A friend recently asked how I find the time to cook healthy foods from scratch rather than open up a box of something, add water and be done with it. The answer is two-fold. First, time management is key. I try to stay very organized during the week when I’m juggling work, exercise, writing and spending time with my family. Second, I keep things very simple. What I’ve learned about food is that the simpler it is, the lovelier it can be. For example, the number of ingredients that I cook with is typically 2-5 ingredients not counting spices and things like onion, garlic and ginger. I rarely add salt to what I’m cooking so I always have really good quality spices, herbs and aromatics on hand. To show you what I mean, here is my recipe for lentil and sweet potato burgers with a side of roasted parsnips. Other than the aromatics and spices, there are only three main ingredients. If you want a green vegetable to go with it, add a side of steamed fresh spinach.
For the lentil burgers:
- 1.5 cup of cooked lentils (It takes about 20 minutes to cook using dried lentils.)
- 1 medium baked sweet potato (Peel the sweet potato, prick it with a fork and wrap in wax paper. Cook in the microwave for 3-4 minutes.)
- 1 small chopped onion, 1-2 cloves of garlic, 2 tbls of fresh minced ginger (Sauté these aromatics until softened, add in 2 tbls of a good quality curry powder and sauté another 30 seconds)
- Add the sautéed aromatics, lentils and sweet potato into a food processor and blend together.
- Spoon a heaping portion of the lentil mixture into a non-stick pan. Flatten the lentil burgers into more of a patty shape with the back of the spoon and brown on both sides.
- Serve with homemade mint chutney. (Combine 1 bunch of mint with 1 bunch of cilantro, 2 tbls fresh minced ginger, 1-2 cloves of garlic and the juice from one lime into the food processor and blend together. You made need to add a little water if it’s too pasty.)
- For the roasted parsnips, peel and chop into match sticks. Use a heavy roasting pan since this will help caramelize and crisp up the parsnips. Mix with olive oil and a little salt. Roast at 450 until crispy brown.
This dinner took about 45 minutes to prepare, including prep time. It was healthy, satisfying and low in calories.