Does this sound familiar? It’s 6 o’clock in the evening and you just got home from a long day at work. You feel pulled in a thousand directions and mentally exhausted. You’ve dropped one kiddo off at soccer practice and are about to help another with math homework. The last thing on your mind is putting together an elaborate—and healthy—meal. Heck, you count it as a win if you all just get fed—and bonus points if there’s a vegetable included. I get it. Life is super busy, especially during the week! And providing a healthy dinner seems daunting, if not impossible.
That’s where this book comes in. What this cookbook shows you is how you can—without much effort—provide nourishing foods—superfoods—at every weeknight meal. Not weird, obscure foods, but everyday superfoods you already know and love. Each recipe here calls for simple ingredients that you can pronounce and find at all major grocery stores and takes 30 minutes or less to cook. The only prep required is making a single batch of Quinoa-Lentil Blend at the beginning of each week.
The recipes are built around the following ten superfoods. Each recipe is labeled so you know which superfoods are used and can quickly decide what to cook based on what’s in your refrigerator or what you’re in the mood for. We’ll explore each of these superfoods in greater detail (see here to here):
3. Citrus fruit
6. Olive oil
9. Sweet potatoes
Whether you’re adding spinach into pesto for pizza, lentils into a broccoli Cheddar soup, or sweet potato noodles into pad thai, every dish can easily include a powerful nutritional boost and still taste absolutely delicious.
Say goodbye to the days of throwing a frozen premade lasagna or pizza into the oven or microwaving a can of chili. Once you start cooking from this book, there’ll be no turning back! Why? Because your family will love these quick, easy, and healthy weeknights meals, and you’ll love that they’re devouring them.
When I started cooking this way, the biggest surprise for me was seeing how much my family loved eating healthy, nutritious foods—if I just made them. Why hadn’t I done this sooner?! Since writing this book, my 5-year-old daughter has declared cauliflower as her favorite vegetable, begged me to send spinach salad to school in her lunchbox, and repeatedly asks for Broccoli Cheddar Soup on the menu every week. And my white rice–loving husband has discovered that, when cooked well, quinoa and lentils are actually good!
As you’ll see, almost half of the recipes in this book are meatless. The rest are separated into chapters like chicken, beef, seafood, and breakfast for dinner. Choosing two to three meatless meals per week is not only good for our planet, but also good for our bodies and our wallets (meat is expensive!). “But my family LOVES meat and my husband rolls his eyes any time he sees a meal without it,” you say? The meatless meals I’ve included in this book are hearty, full of plant-based protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied, and, beyond that, they taste amazing. Even the meat lovers in your family will love these meatless options. All recipes have been tested, devoured, and approved by my wonderfully picky meat-loving husband and others around the country. So, if you have someone similar living in your household, fear not!
I flirted with the idea of having an entire chapter dedicated to Sunday prep tasks that would set you up for success throughout the week—things like cooking quinoa, roasting vegetables, baking sweet potatoes, and so on. But, as I spoke with other busy people, I found they didn’t want to do a lot of work on the weekends, either. So, the only prep work required in this book is cooking a batch of quinoa and lentils one day a week so when a recipe calls for 1 cup (192 g) Quinoa-Lentil Blend you’ll be ready. Sound fair?
As a bonus, per reader requests, there’s a small section at the end with nourishing superfood-packed desserts like Chocolate-Avocado Bark with Orange Zest and Almonds, Peach Cobbler with Quinoa, and Sweet Potato Brownies.
The ten everyday superfoods were chosen not only for their positive health benefits, but also their extreme versatility, year-round accessibility, relative affordability, and overall appeal. Most you’ve probably tried before, though you may have not used them in such creative ways! In some recipes, they feature as the main star, such as cauliflower in the Sriracha-Lime-Cauli Tacos, while in others, they play a supporting role, such as cauliflower in the Loaded Taco Salad with Avocado-Catalina Dressing. Regardless, you get a nutritional boost in an absolutely easy and delicious way your entire family will love!
Quinoa / Lentils
This simple preparation has transformed our weeknight meals more than any other and is called for in many recipes in this book. It’s super easy to throw in a half cup (96 g) of this protein-packed quinoa-lentil blend to almost any meal—oatmeal, tacos, salad, you name it. Besides protein, quinoa and lentils are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and quinoa is naturally gluten-free while lentils are very low in calories.
2 cups (346 g) dry quinoa
3/4 cup (144 g) red lentils or green lentils
2 cups (475 ml) organic chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 cups (475 ml) water
Preferred cooking method: In a rice cooker, stir together the quinoa, lentils, chicken broth, and water. Close the lid. Press “cook” and about 20 minutes later, when the machine turns to “warm,” you should have a perfectly cooked blend.
Alternate cooking method: In a large saucepan over high heat, stir together the quinoa, lentils, chicken broth, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Partially cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
YIELD: 6 CUPS (1.2 KG)