Easy Weekday Meals

Red Lentil Soup (with Brown Lentils)

When your kitchen time is limited, go-to recipes for healthy options can make the difference between nutritious feast and take-out famine. These three satisfy your taste buds while nourishing your soul.

Hearty Lentil Soup

(Adapted from Whole Foods Recipes)

A great source of plant-based protein that fills you up, lentils make the ideal pantry staple. This simple soup requires minimal prep and you can freeze leftovers!

Serves 8

3 cups uncooked green lentils, rinsed
4 cups water plus 4 cups vegetable stock
2 strips kombu (seaweed)
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 to 3 teaspoons high-quality balsamic vinegar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste

Fresh parsley for garnish

  1. Put lentils, water, and vegetable stock into a large pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam on the surface, then reduce heat to medium low, add kombu and bay leaf, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add carrots and garlic, and continue cooking until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
  3. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, transfer the onion-carrot-garlic mixture to pot with lentils. Stir in tomato paste. Once lentils are tender, stir in vinegar, salt and pepper and serve.

Nutritional facts, per serving: 280 calories, 5 grams total fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 230 milligrams sodium, 46 grams total carbohydrate (12 grams dietary fiber, 4 grams sugar), 15 grams protein

Salmon with Pepita-Lime Butter

(Adapted from Eating Well Magazine)

Nutritional powerhouses, hulled pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, can be found in the bulk-foods section of natural-foods stores. Serve salmon with brown rice and steamed broccoli or a green salad for a complete meal.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted pepitas
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Extra virgin olive oi
1 pound salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  1. Place pepitas in a small, dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
  2. Place pepitas in a small bowl with butter, lime zest, lime juice and chili powder.
  3. Generously coat a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook until browned and just cooked through in the center, 2 to 4 minutes per side.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the salmon to a plate. Add the butter-lime mixture to the hot pan; stir until the butter is melted. Serve the salmon topped with the sauce.

 

Nutritional facts, per serving: 259 calories; 17 grams fat (5 grams saturated); 74 milligrams cholesterol; 2 grams carbohydrates; 24 grams protein; 0 grams fiber; 360 milligrams sodium; 458 milligrams potassium.

Quick Quinoa + Pesto

(Adapted from Little House in the Suburbs)

The variations you can make to this entrée salad are endless and the pesto blends up easily in advance. Add or subtract ingredients according to what you have in the fridge, pantry, or garden—have fun with it!

Serves 2

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 1/4 cup boiling water
2 cups coarsely chopped mesclun or spinach
1 apple, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
Juice of 1 lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil
Unrefined sea salt and pepper to taste

Basil Pesto (see below)

  1. Rinse quinoa in cold water and strain through a fine sieve. Add to boiling water in a saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, still covered, for 5 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the chopped greens, apple, onion, and raisins in a large bowl. Add quinoa and lemon juice and a generous drizzle of olive oil and toss until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Plate individual servings topped with a dollop of pesto and enjoy!

Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil or parsley leaves, packed
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, chopped

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and process until a slightly textured paste consistency, scraping down sides as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

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For more recipes, check out this cookbook: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook: Over 300 Delicious Whole Foods Recipes, Including Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, and Egg-Free Dishes
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