NYC Chefs Share Their Healthy Recipes: Louis Lanza, Josie’s Restaurant West


Louis Lanza, chef-owner of Josie’s, Citrus, Josephina & Better Burger, and author of “Totally Dairy-Free Cooking”, prepares healthy food that actually tastes great! I love dining out with my family and friends (a mixed-eating group) at Josie’s because the restaurant offers appetizers and entrees for both vegans and meat-eaters. The best part is that all of the food is organic, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the food or the place. It just looks like a fun, hip restaurant. Lanza proves that in addition to greens, tofu and veggie dumplings– meat items, such as chicken soup, steak salad and crab cakes can also be made healthy!  Josie’s shared four recipes with Creative Delites, so that you can delight in their food at home. When I go to Josie’s with my parents, I love the pre-meal cornbread and sweet potato dip. One of my favorite entrees is the vegetable stir-fry and seared asian tofu. See the recipes below for a soup, entree and dessert.

Soup, Entree & Dessert

Recipes by:
Josie’s Restaurant West
(Amsterdam Ave. at 74th St.)
Note: Josie’s has another location on Third Avenue and 37th St.

The Chef:
Louis Lanza



1 whole butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable stock or water
2 cups plain, lowfat soy milk
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
toasted pumpkin seeds, optional


Food processor or electric handheld blender


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub the 2 halves (meat side only) of the squash with honey, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Rub the whole sweet potato with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Place the squash and sweet potato in a roasting pan or baking dish and roast for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and when cooled, scoop the meat out of the squash. Peel and coarsely chop the sweet potato. Set aside.

2. In a medium stockpot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add wine and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 15 minutes more.

3. Add the squash meat and sweet potatoes to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, add soy milk and puree the mixture with an electric handheld blender, or in a food processor. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer for a smoother texture, season and serve. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, if you wish.


Makes 2 serving
Preparation Time: 15 minutes


5-6 thin slices garlic, peeled (total 1”)
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
4-6 ounces vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce, lite
1 tablespoon mirin (rice wine)
1 teaspoon arrowroot mixed with 1 tbsp. vegetable stock
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 cup asparagus, sliced
1/2 cup zucchini, sliced
1 cup  shittake mushrooms, halved
1/2 cup red pepper, julienne
1/2 cup  edamame, shelled
1/4 cup  scallions, sliced


  1. In a small bowl, combine tamari, mirin & arrowroot mixture
  2. In a non-stick wok, heat olive oil. Add ginger and garlic
  3. Add cauliflower, broccoli and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup vegetable stock.
  4. Add asparagus, zucchini and shittake mushrooms, stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup vegetable stock.
  5. Add tamari, mirin and arrowroot mixture, cook for 2 minutes. Add scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Calories: 180
Fat: 5g
Protein: 11g
Carbohydrate: 25g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 515mg
Fiber: 5g


Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 1 hour

“This recipe has satisfied my customers at Josie’s since the first day we opened our doors. If you’ve never tried tofu before, I think you’ll be surprise at how incredible this tastes. Add this to anything from burritoes to stir-fry or as a substitute for meat.” – Louis Lanza


1 pound firm tofu
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine (mirin)
1 tablespoon Thai chili-garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place the tofu on a paper towel on a plate. Set another plate over the tofu and top with a heavy object to remove excess moisture, for about 30 minutes. Slice the tofu lengthwise in 4 equal slices. Place in a shallow Pyrex dish.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients. Pour over the tofu. Marinate the tofu for 15 minutes, turning several times to coat.
  3. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, sear the tofu slices for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until browned.

Calories: 182.2
Fat: 11g
Protein: 18.4g
Carbohydrate: 5.3g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 267mg

Makes 7 servings


1 pound tofu, silken
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons peanut butter, natural
2 tablespoons soy milk, vanilla light
pinch of sea salt


  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and slowly drizzle in soy milk. Blend until smooth.
  2. Spoon mixture into 7 serving dishes and refrigerate. Chill for 1 to 2 hous before serving.

(I wasn’t given the calorie count for the dessert, and I figure it’s best not to ask. The mousse is lighter than most restaurant desserts, great for vegans, and perfect for a sharing circle of spoons.)


3 responses to “NYC Chefs Share Their Healthy Recipes: Louis Lanza, Josie’s Restaurant West

  1. How many calories are in the veggie burger at Josie’s? Thanks!

  2. Pingback: Baked Asian Tofu: A Twist on Josie’s Recipe « Creative Delites

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