Top chefs share their favorite recipes for nutritious late-night nosh!
You might follow the perfect healthy diet all day long, but when late-night hunger strikes, a bad snacking decision is a quick way to throw your hard work out the window. These famous chefs reveal what they cook to satisfy their post-dinner hunger pangs, while still keeping calories in check.
"Butternut squash provides dietary fiber, which is essential for losing weight," Avanti says. "This soup is a great way to boost your fiber intake if you did not get enough throughout the day. Although it has a subtle hint of sweetness, it's low in sugar. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for reducing water retention."
1 strip bacon, diced small
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 med. onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/4 lbs. butternut squash, cubed
4 c. chicken stock or broth
2 tsp. chipotles in adobo, minced
14 oz. white sweet corn
4 tbsp. low-fat Greek yogurt
1 bunch fresh sage
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
In a large soup pot, fry bacon pieces and remove with a slotted spoon, leaving remaining bacon grease. Next, add olive oil and saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Add squash, broth, and chipotles in adobo and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes. Add corn and continue to boil for 5 more minutes. Using an immersion blender or an upright blender, puree soup leaving some chunks or until you reach your desired consistency. Garnish with a teaspoon of Greek yogurt, a few bacon bits, and fresh sage.
Makes 8 1 1/2 c. servings.
Photo by Neil Hazle.
"Avocado in a milkshake might sound unusual, but in Vietnam it's a traditional treat that you can order in local restaurants," Iserloh says.
1/2 ripe Hass avocado
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. skim milk
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until smooth and serve over ice.
Makes 2 servings.
"The simplicity of this egg salad makes it perfect for late night snacks," English says. "Choose a delicious multi-grain or homemade wheat bread and toast it for extra crunch."
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. red onion, finely diced
3 celery ribs, finely diced
3 hard-cooked large eggs, peeled and chopped
2 bacon slices, thick, cooked, and coarsely chopped
4 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
2 large leaves romaine lettuce
Stir together first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir in onion and celery. Add eggs and bacon; stir gently. Spread toast slices with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Top each of toast slices with about 3/4 c. egg salad, a lettuce leaf, and another toast slice.
4 12-in. flour tortillas
1/2 c. cheddar, grated
1/4 c. mozzarella, grated
1/2 c. queso blanco, grated
3 med. fully ripe avocados
1/4 c. lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/3 c. cilantro, freshly chopped
1 med. shallot, minced
1 tbsp. roasted garlic
1 sm. jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tsp. salt
Lay out 2 of the flour tortillas on a flat surface. Top with the cheeses, spreading evenly over the tortillas. Top with remaining tortillas and press to seal. Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and lower the heat to medium. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the other quesadilla. Let cool for 5 minutes. Slice into 8 or 10 pieces. Serve with the guacamole.
Halve one avocado, remove pit and scoop flesh into medium bowl. Repeat with remaining avocados. Pour lime juice over avocado flesh. Using a fork or potato masher, mash lightly until mixture is still a little chunky. Stir in cilantro, shallot, roasted garlic, jalapeno, and salt. Guacamole can be made ahead and covered with plastic wrap and kept refrigerated for up to 8 hours. Return to room temperature before serving.
"I love having a bunch of cauliflower in my kitchen," Schenker says. "It's quick and easy, yet so satisfying and healthy even in the midnight hour. I never go to sleep guilty after eating this dish."
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
1.5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp. pine nuts
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss cauliflower in olive oil. Bake cauliflower in oven for 10 minutes until soft. After 10 minutes, turn oven to broil. Sprinkle parmesan and pine nuts on cauliflower. Watch for 3-5 minutes until cauliflower is almost burnt. Remove from oven and place in bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and add sea salt to taste.
2 oz. Manchego cheese
1/2 bulb fennel
1 Granny Smith apple
2 ea Fennel fronds
Cut the Manchego into batons about 2 in. x 1/4 in. Slice the fennel thinly, preferably using a mandolin. Cut the apple in half. Cut one half into 1/4 in. dice. Thinly slice the second half, preferably using a mandolin. Combine olive oil and vinegar with a little salt to make a simple vinaigrette. Toss the cheese, fennel, apples, and walnuts with the vinaigrette. Garnish with fennel fronds and sprinkle with chives.
