3 Keys to Your Offseason Diet

To help you make the transition to offseason eating, Mark Bittman generously agreed to share two of his recipes from Food Matters:

Anything Goes Granola
Makes: About 9 cups
Time: 30 minutes

  • 5 cups rolled oats or other rolled grains (not quick-cooking or instant)
  • 3 cups mixed nuts and seeds such as sunflower or sesame seeds, walnuts, pecans, almonds or cashews
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or other spices to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 cup honey or maple syrup, or to taste
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups raisins or chopped dried fruit

1. Heat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, cinnamon, sweetener and vanilla if using; sprinkle with a little salt. Toss well to thoroughly distribute ingredients. Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or a little longer, stirring occasionally. The granola should brown evenly; the darker it gets without burning, the crunchier it will be.

2. Remove pan from oven and add raisins. Cool on a rack, stirring now and then until the granola reaches room temperature. Put in a sealed container and store in refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.

More: Fuel Your Day With Grain-Free Granola

Not Your Usual Ratatouille
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 30 minutes

  • 1 medium or 2 small eggplants (about 8 ounces)
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves, for garnish
  • Good vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional

1. Trim the eggplant and cut it into large cubes. If the eggplant is big, soft or especially seedy, sprinkle the cubes with salt, put them in a colander, and let them sit for at least 30 minutes, preferably 60. (This will help improve their flavor, but isn't necessary if you don't have time.) Then rinse, drain, and pat dry.

2. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the eggplant, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.

3. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan and add the cauliflower. Cook, stirring occasionally until it loses its crunch, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper and cook and stir for another minute or two, until soft. Add the tomato and thyme and cook for another minute until the tomato just starts to release its juice. Return the eggplant to the pan, along with basil leaves. Give a good stir, taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve hot or at room temperature, with vinegar or lemon. The ratatouille will keep for a couple of days, covered and refrigerated.

More: Winter Nutrition: How to Stay on Track

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