April 22, 2016

The Naked Cookbook: Bare and Bold

By cancerconnect

Sustainable nutrition deliciously delivered is the goal of Tess Ward’s collection of recipes. 

Classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu, Tess Ward has com­bined her professional culinary training with her expe­rience on staff in the kitchens of some of London’s best restaurants and her insight as a certified health coach to create a collection of recipes that “celebrate unprocessed ‘naked’ ingredients and simple, stripped-back cooking.”

The Naked Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 2016; $24.99) reflects Tess’s journey toward developing sustaining recipes that boost health and well-being in the wake of health challenges that left her seeking a diet that was balanced and delicious but not restrictive. Ethnic flavors (Asian and Mediterranean shine) and nutrient-dense ingredients are highlighted in simple preparations for main dishes, sides, stocks, and sauces that are “efficient, practical, and packed full of taste.”

The recipes we share here—all one-bowl meals that limit prep time and dishwashing—illustrate Tess’s mission to offer home cooks go-to dishes that provide a range of nutrients through fresh, interesting combinations of flavor and texture.

—Diana Price



Soba Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Mango

This is undoubtedly best served cold and packed up for desktop lunches or picnics. For a more substantial main dish, add some grilled shrimp, which works wonders with the sweet mango and the earthy sesame dressing. For another option try it topped with a soft-boiled egg; the yolk on the noodles adds a deep, creamy richness to the dressing. Note that you’ll need a double recipe of the Tamari Dressing for this dish.

Serves 2 as a dinner or 4 as a snack

7 ounces soba noodles
1 cup Tamari Dressing (recipe follows)
1 small cucumber, cut into fine strips
Half large green mango, cut into fine strips
4 green onions, finely sliced
1 large green chile, minced
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
Small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped

To Make

Bring a large pan of water to a boil and add the noodles. When the water returns to a boil, add a cup of cold water, then repeat when the water comes to a boil again. Simmer vigorously for 4 to 5 minutes, until the noodles are still slightly al dente. Drain and rinse well under cold water, then place in a bowl and cover with cold water to prevent the noodles from getting sticky.

When ready to serve, drain the noodles and place in a bowl. Add half the dress­ing, the cucumber, mango, green onions, chile, and most of the sesame seeds and cilantro. Taste and adjust the dressing and seasoning.

Arrange on a platter or in individual bowls, top with the remaining sesame seeds and cilantro, and serve with the remaining dressing alongside.


If making ahead of time, mix 1 teaspoon of olive oil into the dish to prevent the noodles from sticking, and keep the dressing separate. Mix in the dressing just before eating.

Tamari Dressing

Possibly more vital than the dish itself is the dressing. Whether you are pouring, dipping, or drizzling it or using it as a condiment, it is great to have a selection in your repertoire. I often keep a couple of jars of my different naked dressings in the refrigerator for speedy use.

3 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon honey
Half garlic clove, minced
Pinch of finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Put the ingredients into a small jar, close the lid, shake well to mix, then season to taste. Store in a sealed jar in the refriger­ator for up to a week.

Makes about ½ cup


Yoga Bowl

This is the sort of restorative dish that your body yearns for after exercise. It is packed full of natural plant-based protein, including beta-carotene-rich sweet potato and nutty brown rice.

This is pure comfort in a bowl.

1¼ cups red lentils
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
Pinch of sea salt
5 cups vegetable stock
Scant 1 cup canned coconut milk
9 ounces sweet potato, peeled and cubed
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooked brown rice, for serving
Coconut Salsa (recipe follows), for serving

Wash the lentils until the water runs clear, then drain and put in a large pan.

Heat the oil in a skillet over low heat; add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, and curry powder and cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes to bring out their fragrances.

Add the onion and spices to the lentils with a pinch of salt. Stir in the stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.

Turn down the heat and simmer very gently, with the lid askew, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, until creamy. Add the sweet potato and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered, until the sweet potato is soft but not falling apart. Add a little water if necessary to achieve the preferred consistency, and season with pepper and more salt to taste.

Serve with a scoop of brown rice and a dollop of coco­nut salsa.

Serves 4

Coconut Salsa

This spicy salsa makes an ideal accom­paniment to soups. For a dairy-free version, swap the Greek yogurt for coconut yogurt.

1⅔ cups unsweetened shredded dried
1¾ cups plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 long green chile, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
½ teaspoon sea salt

Place the coconut in a bowl with 3 to 4 tablespoons hot water and let soften for 5 minutes. When water has absorbed, mix in the rest of the ingre­dients. Store salsa in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Makes about 2 cups


Summer Salad Bowl

The greens I use for this vary, depending on the season. In summer it is composed of raw salad greens, so the steaming might be only for a few green beans or a little chard, whereas in the winter, when I feel the need for warmth, more of the greens (broccoli, Tuscan kale, and kale) will be steamed. The Tahini Dressing works superbly, although there are many other options.

12 asparagus spears, woody ends broken off, or a handful of
green beans
1 cup fresh peas
1 small head broccoli, broken into florets
Big handful of kale, chard, or spinach
1 head baby Boston lettuce, for serving
½ cup watercress leaves, for serving
1 tablespoon chopped chives or cilantro, for serving
Tahini Dressing (recipe follows)

Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Place a steamer over a pan of simmering water.

Steam the vegetables one type at a time to avoid overcook­ing—when still crunchy, vegetables retain more of their goodness and are more pleasing in texture. Steam asparagus for 4 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness; green beans and peas for 2 to 3 minutes; broccoli florets for 2 to 4 minutes; and kale, chard, or spinach for 1 to 2 minutes.

Once cooked, plunge the steamed vegetables into the iced water (this will help retain their crispness and vibrant green color); or, if you wish to serve them hot, simply omit this step. Place the steamed vegetables in a serving bowl with the let­tuce and watercress. Drizzle with Tahini Dressing and sprinkle the herbs on top.

Tahini Dressing
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Half garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper (optional) 

Put the ingredients into a small jar, close the lid, shake well to mix, then season to taste. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Makes about ½ cup

Reprinted with permission from The Naked Cookbook by Tess Ward, © Copyright 2015 Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs © Copyright 2015 Columbus Leth.

The Naked Cookbook is available for sale here.

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