A Cleanse That Tastes Good

Chef Daphne Cheng hosts renegade dinner parties at Exhibit C. in New York City, bringing strangers together who leave as friends. She is renowned for her vibrant haute vegetable cuisine and has a cult following of foodies, both omnivorous and vegan alike. With her hyper-sensitive palate and creative vision, she focuses the culinary spotlight on fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits. She most enjoys mixing ingredients and flavors in unusual ways, defying her father’s repeated admonishments, “Don’t play with your food.” Here is her vegan cleanse…

From Chef Daphne Cheng

If you, like me and Laura, shudder at words like “detox” or “cleanse,” this one’s for you. As a chef, I’m a foodie first, but I do care about my health too – but you should never have to sacrifice taste or flavor. So here’s some great news: your food doesn’t have to taste like dirt and you don’t have to suffer when you’re trying to get healthy. You can skip the masochist starvation diets. The healthiest diet is one you can stick to. This cleanse isn’t really a cleanse, it’s just super delicious food that happens to do good to your body. Ice cream for breakfast? You better believe it. Here’s how to trick your tastebuds into eating healthy food.


– Drink plenty of water throughout the day

– Eat a heartier breakfast and lunch than dinner

– Don’t hold back on snacking! It helps keep your metabolism running.

– Avoid processed and fried foods

– Choose whole food sweeteners like fresh fruit, dates, or maple syrup over refined sugar.

– Be mindful and present when eating. Food deserves your respect and full attention. Your digestion will also thank you.

Day 1: 


Cinnamon Ice Cream + Buckwheat Granola

Ice cream for breakfast ensures your day is off to a positive start. And everyone knows that positivity = healthy. Bananas, full of fiber and potassium, will get things moving and cinnamon will boost your metabolism.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

1 banana, sliced into chunks, frozen

½ tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Place all ingredient in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides towards the blades if necessary. Top with buckwheat granola. Eat immediately.

Buckwheat Granola

2 cups raw buckwheat

½ cup maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil

½ tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together. Spread onto parchment or silicone on a baking sheet Bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes.


Watermelon Cucumber Gazpacho

Both watermelon and cucumber are mostly made of water, so they are incredibly hydrating and are natural diuretics that will help your body release water and let go of bloat. A hint of cayenne will stimulate your circulatory system by opening the capillaries and aid digestion.

1 watermelon

1 cucumber peeled

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp cayenne, more to taste

fresh basil and/or mint

Slice off top and bottom of melon and place on one end. Cut away the rind around the melon.

Cut melon into large chunks and place in blender.

Cut cucumber into chunks and add to blender.

Blend until smooth, drizzling in olive oil while blending.

Chill until ready to eat.

To serve, pour soup into a bowl and garnish with fresh basil and/or mint.

French Lentil Salad + Sweet Potato + Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

1½ cup water

1 cup french lentils

1 tsp

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

1 sweet potato, diced

1 tbsp coconut oil

½ tsp salt

½ tsp turmeric

1 cup arugula

In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Add lentils, garlic, and salt. Reduce to a simmer on low heat and cook for 20-25 minute until tender.

In a saute pan, heat coconut oil over medium high heat. Add sweet potato and salt and cook until tender and crisp, 12-15 minutes.

To serve, spoon lentils on a plate. Top with sweet potato and arugula.

Drizzle with vinaigrette and garnish with fresh herbs.


Coconut Truffles

Cashews are Coconut oil will keep your blood sugar levels stable

¼ cup coconut oil

1 cup cashews

¾ cup water

½ tbsp vanilla

¼ cup agave

¼ tsp salt

coconut flakes

Blend all ingredients except coconut flakes until smooth.

Chill for at least 4 hours until firm.

Roll into balls then roll in coconut flakes. Chill until ready to eat.


