Yesterday I had two green smoothies instead of meals, and for my third meal – rice/beans/yams. The day before that? Rice/beans/yams. Smoothies. Some leftover kale and rice…I don’t even know what to call it. Scramble? Smoosh? To say that my diet has been in a bit of a rut this week would be an understatement of Godzillic proportions. It happens. We all tend to have our fall-back dishes, our staples, flavours and ingredients we’re most comfortable (or used to) putting together – and when life gets busy, this food-on-autopilot routine can reach critical status.
While shovelling a familiar concoction of black beans/yams/greens into my mouth the other night, I started flipping through my roommate’s copy of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. It’s all about quick and easy, healthy-ish, from scratch meals. The variety in the book – from curries, to soups, to Thai, Chinese, the hilariously British, and many things in between – reminded me how quick and easy it can be to whip up a wide variety of meals and flavours. Just buy a few different spices. Or grab different vegetables at the market than you usually do.
A fellow holistic nutritionist pal had remarked earlier in the day how all “healthy” recipes tend to look the same after a while, and I had to agree. There are only so many ways you can put kale, sweet potatoes, beans, quinoa, brown rice, and avocado together before it all, just, like, tastes identical regardless of what you call it. I’m often as guilty of this as anyone, but damn if I’m not getting sick of my own shit lately.
Enter these 20-Minute Tempeh Fajitas I pulled out of my fridge after work tonight. The ingredients aren’t a huge departure – but somehow, the way I put them together was just different enough to be pleasantly surprising. Also, super quick, and an easily variable recipe perfect for using up whatever’s in the crisper – which was the other half of my motivation tonight, ahead of going away for the weekend. There are few things I hate more than wasted produce. Not under this roof!
20-Minute Tempeh Fajitas w/ Avocado Lime Salsa
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1/2 onion, large dice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, cut in strips or large dice
2 stalks celery, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 bunch asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 package tempeh, cut in 1-inch cubes (get a spicy or BBQ-flavoured tempeh if you can!)
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, rough chop
splash of water to deglaze pan
Sprouted grain, organic corn, or brown rice tortillas – 1 per person
Option: replace any of the above veggies with whatever you’ve got on hand – carrots, squash, zucchini, eggplant, other peppers, etc.
Avocado Lime Salsa
1 avocado, diced
1 small-medium tomato, diced
small piece of onion reserved from ingredients above (as much as you’d like, to taste)
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste
In large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat while you cut up yo’ veg and tempeh. Add onion and garlic to pan, saute 2 minutes. Add remaining veg from hardest to softest, allowing to cook 1-2 minutes between each addition (ie, celery->asparagus->peppers); add tempeh, salt, and spices and stir well. If stuff starts to stick to the pan, add a splash of water. Cook 5-10 minutes, until veggies soften a bit but don’t get soggy. Dice avocado, tomato, onion, chop cilantro for salsa. Mix together in small bowl.
Just before veg + tempeh mixture is ready, place your tortillas over pan to steam/soften. Wrap up veg+tempeh mixture in warm toritllas w/ avocao salsa, and a sprinkle of shredded coconut (trust me on this one!) and omnomnom!
Serve with extra salsas, hot sauce, vegan sour cream, or other condiments of choice.
What are your default meals? Do you have any secrets for kicking your culinary butt out of a mega-rut?
If you’re looking for a longer-term nutrition + culinary makeover – check out my Spring Cleanse Kickstart! It’s a 4-week program of whole food recipes, culinary tips, and cleansing tricks to get you out of any nutritional rut. The first group of cleansers just finished their month of learning new sugar-gluten-junk-free recipes and habits, and the reviews are totally chuffed all around. Hit me up if you’ve got any burning Q’s!