Even the most devoutly health-conscious among us give themselves permission to let it all go during the holiday season; eating their weight in cookies and cakes, rib-sticking, slow-roasted everything, and, in the case of that seasonal specialty Turducken, birds stuffed inside other birds stuffed inside other birds. But there’s still a small window of opportunity to jump back on the able-bodied bandwagon between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so take a break from deep-fried mashed potato balls and chocolate-dipped, peanut butter pie, and let Brooklyn’s healthiest (and most eminently delicious) dishes literally tip the scale back in your favor.
No-Carb Pad Thai at SkyIce
Who needs the noodles? This temple of black sesame seaweed ice cream takes the art of invention to a whole other level with their fruit and veggie version of pad thai, substituting the pasta with papaya strips, mixed with bean sprouts, peanuts, scallion, turnip, and egg.
63 5th Ave, (718) 230-0910
Wild Salmon Burger at Siggy’s Good Food
Garden veggie and black bean patties aren’t the only way to fulfill a hamburger fix (although you can get those at Siggy’s too). We’re willing to forgo the beef every so often for a bite of these heart-healthy salmon burgers, topped with avocado, lettuce and vegan mayo and deposited on a gluten-free or 7-grain bun.
76 Henry St, (718) 237-3199
Labane Sandwich at Mimi’s Hummus
Mimi’s delectable middle eastern specialties take all the effort out of being healthy — we’re always happy to wrap our mitts around one of these flavor-packed pitas, stuffed with cauliflower salad, cumin mushrooms, cilantro, green tahini, and plenty of labane — an olive oil and zaatar spiced yogurt cheese.
1209 Cortelyou Rd, (718) 284-4444
The “Let’s Be Nice to Everyone Except for the Assholes Who Trashed us on Yelp” Sandwich of Harmony at Smooch
We can’t claim that this turkey breast and fuji apple-topped ciabatta is the best thing on the menu, but we couldn’t resist committing it to print. That being said, there are plenty of ways to cleanse the system at this organic, Fort Greene café, whether it be through marinated and baked oriental tofu, a steamed kale and dried cranberry salad, or a cup of seventeen-grain granola.
264 Carlton Ave, (718) 624-4075
Organic Quinoa Salad at Brooklyn Commune
This protein-packed ancient grain is experiencing a major resurgence among the health-conscious, but you don’t need to be a tree-hugger to appreciate this version; boasting farmers greens, roasted pumpkin, and chewy Moroccan dates.
601 Greenwood Ave, (718) 686-1044
Asparagus and Lemon Ricotta Grilled Pizza at home/made
Yes, for most denizens of the best pizza city in the world, a true slice comes dripping with grease and oozing sauce and gloopy mozzarella. So think of these virtuous flatbread pies as their own entity, smeared with sprightly toppers like fresh asparagus and creamy homemade ricotta.
293 Van Brunt St, (347) 223-4135
Pistachio Tofu at Gwynnett St.
You don’t need to turn down a dinner invite at one of Brooklyn’s hottest new establishments just because you’re watching your waistline — this unexpected menu item will appease even the most hardened meat-eaters, the pan-seared, nut crusted block of soy sporting sworls of avocado, celtuce, and celery.
312 Graham Ave, (347) 889-7002
Grilled Porgy at Bahry Fish Market
This hole-in-the wall Bay Ridge eatery might not automatically conjure up images of clean living, but fresh fish, crunchy veggies and olive oil make up the heart of the menu. Pick your poison from a selection of whole fish over ice, and order it grilled until moist and flaky on the inside, crispy on the out, sided with a scoop of smoky babaganoush.
484 Bay Ridge Ave, (718) 680-8135
- Photo Michael Nagle for the New York Times
Mushroom Salad at Prime Meats
Who needs a NY Strip, length of handmade German sausage or steaming bowl of Colorado lamb stew? Ok, we do, but you can almost have your steak (and eat it too), when you order this surprisingly hearty salad, made with shaved oyster mushrooms, red onion, and (there’s the meat!) dry aged beef breadcrumbs.
465 Court St, (718) 254-0327
Anything at Eat
We can’t exactly advise you on what to eat at Eat, considering the entire menu at this relentlessly seasonal, organic Greenpoint joint changes day by day. But an impromptu visit to facebook reveals a wealth of good-for-you dujour offerings, including bluefish pate crostini, beans and greens over polenta, and a farro and roasted veggie bowl with pecan hummus.
124 Meserole Ave, (718) 389-8083