Aldi is my jam. On weeks when I’m trying to keep the grocery bill low and avoid buying unnecessary extra ingredients for specific dishes, I pretty much just hit up the Aldi produce section with zero plan. Then I throw meals together with what is already in my pantry (see Spicy Tomato Fajita Vegetables Inspired By My Empty Pantry for an extreme case!) This isn’t the most exciting part of cooking for me, but it provides us with healthy, vegetable-heavy meals for the whole week without breaking the bank (why are groceries so expensive anyway?!) Then you can throw in one or two treat meals – in between these two creations below I made pizza with manchego and spicy tomato sauce. It was awesome. Too bad I can’t just eat that every night. Life is so unfair.
Anyway I thought it would be a cool exercise to post two dishes I made this week – using basically the same ingredients but made into different meals, just to be like hey here are some possibilities! You can do this with any veggies you have lying around and both are pretty quick and healthy. Easy. No recipe required. Eat your vegetables and go about your week feeling like a superhero.
So the basic ingredients here are quinoa, broccoli and mushrooms. I’m not posting these as recipes, per say, because it’s more about learning to season stuff yourself, ya know? Consider this a prompt. I believe in you!
MEAL 1: VEGGIE BOWL WITH BALSAMIC AND CRUSHED RED PEPPER
Ingredients: Quinoa, broccoli, baby bella mushrooms, 1 tomato, spinach, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper, dried basil, and black pepper.
Method: Cook 1 cup of quinoa according to package directions. While that cooks, heat up a skillet (I used cast iron) on the stove and throw a handful of broccoli in there without oil and cook them until they get a little brown and charred. Then remove. Add a handful of chopped mushrooms to the same pan and cook with a tiny bit of water. Then drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar on the mushrooms, cook for another minute (vinegar should absorb into the mushrooms) and then remove those too and turn off the stove.
When the quinoa is done, put some into a bowl. Place a handful of spinach next to it, and then add the broccoli, shroomies and a sliced tomato. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic, then season with the other spices to taste. Boom. Food.
Then I saved the leftover quinoa in the fridge and used it for this the next day…..
MEAL 2: QUINOA FRIED RICE WITH BROCCOLI, MUSHROOMS, CARROTS AND TOFU
Ingredients: Cooked quinoa, broccoli, baby bella mushrooms, onion, a carrot, extra firm tofu brick, tamari, rice vinegar, agave, sriracha, black pepper, olive oil
Method: Press the tofu for 20 minutes or so. Cut into cubes and then mix with a bit of tamari, lots of black pepper and a bit of flour or corn starch in a bowl. Heat up your wok and dry-fry the tofu until golden. Remove. (Skip all these steps and just add a can of chickpeas later on if ya want, after the mushrooms and before the sauces)
Heat up a bit of oil in the wok and then add some onion. Stir-fry until soft and a little brown and then add the chopped carrot. Keep stir-frying and then add the broccoli and mushrooms. Keep stir-frying until the mushrooms are looking cooked and then add in all the seasoning and sauces. Mix and stir-fry and then add the quinoa and tofu. Stir-fry for a few more minutes and it’s done. Top with more pepper if ya want. Boom. Food.