4 egg whites
Handful baby spinach
1 tbsp. feta, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
Use a non-stick pan coated with non-stick spray. Gently pour in and cook the 4 egg whites over medium heat. Add a handful of baby spinach, cook in eggs until wilted. Add one tbsp. crumbled feta cheese and fold omelet or simply serve scrambled. Salt & pepper to taste.
Makes 1 serving.
"Air-popped popcorn is naturally loaded with fiber," Cora says. "It's sugar-free, low in calories and fat, and contains no sodium. This tropical pop uses agave, which gives a little sweetness but is less refined and lower on the glycemic index than white sugar or corn syrup."
1 bag (2.9 oz.) microwave popcorn, cooked according to package directions
1 c. raisins
1/2 c. dried apricots, chopped
1/2 c. dried cranberries and/or cherries
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup, honey, or agave nectar
2 tbsp. butter or butter soft spread
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. pecans, walnuts and/or peanuts, finely chopped
1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
In large bowl sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, combine popcorn with all dried fruits, and set aside. In medium saucepan over low heat, combine sugar with corn syrup, and once melted, stir in butter, baking soda, all nuts, cinnamon, and sunflower seeds and stir until well combined. Carefully drizzle mixture over popcorn and fruit, stirring constantly, until popcorn and fruit are coated. Cool completely before serving.
Makes about 10 cups.
"It doesn't take much effort to make a store-bought soup mix healthier," Tsai says. "I add whatever fresh vegetables I have on hand. Spinach, cabbage, mesclun, and slaw mix are ideal since they don't take long to cook. I find meat to be too heavy late at night. Eggs are a lot easier to digest and a great source of protein."
1 pckg. instant ramen noodle soup
Big handful vegetables*
Hot sauce to taste
In a large saucepan, prepare ramen noodle soup according to directions on package. Halfway through cooking the noodles, add the vegetables. When noodles are cooked through, reduce heat to low, add seasoning packet and stir. Then carefully crack eggs into pan. Gently simmer until egg whites are cooked through and yolks are still runny, about 3-4 minutes. Add hot sauce to taste. Gently ladle soup into serving bowl and garnish with sliced scallion greens if desired.
*Use whatever vegetables you happen to have in the refrigerator, such as baby spinach, mesclun mix, grated carrots, sliced red bell peppers and sliced scallions.
Makes 1 serving.
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
20 pods (6 oz.) English peas in pods
Coarse sea salt
In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chipotle chili powder and let it sizzle in the oil for about 20 seconds, stirring gently. Turn off the heat and let it infuse the olive oil while you prepare the peas. Simply blanch the peas in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes and toss in hot pan with the chipotle-infused olive oil.
"Even just a handful is incredibly satisfying with its crunchy texture and wide varieties of flavor," Christo says. "Plus, because you are making it from scratch, you see everything that goes into it, making it a lower-sodium, high-quality snack you can feel good about."
1/2 c. popcorn
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
4 c. Asian rice crackers
2 c. cranberries
1 c. Marcona almonds
1 c. wasabi peas
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. sesame seeds
In a large pot, combine the popcorn and oil over medium heat. When it begins to simmer, put a lid on it and cook until the popcorn is all done popping. Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the popcorn and toss. Put the lid back on the pot and let it sit for a minute. Empty the popcorn into a large bowl. Add the Asian rice crackers, cranberries, almonds, and wasabi peas. Toss everything together with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the snack mix and toss well.
Makes 16 cups.
2-3 slices wheat bread
Rotisserie chicken or grilled (prepared during the day or left over from earlier meal)
Hard-boiled eggs (avoid the yolk because of the fat content at this time of the day)
Lay your slice of bread and top it off with the hard-boiled egg, then spinach and tomatoes. Make sure to keep the moisture away from your bread in order to not make your sandwich soggy, especially if you prep it a few hours prior to consumption. Add the rotisserie chicken. If you just came back from the gym and you want something a little more caloric, spread 2 tbsp. unsalted peanut butter on your bread.