“Nutritious Delicious.” By America’s Test Kitchen. $29.99.

“Nutritious Delicious: Turbocharge your favorite recipes with 50 everyday superfoods” aims to help you get the most out of what you eat and make every calorie count in delivering nutrients to your body. Published recently by America’s Test Kitchen in Boston, the book focuses on recipes with nutrient-dense ingredients.

It begins with plenty of information on ways to build a more nutritious recipe by substituting or adding healthy ingredients in otherwise basic recipes. For example, it suggests that cooks use plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise, meaty portobella mushrooms with intensely flavored smoked paprika in place of bacon, and wheat pasta or – even better – a whole grain like farro – for white pasta. Such ideas continue throughout the pages of the book: recipes call for adding pureed pumpkin to waffles, or replacing all-purpose flour with oat flour (made by grinding oats to a powder). Altogether, these ideas add up to a smart and useful aspect of the cookbook.

The first 30-plus pages of “Nutritious Delicious” are packed with nutritional information: lists of vitamins and minerals, their benefits, and the foods where they are commonly found; a list of 50 foods that contain the most nutrients; and a list of spices and herbs that are known for their antioxidant properties.

The recipes start with breakfast dishes that have uncommon combinations of grains, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, eggs and fish. The many colorful photographs exude the healthiness of these meals. From the steel-cut oatmeal with carrots, cherries and pecans to the fluffy omelet with smoked salmon and asparagus, to the flourless nut and seed loaf, each recipe is chock-full of health-giving ingredients. These recipes prove that breakfast really can be the most important meal of the day.

The 20 recipes that make up the breakfast section are followed by sections on Lunch, Main Dishes, Vegetables and Sides, Snacks, Dessert. Most of the recipes in “Nutritious Delicious” are vegetarian, but several include fish, turkey or chicken, and even lean beef. The descriptive recipe titles – such as Cod in Coconut Broth with Lemon Grass and Ginger, and Pesto Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Artichokes – indicate for the cook the major ingredients involved. Each recipe is followed by information on its calories, fat, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.

My family makes a lot of blueberry muffins, and we consider ourselves connoisseurs of this baked treat, so when I spied a recipe for Whole-Wheat Blueberry-Almond Muffins, I gravitated toward it. I’m glad I did. The toasted almonds were a great complement to the blueberries and made for a distinctive sweetness. The texture was perfect; even with whole wheat flour, the muffins were moist and didn’t crumble. As we were running low on vanilla, we used almond extract instead, which – for us almond lovers – only increased the muffins’ delicious flavor.

America’s Test Kitchen has compiled creative, appetizing – and healthy – recipes that made “Nutritious Delicious” a big hit with our family.

Angela King-Horne is a wonderful cook and the community advocacy coordinator for Bicycle Coalition of Maine.


Makes 12 muffins

1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup organic low-fat buttermilk

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 large organic eggs

1/4 cup expeller-pressed canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or almond)

11/2 cups blueberries

Excellent source of manganese

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with canola oil spray. Pulse 1/4 cup almonds in food processor until coarsely chopped, 4 to 6 pulses; transfer to large bowl.

2. Add whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup almonds to now empty food processor and process until well combined and almonds are finely ground, about 30 seconds; transfer to large bowl.

3. In separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla together until combined. Using rubber spatula, stir buttermilk mixture into almond-flour mixture until just combined (do not overmix). Gently fold in blueberries.

4. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (cups will be filled to rim) and sprinkle with reserved chopped almonds. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out, 16 to 18 minutes.

5. Let muffins cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and let cool 10 more minutes before serving.

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