Monday, December 5, 2011

Keeping it simple in the kitchen

I really do (honestly) enjoy cooking, and I'm lucky enough to have time most days to cook a healthy meal from scratch. Most days I do. However, I'm a busy mother and an active woman, so there are some nights when I need a super simple meal and I need it quickly! Here are some of my go-to semi-homemade dinners you can turn to in a pinch:

1. Falafel

God bless falafel! The best of the street foods!

Falafel (/fəˈlɑːfəl/; Arabic: فلافل‎, [falaːfil] ( listen)) is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans. Falafel is usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a meze.

Much to my great joy, you can now find already-made falafel at most grocery stores. Most of the time you find it next to the hummus. How do I serve it? With a side of hummus and pita or pita chips, and topped with pickles. That's it! Enjoy with a side salad and you have a perfect little meal.

2. Vegetarian Meatballs

Vegetarian meatballs are another quick and easy option that are now available everywhere. Although I'm not a big fan of pasta (never have been, it's not some weird carb thing!), sometimes I crave a little whole wheat fettuccine, tomato sauce and veggie meatballs. Super easy to make and tastes great for leftovers. And with a meal this simple, jazz it up with a nice spinach salad.

3. Good ol' Beans and Rice!

There's something so perfect about beans and rice. Thinking back to my 20's, beans and rice was something I could easily eat three times a week. Cheap, super good for you and cheap! Craving some beans and rice recently, I accidentally "invented" a cool dish in a pinch. I had made a nice big pot of brown rice and wanted to top it with black beans and salsa. I looked in my pantry and noticed I only had kidney beans. While I'm a fan of kidney beans, it wasn't what I had in mind. So...I topped the brown rice with the rinsed beans and poured a really good bbq sauce on top. Three ingredients that went really well together. Again, quick, cheap and wicked good!

What's your simple vegetarian dinner in a pinch?


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Do you have a brand of vegan meatballs that you prefer? The Veggie Patch ones have egg in them so not vegan.

Veganmama said...

I like the Meatless Meatballs from Trader Joe's. Thanks for pointing out the eggs in the Veggie Patch variety, I didn't realize that.