Our latest Pritikin Kitchen challenge was brought to us by Emily from Graham Hospital in Canton, IL. Her patients requested that we make a Pritikin-friendly version of biscuits-n-gravy.
As a reminder, our onsite Registered Dietitians (RDs) and PritikinLIVE RDs teach Cooking School Workshops using Pritikin-perfect recipes and cooking methods. Pritikin-perfect dishes are made without any added salt, added fat, or added sugar. Many classic dishes - like this one – would be difficult to remake to fit into this category so our goal here was to make a Pritikin-inspired version. We approached this recipe challenge by first identifying possible ingredient swaps and modifying the cooking method.
Without further ado…
Let’s get cooking!
Even though I grew up in the South and love to cook, I don’t have much experience baking homemade biscuits. Thankfully, Arkansas Heart Hospital’s Pritikin ICR Chef Mark was only a phone call away. As it turned out, he’d already tested and approved a fantastic fat-free Pritikin-inspired biscuit recipe. If you are familiar with traditional biscuit recipes, you know that they typically call for all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, butter, and whole milk. Chef Mark replaced these ingredients with heart-healthy alternatives resulting in a biscuit with notably less added (saturated) fat, salt, and sugar. He substituted the all-purpose flour for a mashed Yukon gold potato and a bit of wheat flour which adds fiber, vitamins, and minerals. He swapped whole milk for soy milk, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. The resulting biscuits are the perfect blend of nutrition science and culinary skill!
Tackling the gravy was an entirely different monster. Most of the traditional recipes I found used sausage grease, all-purpose flour, whole milk, and salt. I wanted to avoid these ingredients as they contribute high amounts of added fat and salt, are harmful to our hearts, and keep us from reaching our health goals. My challenge was to recreate the taste and texture of a creamy sausage gravy…without the sausage, all-purpose flour, whole milk, or salt…basically toss the traditional recipe and create something Pritikin-friendly from scratch. I brainstormed the recipe with Pritikin Chef Chris Wyatt who suggested a few ideas for a starting point.
To replicate the texture of sausage without any fat or sodium, I used a Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)*. On its own, TVP doesn’t have much flavor but it absorbs flavor well. To infuse sausage-like flavors into the TVP, I used a tiny bit of maple syrup, and a savory blend of sage, fennel seeds, thyme, parsley, black pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, cayenne, and ground cloves. Finally, I created a healthier cream base by using unsweetened soy milk, whole wheat flour, and some savory spices (see recipe for details).
1 6-ounce potato (Yukon gold or red)
1 Tbs soy milk
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 ¾ cup oat flour or whole wheat flour
2 tsp sodium-free baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup soy milk
1 TBS lemon juice
5 oz TVP
½ tsp sage
½ tsp rosemary
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 TBS maple syrup
½ cup water
- Cook 6 ounces of potato. Poke it several times with a fork and microwave for 3-4 minutes or steam or boil. (If you have to cook more than 6 ounces, measure it afterward and only use one heaping half cup.)
- Allow the potato to cool until you can comfortably peel it. Mash it well in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of milk and nutritional yeast. Put it in the refrigerator to cool while you mix the dry ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Combine the flour, baking powder, and soda. When the potato is no longer warm, add it to the flour and "cut" it in using a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly.
- Combine the non-dairy milk and lemon juice and add it, stirring until a soft dough forms. If all flour is not moistened, add additional milk a teaspoon at a time until the dough can form a ball.
- Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it 4 times. Flatten it down and sprinkle the top lightly with flour. Roll it out about 3/4 inch thick. Using a 1 1/2-2-inch wide biscuit cutter or glass dipped in flour, press straight down without twisting to cut into 12-15 biscuits.
- Place the biscuits, sides lightly touching, on the prepared sheet. Bake until tops are lightly browned, 9-11 minutes. Serve hot.
- Bring TVP, spices, and water to a boil in a saucepan. After 5 minutes, remove from heat and let sit.
- While that mixture is boiling, whisk the soy milk, flour, and remaining spices together in a bowl.
- Add the soy milk, flour, and spice mixture into the TVP and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes until your gravy reaches your desired consistency.
- Ladle a bit of gravy over your prepared biscuit(s) and enjoy!
How does it compare?
They definitely look and smell like grandma’s biscuits-n-gravy. But I bet you are wondering how they taste. My family and I tasted them and gave them 2 very enthusiastic thumbs up each. 😊
I find it especially comforting to know that with this recipe, I’m feeding my little ones a tasty comfort food that is contributing to their overall health and training their taste buds to crave and appreciate heart-healthy food. I encourage you to roll up your sleeves and try this recipe out for yourself and let us know what you think of it.
|Traditional Biscuit and Gravy
Pritikin-Inspired Biscuit and Gravy
While the calories are very similar, check out the significant decrease in total fat, saturated fat, and sodium! Equally as impressive is the increase in fiber and protein.
Let me know what recipe I should Pritikin-ize next!
Special thanks to Arkansas Heart Chef Mark for his biscuit recipe, Chef Chris Wyatt for his suggestions and inspiration, and Emily and her patients at Graham Hospital for bringing the idea to us.
* Dehydrated TVP can be found in the baking aisle, and hydrated TVP in the freezer aisle.