Each New Year starts with well-intentioned resolutions, many of which involve cleansing your body of all the goodies you gorged on during the holidays. But resolutions are as quickly broken as they are promised—especially if there isn’t a solid plan in place. For foodies, the biggest challenge has to be giving up tasty meals for dull salads. This is even more difficult during the colder months when our bodies (and souls) crave comfort foods. (photo by Sonia Nolasco) But we can meet this challenge with a bit of ingenuity in the kitchen. With all the information television chefs have been feeding us all these years, surely we’ve become equipped to come up with a few solutions. Deconstruction is the tool I turn to, a way to put a healthy twist on some of my favorite Portuguese dishes. Because healthy doesn’t have to mean flavorless! Last year, we brought you five days-worth of Portuguese-inspired healthy meals. This year, we start you off with one more, but would love it if you could build on it with us. We’re curious to see what you come up with! For every recipe we receive, we’ll throw in one as well. Ready to get your cleansing on? I’ll go first!
One of my favorite Portuguese dishes is the “Carne de Porco à Alentejana,” a combo of pork cubes and clams served with fried potatoes. It’s a southern specialty that’s in no way diet-friendly, since all you’ll want to do is sop up the garlicky sauce with crusty Portuguese rolls! That doesn’t mean we can’t borrow from its flavors to create a tasty, yet guilt-free dinner option. Why not try my Grilled Pork Burgers with Roasted Parsnips? Make sure you’re using pork tenderloin for this recipe. It falls under the diet-friendly lean meat category. It’s an excellent option for foodies who want to eat healthier but don’t want to give up flavor entirely. If you can’t find pre-ground pork tenderloin, buy the the whole tenderloin, cut it up in cubes and throw it into your food processor in batches. Freshly-ground meat is always better anyway, and parsnips are a great alternative to potatoes. They’re lower in calories and higher in the kind of fiber that will make you feel fuller longer, assisting with weight loss. When charred, their sweet and spicy flavors are a delightful surprise.
Let me know what you think!