If you’re anything like me, you went through all of your elaborate, time-consuming recipes in the first week of shelter-in-place. Now, in between all the binge-watching, Zoom conferences, and revisiting of obscure hobbies, we just don’t have the time or energy to spend hours making dinner.
After a few days of canned soup and Cheez-Its, though, I’m craving something fresh. And I bet you are too. Here are five of my favorite go-to easy recipes that are a great way to sneak in some vegetables without a day of meal prep.
It doesn’t get much easier than this Israeli-based tomato stew with poached eggs. Use up the beans and tomatoes that you stockpiled a month ago, and throw in fresh veggies and herbs. Squashes cook up especially well in the tomato sauce, and it’s authentic to chop a handful of mint to finish the dish. I like mine on a bit of crusty bread or pita, but it’s equally delicious and hearty straight from the skillet.
Chickpeas are a versatile, shelf-stable source of protein. I like to always have a can or two around, and they make an incredibly easy meal in this barley salad. Seasoned with lime, cherry tomatoes, basil, and mint, this dish is a flavorful, filling lunch in no time. Make a big batch for a busy work-from-home week. Be sure to eat at your desk and make all your coworkers jealous.
This curry recipe is easily adaptable for whatever veg you have on hand. Whenever I get down to the end of my groceries and have some random, sad-looking vegetables at the bottom of the crisping drawer, this quick curry picks them right up. And if curry powder isn’t quite enough kick for you, I’d recommend picking up some red curry paste. There’s a lot more depth of flavor, which makes it much easier for me to say no to take out.
This is my go-to recipe for whenever I’ve overdone it on the junky food and my gut is clamoring for some veggies. The meal is entirely vegetables, but it’s still filling and ridiculously yummy. The star here is the fennel, which is sharp and licorice-y when raw, but sweetens up wonderfully when roasted. Fennel is very much in season now, as are the fresh herbs you’ll need to pull this meal together. This is another recipe that can handle a lot of adjustment-it’s just roasted veggies. My most recent bake was fennel, potato, onion, and zucchini, and it went in one sitting.
Can you tell my pantry has a lot of chickpeas and white beans? They’re great protein-rich bases for a variety of veg-friendly meals. This warm bean salad is about as easy as it gets. The beans are brightened up with lemon and pesto, and their richness is cut with garlic and arugula.
You don’t have to make your own pesto, though this one is delicious, or you can sub out the hemp seeds for the usual suspects-basil, arugula, parsley, radish greens, cilantro, and collard greens all work well. This nutrient-packed lunch feels luxurious but takes only a few minutes to come together out of primarily pantry leftovers. That qualifies for a go-to in my book.
So forget that elaborate meal that’s been bookmarked in your cookbook for four weeks. Nobody has time for that amidst all the self-improvement, conference calls, and (bless you) child-wrangling going on right now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t nourish your body with some plant-based goodness.
These recipes are so simple and comforting they’ll feel like cheating. Healthy doesn’t have to mean difficult or time-consuming, it just means getting a little creative with what you have.
Stay safe, stay well, and please share with us any of your go-to plant heavy meals. We’re always looking for some good recipe inspiration, and there’s an abundance of spring veggies on our farm right now. For more seasonal recipes, check out 12 Spring Recipes to Make the Most of Your Farm.