Chef Hans Rueffert made his name as the second-generation chef-owner of the celebrated Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, Georgia, and as a competitor on season one of “The Next Food Network Star.” (Fair or not, he came in third.)
Now, as host of the video series The Gesundheit Kitchen for the Gastric Cancer Foundation, he massages kale with his hands, toasts tempeh in a skillet, plays around with different kinds of nut butters, and shows how to make some of the other dishes that helped keep his strength, weight, and spirits up during his tough recovery from stage 3 stomach cancer.
These are among the high-protein, easy-to-digest, energizing, mindful, predominantly vegetarian dishes he came to rely on following a full gastrectomy.
“But my food’s not just for gastrectomy patients — it’s for anybody who cares about good health and good food,” Rueffert says. “And it’s delicious. Because if it isn’t delicious, no one’s gonna eat it.”
Below, see one of two of his signature recipes that he shared, with permission, with HealthCentral. To see more, or to watch Hans in action, check out his video series at the Gastric Cancer Foundation. You can also find more of his recipes in his cookbook, “Eat Like There’s No Tomorrow.”
Rueffert writes, “Hummus was a go-to dish for me during my cancer recovery. It allowed me to incorporate an additional source of protein that was easier to digest than traditional protein dishes, and helped me get the calories needed to maintain my weight. It is a smooth, creamy spread with lots of flavor, primarily made with garbanzo beans or chickpeas. Tahini is a typical ingredient, but my version uses almond or peanut butter for added protein. Hummus is a very versatile dish that allows you to be as creative with it as you like."
- 1 can chickpeas (15 oz.), drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup almond or peanut butter (alternative to tahini)
- 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Juice of one lemon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon garam marsala
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in the food processor.
Blend to your desired consistency. Taste, adjusting salt and pepper as needed.
Hummus is a perfect dish on its own with seasonal vegetables, as a fancy crudité, a sandwich spread, or even on a pizza! It’s a blank canvas, allowing you to add whatever you like, and it is the perfect healthy dish to add to your plant-based diet. Eat cold or warmed with a fried egg!
NOTE: Garam masala is a spice blend common to India, primarily consisting of peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, mace, bay leaf, and cumin.
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Pamela Kaufman, a writer and editor in New York City, got her professional start covering health and fitness for Vogue. Learn more about her life as an adventurous eater and mom to two feisty young boys by following her on Instagram @pamkaufman.