When I have a family-pleasing recipe that works with my schedule, I hang on to it like the safety bar on the 5 p.m. roller coaster. But lately I’ve been rethinking the go-to ingredients that go into these recipes.
Grocery stores now carry an abundance of plant-based alternatives, many of which taste just as good as the original, all of which have significantly less cholesterol. I recently put some of my favorite dairy-free products to the test and made a no-cream cream sauce for Swiss chard.
Swiss chard is naturally low in calories and carbohydrates, and high in iron and vitamins A and C. With a few tweaks, Swiss chard works in most spinach recipes. Chard has a thick center stem, so separate the stems from the leaves and saute the stems first, then wilt the green leaves during the last minutes of cooking. If the chard is bitter, neutralize the bite with a splash of lemon juice or mild vinegar. You won’t taste the acid, just the deep savory notes that emerge.
While it’s tempting to pour some heavy cream over the chard and call it a day, a single tablespoon of cream has the same amount of fat (6 grams) as an entire cup of oat milk. Oat milk has no cholesterol, and an eighth of the calories found in cream. I thickened the oat milk into a creamy consistency using a vegan butter-based roux. These simple swaps slashed fat and calories, proving that even a favorite recipe can be improved.
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