Make 6 Meals from 11 Ingredients
Stop Throwing Away Food
We’ve all been there: You buy the ingredients for a big meal, and then are left with a refrigerator full of produce that you don’t know what to do with—so it winds up spoiling and being wasted. As a result, some people opt to skip the produce and instead eat frozen meals or, worse, order out.
This doesn’t need to happen! There are so many ways to go about saving food: making and freezing sauces out of leftover vegetables, chopping and freezing herbs in ice cube trays, the list goes on. The key to not wasting food, as I see it, is to plan out a week’s worth of dinners before you go to the farmer’s market or grocery store.
Here is a sample of a week’s menu with a shopping list and recipes to show how to get the most out of your ingredients. Bonus: All recipes are vegan and can easily be made gluten-free.
1 kabocha squash
1 head red cabbage
1 head cauliflower
2 large bunches kale
1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach
1 medium cucumber
1 medium red bell pepper
1 head celery
1 small bag baby carrots
1 small piece ginger
Barley or brown basmati rice
Canned black beans
Low-sodium vegetable broth
Seasonings (cumin seeds, whole coriander seeds, mustard seeds, sage leaves, garlic powder, cayenne pepper)
Vegan sour cream
Monday Dinner: HAPPY BELLY BOWL
1 cup chopped kabocha squash
1 cup julienned red cabbage
1 cup chopped cauliflower
Seasonings of choice
1-2 cups shredded kale
1/4 cup dry polenta
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place kabocha, cabbage, and cauliflower on a lightly oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with seasonings, and bake for 20 minutes. Flip veggies and cook for 10 more minutes, then add kale and cook for 10 additional minutes.
2. While vegetables are roasting, prepare polenta according to package directions, and heat black beans in a small pot on low for 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Serve everything together on a plate.
Tuesday Afternoon Snack: GREEN SMOOTHIE
1 cup kale
1 cup spinach
Small piece fresh ginger
1/3 cup water
Blend everything in a high-powered blender. This can be stored up to three days in a mason jar.
Tuesday Dinner: CURRIED QUINOA Bowl
Serves: 2 to 4
Remaining cauliflower minus 1 cup (reserve for Friday), chopped
Remaining red cabbage, chopped
4-5 cups kale, torn
1/4 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup dry quinoa
1. Before work, combine vegetables, spices, salt, and pepper in a slow cooker* with 1 cup water. Cover and cook on low for eight hours.
2. When you’re ready to eat, prepare quinoa according to package directions. Serve vegetables over quinoa.
*If you don’t have a slow cooker, sauté vegetables, spices, salt, and pepper in a little oil over medium heat. Add 1 cup vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, on low heat for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with cooked quinoa.
Wednesday Dinner: Squash, SPINACH, and SAGE RISOTTO
2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 cups kabocha squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 onion, diced
10 sage leaves, plus more for serving
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup barley*
5 ounces baby spinach
1/2 cup vegan Parmesan, plus more for serving (optional)
1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat a little vegetable broth in a Dutch oven or large oven-safe saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, onion, sage, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, about 4 to 6 minutes.
2. Add barley and stir for 1 minute. Add remaining broth and bring to a boil; cover pot and transfer to the oven. Bake until barley is tender, 50 to 55 minutes.
3. Stir in spinach, Parmesan, and a few extra torn sage leaves, if you like.
*For a gluten-free version of this dish, replace barley with 1/2 cup brown basmati rice and reduce baking time to 40 to 45 minutes.
Thursday Dinner: CHEESY KALE NACHOS
1 tsp olive oil, plus more for peppers
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 red pepper, chopped
Remaining onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup black beans
1 tablespoon salsa (optional)
1 tablespoon vegan sour cream (optional)
Vegan cheese, as desired (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350° F. Tear kale leaves and place in a bowl. Add olive oil, salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and nutritional yeast and massage kale so everything is evenly distributed. Spread on a nonstick baking sheet and bake until lightly crisped, about 10 minutes.
2. While kale cooks, sauté red pepper, onion, and garlic in a touch of olive oil.
3. Plate kale, top with peppers and onions, black beans, salsa, sour cream, and cheese.
Friday Dinner: Crudites AND HUMMUS
Remaining cauliflower, chopped
Remaining cucumber, sliced
Remaining red pepper, sliced
Celery, cut into pieces
Hummus of choice
Plate out as much of each vegetable as desired and dip in hummus.