Minimalism is quite the trend. What does minimalism mean when applied to the kitchen? Here are our top minimalist easy weeknight meals.
Minimalism is quite the trendy word. And it got us thinking: what does minimalism mean when applied to the kitchen? In our latest podcast, we interview Melissa Coleman of The Faux Martha, graphic designer and self-proclaimed “Minimalist”.
What is minimalist cooking? Melissa explains that to her, minimalism is:
- Focusing on high-quality ingredients and simple flavoring (sometimes olive oil and kosher salt is all it needs!)
- Cooking with pantry ingredients and sub-ing in vegetables you have onhand
- Keeping kitchen gadgets to the bare minimum
- Keeping the spice drawer tidy (like keeping your favorite 24 spices onhand)
- Organizing the pantry with bulk ingredients in large, clear jars for easy access
Our interview with Melissa on the A Couple Cooks podcast is below; the show also features tips on designing a meal and inspiration for cleaning out your spice drawer (and don’t forget to listen for the blooper at the end!).
We’ve also included a list of ten healthy, simple minimalist weeknight meals from our website and Melissa’s for inspiration. As a note, we’ve read many articles claiming to have the best lists of weeknight meals that end up sounding completely un-doable; below are the top concepts of recipes we’ve actually successfully used on a weeknight.
Healthy & easy minimalist weeknight meals
Pasta: Pasta is quick cooking and therefore a great choice for weeknight eats. Try whole wheat pasta paired with some seasonal vegetables and greens. Here, a flavorful balsamic vinaigrette is used as the pasta sauce.
Soup: Nourishing soups and stews are perfect for a weeknight, especially in cooler weather. This one is relatively quick cooking and uses several pantry ingredients like lentils, canned tomatoes, canned artichokes.
Egg on top: Putting an egg on top makes any meal better, right? We love sauteing up random fridge and pantry items and topping them off with a fried egg. In this recipe, we’ve added some bulgur wheat, a quick cooking grain that only requires some boiled water and 20 minutes of soak time (no cooking required!).
Amazing Soba Bowl
Noodle bowls: A bowl of soba noodles with fresh vegetables and peanut sauce is simple, colorful and comforting. This bowl uses frozen edamame and peanuts to keep it filling, and the peanut dressing is bursting with fresh flavor.
Or try: Peanut Noodles with Napa Cabbage
Quesadillas: Quesadillas are a perfect super simple dinner that can stay relatively healthy with minimal cheese and fresh ingredients. This version has a Mediterranean flair, with black olives, red peppers, and oregano.
Or try: Superfood Veggie Quesadilla or Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado
Chickpea Indian Bowl
Rice bowls: “Stuff in bowls” is our way of life, and this Indian rice bowl is a stellar example, full of pantry spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and ginger. Rice bowls on the weekday may require white rice if you’re in a time crunch, but use brown rice if you think ahead.
Fried rice: Speaking of rice, the best way to use leftovers for a quick meal is stir-frying them with the leftover vegetables in the fridge and (you guessed it) some eggs. While this requires leftovers, it works with any cooked grain you have onhand: like quinoa!
Also try: Cauliflower Fried Rice, Easy Vegetable Fried Rice or Three Onion Homemade Fried Rice Recipe
Fancy sandwich: Sometimes just adding some fancy ingredients to a sandwich turns it into a delectable dinner. This sandwich is filled with chickpea salad, a vegetarian version of chicken salad, and spread with hummus to turn it into more than “just a sandwich”.
Also try: Coleslaw & Swiss Melt Sandwich or Egg Salad Sandwich
Curry: This one-skillet meal involves a bit of chopping on the front end, but it cooks relatively quickly and is full of flavor, with a significant portion of the ingredient list being pantry spices.
Also try: Quick Coconut Lentil Curry
Pita pizzas: When we’re feeling minimalist, we turn to pita bread or naan for our pizza crusts. Use our Easy Pizza Sauce Recipe and toppings of your choice to top your crust (be sure to pre-bake for a few minutes first to ensure a crispy base).
This is a great list of recipes! Simple and easy is such a great way to approach January and healthy eating!
This list is great but I have to say, it is not only for weeknights, I will use it for lunch too!
I always cook recipes inspired by your blog and I always get so many compliments at work about how my lunch food looks good.
Thank you for your great blog- I love it and now my boyfriend doesn’t have a choice either, and we cook together, yay!
Happy New Year to you both and greetings from Germany!
Tatite — thank you so much — that means a lot! Glad to hear about you and your boyfriend cooking together – so fun! Thanks for the greetings — right back at you from the US!
Can’t wait to listen to this podcast! Thanks for a real list of doable weekday recipes. I can vouch for how quick to make and delicious that lentil artichoke stew is!
Thank you, Katie! it’s one of our faves. Hope you liked the podcast!
I’ve really enjoyed listening to your podcast and I especially can’t wait to give this episode a listen.
Thank you so much, Allyson! We’re so glad you’re enjoying the podcast!
My boyfriend and I are in the midst of re-organizing our kitchen and learning more about minimalism. Definitely will keep the tips mentioned at the beginning in mind (thanks, Melissa!). :) Thanks for providing this list, those soba noodles look amazing!
Thank you thank you! How did the re-org go?!
Yum! You guys are life changers! ? Thank you from New Zealand !!
Would eat everything from here with a great pleasure!!!
Thank you, Stacy!
Thank you so much for reaffirming way I’ve always suspected: that simplicity is the key to consistent healthy eating! And being a lover of pasta, rice, eggs and soba, these meals are right up my alley :)
Absolutely! So glad you enjoyed these meal ideas — let us know if you try any out!