With more time at home, the need to stretch food for longer between grocery trips, and the desire to balance healthy food, comforting meals, and new interesting recipes to stave off boring mealtimes, we’ve found ourselves making more detailed meal plans and adding lots of new recipes to our repertoire. Since I am working from home and my commute from my desk to the kitchen is much quicker, this time also offers the opportunity for us to try things that we otherwise might not have time for, and things that require slow cooking or a mid-day thaw. We tried some of these new recipes in an effort to use ingredients we had on hand (hello to all the chickpeas, that fennel languishing in the fridge from a past recipe, and the rice we’ve had since we lived in NC), but some of them were just a nice change that used ingredients we could also easily use in other meals throughout the week. It has definitely made us more creative and more likely to try new recipes than we were when we were shorter on time and more flexible with our grocery shopping schedule. Perhaps a silver lining of quarantine? My family has been sharing successful and tasty recipes in our group message, which I have found inspirational for some of my next meals, and I hope I can do the same for you in this post. Sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get out of a rut or figure out how to use those pounds of beans we stocked up on last week.
Our main resources for recipes have been a few go-to cookbooks and websites. I’ve listed them below.
Love and Lemons
Love and Lemons Everyday
Love Real Food
Foster’s Market Favorites
Molly on the Range
– Hummus – While not a meal, hummus is a great addition to your quarantine fridge. I eat it with veggies for lunch and snack, on homemade falafel, with shakshuka, and on top of other middle-eastern inspired dishes or spicy tomatoey dishes. My favorite recipe is from the Molly on the Range cookbook, but she also has it posted here. My sister loves the variations in the Love and Lemons cookbook too. The biggest trick I have learned is to soak the chickpeas overnight (if using dried), and simmer them in water with a little baking soda for at least 30 minutes, though I often do it longer. When you drain and rinse them they will be so soft and make the smoothest hummus.
– Sesame-Ginger Fennel Avocado Salad (we’ve also been adding peeled citrus slices recently) – This recipe is delicious and healthy, but also packed with great flavor and so fresh. We’ve been loving the combination lately. It is from the Love and Lemons Everyday cookbook, but I found it posted on the web too (linked above)!
– Warm Chickpea Bowls with Lemony Yogurt – I feel like this title is a little deceiving as it really should also include “with fennel and cauliflower.” My siblings and I have become fairly obsessed with Bon Appetit Test Kitchen over the past year and have been using this time to try out some of their recipes. This one is a good way to use the rest of the fennel from the above recipe and is another fresh, healthy meal. I appreciate that it includes spiced chickpeas and lemon-spiked yogurt for some good sources of tasty protein.
– Lightened Up Classic Tomato Soup – This was a winter favorite before we were stuck inside, but because it uses canned tomatoes and canned beans it also makes for a great quarantine recipe when you are at the end of your groceries. We love the flavor and make this regularly in the colder months. I sometimes think it needs a bit more water or broth to thin it out, but that is a personal preference.
– Pickled Red Onions – Obviously this is not a meal. I made pickled onions a few weeks ago and they have been an amazing topping to many of our meals from falafel and hummus to bibimbap to salad. They are so easy and as long as you have a red onion you likely have all of the other ingredients on hand to make these. I changed it up and used half rice vinegar/half white vinegar, lowered the amount of sugar and used half brown sugar and half white sugar. They bring so much flavor to everything.
– Bibimbap – As a heads up, this recipe uses a fair number of ingredients, but most of them we had on hand for other meals anyway. There were a few things we added to the grocery list specifically for this and it was so worth it. We used a combination of the recipe linked and the recipe from the Egg Shop cookbook, which includes a sesame ginger rice recipe that is delicious with these toppings. We also loved the marinated cucumber slices, and the mushrooms and other veggies sauteed in sesame oil, tamari/soy sauce, and rice vinegar from the Love and Lemons recipe. We added pickled onions to these which amped up the flavor even more.
– Shakshuka – Sometimes called eggs in purgatory. This is another recipe that we make all the time, quarantine or not. You can make it very simple by using a jar of tomato sauce, or add more effort by making your own. We typically make our own sauce, which uses lots of quarantine-friendly ingredients like onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and dried spices. We typically use the recipe from the Molly on the Range cookbook, which is similar to this, but have also enjoyed this recipe for fiery baked eggs in spicy arrabiata. You can also add chickpeas or couscous to this to make it a little more filling.
– Chana Masala – We first tried this recipe in an attempt to satisfy a craving for Indian food and use items we already had in our pantry, like chickpeas and canned tomatoes. We didn’t have chiles or serrano peppers, but we did happen to have shishito peppers, which worked just as well! It was an easy recipe and a delicious dish that definitely covered our cravings and has made the menu a few times since. It is great served with plain Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt) to cut some of the acidity of the tomatoes, or even some of the hummus from the recipe above.
– Tacos – There are so many variations on tacos (How Sweet Eats and Love and Lemons have great recipes) Often, we use whatever we have in the fridge or freezer, add some homemade taco seasoning from this recipe, and serve with salsa and Greek yogurt (or sour cream) on tortillas heated in a pan. We’ve found that garnishing with avocado, cilantro, and/or lime juice really take these over the top.
– Creamy Vegan Pasta – We tried this recipe on a whim one night because we had all of the ingredients and we enjoyed it so much that we’ve added the ingredients to our list and have made it twice since then. It is so creamy without even having any cheese.