I’ve come up with the seventh and last menu in my zero-waste menu series. When we first went plastic-free, menus would have helped us a lot. Figuring out what to eat presented the biggest challenge of our new lifestyle. I’ll write a roundup of all the menus soon. Until then, if you’d like to peek at the other menus (which I’ll certainly tweak a bit in the roundup), you can find the links to them here.
Please note! I do not cook different dishes for lunch and dinner every day. I make vats of a dish and eat leftovers all week. I don’t have time to make a new meal from scratch every day and all of that cooking would overburden my refrigerator with leftovers, squander my hard-earned money, waste precious food, force me to rethink the name of this blog…
If you like these menus and want to follow a couple of them, you will no doubt cook enough food to last for several days. Double or triple a recipe and you’ll not only eat all week, you’ll be able to also squirrel away an emergency stash of food in the freezer. (Here’s how I freeze food in glass jars.)
Please also note that I am not a dietician. I follow Michael Pollan’s guidelines for a healthy diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” For the full story on this sensible way of eating, read Pollan’s book In Defense of Food (highly recommended!).
Stir fry with peanut sauce
Breakfast: Sourdough waffles with fruit on the side
If you bake sourdough bread, you likely accumulate a lot of sourdough starter. These sourdough waffles not only taste fantastic, they use up an entire cup of unfed starter that you can pull straight out of the refrigerator. Start the sponge overnight and in the morning, make your waffles. These take a while to cook (I have a single-waffle waffle iron), so I make them on weekends. I often grind up buckwheat groats into flour to add to these (for protein) and really don’t want to do that on a weekday… Get the recipe here.
Cut up seasonal fruit to serve on the side and get more fiber into your loved ones.
Lunch: Use-em-up Roasted Vegetables
I’ve been roasting lots of vegetables lately—squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, beets, cauliflower and whatever else I have on hand that needs to be used up soon. You can assemble several different lunches out of them:
- Eat them straight out of the oven. Roasted vegetables will fill you up.
- Toss into a salad. Add greens, any cooked beans and nuts for protein and homemade dressing.
- Toss with cooked grains. If you have any cooked couscous, protein-rich buckwheat groats or farro in the refrigerator, toss them with the vegetables and some dressing.
- Purée for soup. Soup made with vegetables simmered in water tastes good. But soup made with vegetables you first roast tastes picky-eaters-will-gobble-it-up good. In winter, when you can’t find anything besides root vegetables at the farmers’ market, make roasted vegetable soup. Thin it out with vegetable broth or water.
Dinner: Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce, Rice and Kimchi
I had wanted to write a post on stir fry for ages but couldn’t figure out how to add protein to a bunch of vegetables without adding meat or tofu, both of which I rarely eat. (I’m technically an omnivore but cook mostly vegetarian food, much of which happens to be vegan as well.) Then I ate my boyfriend’s peanut sauce. I could slather the stir fry with that! Nuts have protein! (If you eat meat or tofu, you can also add that to the stir fry for more protein.)
The peanut sauce checks off several criteria:
- Younger daughter will eat it
Serve this with rice (preferable brown, not refined white) and kimchi. I have tried to add variety and balance to these menus, but I may have included kimchi in half of them. It’s SO delicious. Here is the recipe for that.
Snack: Popcorn and Kombucha
I don’t know whether I should include snacks in these menus or not. Snacking ruins your appetite, increases your caloric intake and many Americans snack all day long rather than eat meals. Ideally, we wouldn’t snack but in reality most of us do, so I feel like I need to include a little zero-waste snack with each menu. Besides, you can eat way worse things than popcorn. Here is the recipe for it.
I love making (and drinking) fermented beverages. They go well with popcorn. Here is the recipe for kombucha.
Working on these menus makes me so hungry! Bon appétit!