So often I hear people complain about how difficult it is to prepare and cook a nutritious meal in a half hour or less. The truth is, it isn't. I admit that there are nights I don't FEEL like cooking, but I usually rouse and pull out my favorite kitchen gadget - a large, cast iron skillet.
Several years ago the nutrition scientists increased the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables consumed from 5 to 9. Despite the info being plastered all over the newspapers for a week or two, I find that most people never got that life altering, wonderful piece of news. Disease decreases in direct proportion to the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed. Not only that, fruits and veggies keep your blood pressure down, your arteries clean, your waistline trim, and those trips to the loo, a faster experience. Those same scientists would like to increase the amount even further, but many folks who did, happen to watch the numerous newscasts on the subject are actually still balking at the idea of having to eat that much green stuff. We're still stuck with a five fruit serving rut, and are struggling with it at that.
Vegans aren't exempt from the mentality, though it seems like an oxymoran. Afterall, our diet is plant-based. So I want to share my two favorite ways to get all those lovely nutrients, quickly. Ideally we want to consume more vegetables than fruits.
The first way is a salad. For one person, start with at least two cups of greens, and create from there. Add any vegetable your heart desires. Change the greens up for variety. Top with chickpeas and you have a power packed, fiber rich meal. All it takes is a little creativity.
My second almost daily "go-to" is a stir fry. I peruse the refrigerator and root vegetable storage basklets, and pull out all the vegetables that tickle my palate, or if truth be told, need to be used NOW. I wash them, trim and skin if that's necessary, and set them next to my chopping board. Next, I pull out old faithful, a beautiful, seasoned cast iron skillet that I inherited from my mother, who more than likely inherited it from hers. I set the pan on the stove and heat the burner to medium high. I add a drizzle of oil or sometimes broth, and start chopping. Onion goes in first, garlic with it, or last if I want it pungent instead of sweet.
As it's softening, I start chopping the hardest vegetable in my pile, and as it's cooking, I chop and then add the next, and so on. If I'm using soft greens like spinach or kale, they go in last.The combinations are endless. For seasoning I add a plethora of different things. Fresh herbs, Braggs Aminos, tamari, balsamic vinegar, Herbes de Provence or other dried herbs, hot pepper flakes, cayenne, curry, Picante sauce. The list could go on to infinity. Sometimes I add leftover pasta or cooked rice or quinoa. Chickpeas and black beans often go in for a little exta WOW power. If i'm feeling dextrous, I'll saute some tempeh in a separate skillet and stir that in with ground fennel seeds and a little seasalt. Vegetables are not only the foundation of our diet, they are the foundation of everyone's diet, or should be.
So, grab a pan....