I have a question for you: would you say that you’re a confident cook? I’m definitely a competent cook, but am not particularly ambitious or adventurous in the kitchen. However, I’m pretty resourceful, and can always whip up a tasty and nutritious meal, even if my cupboards are practically bare. Here I’m sharing my grocery shopping list for healthy meals that are easy to cook in a pinch. And I reveal exactly how I use each hero ingredient…
A Grocery Shopping List for Healthy Meals That You Can Cook in a Hurry (and With Limited Ingredients)
Sweet Potatoes: I eat a lot of sweet potato. Either baked in the oven, chopped into chunks and roasted with olive oil and paprika, or grated and stir fried with spinach and kale for a sweet potato hash (great with a fried or poached egg on top).
Dried Pasta: I try not to cook pasta too often, but always have a gluten free bag in the kitchen for emergencies. If your fridge is almost bare just mix with pesto and any leftover veggies (this is where frozen peas and spinach come in handy). And if you have a tin of chopped tomatoes to hand you can whip up a quick sauce. Or mix with olive oil and tinned sardines/salmon/tuna for a hit of protein.
Pesto: Ideal for using as a pasta sauce when the cupboards are bare. I also use pesto in couscous salads (one teaspoon will do), mix with lemon and olive oil for a quick salad dressing, and drizzle over scrambled eggs for extra flavour.
Chilli Flakes: I get through sooooo many chilli flakes, each week. I sprinkle them in or onto pretty much everything – curry and pasta sauces, roasted veggies, avocado toast, eggs, stir fries. You name it…
Olives: Pitted olives in brine are another great basic to have in your fridge at all times. Not only do they make a great, last minute snack if you have surprise guests over (just pop them onto a serving dish with some nuts, cheese and crackers), but they can also be used to jazz up lacklustre salads or pasta sauces.
Lemons: Lemons are a great, super-natural way to add extra flavour to your food. I drizzle lemon juice onto avocado toast and kale salads, and pour it into salad dressings. I also like to add it to my banana pancake mix. And, of course, it’s great with hot water and honey in the mornings.
Spring Onions: Because I suffer from IBS and digestion issues I’m no longer able to eat onions. However, the green part of spring onions don’t trigger any symptoms, so I use them as an alternative to red and white onions when cooking. They’re also great for adding a kick to salads, popping into egg-fried-rice and omelettes, and sprinkling on top of avocado toast or chilli con carne.
Frozen Spinach: Seriously, frozen spinach is absolutely life changing! If you’re lacking fresh ingredients this will help to bulk up almost any dish. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled together a delicious meal with a few handfuls of frozen spinach. And you can also defrost it to use in smoothies.
Kale: I know a lot of people turn their noses up at kale, but I actually think it’s delicious if you cook it in the right way. And I prepare it as a side dish countless times, throughout week, to get more greens into my diet. The trick is to lightly toast it in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil, spring onions, chilli flakes and garlic. Then sprinkle it with a squeeze of lemon, and you’re good to go. It’s dreamy!
Which ingredients do you keep on your grocery shopping list for healthy meals? Is there anything missing from my list which always helps you whip up delicious, quick meals when the cupboards are practically bare? Leave a comment below to have your say…