The concept of “cook once and eat twice” is simply fantastic. The ability to prepare dishes and side items that can be tweaked and made into something new for the next meal is a time-saver. Busy people everywhere have struggled with the desire to eat home cooked meals, but their schedules have prohibited them from doing so consistently. The good news is that with some planning, it can be done! The Quinoa Bowl with Peanut Sauce recipe shared below is a twist on the leftovers of a previous meal made into a brand new dish put together in literally 10 minutes.
Here is how you can get started adapting your cooking skills to this idea of simplifying home-cooked meals to serve you twice! When cooking grains, such as rice, quinoa, bulgur and amaranth for example, cook twice the amount you need for one meal. Cook it plain, with only the basic ingredients which are usually water, rice and or olive oil. Save half of the portion in your refrigerator for the next day or meal.
The same idea goes for your protein and veggies. Always cook extra and save —the addition of different spices, herbs and sauces can be done quickly at the time of preparing the meal to give the dish a fresh flavor. Start with a quinoa bowl recipe to practice these skills. For 2 cups of quinoa, you’ll need 4 cups of water, this will give you enough for two meals and that feeds up to four people. Next, steam your favorite veggies or what’s in season during a particular time of year. Remember to double up on your portions, so you can save half. For your first quinoa bowl, prepare per the recipe given below, by adding the veggies with the quinoa, and mixing in a peanut sauce (recipe below). This dish is a complete meal in one bowl!
Save the portion of quinoa and veggies, and mix it up for the next meal , but this time top it with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, some sesame seeds and chopped chicken (optional) for a completely different dinner. If you are worried about getting enough protein, remember that 1 cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein already, so you don’t necessarily have to add chicken or meat; to achieve a higher protein intake, add edamame or garbanzo beans instead (just ½ cup of garbanzo has 20 grams of protein), which both complement the quinoa bowls very well.
Have fun creating your own one bowl meals that you can cook once and eat twice. Try incorporating different themes such as Italian night by using tomato paste, fresh mozzarella and basmati rice; or Greek style by adding crumbled feta cheese to quinoa and sliced black olives tossed in Greek salad dressing. Share your inventions with us in the comments below.
Quinoa Bowl with Peanut Sauce
Carolina Jantac, MS, RD, LD
- 1 cup quinoa
- ½ red pepper
- 1 ½ cup matchstick carrots
- ½ cup chopped spinach
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 3 tablespoon of Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons water
- Salt to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions and then set aside.
- In a medium-sized pan, add olive oil, carrots, spinach and chopped red pepper and sauté it for 5-10 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
To prepare sauce, add all ingredients to small sized cup food processor and mix.. Add more or less water to achieve a thin sauce like consistency. There are two serving options: 1. Mix quinoa with vegetables, add sauce and mix well. 2. Serve vegetable mix on top of quinoa and sauce on the side.