I’m lazy. I like to find the easiest, most straightforward way to get to a nutritious meal on my plate. I decided to put together a list of my favourite ingredients and simple ways to use them, to help out my fellow lazy ladies and gents out there.
- Pre-washed baby spinach (no washing and no chopping)
Make salads in a snap with baby spinach, you can also throw it into smoothies, pasta, omelettes or sautéed as a side dish.
- Frozen vegetables (no washing and no chopping)
It’s a common misconception that frozen vegetables are garbage. In fact, frozen vegetables are just as nutritious if not more nutritious than their fresh alternatives since freezing vegetables at their peak ripeness helps to retain vitamins and minerals! Steam for a simple side dish with flavoured butter, or toss into pasta (frozen broccoli), rice pilaff (frozen butternut squash, or cauliflower) and soups (frozen peas).
- Canned tomatoes (no washing and no chopping)
Puree into your own customized pasta sauce, with browned onions, garlic and fresh basil, or you can make a great low salt tomato soup with broth, pesto and a splash of evaporated milk.
- Eggs (quick cooking and versatile)
Eggs are a must have for my family since we love eggs for any meal or snack. You can do so much with them, for example they can be the star of the show with shakshuka or in you salad, alternatively you can use eggs to top fried rice, or as a binder for burgers.
- Bananas (no washing and versatile)
This fruit is cheap and versatile. I argue that bananas are the potatoes of the fruit family since they are able to get along with many fruits and often the base of smoothies, breads, oatmeals, and ice cream splits. Add the natural sweetness of nature’s candy with bananas, to your breakfasts, baking and snacks.
- Baby carrots (no washing and no chopping)
Baby carrots are a great all around emergency veggie. I usually forget to chop whole veggies up for snacks so buying baby carrots fits the bill for me. Dip into hummus and it’s a complete snack that satisfies.
- Canned salmon or canned sardines (no cooking and versatile)
This is such an unsung hero, one of the most bioavailable food sources of calcium and omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. I toss bone-in canned fish into pasta, mix with egg and oatmeal and fry to make fish patties, or I blend with goat cheese or cream cheese and fresh herbs to make a pate. Yum!
- Dried green lentils (cooks as quick as rice)
This legume is fast cooking, versatile and keeps it’s shape for mixing into soups, shepherds pie or for salads. I recommend adding dried lentils to your pot of uncooked rice to easily increase the fibre and protein content.
- Good olive oil (levels up simple recipes)
Quality ingredients can make a simple recipe seem like it came from a five star restaurant. Trust me on this, good olive oil is far more flavourful and delicious than a cheaper grocery store brand. In addition, fresh olive oil is higher in polyphenols than stale olive oil, the more peppery the flavour, the higher the polyphenol content. If you haven’t tried good olive oil, it’s worth the extra few dollars to make simple recipe stand out!
- Quinoa (quick cooking and versatile)
This gluten free, complete protein, takes side dishes to the next level. My favourite part about quinoa is the fact that it cooks just as quickly as rice does! Use quinoa in place of rice for stir frys, as a base for a hearty greek salad or as a breakfast cereal in place of oatmeal!
Hope you’ve added some new items to your grocery list!
Rebecca Livingstone RD
What are some of your favourite “lazy cook” ingredients?
Have you tried all of these ingredients already?
What are your go-to simple recipes?