WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? HEALTHY DELECTABLES

Turkey meatballs in pomodoro sauce, shaved brussel sprout salad and sweet potato and asparagus quiche from the Healthy Palate.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Let’s just say that several seasons of culinary indulgence have PieHole seeking healthier lunch alternatives. Fortunately, there are oodles of options on the Greater Red Bank Green to choose from.

This week, we made our way to the Healthy Palate in Little Silver, where everything is organic, dairy- and gluten-free. Owner, chef and “certified eating psychology coach” Jennifer Asfar filled us in on the details of eating clean. Jennifer Asfar with a shrimp-and-crabmeat dish fresh from the oven. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

As a private chef cooking for families, Asfar won a scholarship and headed to the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health in New York. Creating this business, which opened in January, “was about teaching people to eat properly,” she said.

“Cleanse plans are my bread and butter,” she said. “People are starting to go for the meal plans now, too.” Meal plans can be customized to a client’s dietary specifications, and the menu changes daily. Delivery service is available twice a week.

In the grab-and-go cases, we find small “pizzas,” made with quinoa crusts, and a crustless sweet potato and asparagus quiche. These options come with a salad. There are two soup-of-the-day options, such as asparagus and leek or cream of celery. A side case boasts an array of salmon poke bowls, turkey meatballs, cauliflower smash with sautéed onions and truffle oil, and chicken breast with barbecue sauce.

Our sweet potato and asparagus quiche ($10) over a fresh arugula salad melded flavors and textures for a tasty, omelet-like mini-feast. A dollop of “ricotta” cashew cheese didn’t add much in taste or texture, but maybe contributed some protein to the dish.

Appealing to our carnivorous appetite, a container of four mini turkey meatballs ($10) was appetizing in appearance and lubricated by a tangy puddle of tomato-bright pomodoro sauce.

A shaved brussels sprout salad (also $10) was a satisfying favorite that we’ll seek out again. Tossed together, the sprouts, arugula, carrot curls, dried cherries, slivered almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds struck a harmonious balance of sweet and savory, with lots of jaw-exercising crunch.

The Healthy Palate, at 471 Prospect Avenue, is open Monday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 to 4.SUSAN-ERICSON

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