So Fresh and So Clean

A new cookbook gives you the tools for healthful eating

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Coaches have playbooks. IKEA furniture comes with an instruction booklet. But there's no guidebook containing a magic plan for a healthy lifestyle.

The Clean Plates Cookbook ($20), by Jared Koch and Jill Silverman Hough, aims to serve as a model for responsible eating by providing common-sense guidelines.

The book's five basic tenets are straightforward and reasonable, if not revolutionary: Not everyone has to eat the same way. Eat whole foods as much as you can. A mostly plant-based diet is better for you and the environment. The animal proteins you consume should be high-quality and sustainably raised. Cut down on artificial, processed foods.

The remainder of the book outlines wholesome ingredients and includes recipes, both original and from some of the nation's top chefs.

We made Bill Telepan's broccoli pasta salad with cannellini beans, kalamata olives and red bell peppers (see the recipe). Brightened by a basic red-wine-and-balsamic-vinegar dressing and fresh basil and oregano, the dish exemplifies how healthy eating can be flavorful and fulfilling.

It's the silver lining in this playbook.