These days, when many chefs are sourcing locally and seasonally, and abiding by sustainable practices, they may believe they are cooking healthy meals, says Emmanuel Verstraeten, founder and CEO of SPE Certified® (see related item). “While [sustainability] is an appropriate first step, it is not sufficient to close the loop on delivering nutritionally balanced, great-tasting dishes. What is missing is a culinary approach to nutrition whereby dishes are created to deliver the maximum in nutrient density, while retaining every ounce of deliciousness and taste. This is the piece of the puzzle that SPE Certified so uniquely provides,” he says.

Rather than “demonizing” ingredients such as butter, cream and sugar, SPE Certified challenges chefs to work differently. In fact, the SPE Certified charter doesn’t limit chefs with regard to ingredients; it simply guides them to use certain components in moderation. Bottom line, says Verstraeten, “Our goal is not to eliminate the status quo, but to provide guests with a sustainable, healthy and nutritionally balanced alternative. It’s all about increasing the options available when dining out.” See how SPE Certified’s executive chef Anthony Moraes uses the SPE Certified tenets to build flavor while maintaining health in this month’s recipe.

  • 1 1⁄2 C kale, destemmed, tightly packed
  • 3⁄4 C walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1⁄2 T lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 C Pecorino Romano or
    Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1⁄3 C olive oil

Recipe key: C = cup; t = teaspoon; T = tablespoon

Blanch kale in boiling, salted water for 30 seconds. Toast walnuts and garlic at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes. Add kale, walnuts, lemon juice, cheese and 1 T oil to blender; pulse, then blend at high speed. Makes 12 servings. Drizzle remaining olive oil while blending and add salt.

Per serving: 120 calories; 3 g protein; 2 g carbohydrates; 12 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 95 g sodium.

Source: Anthony Moraes, executive chef, SPE Certified

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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