Most of us are strapped for time, but getting a healthy and delicious plant-based meal on the table is essential. Check out these seven tips for getting in and out of the kitchen in a flash without sacrificing nutrition or flavor.
1. Cleanliness is Next to ….
I once took a flower-arranging class and the first thing we learned was how important it is to maintain a clean workspace. This ancient philosophy has guided me in many circumstances and especially in the kitchen where a messy counter or sink can make it hard to get started.
Even if you end up needing to clean before you cook, it’s worth taking a little bit of extra time up front to do so. It’s so much easier to clean up just one meal at a time instead of a huge pile-up of dirty dishes in the sink! If you need some suggestions for getting started with a new “cleaner kitchen” habit, check out “10 Tips for Easy Plant-Based Kitchen Cleanup.”
2. A Well-Stocked Kitchen is Your Best Friend
Keeping your fridge, pantry and freezer well-stocked with staples and favorites goes a long way toward making kitchen time more efficient. And you’re in luck – I’ve got a handy article for you on this topic too – “How to Stock Your Plant-Based Kitchen.”
3. Washed Lettuce is the Way to Go
Since eating a salad every day is a must if you eat plant-based, having the lettuce ready to go makes salad-making that much easier. Cut off the stem of your lettuce and wash the leaves thoroughly before storing them in paper towels in a lidded container. I’ve found that standing the lettuce leaves up a bowl filled with a little water works very well, too.
4. Pressure Cooked Beans
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years, you’ve probably heard about the Instant Pot, a pressure cooker, crock pot and yogurt maker all in one. Buying my Instant Pot was well worth the investment and is probably one of the best purchases I’ve ever made – but any brand of pressure cooker will do. Pressure cookers can be easily found on Amazon or at most kitchen supply stores such as Bed, Bath and Beyond.
I use my Instant Pot mostly for cooking dried beans from scratch several nights a week, which only takes about 30 minutes.
Once you’ve got the beans you can easily turn them into burritos, tacos, hummus, soups, green salads, and pasta salads. Versatile beans should be on every whole food plant-based cook’s weekly meal plan and having them handy makes for a happy cook!
5. Store Food in Glass Containers
Avoid storing leftovers in plastic and use glass containers instead if you want to quickly see what’s in your fridge. You won’t have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into your food.
6. Label and Date Those Leftovers
Because keeping track of the foods in your fridge and freezer can be a challenge, save time by labeling and dating each container. That way you know how long something is going to stay fresh. Amazon carries removable freezer labels which can be used for the fridge as well.
7. Foods That Love the Freezer
Nuts have a higher percentage of fat and since we eat them sparingly, storing them in the freezer keeps them fresher longer and helps prevent rancidity.
Fresh Ginger and Turmeric Root
Both fresh ginger and turmeric root keep well in the freezer whereas on the counter they will quickly dry out and shrivel up. To use these frozen, just grate with a micro grater into whatever dish you’re preparing. I like to put both of these healthful roots into my smoothies.
Peel and cut bananas into chunks. Separate the chunks and lay them on a tray to freeze before storing in a plastic bag or glass container. They’re great for smoothies or plant-based ice cream.
Freeze your veggie scrap and use them to make vegetable broth. Quart size bags or glass containers both work well for storage.
Plant-Based Cooking in a Flash
While plant-based cooking tends to have a reputation for being time-consuming, now you know that it doesn’t have to be that way! Once you get into the groove of these new kitchen habits, you’ll be in and out of the kitchen in no time. Pretty soon you’ll be so smooth that you’ll be coming up with your own time-saving “tricks.”
Do you have any tips of your own to share? I’d love to hear what they are and how they work for you. Please leave a comment below.
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