UPDATE: Now the official Plan Cookbook is out! I am obsessed with the chocolate chia breakfast cake, and some of the other recipes are great. Not every recipe is great (I’m lookin’ at you, carrot essence soup!)
So, first, a disclaimer: I’m not official anything. Most of these are recipes that I already enjoyed, and I’ve done my best to conform to Plan Guidelines and, for me, they’ve all “passed” and work well. But if you are a stickler, proceed with caution, and feel free to second-guess, tweak, and test them for yourself.
- Kale Salad: This was one of my favorite salads before trying The Plan, and I was super-excited when I “passed” walnuts and bread and I could make it. Sometimes I’ll skip the croutons in order to save my dense carbs for something else during the day, but with or without, it’s great.
- Goat Cheese and Pear Salad: Okay, I still haven’t gotten around to testing mustard, but I skip it entirely and the dressing’s pretty good without it. I also usually use Romaine instead of Red Leaf lettuce.
- Roasted Chickpeas: These were another pre-Plan favorite for the whole family. I use low-sodium beans and skip the salt, but the rest of the spices have been fine for me. If there are pre-approved spices that you really like, you could absolutely come up with your own Plan-friendly combination.
Soups are a life-saver for me on the Plan. I make a big batch, then freeze separate portions in baggies to reheat.
Apple Cheddar Squash Soup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 medium apples, thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled butternut squash, fresh or frozen
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup apple cider
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 cup cream2/3 cup water
- 1 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and add the onion, apples, and squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sage and flour. Add the cider and cook over high heat, stirring, until thickened. Add the broth, water, and cream cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until all vegetables soft, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the cheese to the soup and stir over medium-low heat until melted. Puree in a blender in batches until smooth; season, if necessary, with salt and pepper.
This is adapted from the Apple-Cheddar-Squash Soup from The Food Network. My husband loved the original recipe, and he can’t really tell the difference with my tweaks, especially since he still throws in cheddar cheese and prosciutto!
Ginger Chicken Soup
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 8 ounces unpeeled scrubbed ginger, cut into 1/2″-thick slices
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 chicken breast halves, cut into 2 or 3 pieces each for quicker cooking
- 2 quarts water
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
- black pepper to taste
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, roughly chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 5 shitake mushrooms, chopped
- Chopped Cilantro, kale, arugula, spinach or parsley leaves (optional)
- Plan-approved seasonings as needed
- Put first eight ingredients (through black pepper) in a pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer c. 40 minutes, until chicken’s cooked through and onion is translucent.
- Remove chicken and let it cool enough to handle.
- Add red pepper and snap peas and continue simmering until these are tender.
- Fish out thick slices of ginger.
- Shred chicken and add back into broth.
- Add any extra greens that you’d like.
- Season to taste.
This recipe is based on the Cleansing Ginger-Chicken Soup from Bon Appétit that I found via a Pinterest board. Basically I just followed their directions and added a ton more vegetables. If any of these vegetables don’t work for you, just throw other ones in, instead. This soup was a surprise hit with the kids–they loved smelling the ginger and basically begged me this stuff, although sometimes they’ll pick out a vegetable or two. Memo to self: chop smaller.
Chocolate High-Protein Squares
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
- 1 ¼ cups chunky almond butter
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup ground flax seed
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 2/3 cup walnut pieces (these are reactive for some people, but not me, yay!)
- ¼ cup sesame seeds (these are reactive for some people, but not me, yay!)
- ¼ cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds
- 4 T chia seeds
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together the butter, chocolate, and almond butter.
- In an 8 x 12-inch pan, combine all other ingredients.
- Drizzle the butter/almond butter/chocolate mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Press the mixture down into the pan.
- Chill until firm and cut into 24 squares.
- Store in the refrigerator. May also be frozen.
This is an adaptation of the High Protein Squares recipe from Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children by Ann Cooper and Lisa Holmes. I’d made their recipe and loved it, but then I loved it too much and kept eating way too many squares, so I set it aside. Then there was some recipe that was supposed to be high protein that tasted like a sugar cookie, and I made it, all excited, and . . . it totally did not taste like a sugar cookie. And I was brutally disappointed. Then I remembered this recipe, and I substituted flax seed for wheat germ and almond butter for peanut butter, then threw in chia seeds because: why not? I love me some chia seeds. I think these are so good.
- 4 T chia seeds
- 1 1/2 cups watermelon (or other fruit)
- juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 t sugar
Use an immersion blender to puree and combine, then pop it into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to let it chill and let the chia seeds do their gel magic.
I made this up based on a Lyn-Genet’s watermelon & lime granita recipe. I added chia seeds because 1) I love them and 2) at the time I needed a protein boost on a hot day. When my lunch feels low on protein I’ll prep this, then chill it while I’m eating and drink it as a “lunch dessert.”