If you’re sheltering in place or self-isolating somewhere that offers only a microwave to cook, the ability to eat nutritious and flavorful meals may seem impossible. If you can expand your cooking tools a little, your options increase, but if a microwave is all you’ve got, you can do more than you might realize. Microwave dinners and canned soups, move over.
As COVID-19 (aka, coronavirus) spreads, the number of people who are asked to stay home to slow and minimize the spread of the disease is likely to increase. If you’re among the people who can make your money from home when necessary, you may actually choose to stay home to take pressure off the system. And certainly, if you are sick, you should already be staying home except to seek medical care. What that’s going to mean for many folks is eating a lot more pantry staples. Diets high in prepared foods can quickly become boring…and high in sodium. We’ve got some tips and recipes to help you make smart pantry-stocking choices in case you need to stay in for a couple weeks.
Most of us have that one vegetable that we struggle to understand. Why do we hate it so much when other people can’t get enough? The truth is that proper preparation technique matters more with some veggies than others. A small change in your cooking routine can make the difference between bitter and sweet. Join us this month as we explore a few of the tips that can up your reputation as a chef du vegetable.
The curry below does include milk in the recipe, but please note that it works very well substituted with any unsweetened dairy alternative, such as almond, soy, or oat milk. Avocado is a great source of heart-healthy fats, making it a better-for-you option for creating a smooth and creamy sauce. Silken tofu also works as an excellent, nutrient-rich base for sauces and has a, well, silky texture when pureed.
Bean sauce is already a popular appetizer. Hummus, traditionally made with chickpeas, can be a creamy replacement for sandwich spreads, for pizza sauce, and for roasted veggies. Chickpeas are not your only option, though! Any bean can be turned into a sauce. White beans, like cannelinis, are an excellent mildly flavored bean if you want something that will disappear under the seasonings you’re adding. Black beans have an earthiness that makes them work well paired with strong flavors like cilantro, jalapeño, and lime. Red beans, like kidneys and pintos, have a hint of sweetness that plays well with root vegetables like winter squash and sweet potato and warmer spices, like a Jamaican jerk seasoning.
Whether you’re making a smooth vegetable soup or a vegan “cheese” sauce, a blender is a must for getting a great sauce with no dairy.
Creamy sauces are fantastic. They bring a dish together with coherence and coat your mouth and tongue to deliver a phenomenal flavor experience. If you’re trying to focus on nutrition, however, a lot of the classic choices have to sit in the corner with the “sometimes” foods due to high saturated fat and sodium. And for folks with dairy allergies who simply can’t tolerate those rich treats, the stakes are even higher. Don’t despair, you lovers of creamy goodness! Butter and cream have not cornered the market for silky smooth delivery of nom-ability.
Savory bread is wonderful accompaniment to many dishes. Cheese bread, onion bread, garlic bread, herb bread: they’re all a treat, and they can all be taken as inspiration for flavoring a no-knead loaf.