Photos by Rita Maas
Delicious Living recipes—a top reason readers tell us they pick up the magazine at their natural products store—have been a resource for healthy food ideas for 20 years. You’ve probably got a few dog-eared pages you’ve cut out and kept yourself, favorite dishes that you love to make again and again. To honor our long-held vision to make health food delicious, we’ve collected a sampling of our best recipes, recommended by readers and staff.

Shiitake and Tomato Scallops
Serves 4 / Easy and delicious, this first appeared on our back page in June 2002, courtesy of James Rouse, ND, a member of our advisory board. “I love this dish because it uses healthy shellfish and it’s so quick—perfect for a weeknight,” said a reader.

1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
7-10 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained and sliced
1/4 cup white wine
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons capers
1 pound bay scallops
5-6 leaves fresh kale
1 cup arame (a dried sea vegetable)
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Sauté mushrooms in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes. Add next seven ingredients (lemon juice through capers) and simmer for 2 minutes. Add scallops and sauté for an additional 5–7 minutes or until scallops are fully cooked.

2. While scallops are cooking, in a large pot sauté kale, arame, and garlic in 2 teaspoons olive oil for 1–2 minutes. Transfer kale to a serving plate. Pour scallop mixture over kale and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 2634 calories
% fat calories: 40
Fat: 12g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 37mg
Protein: 23g
Carbohydrate: 17g
Fiber: 7g
Sodium: 462mg

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Citrus and Mascarpone
Serves 10–12 / Contributed by Sarah Stegner, dining room chef of the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago, this fantastic side dish appeared in November 2003 and quickly became a reader favorite. “It’s now something we make for every holiday dinner,” said a devotee. Keep the purée’s consistency very light, not thick like mashed potatoes.

4 pounds (or 6-8 medium-large) sweet potatoes, to yield 2 pounds cooked sweet potato pulp
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
8 ounces mascarpone, divided
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 whole orange
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh chervil

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake sweet potatoes until a fork can be inserted easily, about 1 hour. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and carefully scrape pulp out of skins, leaving about 1/8 inch of potato lining the skin.

2. In a food processor, combine cooked pulp, orange juice, and 4 ounces mascarpone. Purée just until mixed. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

3. Refill sweet potato skins with purée. Heat through for 15 minutes at 375°. Preheat broiler. Dollop remaining mascarpone on top of each potato. Place underneath broiler just until mascarpone begins to brown. Watch carefully to avoid burning.

4. Using a fine zester, grate zest from one orange over potato halves and garnish with chopped chervil. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (1/2 potato):
Calories: 185 calories
% fat calories: 51
Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 8g
Cholesterol: 31mg
Protein: 3g
Carbohydrate: 20g
Fiber: 2g
Sodium: 21mg

Zucchini Salad with Lemon and Mint
Serves 4 / Provided by chef and organic champion John Ash for our September 2002 issue, this recipe was chosen to appear in the collection Best American Recipes 2003–2004 (Houghton Mifflin, 2003), whose editors said that it “transforms zucchini from a rather weary summer vegetable into a lively salad.” A flavorful olive oil is a must for this recipe.

1-1/2 pounds zucchini, cut crosswise into 2-inch chunks
4 tablespoons fragrant extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium white onion (about 8 ounces), sliced
2 tablespoons slivered fresh garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (1 large lemon)
1 tablespoon each chopped fresh mint and parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges and whole-milk yogurt, to garnish

1. Steam zucchini until it’s just softened but still bright green, 8–10 minutes. With a fork, mash zucchini in a colander to press out as much water as possible. Zucchini will look very roughly chopped. Set aside.

2. In a sauté pan, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and cook onion and garlic over moderate heat until crisp-tender and just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, then gently stir in zucchini and lemon zest.

3. Turn mixture into a bowl and stir in mint, parsley, and remaining olive oil. Season to taste with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Serve at room temperature with lemon wedges (squeeze fresh juice over salad) and a dollop of yogurt. Can be prepared up to a day ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator; allow salad to come to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 173 calories
% fat calories: 68
Fat: 14g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 3g
Carbohydrate: 11g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 7mg

Spicy Kale-Almond Pesto and White-Bean Pasta
Serves 4 / This unusual dish, which appeared in December 2003, is wholeheartedly acclaimed by everyone who tries it. “My wife and I know that eating kale is important, but we could never really find a way to cook it that we enjoyed,” said one fan. “We absolutely love this; it’s become one of our ‘go-to’ meals.”

1 bunch kale, washed and drained
4 ounces dried penne pasta
1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted
1-1/2 tablespoons garlic (about 5 large cloves)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of two lemons, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 19-ounce can white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut lower stems from kale. Steam kale over 2 quarts boiling water for 5–7 minutes, until tender. Transfer to a colander to drain. Do not discard water. Add pasta to water on stove and return to a boil, stirring. When pasta is al dente, drain.

