Chef Giada De Laurentiis shares healthy holiday treats

Eat good, feel good. Clairol spokeswoman, celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis invited us to an intimate cooking demo at The Kitchen NYC in midtown where she shared how to make some truly delicious (and healthy!) holiday nibbles: salmon cakes, arugula pesto pizza, Thai turkey lettuce wraps, and chocolate avocado mousse. If avocado and chocolate sound questionable together, rest assured it ends up working: The avocado keeps the texture thick but still dairy-free, and all you taste is the chocolate-y goodness. The trick: don’t tell them their dessert has avocado!

Giada De Laurentiis

After the demo, De Laurentiis stuck around to talk to me about how she gets through the holidays and keeps her hair looking fab:

Beauty and the Feast: How do you keep yourself from over-indulging at all holiday parties?
Giada De Laurentiis:
The worst thing is to be on a diet during the holidays! I don’t overdo it, I just eat beforehand. I’ve been loving quinoa lately. I do a little stir fry with a little chicken or fish, and throw some greens in it spinach or arugula. Mix it all together and get a nice meal with carbohydrates, protein, and greens. When I get to the party, I just nibble, and have a nice glass of champagne and I’m good to go. That way, I don’t look like a party pooper. If you don’t drink alcohol, I always say to ask for sparkling water and add some berries or lime so it looks festive and bubbly. You got to try to assimilate and work yourself in a party.

Cooking demo

BATF: What’s your go-to hair style for the holiday?
De Laurentiis:
Lately, I like to put my hair up in a bun. I got these sparkly rubber bands to pull my hair up with and then I just pull out my bangs. It’s just fuss-free and don’t have to curl my hair all day. My daughter loves the sparkle and we wear our hair the same way!

BATF: What about your makeup?
De Laurentiis:
I go for lots of shimmer eyeshadow, and I love my CoverGirl mascara. I say to women if you can’t do anything else, just apply some mascara and a nice lipgloss and go out the door, and you’ll be fine. That’s the bare minimum. When I have a party at my house, I have a little drawer in my kitchen where I keep a little mascara, a little powder, and lipgloss in case I need a touch up so I don’t have to keep running up and downstairs.
Natural Instincts hair color

BATF: What makes you and Clairol a good fit?
De Laurentiis:
What I love about partnering up with Clairol and Natural Instincts is that we both have the same philosophy in our brand. Natural Instincts wants to empower women through their hair color, and I want to empower women through the kitchen. I want women to feel good about themselves and I think women are really in tune with their hair. If you’re having a bad hair, you’re pretty much having a bad day. We’re very attached to our hair. As a women gets older, we get a few of our gray friends and they come to visit more often as we get older. I get highlights done in salon a few times a year but in between appointments, I use the box. It’s just 10 minutes, and it covers the grays and brings out the highlights even more.
Giada whipping up some desserts

BATF: What color is your hair this time? I noticed it’s a little darker than before.
De Laurentiis:
This time, I colored my hair with Navajo Bronze which is a little more red than normal. Last time, I did Toasted Almond. But I think it’s kinda nice to go a little darker in the winter. But I think my absolute favorite thing about Natural Instincts is the ColorSeal Conditioner that it comes with. I’ve bought the box JUST for the conditioner. My hair goes through a lot when I’m working, a lot of blow outs and heat styling that really dries my hair out. I use this conditioner once a week, and it keeps the shine and bounce in my hair.
Even Giada's nails were tricked out for the holidays!

BATF: What are some foods that are good for your hair?
De Laurentiis:
Avocado, lots of greens and water, almonds, and plenty of olive oil. I have a lot of olive oil in my life! It’s a really great fat. As you get older, our skin dries out, so it really keeps your skin bright. I have oatmeal in the morning with olive oil and salt.

BATF: With New Years around the corner, do you have any resolutions?
De Laurentiis:
This year, it would be fun to take more vacation. I’m dying to go to South America! I’ve never been. It’s so funny because I go to Europe a lot, and I just came back from Thailand and Hong Kong. But I’ve never been down south! That’s my next exploration. That, and to go on a safari this year!

Below are Giada’s holiday recipes!

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Avocado chocolate mousse

Yield: 4 (3/4-cup) servings or 6 (1/2-cup servings)
Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 3 minutes, Inactive Prep Time: 3 hours


1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli
4 very ripe (8-ounce) avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup agave
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
Fresh raspberries, for garnish

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Place over a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Place the melted chocolate, avocados, cocoa powder, agave, vanilla, and salt in a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Spoon into glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (can be prepared 1 day in advance). Garnish with fresh raspberries and serve.

Arugula Pesto, Ricotta and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza

4 to 6 servings


Cornmeal for dusting
½ cup ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
1 packed cup (1 ounce) arugula
Flour for dusting
1 (1-pound) ball store-bought pizza dough
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 plum tomatoes sliced into ¼-inch thick slices

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Sprinkle a heavy baking sheet (without sides) with cornmeal. Set aside.

In a food processor, blend the ricotta, garlic, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add the smoked mozzarella and arugula. Pulse until just combined but still chunky.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch diameter circle, 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.Spread the ricotta mixture on top leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange the tomato slices on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 15 to 16 minutes until the crust is golden. Cut into wedges and serve.

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Recent Comments


  1. Jess B wrote:

    I love her ring!

    Posted 12.21.12

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