If you had to pinpoint the biggest barrier to following a healthy diet, what would it be? Perhaps it's the time to source organic food, the price of quality ingredients, or the intel to know what to cook with them. That's exactly the problem chef Lily Simpson set out to solve when she launched The Detox Kitchen. Goop dubs the service "quite simply the OG (and best) health food and detox delivery service in London," which has a strong celebrity following including Gwyneth Paltrow and Elle Macpherson.
Thankfully, you don't have to be a celebrity or based in the UK to follow her lauded detox plan. This July, Simpson launches Detox Kitchen Vegetables, a guide to cooking with 33 essential fresh ingredients. "Vegetables contain a huge array of essential vitamins and minerals," she says, which is why each recipe champions a hero ingredient from fava beans and bok choy to okra and radish. Each recipe is also free from dairy, wheat, and refined sugar, making them an ideal choice to detox and debloat in the lead-up to summer.
Load up on these three "detox foods" and follow Simpson's easy recipes to make eating healthy a breeze.
In addition to adding floury, nutty flavor to a dish, fava beans are also packed with protein and fiber. "The beans are also rich in both folate and B vitamins, which we need for healthy nerves and peak energy levels," Simpson explains in her new cookbook. Young beans can be eaten or used straight from the pod, but if beans are older, she recommends removing the tough skin, which is called "double podding."
Fava bean bruschetta
A handful of fresh mint, leaves picked
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tbsp. soya yogurt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 to 1 1/2 pound fresh fava beans in their pods
2 fresh tarragon sprigs, roughly chopped
A handful of sunflower seeds
For the bruschetta
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small loaf rye bread, preferably thick crust, cut into 4 slices lengthways
Olive oil for drizzling
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Cut the cucumber in half. Peel one half, cut it in half lengthways, and scoop out the seeds. Finely chop the peeled cucumber, mint, and garlic together and mix with the yogurt. Add the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Reserve the other cucumber half.
Shell the fava beans (you want about 1 cup shelled beans). Bring a pan of water to the boil. Drop in the beans and cook for one minute, and then drain and rinse under cold water. Pop the beans out of their skins by gently squeezing. Place in a bowl and add the tarragon. Crush the beans with a fork.
Toast the sunflower seeds in a small dry frying pan until golden.
Run the prongs of a fork down the sides of the reserved cucumber half. Cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds, then cut across into half-moons.
Set a ridged griddle/grill pan on a high heat. For the bruschetta, rub the garlic over the rye bread and drizzle with oil. Place the slices on the hot pan and toast/char them on both sides.
One of Simpson's favorite vegetables to cook with, eggplants are also low in fat and a great source of nutrition. "[They're] deep purple in color because they contain a phytochemical called nasunin, an antioxidant that has been linked to the protection of lipids that help the brain to function and also to lowering so-called 'bad' cholesterol," she explains.
Baked eggplant with preserved lemon yogurt
2 large eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
2 tbsp. tamari
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 preserved lemons, roughly chopped
3 pinches of saffron threads
1 cup soya yogurt
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Ingredients for garnish:
A small bunch of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
1 red chili pepper, sliced
2 tbsp. cashew nuts, toasted and chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Spread the eggplant rounds on the baking tray. Whisk together the tamari, honey, and sesame oil in a bowl and pour evenly over the eggplant. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until soft and golden.
Meanwhile, put the preserved lemons, saffron, yogurt, and a pinch each of salt and pepper
in a food processor and blitz until the yogurt has turned a deep yellow and is smooth.
The majority of vegetable recipes Simpson spotlights in her cookbook are savory, so this rhubarb dessert is a welcome sweet-yet-tart addition. The vegetable is a good source of fiber and calcium, which is "vital throughout life, to ensure good bone and teeth development and health," she says.
Rhubarb granita and banana ice cream sundae
3 very ripe bananas
4 cups rhubarb, roughly chopped
3 tbsp honey
1/2 cup of water
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
A pinch of flaked sea salt
Peel the bananas, then put them into a freezer bag and leave in the freezer overnight.
To make the granita, put the rhubarb and 2 tablespoons honey in a saucepan with the water and simmer for 15 minutes until the rhubarb is soft. Tip into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour the mixture into a shallow freezerproof container and place in the freezer. After 30 minutes, check the mixture and use a fork to stir in any that has frozen at the edges. Repeat this process four or five times until the granita is semi-frozen all over with a granular texture and you are able to scrape off soft spoonfuls.
Toast the pecans in a dry frying pan until they are slightly browned. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining honey and the salt. Tip the nuts on to parchment paper and leave to cool.
Remove the bananas from the freezer and put them into a food processor. Blitz until completely smooth and thick. This should take three to five minutes.
Kick-start your detox diet by stocking up on these kitchen essentials.
Next up: This ultimate morning routine helps your body detox.