I was speaking a friend this week who claimed she had NO time to cook. None. Zero. But she is struggling with some heath issues and wants to eat nutritious, fresh food. So, being the relentless person that I can sometimes be when it comes to encouraging people to cook for themselves, I asked her how much time it took to BUY her dinner and what was the maximum time she would consider sacrificing to prepare a meal. 20 minutes, tops, was all she had. And she doesn't eat meat and is gluten-free. Well to that I say EASY. Done.
There are probably a dozen plus ultra-fast meals that I can think of off the top of my head that would fit into her life. I decided to stick to something super seasonal and give her some options:
(while the vegetables are roasting, prepare the other components)
- roasted vegetables + quick-cook polenta + crumbled ricotta salata
- or with a poached egg over some greens with a lemon vinaigrette (juice of a lemon + olive oil, salt, pepper)
- or with some sesame-crusted seared tuna (sushi-grade tuna, a little olive oil, coat in sesame seeds, sear on all sides in a super hot frying pan)
- or over gluten-free angel hair pasta + a quick sauce of olive oil, garlic and a splash of white wine (heat 3 T olive oil in a pan, stir in 2 minced cloves of garlic, cook for 2 min, add wine, adjust seasonings)
AND, any leftovers are great on a sandwich, folded into an omelet, in a tossed salad, etc etc.
Yes, all in under 20 minutes or even less. Cooking does not have to be complicated or elaborate. Keep it simple, use fresh ingredients and take advantage of what the season has to offer.
roasted spring vegetables
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed of woody stems, cut into thirds
1 lb of mixed mushrooms (I used oyster and shitake), cleaned and sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced
wild garlic sea salt
Preheat oven to 425º
Combine all of the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet and lightly coat with some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roast for about 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your vegetables. I like mine still a little firm to the bite. Check the seasonings again and serve as you like.