healthy hollandaise sauce

We love Eggs Benedict. We love hollandaise sauce. And we want them all. the. time. We’re all about balance here at The Chalkboard, but sometimes we find ourselves wishing there was a way to indulge in this fan favorite every morning without, you know, consuming a full day’s worth of butter in the process.

Having worked with the one and only Jamie Oliver on food styling, Anna Jones knows a thing or two about changing around unhealthy habits for the better (haven’t heard of Jamie’s Food Revolution? Read more from back when he was TCM Guest Editor). This writer and cook has officially answered all our breakfast prayers with this recipe for what she calls “The New Eggs Benedict,” from her cookbook A Modern Way to Eat. A Modern Way To Eat is filled with vegetarian recipes for how we want to eat in today’s world – healthy, satisfying, and accessible with the slightest edge of coolness. A great example? The hollandaise sauce in this recipe has two secret, too-good-to-be-true ingredients: cashews and avocados. Pinch us, we think we’re dreaming.

I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t like Eggs Benedict in all its rich hollandaise glory. This is how I make mine. Roasted slices of sweet potato step in for English muffins, and avocado and cashews blend up creamily in seconds with a bit of tarragon to make a killer super-light hollandaise, creamy but not too rich. The caramelized onions and spinach sandwich it all together.

I like to make my hollandaise this way, as I find a butter-laden sauce too much of a treat with which to start the day (delicious though it is).

To get a creamy sauce I soak my cashew nuts in water overnight, but, if you forget, half an hour’s soaking will do. For this recipe, you need to get your hands on large sweet potatoes so that they are wide enough to sit the poached egg on top.

Other ways to use your healthy hollandaise sauce: Spooned over grilled asparagus, on top of a green spring risotto, next to a simple poached egg on toast, or in sandwiches in place of mayonnaise!

The new eggs benedict
serves 4


2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into ⅜-inch rounds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive or rapeseed oil
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely sliced
6 handfuls of spinach, with any big stalks removed
4 organic or free-range eggs

For the quick hollandaise:
a small handful of cashew nuts, soaked in water
½ avocado
a small bunch of fresh tarragon or dill, leaves picked
juice of ½ a lime


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Lay the sweet potato slices on a couple of baking trays, season with salt and pepper, drizzle lightly with oil, and roast for 20 minutes until soft through and crisping at the edges.

Now on to the onions. Put a pan over medium heat, add a little oil, and then add the onions and a pinch of salt. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the onions are soft and sweet and starting to brown. Scoop them into a bowl and set aside, keeping the pan to use later.

To make your hollandaise, grind the drained cashews in a food processor until you have a crumbly paste. Add the avocado and most of the tarragon or dill with the lime juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper and blend again. If you need to, thin the sauce with a little water until it is thick but pourable.

Heat the pan you cooked the onions in over medium heat. Add the spinach and a drop of olive oil and cook for a couple of minutes until it starts to wilt but is still vivid green.

Next, poach the eggs. Heat a pan of water until boiling — I use a frying pan, but use whatever pan is most comfortable for you for poaching eggs. Turn the heat down until the water is barely bubbling, then crack in the eggs, and leave them to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain on some paper towels.

To serve, lay some of the sweet potatoes in the middle of each plate. Top with the onions and wilted spinach, then add the egg and a spoonful of hollandaise. Sprinkle with the rest of the tarragon or dill, season with salt and pepper, and dig in.

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