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Julia Turshen’s Cookbook Dishes Clean-Eating Comfort Food

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Weeknight Salmon Salad is one of 110 recipes in Turshen’s new book, Simply Julia, out March 2. Photo by Melina Hammer

With its mix of comfort and healthfulness, Hudson Valley author Julia Turshen’s Simply Julia is a must for flavor and nutrition in every bite.

When Hudson Valley-based cookbook author Julia Turshen turned in the draft of her latest cookbook, just weeks before COVID-19 shut down New York State, she had no idea how apt the concept would be. Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food, which Harper Wave releases on March 2, is exactly the type of book at-home cooks are yearning for after a year shaped by pandemic.

Stewed chicken with sour cream chive dumplings. Photo by Melina Hammer

Approachable recipes, many of which are weeknight-friendly, are organized into 10 chapters, including vegan one-pot meals, soups and stews, easy salad dressings and sauces, favorite breakfasts, make-ahead mains, and more. “In my recipes, if you can use one bowl instead of two, I’ll never tell you to use the extra bowl,” writes Turshen. “All of these recipes also use widely available, affordable ingredients. If I can’t find it within half an hour of my house (which is in a rural area), you won’t find it.”

And while dishes like Swedish Turkey Meatballs, Eighth Avenue Ropa Vieja, Triple Carrot Soup, Buffalo Brussels Sprouts, and Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes, aren’t diet food, they are mindful of readers’ health with an emphasis on whole grains, plant-forward recipes, and not overdoing it on the sugar. (Turshen’s wife, Grace, has type 1 diabetes.)

Photo courtesy of Harper Wave

“The recipes I make most often are Mustardy Cracker Crumb Fish, Best Vegan Chili, Roast Chicken with Onion Gravy, Creamy Roasted Tomato + Orzo Soup, White Pizza-style Kale, and Blueberry Crumble,” says Turshen. “We all define healthy food and comfort food in our own individual ways. For me, healthy comfort food, right now and always, is food that makes me feel…cared for. Now, more than ever, having food be a source of comfort and thoughtfulness makes me feel safe and secure. That’s worth a lot.”

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