When we first went plastic-free in 2011, it took us a while to figure out what to eat. One thing was clear, however—we would no longer eat processed foods, with all of their plastic packaging. We started eating more fresh vegetables from the farmers market and I also began fermenting like crazy. If you’ve caught the fermentation bug, you’ll understand. If not, here are five reasons to ferment food. You can also simply buy fermented foods—kimchi, dill pickles, kombucha, yogurt, preserved lemons—although they will cost you much more than homemade and most ferments are very easy to make.
I will eventually post the last two of these seven menus and then post a compilation of all seven menus in yet another post (I work in publishing—I milk content for a living…). When I get around to that, you will notice that I vary the dishes for each zero-waste menu. I don’t actually eat different dishes every night though. I don’t have time to cook a different dish every night. Rather, I make large vats of food, I freeze some and we eat lots of leftovers for lunches and dinners (well I eat the majority of them…the cook appreciates leftovers most…). So really, the way I cook and eat, seven menus would last for over a couple of weeks. If you want some help with meal planning, read this post.
Eggs, any style
Breakfast: Eggs any style, with avocado and kimchi on the side
Let me just say that avocado and kimchi are a magical combination. I have this for a snack often and sometimes for lunch. If you want to skip the eggs altogether, just eat avocado and kimchi on toast. OMG.
My boyfriend doesn’t eat eggs but he likes tofu scrambles. I haven’t tried this recipe, but it gives you the gist. You may have trouble finding bulk tofu though. My daughter made it once with mixed results. I’ll have to give it a try. (My to-cook and to-blog lists keep growing.)
Lunch: Hummus, sourdough bread and vegetables
I make hummus a couple of different ways—standard hummus with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and olive oil (get the recipe here) and hummus made with preserved lemons, sort of a grown-up version of hummus (here’s the recipe for that). My daughters prefer the former. I can’t stop eating the latter. Preserved lemons add a wallop of flavor to food but if you prefer mild flavors, stick with the standard hummus recipe. It’s more kid friendly. (I love, love, love the preserved lemon version though…) In the pic below, you can see I also sneaked in some more kimchi for lunch.
Dinner: Chana masala
I could eat Indian food every night and I adore this dish. Someone on social media told me she makes my chana masala recipe and that it freezes very well. Making vats of food and freezing it for later makes the cook’s life so much easier.
Recently someone else asked me on Instagram how to add flavor to a plant-based diet. My answer: depending on what you’re cooking of course, add lots of spices and fermented foods. We go through lots of cumin seed, turmeric powder, cardamom pods, cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, fenugreek seed, coriander powder, mustard seed, oregano, basil, fresh garlic and fresh ginger. On the side of dishes, I serve fermented condiments, like the ones I mentioned above. They add a ton of flavor—and check out the colors in the pics below!
Snack: Sourdough pretzels
If you bake sourdough bread, you need to do something with all that discard. These pretzels provide one option. I’ve been baking pretzels lately and freezing them for my daughter’s lunches. They freeze well but don’t let them sit around for long after you take them out of the oven. Freeze them as soon as they cool, before they start to cave in.
If you don’t have a sourdough starter going, here are the instructions for starting and nurturing one. You can also skip the starter and make regular soft pretzels. Here’s my daughter’s recipe for those.
Find the first four menus below: