The other day Mike and I were talking about post ideas for my blog when he came up with a fantastic suggestion. I was telling him that a lot of my recipes are pretty long and I wanted to start sharing some quicker ones, when he reminded me that most of my lunches (as well as some of my dinners) are made in a matter of minutes. Plus they’re usually healthy, filling, and pretty tasty. Mike suggested I do posts on some of my blogworthy lunch recipes and call them “Meals in Minutes.” (Isn’t he adorable?!) I thought it was a great idea, so I’ll occasionally be sharing with you some of my favorite quick meals.
Sweet & Nutty Base
My first Meal in Minutes is my standard (but definitely not ordinary ;) ) salad. The salad base includes salad greens, dried fruit for sweetness, and toasted nuts or seeds. If possible, make sure to toast your seeds or nuts because toasting really helps to develop their flavor. The fastest way to toast nuts or seeds is in a dry skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Just give them a little shake every so often and take them off the heat once they’re fragrant, then let them cool before adding to your salad.
This is my go-to salad base because it always delivers as far as flavor and texture go. When it comes to salad, I think texture is just as important as flavor (imagine limp lettuce, mushy tomatoes, or slimy bell peppers and you’ll know what I mean).
This salad is completely customizable in every way…to make it, start with about 3 cups of your favorite salad greens, add a sprinkle of your favorite dried fruit and nuts, add lean protein and any other veggies/fruit/herbs you want, and then whisk together a custom salad dressing to drizzle on top.
Dried Fruit Suggestions: Raisins, figs, currants, cherries, blueberries, apple, pineapple, banana, etc.
Nut & Seed Suggestions: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, macadamia nuts, etc.
· Raw veggies: Carrot; broccoli; green beans; cherry tomatoes; bell pepper; etc.
· Roasted veggies: Zucchini; sweet potato; squash; beets; etc.
· Fruit: Apple; pear; grapes; strawberries; kiwi; orange; pineapple; etc.
· Lean protein: Low fat cheese; cottage cheese; hummus; beans; eggs; grilled chicken/fish/steak (this is a great place for leftovers!); tofu; etc.
· Herbs: Basil; chives; parsley; cilantro; mint; etc.
· Other: Dried, unsweetened, flaked coconut; olives; etc.
The Dressing (Enough for 1 Salad): Just whisk together the following ingredients and then drizzle on top of the salad:
· 1 tsp olive oil
· 1/2 to 1 tsp vinegar (such as apple cider, balsamic, red wine, etc.; or you can use lemon juice)
· 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
· 1/4 tsp liquid sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup, jam, etc.)
· Dash salt and pepper
Salad Inspirations: Here are a few of my favorite combinations to give you some ideas:
· Dried currants, walnuts, sliced apple, and sharp Cheddar with apple cider vinaigrette
· Raisins, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, olives, and hummus with lemon juice vinaigrette
· Dried apricots, almonds, sliced oranges, bell pepper, and grilled chicken with white balsamic vinaigrette
· Dried cranberries, walnuts, roasted sweet potato, and goat cheese with apple cider vinaigrette