Batch cooking can be a godsend for anyone who’s serious about food. More people than ever before are rejecting the Standard American Diet, semi-jokingly known by the acronym “SAD.” Whether people are getting into whole foods, veganism, the keto diet or paleo, they’re eager to take more control of what they eat. Consumers want to know what exactly it is they’re putting into their bodies.
Of course, there are some obstacles to these new, engaged lifestyle choices. Fast food took off for a reason: namely, that people need meals that are economical and quick. Modern Americans spend more time than ever at work. Even people who love to cook and take joy in their diets are strapped for time. That’s where batch cooking comes in. With a little meal prep on the weekend, people can have the rest of their meals tapped out for the workweek.
There are some ingredients that are especially well-suited to batch cooking and meal prep. One is the humble egg. Boiling a dozen eggs can be a great solution for a week’s worth of breakfasts. Paired with an apple and a cup of coffee, that’s a pretty quick, nutritious breakfast. Eggs are also the basis for dishes like quiche and some casseroles. These staples can provide at least one lunch or dinner during the week.
Grains are another staple that’s easy to batch-cook. Rice is probably the most common grain used in batch cooking, though others include farro and whole oats. The key when working with grains is to leave them slightly undercooked. This way, they can be quickly added to a dish like soup or stir-fry for a few final minutes of cooking. Leaving grains underdone in the fridge is the key to perfect texture on the plate later on.
Many vegetables are also good candidates for batch cooking and meal prep. Whole beets can be cleaned and prepped for the week. Storing sliced beet pieces and washed, chopped greens on Sunday is easier than processing the whole beet during the week. Similarly, pre-chopping carrots can cut down on prep time for dinners. Pre-cooking vegetables like green beans and broccoli means it’s easy to just throw them into a broth or a stir-fry for a quick, hearty meal.