Why I’m Obsessed With… Greens

Tracy Goh loves her salads and has made green converts out of many including her young son and restaurateur husband, Yuan Oeij.

Why I’m Obsessed With… Greens

Picture this: a child raking up greens from her bowl, dropping it everywhere but in her mouth. Many kids are averse to anything green on their plates. But not young Tracy Goh. Although she eagerly devoured with her grandma’s dishes — which spanned Peranakan gamut from buak keluak ayam to babi pongteh — she also loved the petai beans and salads that accompanied the pork and lamb chops her family frequently grilled.

Veganism has been the buzzword in the world’s ethics- and health-focused dining scene for some time now, and Goh switched to a plant-based diet some three years ago after reading about animal cruelty and the health benefits of not consuming meat and dairy.

But it doesn’t mean that Goh is limited to just lettuce. Her husband Yuan Oeij, who chairs The Privé Group of restaurants, is a creative chef so he makes them salads wherever they find fresh produce, even when they travel.

While driving between towns in New Zealand, the couple chanced upon a sign that said “Fresh Strawberries” and couldn’t help turning it to check. They weren’t disappointed — these were some of the best strawberries they have ever tasted.
On a connecting flight in Greece, enjoying a simple self-prepared salad using fresh produce including raw mushrooms, tomatoes and avocado.

As an added plus of having a restauranteur partner, Tracy’s favourite salad also features on the Privé menu. The flavour bomb of goodness has ingredients that span the rainbow; salad greens and quinoa are topped with hummus, goji berries, pomegranate, garlic chips, jalapeño, pumpkin seed dukkah and chilli-chimichurri dressing.

Here, we check in with @TracyGreenGoddess to find out more about her green eats, and her recommendations for boosting immunity.

Growing up, I ate… whatever I wanted, because I was very active playing sports… netball and tennis competitively. So I pretty much burned off whatever I ate.

I only became more conscious about being healthy… and looking good when I reached my teenage years and realised the existence of boys.

Things took a real turn when I…
watched Cowspiracy, that made me cry. 🙁

I became more mindful about what I ate… particularly when I became pregnant and realised that what I consumed would directly affect my child. Luckily I didn’t have any weird, unhealthy cravings and wanted lots of greens!

 At Culina Market Dempsey, picking up some fresh produce for the week.

Fruits and vegetables are… inherently delicious without any need for excessive seasoning, and there is a multitude of things you can do with them.

When it comes to what we consume, I am a firm believer… that I take on the energy of the food I eat, so why would I consume the energy of a dead animal that was probably scared and stressed just before it died? That’s like eating negativity and I don’t want that.

Since switching to a plant-based diet, I feel… so much more in touch with the universe and my intuition. I’m generally happier, and I feel kinder and more positive.

A picnic at Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses’ beautiful gardens in New Zealand, creating salads from local ingredients found at the markets.

My favourite ingredients are… too many to list! But I’ll still endeavour. Garlic — it’s in all my salad dressings and vegetable stir-fries; we go through about 14 bulbs a week. Cumin, for its earthy flavour and it’s great for dressings as well as marinating vegetables and tofu or tempeh. Lemon — I have a preference for sour flavours so I squeeze lemon juice over everything! Nuts and seeds because I can’t resist crunchy foods and they are a good source of healthy fats, while adding an extra dimension to salads, rice and noodles.

As a vegan, one of my essential ingredients is… non-dairy milk. I love baking for my son and friends so I use a lot of non-dairy milk.

At Pollen, enjoying a plant-based lunch date with hubby Yuan Oeij

My Instagram handle is… @TracyGreenGoddess because I wanted a cute alliteration, and definitely with the word “Green” in it.

To me, green is the new black because… red (meat) is so passé.

My favourite way to make greens are… raw and cold. There are times when I feel lazy to cook and anyway, greens are so good you can even eat them on their own.

When I can’t find vegetables to eat, I… get grumpy and sulk.

My superfood is… berries.

I also grow my own… papaya, sweet potatoes and pandan leaves.

To me, the most versatile ingredient is… broccoli because it tastes good raw, steamed, grilled, deep fried, mashed, in soup, with rice…

Something so good my husband has adopted it for the restaurant is the… plant-based Privé Sausage Muffin!

Tyler enjoying a vegan meal at home.

I have converted… my seven-year-old son, Tyler, into a vegetable lover with my treats. It’s also because he has to eat plant-based at home or he’d starve. LOL

Tyler loves… the vegan cakes and cookies I bake for his breakfast and snacks. He even bakes some of his own!

To me, plants are like…
the food of the future and the only fuel you need for a strong and healthy body.

I feel… on top of the world now that my diet is 100 percent plant-based.

If you’re not into greens, you should start with… Tracy’s Favourite Salad at Privé. I have tons of carnivorous friends who absolutely love it!

The people who need vegetables most are… children. If you don’t cultivate the habit of eating vegetables when they are young, they’ll never learn to appreciate how delicious they truly are.

Kids should eat vegetables because… they need the most vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients during their developing years. Tyler is a smart, well-adjusted kid and seldom, if ever, falls sick.

To boost immunity, one should take… a whole array of colourful vegetables and fruits with a big helping of positivity and love. Immunity and overall health is a combination of mind, body and soul.

Tracy’s creamy vegan carbonara pasta with zoodles (zucchini noodles).

If you’re craving some yummy vegan food after reading this, here’s the recipe for Tracy’s Creamy Vegan Carbonara Pasta/Zoodles:

Carbonara Sauce (serves 4)

½ cup cashews (65 g), soaked overnight
¼ cup olive oil (60 ml)
⅓ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (80 ml)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika


Throw all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cook your favourite pasta and drain (tip: keep a little of the pasta water to loosen the sauce if too thick). Mix the carbonara sauce with the pasta in a large pot till all the pasta is coated with the sauce.

“This recipe is versatile so you can add sautéed mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, peas, roasted tofu, roasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds to the dish for added protein and fibre. A sprinkling of chopped parsley, chilli flakes and a glug of extra-virgin olive oil always adds a little zing to the dish. If you want a low carb option, you can also replace pasta with spiralized zucchini or zoodles for a raw and even healthier option. Bon appetit!”

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