The Secret to Health Eating? Meal Prepping on Sundays.

June 7, 2024
Dining & Wine
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They’ll last at least a week, so you can turn them into salads with dressings you have on hand (see below). The hardy greens can go into a skillet with garlic, ginger and chile for a quick cook, adding cut up chicken or tofu to make a stir-fry. Simply season to taste with soy sauce and sesame oil. Or try this crispy chickpea stew with greens or greens and beans with toasted crumbs.

For simple cooking, wash, cut and store any sturdy vegetables (asparagus, carrots, squash, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, radishes, turnips). Even alliums like scallions, leeks and onions will last in the fridge, sliced or diced, for three or four days. Just avoid pre-chopping avocados, potatoes, eggplant or tomatoes; they don’t hold up as well. Your prepped vegetables will be at the ready for dishes like this summery orzo salad with lentils and zucchini and this no-cook naan-o paneer-o sabzi, a savory plate of feta, fresh herbs, nuts and watermelon at the heart of the Iranian table.

Whether you use a rice cooker or a pot on the stove, keeping white or brown rice in the fridge is the secret to speedy meals (tuna mayo rice bowl, anyone?). Rice that’s a few days old works even better in stir-fries than fresh cooked, getting nice and crisp. Try it in this salmon fried rice, and don’t forget you can prep the asparagus and broccolini ahead, too.

Beans cooked from scratch are less expensive and often taste a lot better than canned, especially when seasoned with garlic, avocado or bay leaves and herbs, as in frijoles de olla. Then savor them with the rice you also made. Or turn them into a coconut black bean soup.

Heed the advice of my colleague Tanya Sichynsky, who writes a newsletter for vegetarian cooking, and assemble a sauce library (to which I’d add an annex for dressings and easy marinades). Then, borrow from it all week long to use on your rice, beans, salads and other easy meals.

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