The Minimalist Kitchen has been out for 12 days! Seeing it out in the wild has calmed so many of my anxieties. It’s been incredible to see you making over your pantries to feel more organized and less frustrating. It’s been incredible to see you making recipes from the book. Not only making the recipes, but making them yours, with the things you have on hand. That’s the same way I find myself cooking, too. I say this throughout the book—please don’t consume my words like a prescription. But rather, use them as a framework. And you’re doing it. Maybe it’s selfish, but I get to learn from you in return when you use this book this way. So, thank you.
I’ve come to realize, through the process of doing several podcasts and interviews over the last month, that minimalism wont save me (or any of us). It wont fix all the nooks and crannies of our lives, especially the dirty dishes and pile of clothes. But it will create space to begin attending to the things that matter. I’m forever grateful for that. I feel the same way about meal planning, that practice I have to drag myself to practice. It always treats me well when I do it. With that said, here’s to Week 2 of meal planning from The Minimalist Kitchen. (Read Week 1 here.) As mentioned above, use this plan as a framework. What works best at my house might not work the same at yours.
I’d also like to give a huge thank you to OXO for making The Minimalist Kitchen book tour (online and in real life) possible. I’ve been leaning on their tools since day 1 in my kitchen. I’m so grateful I got to spend time with them last week at their HQ in NYC and celebrate the launch of this book! I’ll be heading out to LA this week.
Meal Plan: Week 2
M Chickpea Tikka Masala (pg. 84)
Prep ahead: Make extra rice for Thursday’s Fried Rice.
T BBQ Black Bean Tacos with Quick Slaw (pg. 83)
Note: This recipe is so fast. No prep needed.
W Chicken Noodle Soup (pg. 151)
Prep ahead: Make the Dutch Oven Whole Chicken (pg. 106) in advance or purchase a rotisserie chicken. Save a portion of the leftover meat for Saturday’s Ancho-ladas and freeze the rest for another recipe. If it’s too warm for soup, make the Chicken Tinga Tacos (pg. 114).
T Fried Rice (pg. 101)
Note: add meat or shrimp as desired. We opt for eggs and edamame to carry the protein in this meal.
F Night Off
S Ancho-ladas (pg. 109)
Prep ahead: Make ancho-lada sauce in advance, which lasts 1+ months in the fridge and can be used on other recipes in the book like the Chilaquiles (pg. 73). I typically make a double batch of Ancho-ladas and place half in the freezer for a later date.
S Lentil Lettuce Wraps (see below)
Prep ahead: Make lentils in advance, if desired, to cut down on prep time.
Work smarter not harder.
You can do this by duplicating your efforts. For example, when you make rice at the start of the week, make extra for another meal later in the week, as shown above. Or when you make Enchiladas, or as I call them, Ancho-ladas, make a double recipe and leave one in the freezer. Or roast a chicken (or buy a good rotisserie bird) and use the meat in different recipes throughout the week. Working smarter helps to lighten the load during the week (and the weeks after).
This way of cooking relies heavily on a well stocked pantry, like a good all-purpose pasta or brown rice plus a good supply of nuts and seeds. I’ve used a lot of containers in my pantry over the last decade, and have had the best success storing my dry goods in OXO Pop Containers. They are clear, for easy retrieval. Come in a variety of size, for customization. And they actually keep your food fresh!
Photography ©2018 by Time Inc. Books
Lentil Lettuce Wraps
High school tasted like chicken lettuce wraps, peppermint mocha Frappuccinos, and blueberry bagels with a shmear of honey-walnut cream cheese. Not all at the same time of course. I’ve only kept my severe craving for lettuce wraps. I’ve used lentils in the recipe as a plant-based protein, but feel free to use 11⁄2 cups pulled chicken either from the Dutch Oven Whole Chicken (pg. 106) or rotisserie chicken for a quick substitution. Serve as a light summer dinner, as an appetizer, or alongside Fried Rice (pg. 101). Note: This recipe is heavy on vegetable chopping. You can buy slaw if you wish, but I find that freshly cut produce always tastes more like itself.
- 4 tbsp. soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1⁄2 c. dried green lentils
- 1 1⁄2 c. water
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Thumbtip of peeled fresh ginger, minced
- 1⁄2 c. finely chopped cremini mushrooms
- 2 c. thinly sliced red cabbage
- 2 large carrots, shredded
- 3 green onions, sliced and divided
- 1⁄4 c. chopped cashews or peanuts
- 12 crispy lettuce leaves (like Bibb or iceberg)
- Sriracha or harissa (optional)
Make the sauce. Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Make the filling. In a small saucepan, combine the lentils, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, uncovered, until the lentils are almost cooked through. These can be prepared up to 4 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling vegetables.
Prepare the slaw. Cut all of the slaw ingredients and add to a large bowl, reserving 1 of the cut green onions for garnish.
Once the lentils are ready, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high. Once warm, add the sesame oil to the pan. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, cooked lentils, and two-thirds of the sauce, reserving the remaining one-third for serving. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the slaw mixture, and cook for 1 minute more. Remove to a serving bowl and top with the remaining green onions and chopped nuts.
Serve family style. Top the lettuce leaves with the filling mixture. Drizzle each wrap with the remaining sauce and Sriracha, if desired.