Healthful Recipes*

Breadless “Sandwich”

Take a large leaf of washed Romaine lettuce. Place the filling in the center (cheese, fish salad, egg salad, chopped vegetables, brown rice, or other filling). Then fold up the stem end and then the other end. The remaining edges can be folded inward to make a compact hand-held “sandwich.” Alternatively, half of a sweet red pepper (sliced axially) makes a tasty, non-starchy holder for whatever filling you use. Other wraps include Chinese cabbage, young collards, or nori (sheet seaweed).

Tahini Sauce

2 medium-sized onions

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 Tbs cornstarch or tapioca starch stirred into a small amount of above broth in a separate bowl

1 tsp soy sauce (more or less to taste)

2 Tbs Madiera or other wine

2 Tbs tahini

olive oil or butter

In a large skillet, gently sauté onions in olive oil or butter until just beyond translucent. Without removing from heat, add tahini and stir. Remove a few tablespoons of broth to a separate cup and stir in cornstarch. Add Madiera, soy sauce, and remaining broth to onion-tahini mixture, and bring to a boil. Thoroughly stir in broth-starch mixture. When mixture thickens, remove from heat.

The above sauce can be used on fish, cooked vegetables, brown rice, etc.

Brown Rice

Uncooked brown rice should be stored in a covered jar in the refrigerator. I prefer short grain rice over long grain.

First rinse the rice thoroughly to remove any dirt or any rice dust that may have become rancid and can add an unpleasant flavor and odor. Place the rice in a saucepan and add water to about 3/4 inch above the rice. (This amount of water works for a wide range of pan sizes.) If possible, let the rice soak overnight. Bring to a boil slowly, stir once, cover, and simmer very gently for about 30–35 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed. If the water is absorbed and the rice is still not completely cooked, add a small amount of boiling water and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is done. After the water is absorbed, some people like to continue to cook the rice until the bottom portion forms a golden-brown crust.

Rice with Nori

brown rice

chopped celery


mild raw onion (optional)

sweet red pepper

raw watercress (optional)

Mix together brown rice (still warm) and chopped vegetables such as sweet red peppers, lettuce, celery, and carrots. Take a sheet of sushinori, and wet it slightly. Place the rice mixture in the middle, and sprinkle it with your favorite oil, some low-salt soy sauce, some balsamic vinegar, and ebi-aji furikake. Fold up the corners of the nori to cover the rice, and eat.

Alternatively, the nori can be folded in half and torn again and again until the pieces are postage-stamp size. Then add the nori to the rice-vegetable mixture.


Cereals should be cooked without any salt and eaten as is or with a sprinkle of salt and, perhaps, some heavy cream. My favorite way is to use only a small quantity of low-sodium tamari (soy sauce). A serving of this cereal is a meal in itself and will be easily digested. Adding any sugar, honey, maple syrup, or fruit will impair its digestion. Avoid the temptation to add these incompatible items.

Rye. Using a blender, chop 1/3 cup (2 oz weight) of whole-rye berries. The resulting pieces will range in size from almost whole seeds to flour. Place in a small saucepan along with 1 cup of cold water. Let the mixture sit for any length of time up to 12 hours. Soaking helps the rye absorb water and activate enzymes that convert some of the starch to sugar. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cover, and simmer gently for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. Then cover and allow the mixture to stand for a while before eating.

Other grains such as wheat can be substituted for rye. For oatmeal, use 1/2 cup of oats and 1 cup of water. After the oatmeal is cooked, stir it vigorously for a glutinous texture.

Rice Gruel. Blend some cooked rice plus the minimum amount of water required to create a smooth mixture. After blending, spoon the gruel into a bowl and heat. Serve with flax oil and a small amount of salt. I have found that this preparation is not only tasty and nutritious but very soothing to my whole digestive tract.

Sautéed Plantains

Choose ripe plantains that are yellow and starting to turn black. The softer and blacker the better. Before peeling, wash and dry thoroughly. With the plantain lying on its side, make a shallow slice through the skin from one end to the other on each side. Then remove the top half of the skin and cut the plantain into diagonal slices about 3/8 in. apart. Gently heat some unsalted butter in a frying pan. Lift each slice from the lower skin and place it in the pan. None should overlap. Heat on a very low flame until one side is light brown. Then turn each slice over and likewise brown the other side.

If the plantains have been correctly chosen, they will be sweet and soft, and adding anything else would be like gilding a lily.

Frozen Corn

Heat frozen corn and chopped onions with a small amount of water in a saucepan. Cover, and cook over a medium flame until onions become slightly translucent. Remove cover, top with low-salt, low-fat mozzarella or other mild cheese. Replace cover, and turn off heat. After cheese melts, top with salt-free or low-salt spaghetti sauce and replace cover for a minute or so to allow heat to be evenly distributed.


Boil sliced zucchini and chopped onions with a low-salt pasta sauce in a saucepan. When zucchini and onions become translucent, remove the cover, top with low-salt, low-fat mozzarella or other mild cheese, replace cover, turn off the heat, and wait for the cheese to melt.

