There are some weeknights when dinner has to be fast and familiar. No trying out that new recipe, no dinnertime acrobatics. On those nights, it’s a backpocket recipe you’re reaching for—one you pretty much make with your eyes closed. The team at Clean Plates is no stranger to that concept—and each of us has a meal we can whip up when our Tuesday night requires a low effort dinner solution. From a hearty salad Niçoise to a quickie vegetable-packed rice bowl, here’s what we’re noshing on when we’re going light on the carbs.
Freestyle Burger Salad, Beth Lipton, Senior Editor
I just love a burger salad. (Since I develop recipes as part of my job, I often have lots of odds and ends of cooked and raw vegetables in my fridge, and salads are the best way to use them up.) I buy 100% grass-fed ground beef or bison from Trader Joe’s, or some ground lamb from one of my local butchers, and cook myself a burger patty (typically 4 oz. before cooking) while tossing together the salad. If I have dressing in the fridge I’ll use it—or, if I’m lazy, I just toss the greens with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Weeknight Salad Niçoise, Jason Wagg, Audience Development
My favorite “backpocket” low carb dinner is currently a Niçoise Salad. I usually keep enough tomatoes, beans, eggs, cucumbers, etc. around to make up the base and I’ve grown partial to sardines or anchovies for a quick salad protein. Although my recipe changes each time, this week’s version was centered around some great asparagus I found. I subbed some standard crunchy romaine for the potatoes to drop the carb count, as well as help with the overall crunch.
Get the recipe: Niçoise Salad from How Sweet Eats
Plant-Powered Stir-Fries, Jared Koch, President and Founder
My wife and I have been focused on reducing our family’s carb and increasing our plant-based protein intake but we (and our daughters) all love rice. We’re fans of cauliflower rice but we always feel it doesn’t have the same texture as actual rice, nor does it have a lot of protein. That’s why we were so excited when we discovered this new product RightRice at Whole Foods. It has the texture of real rice, a lot of plant-based protein and fiber and less carbs than actual rice since it is plant-based rice made from lentils, chickpeas, peas, and a small amount of white rice. We’ve been using it as a base for quick stir-fries. I’ll sauteed organic chicken or grass fed beef with a bunch of vegetables in coconut oil with garlic, ginger and tamari and serve it over the rice. It’s a simple meal and my whole family is happy to have it.
Simple Salad Bowls, Hali Bey Ramdene, Editor
There is such a thing as a bad salad and for a while those under seasoned, kind of boring salads made me into a person that never really considered them a worthwhile meal. But when I started marrying my favorite breakfast foods (eggs, avocado, bacon—you get the idea) with salad they became a weeknight staple. My go-to: Thinly chopped romaine that gets tossed with fresh herbs (Just use what you’ve got.) and some salt (Remember that part about salads tasting unseasoned? Adding a pinch of Himalyan salt takes care of that.) Then add a fried egg or two and a few strips of bacon. And because this is a meal that’s meant to be easy, you can bet I’m reaching for bottled dressing.