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Food Truck Fare Made Healthy

Mobile food vendors have moved beyond mystery street meat and soggy pretzels. These days food trucks are better known for their inventive takes on global cuisines, from falafel to gyros to fresh-pressed juices. However that's not to say street food is a particularly healthy choice, as many options are still fried, processed, or filled with tons of sugar.

Fortunately some food truck owners are challenging that conception with their lightened-up versions of typical street treats. Recreate these recipes from the owners and operators of three popular New York City food trucks that are known for their healthy options at home, and enjoy your favorites without hitting the streets.

Cold Brew Squeezuccino

Serving fresh-pressed juices, raw gourmet meals, and healthy snacks, The Squeeze relies on organic, non-GMO, and local ingredients whenever possible. Plus the truck is biodiesel-fueled, the first of its kind in NYC. On the next hot summer day, skip the sugar-laden coffee shop drinks and sip this instead to cool down and perk up.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

4 1/2 ounces coarsely ground coffee (about 1 3/4 cups)

3 1/2 cups cold alkalized water

1/4 cup soaked and rinsed cashews

4 dates

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1. Place coffee grounds in a 2-quart pitcher, add water, and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let steep at room temperature for at least 12 hours.

2. Line a fine-mesh strainer with a standard coffee filter and fit it over a medium bowl. Working in batches, slowly pour coffee into filter until all liquid has passed through (coffee will pass through in a slow stream, don’t force it through). Stop when you reach solids at the bottom of the pitcher (don’t pour them in). Discard grounds and contents of the strainer. Wash and dry pitcher. Transfer strained coffee into pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled (at least 2 hours).

3. Blend cashews with 1 2/3 cups cold brew coffee. Add dates and vanilla and blend until smooth.

Nutrition score per serving: 164 calories, 3g fat, 14g carbs, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 12mg sodium, 19g sugars

Moroccan Chicken Burger

The Rouge Tomate Cart in the Park, a mobile outpost of the eponymous NYC restaurant, brings local, seasonal, and healthy options to busy New Yorkers and tourists alike. The team focuses on selecting fresh, sustainable ingredients and employing cooking techniques that not only prepare delicious food but also preserve its integrity and nutritional qualities.

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

For Moroccan spice mix

2 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika

2 tablespoons ground fennel seed

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/4 teaspoons sugar

For mint yogurt

1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 pinch salt

For sauteed peppers and onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup sliced red peppers

1 cup sliced yellow peppers

2 cups sliced yellow onions

1 pinch salt

For burgers

1 3/4 pounds ground chicken

7 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

5 teaspoons Moroccan spice mix

2 tablespoons harissa

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon oil

6 whole-wheat hamburger buns

6 tomato slices

1 cup arugula

Directions:

1. To make Moroccan spice mix, combine all ingredients and set aside.

2. To make yogurt, mix all ingredients and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain through fine mesh strainer (if too thick, thin out with 1 tablespoon water).

3. To make peppers and onions, heat oil in large sauté pan over high heat. Add peppers and onions, season with salt, and sweat for about 5 minutes until tender.

4. To make burgers, combine chicken with garlic, cilantro, Moroccan spice mix, and harissa. In a separate bowl, mix panko and whole milk and let sit for at least 2 minutes before adding to chicken mix. Form mixture into 6 patties.

5. Heat oil in a medium sauté pan over low heat. Sauté burgers for 5 to 6 minutes per side, flipping once, until internal temperatures reaches 165 degrees and both sides are browned evenly. Spread mint yogurt on 6 bun halves. Top each burger with 1 tomato slice, arugula leaves, and sautéed peppers and onions mixture.

Nutrition score per serving: 400 calories, 16g fat (3g fat), 38g carbs, 30g protein, 6g fiber, 600mg sodium

Ginger Sweet Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Chef Rocco DiSpirito's healthy Now Eat This! Truck brings fresh food and nutrition education to kids in need.This makeover of the traditional Chinese chicken dish has all the tasty ginger flavor and a touch of sweetness, but less sugar and sodium.

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

4 cups broccoli florets

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into medium-size chunks

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1-inch knob fresh ginger, cut into disks and smashed

1/4 cup sugar-free apricot preserves

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon garlic-chili sauce (such as Huy Fong)

2 cups cooked brown rice

Directions:

1. Place broccoli in a microwave-safe dish with water. Cover with a microwave-safe plate or plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add 1 teaspoon canola oil and chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook chicken until both sides are browned, about 2 minutes per side. Move chicken to perimeter of pan and add remaining oil to center. Add ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add apricot preserves and soy sauce. Stir together and bring to a simmer. Drain broccoli and add to pan. Toss together, then add cilantro and garlic-chili sauce. Serve with brown rice.

Nutrition score per serving: 298 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated), 33g carbs, 30g protein, 4g fiber, 702mg sodium.