cabbage for good with these crispy roasted wedges. Seasoned minimally with just salt and pepper, olive oil, and fennel or caraway seeds, this easy recipe lets cabbage’s texture and flavor really shine.