Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

VPR Cooks: Staff Recipes For A Healthy New Year

With so many cooks on the VPR staff, there are almost always exciting creations to share. So, we’re reviving our series VPR Cooks featuring recipes for dishes we love to make and share with each other.

This month we're featuring healthy recipes to start off the new year on a healthier note after all those holiday treats. Enjoy!

Lesli Blount's Warm White Beans With Roasted Fennel

It's comfort food without being heavy, and because it's gluten-free and vegetarian, it's a great recipe to have on hand to please everyone.  You can eliminate the bit of cheese it calls for to make it vegan.  This is a dish that holds up well as leftovers too.

  • 4 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Combine fennel, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper, and garlic in a large bowl; toss to coat fennel. Arrange fennel mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until fennel begins to brown. Stir; sprinkle cheese evenly over fennel mixture.  Bake an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown (But if you put a bit extra cheese on the pan and bake it to a crispy brown, it makes a lovely nibble while you're finishing up dinner.).

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add beans; cook 2 minutes or until heated. Add fennel mixture, spinach, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook 2 minutes; serve immediately.

Recipe from Cooking Light.

 Michelle Owens' Chunky Lentil Vegetable Soup

This recipe is on rotation year round - but especially when the holidays are over. I'll make a big batch over the weekend and bring it to work for lunch all week. It hits all the major requirements: First, it's healthy for when I've been gorging on too many cookies. Second, I pretty much always have the ingredients in the house and is very simple to make, for when I am too lethargic from eating all those cookies. Third, it is incredibly cheap, for when I feel broke after the holidays. And finally, for all its virtuous properties, it tastes so wonderful that I look forward to eating it and usually do a little happy dance while I'm heating it up.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ lb. (3-4) carrots
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (I use Better Than Bouillon) 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Cook both in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat until tender. Meanwhile, slice the celery and peel and slice the carrots. Add the celery and carrots to the pot and continue to sauté for about 5 more minutes.
  2. Drain the can of black beans and add it to the pot along with the dry lentils, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and some freshly cracked pepper (10-15 cranks of a pepper mill). Finally, add the diced tomatoes (with juices) and vegetable broth, and stir to combine.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and allow the pot to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low, place a lid on top, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, test the lentils to make sure they are tender. If not, continue to simmer until they are tender.
  4. Taste the soup and add salt as needed. Serve hot.

Recipe from Budget Bytes.

Jean Murphy's Coconut-Curry Chicken Soup
This soup is the perfect antidote to the rich holiday food we've been eating.  For a gluten-free version, rice noodles work just as well.

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 (5 3/4-ounce) package pad thai noodles (wide rice stick noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 small hot red chiles, seeded and chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 7 lime wedges

1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add spinach and peas to pan; cook for 30 seconds. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Add noodles to pan; cook 3 minutes. Drain; add noodles to spinach mixture in bowl.

2. Heat canola oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and the next 5 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken, onions, sugar, and fish sauce to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Pour chicken mixture over noodle mixture in bowl. Stir in cilantro and chiles. Serve with lime wedges.

Recipe from Cooking Light.

What do you cook and eat when you need to get your diet back on track? Let us know in the comments, and happy new year!

Latest Stories