Celebrity Chef and cookbook author Ingrid Hoffmann has teamed up with the American Diabetes Association to publish a new diabetes cookbook—Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy—based on the foods she grew up with in the Caribbean. We asked her what inspired her to work on a diabetes cookbook and she shared her thoughts on the classic comfort foods from her childhood and the challenges—and ultimate rewards—of making “cheat meals” diabetes-friendly without sacrificing flavor.
Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy
"This book has all the classic Latin American recipes and comfort foods I grew up eating. However, as I embarked on bettering my health and eating cleaner foods, these became forbidden fruit that I could only have as a special treat or cheat meal.
Eventually, it became my mission and obsession to make these exact recipes healthier, so I could enjoy them on a regular basis. I entered the test kitchen with my team with the idea to alter and modify them to be easier and more modern, with better-for-you ingredients and techniques doable for the regular home cook. And yet, they still needed to taste as I knew them from my childhood. With smart tricks, lots of trial and error, and many exchanges, we finally made delicious winners everyone can enjoy as often as they want.
The beauty of this book is that you will be able to apply all my tips and tricks to your own recipes to open your world to a whole new way of cooking and eating.
I love all of the recipes from the book, but I would have to say that these three take the crown as my favorites:
If you love shepherd’s pie, you will love this Plantain Shepherd’s Pie! Itwas inspired by a Puerto Rican dish called pastelón that features fried plantains. I have always loved pastelón, but frying is not the healthiest way to eat plantain. I turned this dish into a healthy option by boiling the plantain and using very lean ground beef. Imagine enjoying a guilt-free shepherd’s pie—the ultimate comfort food—while still feeling energized, light, and satisfied from the combination of flavors and all that great fiber from the plantain.
Fried Chimichangas are a staple of TexMex cuisine, so I was determined to create a version that we could all enjoy without much guilt. And this Carnitas Baked Chimichanga does not disappoint! I actually prefer this version! Besides not frying, I think the trick is to limit the amount of toppings: believe me, just a little bit hits the spot perfectly.
I am not much of a dessert person, but sometimes we all need a bit of comfort, and this Arroz Con Leche is exactly that. It reminds me so much of my abuela (grandma) who made the best rice custard. I took to the challenge of recreating it with brown rice for extra fiber, and without sugar. I think I passed with flying colors, if I do say so myself!"
Find these recipes and more in Ingrid's cookbook, Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy/Clásicos latinos a lo saludable, which is published in English and Spanish. To order directly from the American Diabetes Association, click here.