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The Food Lover’s Guide to (Sorta) Healthy Dining

The Sorta Healthy 20

These dishes, presented in no particular order, please the palate and satisfy the appetite  — without leaving you feeling bloated or blah. Click a dish to read more.

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Fruit plate at HaiSous

Yes, it’s a fruit plate for dessert, but hear us out: The tropical offerings (on one visit, lychee and rambutan; on another, jackfruit and longan) at this haute Vietnamese spot are so peak-ripe and flavorful, they don’t need any adornment to feel like a treat. $8. 1800 S. Carpenter St., Pilsen

Baked eggs at the Allis

In this version of the Middle Eastern classic shakshuka, two eggs luxuriate in a bubbling hot tub of tomato sauce, spiked with the subtle burn of harissa. $13. Soho House Chicago, 113–125 N. Green St., West Loop

Frozen Greek yogurt with olive oil at Aba

If all fro-yo had tasted like this — a whorl of barely sweet yogurt drizzled with a bracingly grassy Greek olive oil — perhaps the fad would still be going strong. $7. 302 N. Green St., West Loop

The B. Franklin at Tempesta Market

Turkey sandwiches so often feel like an edible sigh of resignation. This one, zippy with pickled Fresno chilies and a spicy aïoli, is more like a moan of pleasure. $11. 1372 W. Grand Ave., West Town

Shrimp salad at Pierrot Gourmet

This is a salad with substance, thanks to a potent Thai-spiced peanut dressing and plump poached shrimp tossed with citrus and cilantro. $19. The Peninsula Chicago, 108 E. Superior St., River North

Grilled chicken at Pollo Express

This moist, spice-rubbed bird, grilled until craggy and just charred enough, is a minor masterpiece. Go on a Tuesday or a Thursday: Whole birds are half price. $15. 1315 W. 18th St., Pilsen

Giant clams in garlic at Go 4 Food

The plump bivalves’ briny juices perfectly offset the earthy flavors of garlic (lots and lots of it) and Chinese greens in this simple, satisfying special. $14. 212 W. 23rd St., Chinatown

Black pepper pork at Proxi

Start by spooning lean, spicy ground pork onto a lettuce leaf, then add fresh herbs, slivered apple, and a duo of sweet and spicy sauces. It’s a bright first course with just the right amount of meaty ballast. $15. 565 W. Randolph St., West Loop

BQ Alfredo at BellyQ

Coconut milk and tofu cream cheese are the secrets to Bill Kim’s dairy- and gluten-free take on Alfredo sauce, which envelops meaty mushrooms, bok choy, and sticky rice cakes like a comforting hug. $15. 1400 W. Randolph St., West Loop

Tofu toast at Dove’s Luncheonette

It starts like a salad: arugula, pepitas, ­habanero-citrus dressing. Then your fork makes landfall on cubes of fried tofu, Publican Quality Bread multigrain toast, and avocado — and, voilà, it’s the ideal brunch toast. $11. 1545 N. Damen Ave., Wicker Park

Hanger steak at Lula Cafe

If you must have a red meat fix, hanger steak is the way to go: It’s relatively lean, yet it has a minerally, beefy depth suggestive of a fattier premium cut. Lula’s version, accompanied by jammy onions, is exceptional. $28. 2537 N. Kedzie Blvd., Logan Square

Lamb shish kebab at Al Bawadi Grill

Chunks of meat redolent of peppers and parsley and kissed by an open flame: This is a straight-up, unabashed, and succulent protein fest. $16. 7216 W. 87th St., Bridgeview

Crudités at Boeufhaus

This veggie platter comes together with care: blanched Romanesco and cauliflower, thin-sliced raw beets, celery stripped of its tough fibers for the purest crunch, with a sidecar of green goddess dip. $10. 1012 N. Western Ave., Humboldt Park

Smoked cauliflower sandwich at Café Marie-Jeanne

With smoky cauliflower and pickled onions on ciabatta smeared with feta and ajvar (a Serbian red pepper spread), it’s as satisfying as a deli hero. $15. 1001 N. California Ave., Humboldt Park

Midwest Grain Bowl at Arbor

A local approach to the grain bowl, with Missouri brown rice, Illinois sorghum, and Michigan lentils, plus a trembling poached egg and roasted veggies. It’s the most satisfying feel-good lunch around. $10. 2545 W. Diversey Ave., Avondale

Bowl of Awesome at Mott St

This brunch dish — a striking tableau of powdered chlorophyll, oozy honeycomb, and a splatter of flowers, seeds, and bee pollen atop fruit and Greek yogurt — is the most restorative parfait ever. $10. 1401 N. Ashland Ave., Noble Square

Charred eggplant at Avec

The tart, acidic tang of pickled fruit (say, cherries or plums) ricochets off the smokiness of the eggplant, making each bite a study in contrast. Other vegetables should be so lucky. $18. 615 W. Randolph St., West Loop

Whole striped bass at Leña Brava

In Rick Bayless’s hands, fish becomes transcendent: striped bass, lacquered with a red chili adobo glaze (or one of three other sauces), grilled gently over a wood fire, and served butterflied, ready to be picked clean. $48. 900 W. Randolph St., West Loop

Roasted black cod at Pacific Standard Time

The texture of this piece of fish is sublime: An umami-rich, crusty exterior protects the velvety, delicate meat inside but gives under the slightest pressure from your fork. $35. 141 W. Erie St., River North

The 50/50 Burger at Bad Hunter

Don’t tell your meat-loving friends, but only half of this patty is beef. The other half is finely ground wood ear mushrooms, which add extra moisture and earthy flavor without the telltale mushiness of most veggie patties. $17. 802 W. Randolph St., West Loop

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