Today’s Lunch: Just plain ol’ beans & rice. Sort of.
This Sunday, I slow simmered a fantastic batch of Cuban Black Beans, with a batch of brown rice to have for lunch all week. “Doesn’t that get extremely boring after the first day?” you may ask. Not in the slightest. Every day, my cheap & easy basic get a refresh makeover.
Here’s what I do: Before I hobble off to bed on Saturday night, I dump about a pound of dry black beans in water (enough water to cover them). I can’t understand why people choose canned beans over dry beans from your bulk bins. They are cheaper, have less sodium, and you don’t have to worry about BPA and other poisons from cans. And how difficult is it to dump a bunch of beans in water? Then you can throw yourself into bed, and dream of all the bean-ful foods you can have.
Sunday afternoon-ish, I follow the recipe above for Cuban Black Beans (but I subbed the vegetable oil for coconut oil. Add a slight Caribbean taste, but it’s so subtle, you barely notice it). And don’t skimp on the sllloooowwww simmering. It really does make a big difference, especially if you are like me and always overcook things. While it simmers - do your normal Sunday stuff. Laundry, take the dog to the park, complete your homemade servant robot (or whatever you all do on a Sunday afternoon…). Cook brown rice (or quinoa, couscous, wild rice, yadda yadda). There you have it. Then you get to get creative. This was what I did:
- Monday - Burrito Day!! (Best. Day. Ever.) Toss your delicious beans & rice in a burrito, add salsa, avocado, cilantro. Done.
- Tuesday - I added small cuts of mango. I found a few frozen shrimp in the freezer. Instant, cheap, healthy burrito bowl.
- Wednesday (today) - The above. Another burrito bowl, but I topped it with heirloom tomatoes, corn, avocado & pumpkin seeds.
Miracle of miracles, I’m all out of beans for the week. I’m not even bored yet. Still have to figure out what to do with all that extra rice, though. Any ideas, are greatly appreciated.
Beans & rice are great go-to, easy, frugal lunches that last you a long time if you cook a lot of it one day. And they say cheap food is boring and unhealthy. Don’t discount these unassuming staples. More ideas for beans & rice. Happy lunching.
Apples slices spread with assorted nut butters and topped with dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. (Left to right: peanut butter with raisins and chia seeds, cashew butter with raw pumpkin seeds and flaked coconut, and almond butter with chocolate chips and sliced almonds.)
Cooking for the Work-Week!
No more excuses for spending $50 a week on take-out! It’s time to work for your food and cook for yourself in advance.
I just started a new job and I’m learning that it really is hard to find the time to cook delicious/nutritious/cheap meals every single day, 3 meals a day. It’s so much easier to just get take out during your lunch break or on your drive to or from work. However the Cheap Vegan can not survive financially by eating out multiple meals a week. To keep your budget low you have to depend on some home cookin’.
Which is why we need to start cooking meals in advance!
Here are some tips on cooking your weeks’ meals on the weekend:
- Cook meals that won’t get boring.
Since you probably won’t be cooking too many more meals for yourself during the work week, try to think of food that you are always excited to eat. You don’t want to cook a giant batch of something just to get sick of it by Wednesday.
Both nutritional and functional versatility is important when deciding what to cook. You want to make sure that you aren’t only eating one type of vegetable and that your meal can be altered to keep it interesting. A great example is vegetable stew (pictured above). It has a variety of different veggies and can be served alongside potatoes, kale, rice, or hearty bread.
Another option is making a few sides that you can combine in different ways to create different meals. A batch of rice, a batch of beans, and a few vegetable choices can give you lots of variety depending what sauces and spices you add when you heat it up.
- Won’t Spoil.
While cucumber/avocado sushi might sound delicious, chances are it’s going to start browning by Wednesday or Thursday. Try to think of recipes that will stay appetizing throughout the week. Tip: foods that stew into themselves are a good starting point.
(ex: soup, beans, tomato sauce)
- Work Friendly.
Since you are bringing this to work and will probably have to be around other people, try not to bring overly pungent foods or foods that are hard to transport.
- Think Big!
The bigger the batch you make over the weekend, the less you have to do during the week. Think of recipes that you can make in large quantities without too much effort. Soups or a chopped salad are great choices.
Drink your greens (yellow & reds)! Healthy smoothie recipes by Green Kitchen Stories.
“Call us bananas, but we actually prefer to choose ingredients for our smoothies depending on color. It feels a bit more civilized not drinking a brown mess (unless it’s a cacao smoothie). Keeping your smoothies in color scale is not only pretty, but also one of the easiest way to keep track of their health benefits.”
Whole wheat rotini pasta with sautéed kale, mushrooms and carrot ribbons, fresh corn, grape tomatoes and black beans, and seasoned with garlic, oregano, fresh basil, salt and pepper.