(Yeah, I should have taken a picture of the meal, but I forgot about a photo until after I finished.)
I have no plans to make this blog into the cooking channel, but ever since writing about the MaxDiet, I get a lot of comments about how hard it is to cook healthily and questions about what sorts of dishes to make. Today I did an experiment to see if I could cook a delicious, well balanced, healthy meal in just one pot.
My basic formula for a well balanced meal is this:
Here's the problem: making rice, keeping it warm, then making the beans, then steaming the greens, and then washing all the pots is a huge pain. In fact, it's too much of a pain for me to deal with.
And another problem: I only have one pot. Space is sparse in the RV and I don't like to have a lot of stuff anyway.
I was struck with inspiration the other day when I was in the bulk section of Whole Foods. I bought my ingredients, went home, tried my plan, and the results were amazing. I made dinner for a couple friends and they were both blown away with the food as well. Best of all, it was easy to cook and clean.
Here's how you can make a "perfect meal" in twenty minutes from scratch.
If you have a bit more time and want to make an even better meal, start by sautÃ©ing some onions in coconut oil on low heat until they start to turn clear and glassy. Turn up the head to medium and add some chopped garlic and chopped vegetables or tempeh. Once they seem to be mostly cooked, add the water and continue from step five. The oily vegetables will look a little gross floating in water, but when the dish is done it will look and taste really good.
This recipe is great on its own, but you can use it as a framework to build on. If you want a curry, add some crushed tomatoes in with the onions, add curry powder and coconut milk in during the boiling, and take out half of the water or so.
Some people might be thinking, "Yeah, that's great for dinner, but what about for lunch at work?"
Don't worry about it. I have a great solution.
Buy a Zojirushi (or similar) vacuum container bento box. You can make lunch in the morning, pack it up in the Zoji, bring it to work, and it will be hot and delicious six hours later. Your coworkers will be jealous.
Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive and it doesn't have to be difficult. Anyone can make this meal in less time than it takes to go drive through at a fast food restaurant and pay a lot less.
Try making this in the next couple days. It will be one of the easiest, healthiest, and cheapest meals you've eaten, as well as one of the healthiest and hopefully one of the most tasty.
Also, if you try different combinations or modify things, let me know about it in the comments or by e-mail.
@Vegas, I pledge to eat one pot filled to the brim with boiling feces if Tynan isn't "Herbal" from The Game.
@kirk and Anthony The China Study is the biggest study of human diet. That, to me, gives it a lot more authority than any other opinions.
There will always be people attacking anyone with a strong opinion, including the author of The China Study.
Even if meat WAS healthy, our meat industry is so messed up that it's nearly impossible to get meat that's been raised in a clean and drug free environment.
Meanwhile, there's a lot of evidence that a healthy plant based diet promotes longevity.
@Vegas You're right. I've made it all up. Thank you for finally giving me the strength to tell everyone the truth.
@Alexandra Awesome... glad you tried it and enjoyed it.
I am trying the red lentils & quinoa with greens tonight. Looking forward to it. Won't be hard for me as I already do not eat red meat and hardly organic chicken/turkey. Their goes the chicken & turkey/no more. Won't miss the cheese and eggs - already do smoothies - love flax, hemp, chia and all beans, avocados,figs, almonds, walnuts mmmmm...yum! love all greens the darker the better so...but will miss fresh wild pacific salmon - one of my favorites. I am well on my way.I probably can have that sometimes. So thanks a bunch for all your info re the plant based diet.
Looking forward to this way of eating completely.
Sure enough, this was great. I added a package of frozen broccoli in the beginning. It could have used a little more water and cooked for a little bit longer, but it was still fantastic. Red lentils, quinoa, and collards provided a similar texture and concept to colcannon.
Thanks for this, my biggest hurdle is time and convenience being a f/t working mum.. I therefore welcome any handy menu's like this one :-).
I've discovered a brand of incredibly good-tasting and incredibly healthy yet inexpensive frozen soups. They're all kosher and almost all vegetarian with real vegetables and good nutrients. Each box contains two packages (two servings), so each serving costs just under $1. It's called Tabachnik's. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Hi Tynan, thank you for this recipe! I'm the laziest vegetarian ever, and this really caters to my laziness - no prep time, short cooking time, and super short clean-up time! And nutritious too! I followed what you said, just added a hint of soy sauce, Sriracha (my Chinese side showing here), some black pepper, some cayenne pepper, and flax oil ... and wow ... I didn't expect it to taste this good. Thank you for sharing this! I will definitely be experimenting with your recipe!
