A few days ago, someone asked me if my cookbook — Cookin' Crunk — would be SOS-free. My response? "What does that mean?"
And then, later on that same day, I picked up my review copy of Bravo! Health-Promoting Meals from the True North Kitchen by Ramses Bravo, and there on the front cover are these words, "SOS-Free (No Sugar, Oil, or Salt)." Ah, so that's what it means!
Well, I can tell you for certain that my recipes are NOT SOS-free. I like my oil. I like my salt. And I like my sugar. Those things make food taste good, and I believe they aren't too bad for you in moderation. And some oils can even have health benefits. But all that aside, I had a task — make something from the SOS-free Bravo! cookbook and write about it.
I have to admit that I was skeptical that any savory dish made without salt could taste good. I can do without oil sometimes, and sugar isn't a necessity. But salt? I mean, come on. Nevertheless, I had to give these recipes a try. So I chose to make this Brown Lentil Stew over Brown Rice:
Yes, it's probably the most basic recipe in here. But lentils just sounded good, especially topped with the recommended avocado. And you know what? There's so much seasoning (garlic powder, onion flakes) and chopped onions, leeks, celery, and shallots in here that it doesn't really need added salt. Someone on a salt-free diet could eat this and probably not miss too much. Confession: After taking a few bites, I did add a touch of salt in my bowl. I'm a salt addict, and asking me to remove salt altogether is really asking too much.
But the recipes in this book definitely sound great! And healthy! It's the kind of stuff you'd want to make after a long weekend of treating yourself to too much cake, French fries, and beer. Cleansing stuff, you know?
The Eggplant Cannelloni with Bravo Tomato Sauce is definitely on my list. He uses rolled eggplant slices in place of pasta cannelloni. Also on my list: Toasted Barley & Tomato Stew, Baked Plantains with Coconut-Vanilla Granola, Scrambled Tofu & Curried Potatoes, Pickled Vegetable Slaw (you can pickle that!), and Tofu and Tempeh Skewers with Roasted Garlic and Tamarind Glaze (what?! must make this!).
Anyway, SOS-free isn't really for me. I'd probably add some salt (and maybe a little oil) to all these recipes. But I like the basic healthy framework of the recipes, and I'm sure people on restricted diets would love this book!
By the way, Ramses Bravo is the executive chef at the True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, California. It's designed for people who need to change their diets and health with a quickness. And I think these recipes would work. So if you're looking for a healthy change, give this book a try.
Also, if you're looking to buy Cookin' Crunk, I've added a Paypal Buy Now button on the right side of this page. Click through to order. It's $19.95 plus shipping, and I'll sign your copy!