Having a hard time eating green and staying green while keeping your green? It can be difficult to find recipes that fit the bill, but you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen and hundreds of dollars to stay healthy, green, and clean.
Here are a few recipes and tips that check all three boxes.
Photo by Travis Yewell on Unsplash
A great way to stay green is to buy most, if not all, your ingredients locally. Try buying your greens and veggies from the farmers’ market during the spring and summer. Many grocery stores also have a local foods section where all the items are sourced from nearby farms and growers.
Add protein-rich beans to increase the energy you get while decreasing the energy you’d use by cooking meat. And avoid high-sugar, calorie-packed, store-bought salad dressings by making your own vinaigrette with items you already have in your kitchen.
Ingredients for the salad:
Any mix of greens and vegetables you prefer, tossed together in a large bowl
Ingredients for the vinaigrette:
• 1 part olive oil
• 1 part vinegar
• Lemon juice
Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients (everything except the oil and vinegar are to taste) together in a medium-sized bowl. Pour over salad and toss together. Refrigerate before serving to allow the vinaigrette flavors to meld.
Comfort food doesn’t have to be terrible for you. This recipe uses brown rice pasta, which is much healthier than regular pasta. To make it even better for you, try replacing the pasta with fresh zucchini noodles. Make your zucchini noodles by slicing the vegetable into thin strips, or use a spiralizer for easier prep.
To up the environmental- and wallet-friendliness of this recipe, try making your own chicken stock and using leftover veggies and chicken. Unlike many other chicken soup recipes, this one doesn’t require the soup to simmer for hours, saving time and energy in the kitchen.
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 medium carrots, cut diagonally into half-inch-thick slices
• 3 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into half-inch-thick slices
• 4 fresh thyme sprigs
• 2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock
• 8 ounces dried brown rice noodles (or fresh zucchini noodles)
• 1 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
• Kosher salt and ground black pepper
• 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1. Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil.
2. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and thyme, and allow the mixture to cook for about six minutes or until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
3. Add the chicken stock and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the chicken, and continue to simmer for a few more minutes to heat through. Meanwhile, cook the pasta separately.*
4. Add 1/2 cup cooked brown rice pasta to the bottom of a bowl and top with the soup. Finish with some chopped parsley and enjoy.
*If using zucchini noodles, you can add them to the soup with the chicken, or, if you prefer a crunchier texture, add them to the bottom of a bowl.
While jarred pasta sauces are quick and easy, they can be expensive and not very eco-friendly. Making your own pesto sauce is easier than you would expect, and it’s free of preservatives.
This sauce is incredibly versatile as well. Use it to top spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles, or spread it over flatbread and add fresh mozzarella and tomato slices for a simple caprese flatbread.
• 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
• 1 cup tightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
• 4 large cloves of garlic
• 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts, which are often more affordable and packed with omega-3s
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
In a food processor, blend the basil, Italian parsley, garlic, pine nuts and lemon juice. Slowly add the olive oil as you blend, continuing until the mixture is smooth. Add the shredded parmesan cheese and pulse the food processor a few times to mix everything together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Keeping a green and healthy kitchen doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. There are plenty of simple ways to make and eat food you love while staying healthy, environmentally conscious, and thrifty. Try these delicious recipes, and get creative with ways to make your own favorite recipes better for you, your bank account, and the environment.