@vegas..as Ty's sister I too can attest that what he writes is absolutely true. Hard to imagine someone elses life being more interesting than yours I'm sure!
Refined flours and sugars are out. Meat is out. When people hear this, they often say, "wow... what's left?"
It's a sad statement on our current food system when that question is asked, because it shows how far from eating healthy we've gone. The two least healthy things a human can readily digest have become our bread and butter, so to speak.
What happened to beans, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits?
Humans need food to survive, as such it has always been an important part of our existence. Since the 1900s, advances in farming and food technology led to the mass production of processed food and commercial farming. By the 1970s we were drinking instant coffee and eating rehydrated powdered potato and pot noodles. Food had become 'space-age'. With the invention of the microwave oven, the market for convenience food was born. The Food industry worldwide is now worth trillions of dollars. Food producers spend billions annually on advertising. Driven by profit, farms resemble factories and efficiency gains are made at the expense of ethics, common sense and safety. Researchers make more and more discoveries about nutrition. Initially their findings were published in scientific journals, later in the mainstream media and now anyone with something to say about food can post their opinions on the internet. We have more nutrition information at our fingertips than ever before. Our culture's continuing obsession with thin and healthy, the obesity epidemic and companies competing to sell you food products means there is no shortage of advice on what to eat to be 'healthy' and how to lose weight. The common thread in much of it is there are 'good' foods and 'bad' foods and a food that makes it into the good list, can later be demoted to the bad. For example, tuna is low in fat and high in protein until they found it contained poisonous mercury. Apples were the original 'superfood' but now with high levels of fructose and pesticides have fallen out of favour. Whether eating for health or to lose weight, we no longer know how to eat 'normally'.
The amount of information available is vast and often contradictory, and if like me you love to read and love food, then there is plenty to hold your interest. Over the past 20 years, I must have spent thousands of hours reading and re-educating myself on food. Growing up in the 80s I remember eating Findus Crispy Pancakes for dinner with chips followed by Angel Delight for pudding without a thought as to how it was produced, or what was in it - like many teenage girls at the time, I was more interested in the number of calories on the packet. When i left home, I wanted to learn how to cook properly and so started my collection of cookbooks. Later, I wanted our children to eat 'proper' food at the dinner table, so we ate home-made chicken and leek pie or lasagne with garlic bread. The focus was on 'natural' ingredients without preservatives and additives and of course, taste. Animal welfare didn't cross my mind.
It was Jamie Oliver's 2008 campaign to turn the spotlight on battery-farmed eggs that finally opened my eyes to the welfare of the animals I was eating. I was horrified to learn the grim truth about intensively-reared pigs squashed into tiny pens, living stressed, miserable lives before slaughter. I discovered the cruel treatment of dairy cows that have to calve every year to keep producing milk, the sores they develop on their udders, the culling of male calves at birth. Some of the websites are truly shocking with disturbing video footage enough to bring you to tears. Overfishing hit the headlines warning of popular species of fish being fished to extinction, the seas emptying of cod and tuna. As someone who loved to eat cheese, steak, tuna and had enjoyed many a full English breakfast at the weekend, I couldn't imagine life without eating dairy, meat and fish, but I knew I could no longer in all conscience keep buying factory-farmed meat or endangered fish. Free-range, sustainable and organic was the way to go. We went so far as to grow our own vegetables (with limited success) and we kept three chickens in the back garden who each laid an egg most days. Reading about food and what to eat almost became a daily obsession.
There are thousands upon thousands of articles about what to eat and what to avoid: pesticides in fruit and vegetables, bad fats, plastic leaching into food, mercury in fish, genetically modified food, processed food, the effects of gluten, red meat and dairy, salt, sugar, bleached flour, most of which either increase your chances of getting cancer or heart-attack or both. In 2005, the top 10 superfoods promising health benefits were still recognisable as food and relatively inexpensive: apples, baked beans, wholemeal bread, bananas, brazil nuts, olive oil, broccoli, salmon, green tea and yoghurt. Then more exotic, unfamiliar and expensive superfoods came along: spirulina, acai and goji berries, chia seeds, kombucha, even bee pollen and some of the original superfoods had fallen from favour.
Armed with all this information, you risk becoming a food snob or a food bore, and deciding what to eat becomes confusing at best. Summing up all I've learned I can safely say there is no clear-cut right or wrong answer that works for everyone, you have to make the best decisions you can about what you feed yourself based on your own beliefs and the information and resources you have.