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Culinary Medicine – Resources for Patients and Clinicians

Culinary medicine is the practice of helping patients use nutrition and good cooking habits to restore and maintain health. It's a new field that combines important scientific principles related to nutrition, behavior and medicine.

Culinary medicine offers a simple approach to understand how food and cooking relate to personal health, habits, and health care goals. It is an important self-care tool studied by medical professional and implemented at the practitioner level to better counsel patients and improve health outcomes. 

To help you get started on your journey to better health, we have several recipes that follow the principles of culinary medicine. These meals and snacks are delicious and easy to make. Try them all and share with your family, friends and doctors!

We also have instructional cooking videos with tips to help you make cooking easy and fun, as well as a series of interviews with our culinary medicine and lifestyle medicine experts. Watch them all to learn more about how culinary medicine can help you and others be healthy. 

Culinary Medicine Recipes

Recipe 1: Bulgur and Blueberry Salad

Serving size: 3/4 cup
Serves 6

Ingredients

½ cup coarse bulgur
½ cup boiling water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup chopped arugula
4 tablespoons chopped spring onions
1 medium Lebanese cucumber, cut into small cubes
1 medium carrot, cut into small cubes
½ cup blueberries
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

In a small heatproof bowl, mix together bulgur and boiling water. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes, until water is absorbed.

Mix oil, lemon juice, arugula and spring onions into bulgur, and let sit. Mix cucumber, carrot and blueberries into the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

PrinT Directions

Recipe 2: Mixed Bulgur and Lentils

Serving size: 1/2 cup
Serves 10

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup cooked bulgur (see Bulgur and Blueberry Salad recipe)
1 cup green lentils, picked over and rinsed
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions

Place lentils in a small pot, and add water with a pinch of salt to cover the lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain lentils and set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice, and sauté for 1 minute. Add bulgur and lentils, salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with parsley before serving.

Print Directions

Recipe 3: Orange Lentil Salad

Serving size: 1/2 cup
Serves 8

Ingredients

7 ounces split orange lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 pinches salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tablespoons chopped spring onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into ½ inch cubes

Directions

Place lentils in a small pot, and add water with a pinch of salt to cover the lentils. Bring to a boil over medium heat; then immediately remove from heat and drain. Rinse lentils in cold water and drain in a colander.

Transfer lentils to a salad bowl. Add lemon juice, oil, garlic, mint, parsley, and cucumber cubes. Let sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature for flavors to blend. Add salt and pepper before serving.

Print Directions

Recipe 4: Lentil Dip

Serving size: 3 table spoons
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 cup cooked green lentils (see Middle Eastern Mixed Rice and Lentils recipe)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
½ lemon, squeezed
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnishing 

Directions

Transfer lentils, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor and puree. Serve and garnish with parsley.

Print Directions

Recipe 5: Mushroom and Lentil Salad

Serving size: 1/2 cup
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 cup cooked green lentils (see Middle Eastern Mixed Rice and Lentils recipe)
1 cup sliced baby portabella mushrooms
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons chopped spring onion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together lentils, mushrooms, spring onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well and add the soy sauce and sesame oil.

Print Directions

Recipe 6: Black Beans with Cauliflower Sauce

Serving size: 1/2 cup + 2 table spoon of sauce
Serves 8

Ingredients

Beans:
1.5 cup black beans, picked over and rinsed
Pinch salt

Cauliflower cream sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water
½ cauliflower, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped walnut
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

In a medium wide pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and walnut and sauté 3 minutes until brownish. Mix in, cauliflower, water, and cardamom, and cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes until cauliflower is soft. Add lemon and cook another minute. Transfer to food processor and puree.

Place black beans in a medium pot, and add water with a pinch of salt to cover the lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, until beans are soft. Drain beans and set aside. Serve with the cauliflower sauce and garnish with parsley.

Print Directions

Recipe 7: Grilled Zucchini

Serving size: 1/2 cup
Serves 10

Ingredients

Zucchini:
6 firm medium zucchini, sliced diagonally into thin rounds
Pinch sea salt
Pinch ground black pepper

Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Directions

Prepare zucchini: Season zucchini rounds with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, roast zucchini rounds for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until dark lines appear. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, garlic, and mint. Pour over zucchini rounds, and mix to coat. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving, to allow flavors to blend.

Print Directions

Recipe 8: Banana and Mint Granita (“Ice Cream”)

Serving size: 2 scoops
Serves 8

Ingredients

6 medium bananas, peeled, quartered, and frozen
2 tablespoon chopped mint
4 seedless grapes, frozen

Directions

Remove bananas from freezer and defrost at room temperature for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, add the chopped mint and process until smooth.

Remove grapes from freezer and cut into halves, then slice thinly. To serve, scoop pureed bananas with a small ice cream scoop and top with grape slices.

Print Directions

Recipe 9: Steamed Green Beans with Cauliflower Sauce

Serving size: 1/2 cup + 2 table spoons of sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
½ cup cauliflower sauce (see black beans with cauliflower cream sauce)
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
Pinch salt
Pinch ground black pepper

Directions

Transfer the cauliflower sauce to a medium pot and warm at a low heat.

Transfer green beans to a steamer basket and season with salt and pepper. Boil 2 inches of water in a pot, and place steamer basket on pot. Cover steamer basket and steam for 5 minutes until fish is soft. Transfer to serving dish, add sauce and garnish with the black sesame seeds.

Print Directions

Cooking at Home Instructional Videos

The following instructional videos provide tips that make healthy cooking at home easy and more manageable. Each video discusses several techniques that can help you make the dishes above. 

Interviews on Culinary Medicine

Learn more about culinary medicine and the benefits it can bring to your life from Chef Rani Polak, MD and Liana Lianov, MD, MPH. They describe how culinary medicine as a self-care tool can be implemented at the practitioner level and practiced by patients to improve health outcomes. 

Culinary Medicine CME

The Culinary Medicine elective (1.5 CME) provides a food is medicine perspective with a focus on practical aspects of what patients face day-to-day when trying to make substantive lifestyle changes. The emphasis is on provider education that seeks to incorporate self-care while counseling and empowering patients to make and sustain healthier food choices through shopping and meal preparation.

The elective encourages and promotes the personal adoption of culinary medicine so that providers are more likely to prescribe the methods to their patients. Also reviewed is the comprehensive knowledge of nutrition and the culinary techniques to prepare food that is consistent with low income to moderate budgets, time constraints, and nutritional ideals related to a high fiber plant based diets.

The instructional videos above summarize key points that clinicians can learn about home cooking and reinforce with patients during discussions about home cooking. The faculty interview videos are likely to be most helpful to patients who are thinking about home cooking, but have not started. The recipe videos are helpful to patients starting home cooking and needing clear demonstrations.

Access Course

This Culinary Medicine CME activity is made possible by a generous grant from the Ardmore Institute of Health and will serve as an elective of the Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program offered by the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACLM) and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM). The evidence-based online program is designed to provide a comprehensive foundation for doctors as well as nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dietitians, health coaches, and other allied health professionals with an interest in learning the basic foundational principles of lifestyle medicine. Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is available for select medical specialties.

We also encourage you to subscribe to our Lifestyle Medicine newsletter for updates about the Culinary Medicine elective and other educational opportunities provided by ACPM and our partners.

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