Tired of heavy, wintry food? Lighten up with these recipes.

Poached Egg Bowl
Photo by Keri White

Here are three satisfying, healthy and light meals. The poached egg “bowl” can be served for any meal and can incorporate a selection of whatever vegetables you have on hand. It is the favorite of my college-age daughter, who tends to appear in the kitchen around noon after a morning of virtual work from her bedroom.

Winter caprese offers a January version of the summer favorite. By reconstituting sundried tomatoes and using the heated tomato “tea” in the dressing, the salad avoids an overly summer vibe and delivers a bit of warmth. Both of these meals can be rounded out with crusty bread (or not) and can serve as a light main, or a side with other dishes for a more substantial meal.

Poached Egg Bowl

Serves 1
An interesting thing about this dish is the blending of cooked and raw veggies. My daughter is a fan of Brussels sprouts and avocados, so that is the selection described here. However, there is truly no limit to the options — you can use sauteed onions and white or sweet potatoes and top it with chopped fresh herbs or baby lettuces; cooked greens like spinach or kale topped with sprouts; or cooked broccoli topped with raw scallions.

The one slight downside is that you do need to use two pans — the skillet for the veggies and the saucepan for the poaching.


The egg
1 egg
1 teaspoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt

The vegetable base
Oil for spraying the pan
Pinch of salt, sprinkle of fresh cracked pepper
8 Brussels sprouts, stemmed and cut in half
½ ripe avocado, cut in chunks

Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce, to taste, if desired

Fill a 2-quart saucepan ¾ way with water; add the vinegar and salt, and bring it to a boil.

While you wait, heat a small skillet, coat it with a light spray of oil and sauté the Brussels sprouts with salt and pepper until done, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

When the water boils, lower it to a simmer and crack an egg into a small cup, then gently pour it into the simmering water. Remove the pan from the heat, cover the pan and allow the egg to cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes, depending on how firm you want it.

While the egg cooks, pour the Brussels sprouts into a bowl, then top them with the avocado and season as desired. When the egg is done, gently remove it from the water with a slotted spoon and place it atop the veggies. Drizzle with Sriracha, if desired, and serve immediately.

The Best Egg Salad

Serves 2
This is great served on a bed of lightly dressed lettuce or spooned onto rye bread.

3 large eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
½ teaspoon “everything but the bagel” seasoning

Place the eggs in a pan of cold water (be sure they are covered). Bring the water to a boil and remove it from the heat. Cover the pan and allow the eggs to sit, undisturbed, for 12 minutes. Remove them from the hot water, cool completely and chop coarsely. Place the eggs in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix, chill, if desired, and enjoy.

Winter Caprese Salad

Serves 1
I am a huge fan of the summer version of this salad — in-season, local heirloom tomatoes are almost an addiction. But this time of year we can enjoy an alternative version of the iconic dish.

By soaking the dried tomatoes in hot water, we soften them up and also siphon some of their intense flavor out into the water, or tomato “tea,” which adds flavor to the dressing. Also, drizzling a warm dressing over the salad makes this a little more appropriate for January.

This used the dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil, which saves some calories and cost, but you can certainly substitute those and skip the hot water step. If that is the case, just use the tomato oil for the salad in place of the olive oil and tomato tea.

If you can’t get burrata, or don’t like the creaminess seeping all over the greens, try fresh mozzarella instead.

8 sun-dried tomatoes cut in strips
½ cup boiling water
1 small head curly green leaf lettuce
(or your favorite type)
1 ball burrata cheese
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato tea
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the cut tomatoes in a bowl or measuring cup and cover them with boiling water. Allow them to sit for about 30 minutes for the tomatoes to soften and the water to absorb the tomato flavor.

Place the lettuce in a bowl.

Drain the tomatoes, saving the liquid, and toss them over the lettuce. Add a burrata ball or fresh mozzarella. In a small cup, mix the vinegar, tomato tea, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Drizzle it over the salad, toss and serve immediately.

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