Quinoa Risotto + Pear + Basil

1 cup quinoa

1¼ cup water

½ cup coconut milk

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp miso


1 pear, sliced

Maldon sea salt or kosher salt

fresh basil

Mix all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with sliced pear, salt, a drizzle of your best olive oil, and fresh basil.

Strawberry Dessert Soup + Cilantro Sauce


1 lb strawberries, hulled

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp agave (optional)

Place strawberries in blender, reserving a few to garnish. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Blend until smooth. Add optional agave if additional sweetness is desired. Chill until ready to eat.

cilantro sauce

1 bunch cilantro

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp agave

¼ tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

To Serve:

Pour strawberry soup in bowl. Drizzle with cilantro sauce. Cut reserved strawberries in half and place on top.


Tiramisu Pancakes

More dessert for breakfast! Are you sure you’re cleansing? This version of tiramisu uses oats, which are full of soluble and insoluble fiber to make you feel full longer and . The form of pancakes makes for the perfect personal serving size. Coconut has been shown to and make your tastebuds sing. Bonus: This recipe also includes a workout. You can make this ahead of time so it’s ready for you in the morning.

1¼ cup oat flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup soymilk

2 Tbsp coconut oil

2 Tbsp water

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

In separate bowl, mix soy milk, coconut oil, water. Add to flour and mix until the batter is smooth (no need to worry about overmixing, there is no gluten)

Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in saute pan

coconut whipped cream

1 can coconut milk, chilled

2 tbsp coconut sugar

Scoop out the coconut cream, leaving the liquid behind.

Place in a chilled bowl and whip with a whisk until it resembles whipped cream.

To serve:

Drizzle espresso over pancakes.

Spread coconut cream. Eat warm or chill until ready to eat.


Buckwheat Soba + Kimchi Sauce

Buckwheat is the most underrated food, yet it’s one of the most healthful, delicious, and versatile ingredients. A 100% buckwheat soba is a perfect way to enjoy the

1 package buckwheat soba

1 cup kimchi

¼ cup olive oil


toasted sesame seeds

fresh cilantro

Cook soba according to directions.

Blend kimchi and olive oil until smooth.

To serve, toss soba in kimchi sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and fresh cilantro.

Charred Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus, stems trimmed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

maldon sea salt (or kosher salt)

Heat olive oil over high heat in saute pan. Add asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly charred.

Toss with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt.


Avocado Mousse

Avocados are full of good fats that taste even better. This mousse is a perfectly rich afternoon treat.

1 avocado

1 tbsp agave, more to taste

½ tsp vanilla

1 tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp salt

Blend until smooth. Chill or eat immediately.


Apple Celery Vichyssoise


Celery is perhaps one of the most infamous diet foods around. Apple cider vinegar may be the second. Now you’ll know how to make them delicious too.

1 ½ cup apples, sliced

1 ½ cup celery, chopped

1 clove garlic

½ cup cashews

2 cups water

¼ cup olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

¼ tsp coriander

2 stalks celery, sliced thinly

fresh cilantro

Blend all ingredients except sliced celery until smooth. Strain if desired for a smoother texture.

Garnish with sliced celery, fresh cilantro

Cauliflower Couscous + Toasted Almonds + Gremolata

1 head cauliflower

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp ground fennel seed

Chop cauliflower into medium sized pieces. Add to food processor and pulse until it resembles couscous.

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add cauliflower and saute until browned.

Add lemon juice, salt, pepper.

toasted almonds

1 cup sliced almonds

Toast almonds on medium high heat in a large pan until lightly golden and fragrant.


1 bunch parsley

2 cloves garlic

2 organic lemons

Finely mince the parsley by rocking your knife back and forth with your other hand on top.

Do the same for the garlic.

Zest the lemons over a microplane.

Combine all ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.

To Serve:

Spoon cauliflower couscous on plate. Top with toasted almonds, gremolata, and additional fresh parsley leaves.

For more cleanses, why not try this 1-day cleanse from Kris Carr? And for more from Daphne Cheng, check out her guide to going vegan