9 Easy Ways to Lighten Up Your Favorite Italian Recipes

9 Easy Ways to Lighten Up Your Favorite Italian Recipes

She’s traveled, she’s taught—and now cookbook author Elana Horwich is showing us how to make healthy Italian recipes (without giving up the good stuff).

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Chicken SorrentoCourtesy of Elana Horwich, Meal and a Spiel

We sat down with Elana Horwich, a self-described “adventurous Jewish girl who lived in Italy and returned to California,” to learn about her approach to healthy Italian cooking.

Her cookbook, Meal and a Spiel: How to Be a Badass in the Kitchen, features not only her recipes, but life lessons she’s learned through food and “classroom corners” to help you learn to trust your instincts in the kitchen.

Here are Elana’s tips for making healthy food you can feel good about.

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Caprese SaladCourtesy of Elana Horwich, Meal and a Spiel

Be authentic

You may be approaching Italian cooking from the wrong angle. “Italian food in Italy versus Italian-American food are very different,” Elana explains. “Italian food is actually really light—the portions are smaller, not everything has bread and cheese and it’s very vegetable-forward.”

When you’re searching for Italian recipes, consider your source. Find authentic recipes that call for Italian staples like fresh ingredients and quality olive oil.

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Sliced bread Ciabatta and rosemary on wooden backgroundLisovskaya Natalia/Shutterstock

Cool it on the carbs

Eating bread with pasta? Turns out that’s not how Italians do it. “Bread and pasta are not eaten together in Italy, EVER!” Elana says. “There’s a time and a place for carbs, and it’s called pasta.”

Carbs on top of carbs are an easy way to eat yourself uncomfortable. Next time you make your favorite pasta, focus on loading the sauce with love and flavor. Go ahead and skip the bread.

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