Gotta love those days where you can work a full day and then whip up a delicious, healthy meal – ideally in pearls and heels under my apron. But there’s, you know, LIFE that gets in the way of that vision coming true! As truly beautiful as life is (as I wrote those last words, the wind just blew snow off of the love tree in our backyard and it was gorgeous!) it’s also busy and exhausting sometimes.
So what’s a girl or guy to do? Well, fake it. I don’t mean buy Chinese food, then serve it on the special china with a sprig of fresh herbs, although I was totally entranced when I first heard that magical entertaining trick. I mean, make it easy on yourself! If a recipe calls for rice, use the 3 minute frozen rice from Trader Joe’s. Gotta have those veggies, so pop in the fresh frozen green beans as an easy side in 5 minutes.
*Eco-disclaimer: in an ideal world (aka most weeks, when I grocery shop on Sundays) I avoid these individually packaged foods. I try to limit food with packaging that goes straight in the waste stream – it can make an enormous difference in our world and how we’ll leave it to our grandchildren. The preferred option is to set myself up for success on meal-planning Sundays! I’ve never been great at pre-chopping, marinating and seasoning 17 meals for each week, but I can definitely make a huge amount of brown rice and stick it in the fridge. The same concept works perfectly with veggies – chop up an onion, some garlic, etc. on Sunday and cooking is faster, easier and much more tempting when the directions are reduced to “dump in pan and cook.”
Another bonus of think ahead cooking/meal planning is the ability to use up more of the ingredients I purchase each week. This awesome recipe calls for thinly sliced red cabbage, which to me means pre-chopped from the store. I combined the leftover red cabbage with mixed raw coleslaw (all fresh veggies) to make a spicy fresh slaw. Not to mention all of the yummy leftovers for perfect burritos.
I will share that this recipe isn’t difficult, but there are a handful of components to assemble. I prepared it myself and played music, danced around, and had a ball, but it would be fun to make with friends or family! I picture an Oprah-style cooking party…. “You get an ingredient! And YOU get an ingredient!”
I’ll also share, because I’m just a wildly/sometimes unfortunately honest person, that we did not use queso fresco (gasp) but substituted feta cheese. That’s the only part of this recipe that is non-vegan, but I’m sure the masses of creative vegans out there have come up with vegan feta. Or vegan queso fresco. How progressive would that be?!
Another Meatless Monday thanks to Cooking Light later, I’m happy to report that this whole-grain veggie burrito bowl is FABULOUS. Like, as I was eating the whole thing, I made the “mm” noise so much that my husband looked over and gave me one of those come on, I get it smirks. So yummy! 🙂
Really Yummy Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl
1 (3.5-ounce) bag boil-in-bag brown rice (such as Uncle Ben’s)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 (15-ounce) can unsalted black beans, undrained
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce
1 cup chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
3 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
1. Cook brown rice according to package directions. Drain. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add cumin and garlic; cook 1 1/2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
2. Partially drain black beans. Place beans and remaining liquid in a small saucepan; stir in chipotle chiles and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring bean mixture to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
3. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and jalapeño; toss to combine.
4. Combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons juice, and cabbage; toss well.
5. Divide rice mixture evenly among 4 shallow bowls. Divide bean mixture, tomato mixture, cabbage mixture, cheese, and avocado evenly over rice.
Enjoy, and make all the “mm-mm” sounds you want!!
I thought this was such a wonderful quick, healthy (I especially love the freshness of the veggies!!) and absolutely delicious weeknight meal. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan – I am a total veggie-lover, even in spaghetti Bolognese – but I do try to limit the meat I consume for health and environmental reasons. In fact, I’ll be sharing more information about the Meatless Monday movement in an upcoming post – about a steak salad…the irony isn’t lost on me! But my point is this: you don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to eat more plants. Plants are and have always been a major source of nutrients for our bodies, and they’re delicious – even my burger-loving husband was shocked at how yummy BBQ Pulled Sweet Potato can be!
Alright, that’s all my “wisdom” for today. I’d LOVE to hear from you! Is anybody out there? 🙂 Let me know if you try this recipe, or if you have a favorite weeknight quick meal to share!!
And as always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. I appreciate you!
A Happy Wife