It is pretty rare these days that I not only enjoy a take away but feel good afterwards. My body is just too sensitive to all that grease, refined starches and sweet and salty sauces that are part of the package when we are talking take away fast food. After a long tiring day, when cooking is the last thing on my mind, I occasionally make that call to the local Pizza or Asian take away, the food arrives at the door and I sit down to indulge (usually in front of a movie).
The truth is, with these few handy tips, you can have a tastier than take away meal, on your lap before the delivery boy has time to make it to your door…
… and your digestion, night’s sleep and wallet can thank me for it.
Veggie curry can literally be constructed and on the table in 20 minutes or under. They key is having a great curry paste on hand, keeping a selection of frozen veg in the freezer as well as having coconut cream as part of your pantry staples. Simple put this dish together by using frozen curry paste (like this one from my blog) with coconut cream/stock and a selection of frozen veggies. You can also use up any steamed veggies you may have as leftovers or quickly chop a couple of cups of veggies from your vegetable crisper.
2. Veggie Wedges
Potato wedges are a classic pub snack but much healthier veggie wedges can be made at home with minimal oil. Simply cut tuba or root veggies (e.g. sweet potato, beetroot, potato, carrots, parsnip) into wedges, lightly coat in oil, season with your favourite herbs or spices and bake in a moderate oven for 20-30min. Serve with a good quality store bought salsa, smashed avocado or your favourite sauce. See here…>
3. Soup with Herb Garlic Toast
Soup is truly one of the simplest dishes to make. You can keep it really fast and easy by simmering any combination of vegetables, beans, herbs and spices with a good quality veggie stock. Keep it chunky and rustic or give the pot a quick blast with your stick blender for a smooth soup.
For a delicious side: toast some sourdough bread (pre sliced and frozen) and drizzle with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, garlic granules and freshly chopped herbs.
Many great soup ideas on the blog here…>
4. Udon or Rice Noodles Soup
The individual servings of Japanese Udon noodles or dried Soba or Rice noodles can be added to a pot of boiling water with a few frozen veggies for a one pot wonder dinner in minutes. Seasoning can be a simple as a dash or tamari soy sauce with a sprinkle of chilli flakes or a spoonful of miso or tamarind paste.
5. Veggie Burgers
Veggie “Burgers with the lot” or Aussie Veggie Burgers with beetroot are a great family or crowd pleaser. There are some good quality veggie burger patties available frozen and it is easy to make a batch yourself to keep in the freezer. Load the burgers high with simple salad, slices of pre-cooked beetroot, onion rings, pineapple slices and a fried egg.
Baked (not deep-fried) falafel are a really healthy easy meal. When you make a batch from scratch keep some to freeze for later or simply buy the good quality dried variety and make them up in a few minutes. While they are defrosting, or baking, chop up a selection of accompaniments to join the falafel in a wrap with salad leaves and good quality store-bought hummus.
7. Pesto Spaghetti
Pesto pasta is one of my “go to” meals in minutes. It is as simple as wizzing or pounding together something green with nuts of your choice, some nutritional yeast, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Stir through piping hot wholemeal pasta for Friday night bliss!
8. Stews and Casseroles
Bean Stews and Casseroles are perfect for winter dining. A slow cooker makes these dishes a synch. Plop the ingredients in the pot and walk away for the day and let the slow cooker work it’s magic. Slow cookers are usually big which means you can make a large batch and store portions in the freezer.
9. Summer Rolls
Rice Paper Wraps are quicker and easer to make than you might imagine. Most vegetables work in combination with fast to prepare rice noodles and simple Asian seasoning. You can even involve guests or your kids in the construction of these: laying out a selection of quickly chopped veggies with the rice paper and seasoned noodles for a “build your own” production line.
10. Baked Veggie Salad
This is a very regular dish in our household as it is so quick and easy to make. Simply run your chopping knife through a tray of veg and roast with seasoning and a small amount of oil and water. Most commonly I use pumpkin, fennel or cauliflower. Once the veggies are soft remove the tray from the oven and add a can of beans or lentils and a generous amount of salad leaves like baby spinach or rocket. Drizzle over your favourite dressing, stir gently and serve while still warm.
The key really is to getting a little bit organised so you can pull out a great and nutritious meal in minutes. Keep your pantry stocked with coconut cream, canned beans and lentils, good quality sauces; your veggie crisper full of staples like pumpkin, greens, cauliflower, sweet potato and corn; and your freezer well stocked with frozen burger patties, falafel, bean stews and a selection of frozen veg. With a handful of memorised killer flexible recipes and a bit of planning you are much less likely to order one of those takeaways you know you will regret later.