2. Meanwhile, place almonds in a food processor and process until well chopped. Add garlic, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and juice of one lemon. Carefully squeeze water from steamed kale and remove leaves from stems; discard stems. Pat leaves dry with paper towels and chop roughly. Pat dry again and add to food processor. Process until all ingredients are finely minced. With motor running, add 2 tablespoons olive oil in a stream until a thick pesto is formed.

3. In a medium bowl, toss beans with juice of one lemon and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

4. In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper flakes and fry for about 1 minute. Add kale-almond pesto and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. If pesto seems too thick, thin with a small amount of water. Add pasta and beans and toss gently until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with black pepper and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 465 calories
% fat calories: 39
Fat: 21g
Saturated Fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 19mg
Protein: 19g
Carbohydrate: 56g
Fiber: 10g
Sodium: 640mg

Rio Grande Quinoa and Corn
Serves 4–6 / You may know about quinoa now, but back when this recipe first appeared in May/June 1992, this supernutritious and delicate grain was still largely undiscovered. “I make this salad almost every year for our Memorial Day potluck,” said one Santa Fe reader. “People absolutely love it and ask for the recipe all the time.”

3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium tomato, diced
3 tablespoons minced red onion

1. To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro or parsley, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

2. Boil the water in a small saucepan and add corn; reduce heat and simmer until corn is tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

3. Return cooking liquid to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and cumin; cover and simmer about 10 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Remove quinoa from heat and set aside 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and transfer to a salad bowl; cool slightly. Add corn, black beans, tomato, and onion to quinoa. Toss with dressing and chill.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 268 calories
% fat calories: 40
Fat: 12g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 8g
Carbohydrate: 34g
Fiber: 7g
Sodium: 104mg

Mushroom “Giblet” Gravy
Makes 8 cups / Part of our November 1997 story “Southern Revival: A Vegan Thanksgiving,” this rich sauce won raves from an Ohio reader who says she fixes it every holiday.

2-1/2 cups diced onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
5 cups diced white mushrooms
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
3 cups plain soy milk
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 cups water

1. In a stockpot, sauté onions with oil and garlic for 5 minutes. Add herbs and salt; increase heat to medium-high. Cook for 1 minute.

2. Add mushrooms, tamari or soy sauce, and soy milk. Bring to a high simmer, but do not boil.

3. In a medium bowl, mix flour and water to a smooth consistency. Slowly stir mixture into the pot, whisking or stirring constantly until thickened, about 3–4 minutes.

4. Reduce heat to low and let gravy simmer for another 5 minutes.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (1/4 cup):
Calories: 31 calories
% fat calories: 40
Fat: 1g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 1g
Carbohydrate: 4g
Fiber: 1g
Sodium: 191mg
More blasts from the past
Look for these additional all-time favorites in the Recipes section:

Goat Cheese–Blackberry Tart
Serves 12 / Developed by James Rouse, ND, the contributor of monthly recipes that appear in our Update section, this healthy dessert was described as “outrageous” and “absolutely to die for” after it appeared in July 2004. The wheat-free, almond meal and date crust is a treat (look for almond meal in the baking section of your grocery store), and each slice is loaded with fiber and antioxidants—so don’t feel guilty when you indulge.

2 cups dates, pitted and chopped (about 20 large dates)
1 cup almond meal
1 egg white, slightly beaten

12 ounces goat cheese, softened
4 ounces low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cups blackberries
6 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1-1/2 tablespoons cold water

3 cups blackberries, for topping

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly coat a 10-inch tart pan with removable sides with cooking spray. Combine dates and almond meal in a food processor and pulse 15–20 times. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in egg white with a fork until incorporated. Press mixture onto tart pan bottom. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.

2. For the filling, beat goat cheese and cottage cheese with an electric mixer until fairly smooth. Add sugar, lemon zest, and juice and beat until smooth. (For extra-smooth consistency, do this step in a blender.) Spread cheese mixture evenly over cooled crust and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.

3. For the purée, place 2 cups berries in a blender or food processor and purée. Transfer to a small saucepan and cook on medium heat for 2–3 minutes. Add sugar; reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook another 5 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve arrowroot powder in cold water. Gradually add arrowroot mixture to berry mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

4. Spread cooled purée over cheese filling. Cover tart and keep refrigerated until serving time. Just before serving, arrange fresh berries on top. Slide a sharp knife around the inside edge of the pan and remove pan sides.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 314 calories
% fat calories: 30
Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 5g
Cholesterol: 13mg
Protein: 10g
Carbohydrate: 48g
Fiber: 8g
Sodium: 135mg