About Zestful Kitchen

Zestful Kitchen is your resource for all things cooking tips, how-tos and healthy-ish recipes. Each recipe on this site is tirelessly tested following our test kitchen standards to ensure you enjoy success each and every time.

Who We Are

Zestful Kitchen was founded by Culinary Food Scientist and Journalist, Lauren Grant. Lauren has worked in food media for more than 10 years and has worked for many national publications including America’s Test Kitchen, Better Homes & Gardens, Eating Well, Taste of Home and many more.

Learn more about Lauren, her career and vast experience in recipe development and food writing.

photograph of woman in a green coat in a kitchen zesting an orange


How Zestful Kitchen Came to Be

Zestful Kitchen has morphed and adapted quite a bit since 2014 (!!) when this site was a wee lad making its (sad) debut. I started Zestful Kitchen as a creative outlet and only started taking it seriously in 2016, when I made a commitment to—well—commit to this passion of mine.

My love for cooking has always been strong, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be in the kitchen. I was even entrusted with a paring knife at age three, but that’s a story for another time.

Lauren Grant, our founder, decorating cakes as a child

Cooking for others brings me immense joy, but on a one-on-one level, food and I haven’t always gotten along. As life will do to us all, I was thrown some curve balls in my early college years. To find what I thought was control and solitude, I turned to running and food, which snowballed into a dangerous disease.

Three of the hardest years of my life ensued while I tried navigating back to a “normal” life. As time passed, Zestful Kitchen’s role in helping me rediscover the delight of cooking only compounded.

ZK has changed a lot since the beginning, and although most of the recipes shared here are healthy, there are a fair share of treats as well. What works for me may not work for you, but I believe in—and continually work towards—living a balanced life in all aspects.

About Lauren

A quick synopsis—I’m a trained Culinary Food Scientist, Journalist and Former Magazine Editor. I’ve worked at America’s Test Kitchen, Diabetic Living (now EatingWell by DotDash Meredith), Cuisine at Home (Active Interest Media), and more.

Learn more about me, Lauren, the founder and Editor in Chief of Zestful Kitchen.

Photograph of interns at America's Test Kitchen in Boston
Photograph of the five other interns Lauren worked with at America’s Test Kitchen.

Zestful Kitchen’s Mission

Our mission at ZK is two-fold; to help you create and share seasonal, wholesome recipes that bring people together and to help you to find confidence and creativity in the kitchen.

You’ll find all kinds of recipes here on ZK, from vegetable-focused dishes, to heavy meals made light, plus the occasional chocolate-covered confection.

Healthy-ish: where wholesome living & kitchen curiosity intersect

Zestful Kitchen is a cooking and recipe website devoted to helping you create healthy-ish meals you’re proud to serve. What does healthy-ish mean? For us it’s where wholesome ingredients and kitchen curiosity intersect.

It means cooking unique and fresh recipes that are as good for us as they taste, and respecting high-quality wholesome ingredients by turning them on their head and using them to their fullest potential.

Our #1 priority is creating healthy recipes that don’t sacrifice on flavor or foolproof-ness.

About Our Recipes

Our recipes are developed to be healthy-ish—they don’t follow any specific diet. However, if you’re looking for some vegetarian recipes, we’ve got them. We’ve also got vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free recipes—among many other types.

Every recipe on this site has been tirelessly tested, written and edited for your success. If you ever have any questions about a specific recipe, leave a comment and we will get back to ASAP. Be sure to check the FAQs section in the recipe article or the comment section—it’s likely your question has already been asked by someone else! 

If you’re curious to learn more about how we develop recipes, check out our article on what it’s like to work in a test kitchen and how to develop recipes

photograph of recipe development notes
Recipe research for Boston Cream Pie

Tips for Cooking Our Recipes 

We develop our recipes using Morton Kosher Salt. There are many reasons why we use this kosher salt, but you can easily substitute with whatever salt you prefer and have on hand, just make sure you know the difference between types of salts

Follow this rule for substituting table salt and kosher salt: 1 teaspoon table salt = 1 ½ teaspoons Morton kosher salt = 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt

Table SaltMortonDiamond Crystal
¾ tsp1 tsp1 ¾ tsp
1 tsp½ tsp2 tsp
1 Tbsp1 Tbsp + 1 tsp2 Tbsp

How We Measure Flour

First and foremost, if you’re an avid baker, we highly recommend purchasing a food scale. Measuring by weight instead of cup measurement it always more accurate and is a foolproof way to get the same results every time.

In the case that you do not have a food scale, it’s imperative to know how the recipe developer measures flour—which isn’t always easy to know. Some people simply scoop the cup through the flour and sweep to level it off. Others spoon and sweep. In the test kitchen we fluff, spoon and sweep. Here’s what that looks like:

  1. Fluff the flour with a spoon or whisk. This aerates the flour and lightens it up.
  2. Use a large spoon to spoon the flour from the storage bin to the measuring cup.
  3. Sweep a flat edge, such as the back of a knife, along the top of the measuring cup to level the flour.

How to Use The Site

Be sure to stop by our recipe archive page. You can find quick links to main recipe categories as well as search for a specific recipe. If you aren’t quite sure what you want to make, but have an idea, make use of our category drop down menu.

red arrow pointing to category drop down menu on website

You can also toggle back and forth between “popular” and “newest” recipes in our archives. 

red arrow showing how to toggle from popular to new in archive

Once you find a recipe to make, be sure to read the article—it’s packed with helpful information for cooking the recipe and answers to the most common questions.

How to Save Recipes

Something we are VERY excited to offer our readers is the ability to save your favorite recipes for quick access. 

To save a recipe simply tap the flag button either at the top of the page…

red arrow pointing to save flag on recipe post

or within the recipe card.

red arrow pointing to save flag on recipe post

To access your favorites, click the flag button in the main menu.

Here we are showing the flag button in the main menu on desktop.

red arrow pointing to a save flag on a website menu

Here we are showing the flag button in the main menu on mobile.

red arrow pointing to a save flag on a website menu

Head’s up! If you use another device or clear your browser cookies, your favorites list will be reset.

Popular Recipes to Try First

Learn more about Lauren and her career in food publishing here.

Check out the full list of features and published work from Lauren as well.