Holiday Cooking with Chef Barbara Rich -

The Natural Gourmet Institute’s health-supportive, plant-based career curriculum is now exclusively offered at the Institute of Culinary Education. Learn more about career training in Health-Supportive Culinary Arts at the new Natural Gourmet Center at ICE. Click here

Recreational classes, certificate programs, and Friday Night Dinners will continue through March 2019 at NGI’s Flatiron location. We have a lot of exciting programs scheduled, which are sure to sell out! We look forward to having the NGI community be a part of the final programs on 21st Street.

Healthy holiday cooking

Healthy Holiday Cooking with Chef Barbara Rich

Posted December 15, 2015

On December 6, 2015, our very own Chef Barbara Rich appeared on CBS Sunday morning news to discuss how to make holiday cooking a little healthier. Click here to watch the full segment and get the complete recipes below.


(Yield: 4-6 servings)

  • ½ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut into ¼” slices
  • ½ pound cauliflower (about ½ head) , cut into small florets
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 ounce fresh oregano, leaves picked and chopped
  • ½ ounce parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.  Turn heat up to high and sauté until lightly browned and tender, 5-6 minutes, tossing occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet. Add mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  3. Return Brussels sprouts and cauliflower to skillet and stir in herbs. Turn heat back down to medium and sauté for 1-2 more minutes.
  4. Season with salt, and serve.


(Yield: 4-6 servings)

  • 1 pound green beans
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons agave syrup
  • ¼ cup white wine or champagne vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until almost tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain green beans and run under cold water until completely cooled to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add onion and cook until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add cooked green beans to skillet and stir in agave and vinegar. Cook for 3-5 minutes. (Beans will turn army green because of the vinegar).
  4. Season with salt to taste. Serve warm.


(Yield: 20-24 cookies)

  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup ice water
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Whisk together flours, sesame seeds, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oil and water. Fold into the flour mixture and stir until just mixed.  Do not overwork.
  4. Turn dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper and cover with another sheet. Roll to a 1/8” thickness.
  5. Press out cookies using a 2 1/2” diameter cookie cutter. Using a small spatula, transfer cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies are lightly golden, 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through cooking.


(Yield: One 9-inch tart)

  • 1 9-inch store-bought pie crust (sold in the freezer section)
  • 5 cups pecans, divided
  • ¾ cup rice syrup, or ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 heaping teaspoon arrowroot, or 2 teaspoons organic corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place 4 cups pecans on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Place toasted nuts into a food processor and into a fine meal. Add syrups, arrowroot and vanilla. Pulse to combine.
  4. Roll out pie crust and fit into a 9” pie dish, trimming access edges with a knife.
  5. Pour filling into pie shell. Arrange remaining pecans in a circular design on the top of the filling. Bake until crust is golden brown, 40-45 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before serving. Tart is best served the day after baking.


(Yield: 4-6 servings)

  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, cut into ¼” thick slices
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock (if store-bought, use low sodium)
  • ½ cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 ounce parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. In a large bowl, combine onion, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, turkey or chicken, and egg.
  2. Divide mixture into 2-tablespoon sized round meatballs and place on a tray.
  3. Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook until browned on all sides, shaking the pan to roll around the meatballs as needed.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook until they have released their juices.
  5. Sprinkle in flour, then add the stock. Using a wooden spoon, carefully stir to combine the flour and stock.  Sauce should begin to thicken within a few minutes.
  6. Allow mixture to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Turn heat off, and stir in the yogurt, parsley and honey.
  8. Serve warm.