The Clean Plates Cookbook

Have you ever wished that when you went out to dinner, or visited a new town, you knew where to find a restaurant that served healthy food? Well that’s the information that the Clean Plates website provides, and now they’ve published The Clean Plates Cookbook, full of healthy recipes — many of which are contributed by their favorite restaurant chefs.

Above: Kale Salad recipe, by chef Hadley Schmitt of New York’s Northern Spy Food Co. restaurant, from The Clean Plates Cookbook

Most healthy cookbooks have an outlook on eating that relies on one exclusive theory, such as veganism, raw food, the Paleo diet, etc. But the author of The Clean Plates Cookbook, Jared Koch, is a nutritionist, and he has a different idea. In his work, Koch sees people with all kinds of different nutritional needs, so he believes in “bio-individuality,” the idea that everyone has unique food needs based on their genetic make-up, lifestyle, gender, age, etc. The guiding principle of the book is that “there’s more than one way to eat right.”

Above: Raw Cauliflower Tabbouleh recipe by M Café in Los Angeles, from The Clean Plates Cookbook

The recipes in the cookbook reflect this broad idea of what it means to eat nourishing food. Recipes include such surprisingly indulgent-sounding recipes as Glazed Spare Ribs, Roasted Eggplant and Peppers with Parmesan Polenta, Classic Pasta with Red Sauce, and even Big Beef Burgers with Grilled Onions and (Sometimes) Blue Cheese!

The recipes are only part of The Clean Plates Cookbook. The book also includes practical advice on figuring out your body type and what foods are good for you, balancing the amount of meat and animal products in your diet, and positive ways of thinking that will help you make better food choices.

The Clean Plates Cookbook has lots of simple ways to cook all kinds of vegetables, including corn, collard greens, endives, and artichokes. One recipe that caught my eye is the Home- Fermented Sauerkraut, which requires nothing more than sea salt and green cabbage. Just like yogurt, sauerkraut is full of good bacteria that help to keep your digestive system in good shape. I’ve been wanting to make my own sauerkraut for years, and this recipe is simple enough that I’m finally going to try it.

Recipe: Home-Fermented Sauerkraut

Recipe adapted from THE CLEAN PLATES COOKBOOK © 2012 by Jared Koch with Jill Silverman Hough, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

Advice from Jared Koch: Be sure that all your equipment-utensils, containers, dish towels, hands-is scrupulously clean at every point in the process, including your tasting of the sauerkraut during the fermentation process. Also, use fine sea salt in this recipe, because iodized table salts have additives that can affect the fermentation process.


Makes 4 to 5 cups

10 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided

2 pounds green cabbage, cored and shredded finely


In a bowl or measuring cup, combine 5 teaspoons of the salt with 4 cups of lukewarm water, stirring to dissolve the salt. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, remaining 5 teaspoons of salt, stirring to thoroughly combine. Transfer to a large, nonreactive container, packing it down. Let stand for 15 minutes, so the cabbage can release some of its juices.

Check to see if the juices are enough to cover the cabbage. If not, add enough of the salt water mixture to cover. Cover the top of the cabbage with a double layer of cheesecloth, tucking it in at the edges. Set a plastic, glass, or ceramic plate on top of the cabbage, ideally one that fits just inside the container, to keep the cabbage submerged. Place something heavy on top of the plate, such as a bowl or a lidded jar filled with water.

Cover the entire setup loosely with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside in a cool place (no warmer than 75°F) for 3 to 6 weeks, checking the sauerkraut a few times a week to skim any foam from the surface and rinse the plate. When the bubbling stops, the fermentation is complete and the sauerkraut is done, although you can taste it any time during the process, and if it’s done to your liking, it’s done.

Transfer the sauerkraut to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator.

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray