Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the task of preparing a home-cooked meal? Have you been considering jumping on the meal-prep bandwagon but don’t know how to start?
As a professional plant-based chef and intuitive cooking coach, I believe everyone can be a great home chef. And everyone deserves to enjoy a meal made with love and pure intentions of fueling and healing the body from the inside out.
The good news is, you don’t have to be a professional chef to create flavorful, plant-based meals at home that are good for your health, budget, family, and the environment, too.
By learning a few simple strategies, cooking healthy plant-based meals can be an enjoyable—and less daunting—experience.
Here are three easy steps to get you cooking like a professional chef in your kitchen.
1. Get Stocked
Any chef will tell you it’s essential that your kitchen space is well-stocked with the right ingredients. Healthy staples like legumes and grains, fresh produce, and plenty of spices and condiments are a great place to start.
Kitchen staples go beyond food ingredients. It’s essential to keep some equipment staples on hand, too!
Do yourself a favor and invest in a sturdy knife, or a chef set, and learn how to sharpen your knives. If the ones you have are still good quality, you can have them professionally sharpened at many gourmet food stores. You don’t have to have the best of the best – just something that’s got weight and feels comfortable in your hands. Get a good size cutting board while you’re at it – and place a damp towel underneath if it slips on the counter.
2. Break it Down
When you get fresh produce home from the grocery store, farmers market, or out of your CSA box, break it down before you put it away.
If you’re not familiar with the term “breaking down,” it simply means to prepare ingredients for ease of use in future recipes or as a snack. For example, tasks like cleaning mushrooms, chopping celery, and washing greens.
Store fresh herbs in a cup of water on the refrigerator door, keep a linen towel in your box of fresh greens, and store things like potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and garlic on the counter – they prefer to stay room temperature.
When you break down your fruits and vegetables as soon as you get them home, you’re more likely to incorporate these fresh, nutrient-rich plant-based ingredients into meals and snacks.
3. Always Batch Cook
Cooking like a professional chef begins with the ABCs: Always Batch Cook.
Batch cooking will save you HUGE amounts of time and prevent you from feeling like there’s “nothing to eat.” Been there? Me too. By batch cooking grains like farro, quinoa, or brown rice, you can keep something on hand at all times to effortlessly build a power bowl, add to a salad, make a stir fry… get the idea?
You don’t have to commit an entire day away to batch cooking and meal prepping. Preparing quinoa for dinner? It takes no more time to batch cook than it would to cook up enough for a single meal.
You don’t have to be a professional chef to cook like one. Stock your pantry with healthy, plant-based staples. Break down your fresh produce when you get it home from the store. And, easiest of all, batch cook to ensure you have nutritious, delicious ingredients on hand and you’ll always have what you need to cook like a chef in your own kitchen.