Have you tried freekeh yet? This ancient grain has the hearty texture to hold up against a thick, creamy peanut sauce. For a simple weeknight meal packed with nutrition and flavor, keep scrolling to see more!
If you’ve been perusing Internet-land lately, particularly Social Media-ville, you’ve likely seen these gorgeous bowls and plates filled with spectacular ingredients and perfectly arranged toppings. They look awesome, right? Pretty much the epitome of a healthy meal. These Nourish Bowls are everywhere, from home kitchens to restaurants to food trucks.
Confession: these pictures have induced a little guilt in me from time to time.
As in: I don’t have kids, my life isn’t that busy, why can’t I put a meal on the table every night that looking this gorgeous and tasty?!?!? Well, I’ll tell you why.
- If I’m being honest, I don’t always care what my food looks like as long as it tastes good.
- I never went to culinary school so when I attempt to mince something according to a recipe, it looks like an awful hackjob gone wrong until I toss it in the pot with everything else.
- Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I assume you’re somebody that ain’t got time for that either, but the good new is there are some little life-hacks that make up for our lack of inner-sous chef. I’m all about convenience because cooking should be fun and simple, not stress- or guilt-inducing. So how to I get a quick meal on the table without spending half my life chopping $h!t up?
[Tweet “Hate chopping veggies? Here’s a solution! Plus, new #MeatlessMonday recipe”]
I kid you not, there is not one veggie in this bowl that I chopped myself. Here’s how I do it.
I rely on the frozen stuff All. The. Time. It’s cheap, it’s reliable, it’s always available. I mean, in this last winter ice-storm the fresh produce shelves were basically stripped. The frozen aisle? Full. Like people forgot that frozen veggies will stay frozen if the power goes out and you just chuck ’em outside.
Regardless of the season, frozen veggies are a great option. This is an affordable alternative when produce is not in season so you’re not paying a premium price for a less-than-stellar looking bunch of asparagus. For certain things like tomatoes, I even venture into the canned food aisle and look for options with no added salt. When you’re checking labels, stick to the single-ingredient rule: if the package says frozen green peas, the ingredient list should list one thing and one thing only. Green peas.
For this recipe I pulled out a bag of frozen edamame to thaw in water while I was getting everything else prepped. And that’s one more bonus to using frozen veggies – since they’re fully cooked already, it can really minimize your time and effort in the kitchen.
SALAD BAR VEGETABLES
Ok, so I’ll preface this by saying it might freak you out to eat from a public salad bar. And if that’s you, skip it. But if you’re looking for a small amount for one recipe or you know you don’t have time to chop everything, it’s so convenient. If I buy a head of cabbage, I have a literal ton of cabbage and I scramble to find ways to use it before it goes bad. I usually fail and end up wasting food. I hate wasting food. But if I pick up just the handful I need off the salad bar, it’s a much more manageable amount.
The sustainability issue is also there so I usually choose a plastic container, fill it with multiple items, and rinse and recycle it when I get home. Not ideal, but I can’t be a perfect world citizen all the time so I just do my best.
For this recipe the shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, chopped green onions, and sliced bell peppers were all compliments of my local grocery store’s salad bar.
PRE-CHOPPED and SHREDDED VEGETABLES
Finally, if all else fails, outsource the work to someone else. Most grocery stores now have a refrigerated section that houses pre-chopped and peeled veggies like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, and more. That’s where I grabbed the cauliflower for this dish.
I will say this is not the most economical option. You pay by weight but you also pay for the labor and supplies involved in prepping these veggies. Still, it might help makes a weeknight dinner less chaotic and it’s up to each of us to decide if that trade-off is worth it.
[Tweet “Use these life-hacks to make weeknight cooking a breeze. Plus: Thai Freekeh Salad recipe!”]
The base of this bowl is freekeh (pronounced freak-uh), which is an ancient African grain that is basically toasted cracked wheat. I like to use it in any recipe that calls for brown rice or quinoa. It’s comparable to quinoa nutrition-wise, with the same amount of protein and slightly more fiber for the same size serving. Cook it with a 1:2.5 ratio of dry freekeh to liquid. And just like with quinoa, you can use these tips to ensure it turns out right.
[Tweet “Get your freekeh on with this Thai Freekeh Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce – 30 minute meal”]
What are some of your favorite life-hacks to make weeknight cooking easier? And if you like these tips, feel free to share on Facebook!
Thai Freekeh Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 1 cup uncooked freekeh
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive or sesame oil
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shelled edamame
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp honey or agave
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If using frozen edamame, place in water to thaw until needed.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Toss the chopped cauliflower with the olive or sesame oil until evenly coated, then spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste (if desired). Roast for 20 minutes or until fully cooked.
- In the meantime, bring the water to a boil and add the freekeh. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom.
- Once fully cooked, remove the freekeh from heat, fluff lightly with a fork and allow to cool slightly. While the freekeh is cooling, mix all ingredients for the sauce in a small jar and stir well. Build the bowls by adding 1/4 of the cooked freekeh to each bowl, then top with roasted cauliflower, bell pepper slices, shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, and edamame. Top with green onions and 1/4 of the sauce.