Tofu with Watercress and Onions

1-lb block of firm tofu

1 large onion

1 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 clove of garlic, minced (optional)

Fresh ginger, minced (or powdered ginger)

1 bunch of watercress

Cut tofu into 3/4 in. cubes. Drain. Cut the onion in half and slice it. Gently heat in a frying pan with the butter. If desired, garlic and/or ginger may be added. Do not brown or fry! Separate while heating. Add the tofu when the onions begin to become translucent. Continue to heat gently, and occasionally stir until the tofu starts to brown. Remove the tofu and onions to a bowl, and place in the frying pan a large bunch of watercress that has been rinsed, drained, and cut in half. Heat and stir until the watercress begins to become bright green. Then return the tofu and onions to the frying pan and mix. Serve as is. Other green vegetables such as escarole, broccoli rabe, bok choy, kale, etc., can be used instead of watercress. Also fish such as filet of sole, salmon, or squid can be used instead of tofu.

Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

1 pound of fresh uncooked shrimp

2 eggs

2 teaspoons fermented black beans

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon sake or dry sherry

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in a small amount of water

Shell, devein, and wash the shrimp. Beat the eggs. Rinse the excess salt off the black beans and crush them with a spoon. Gently sautÈ the onions and black beans until the onions are translucent. Add the shrimp, and cook, stirring occasionally. When the shrimp is done, add the wine, and heat until the alcohol has boiled off. Then add 1/2 cup of hot water and the sugar. Simmer the mixture for a few minutes. Then add the cornstarch mixture, stirring to prevent clumping. Add the eggs, stirring until the eggs are sufficiently cooked.

This recipe is a variation of one found in an excellent Chinese cookbook.

Cheese Omelet

Cut some low salt, low-fat cheese into thin strips. Melt a little unsalted butter in a pan over low heat. Add two beaten eggs. As portions of the egg solidify and liquid portions pool, pull an edge of the omelet toward the center, and tilt the pan to allow the liquid portion contact the pan to be heated. When no more liquid flows, slide the omelet onto a plate and flip back into the pan, raw side down. Immediately start placing the strips of cheese along the diameter. Then fold the omelet (like folding a letter) over the cheese. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and wait until the cheese melts. Serve as is or with a little low-salt spaghetti sauce.

Shrimp Cocktail

Instead of boiling shrimp, sauté them very gently in unsalted butter. Then immediately cool them in the refrigerator. When they are cold, you can dip them in a sauce made from freshly squeezed lemon juice, some grated horseradish, and a small amount of low-salt, low-sugar catsup.

In addition to being very low in calories, shrimp is also a low-sodium food. Unfortunately, some supermarkets treat large blocks of frozen shrimp with loads of salt. The salt acts as a preservative and causes the shrimp to taste better to those who are accustomed to added salt. Shrimp should be sweet—not at all salty.


1 lb frozen sole (or ocean perch, flounder, etc.)

1 16-oz can tomatoes or stewed tomatoes (no salt)

3 medium onions, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, chopped (optional)

sliced fresh ginger

sesame/nori condiment (furikake)

sake or sherry

Gently sauté onions, garlic, and ginger in some unsalted butter until onion is translucent. Cut fish into bite-size pieces and cook until done. Add the wine, and heat until the alcohol has boiled off. Add tomatoes. Turn off heat and stir. Serve hot or chilled.

Sautéed Tofu with Onions

1/2 lb tofu, cut into 1- by 2- by 3/8-inch strips

1 medium onion, cut into medium-sized pieces

1/4 cup of raw, unsalted sesame tahini

1 Tbs unsalted butter

Gently sauté onions in butter in large skillet until translucent. Add tofu. Turn each strip of tofu when lightly browned, and brown other side. Serve topped with tahini mixed with water to a consistency of heavy cream.

Oriental Vegetables with Melted Cheese

Heat some frozen “Oriental Mixed Vegetables,” which can be found in the frozen-food chest of any supermarket. When the vegetables are heated through, place chunks of low-salt, low-fat cheese on top. Continue to heat until the cheese starts to melt. Serve with a bit of flax or olive oil and low-salt soy sauce.

Cottage cheese can be substituted for the cheese, and canned, stewed tomatoes can be substituted for the vegetables. Thus, there are four possible combinations.


Choose chestnuts that are hard, with no air space under the shell. Wash and dry them, and score an X through each shell with a sharp knife (chestnuts can explode during cooking if there is no opening for steam to escape).

I have found that using a microwave oven is far superior to the conventional method of baking chestnuts in an oven or stove-top potato baker. The cooking time on “high” varies from 2–4 minutes depending on the oven and the number of chestnuts. Distribute the chestnuts uniformly, and turn them over after 2 minutes. When they are done, they should be soft and moist and separate easily from the shells and inner skins. I like to eat them with a small amount of butter.

Tofu Fa

1 qt. soy milk

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

Pour about 8 oz of soy milk into a 2-qt saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over the soy milk while stirring. Then heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves completely. Add the rest of the soy milk. Stir, and pour into dessert glasses. Refrigerate overnight. Eat as-is or with a little maple syrup.

Fruit Shake

8 oz orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)

4 oz water

1 ripe banana

Place ingredients in blender and use highest speed. Serves two. Drink slowly. Other fruit such as seedless grapes, blueberries, etc. can be used in place of an equal amount of orange juice.

*From Robert Chuckrow, The Intelligent Dieter’s Guide, Rising Mist Publications, Briarcliff Manor, NY, 1997.

©Copyright 1997 by Robert Chuckrow

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