We have all been there, you look into your fridge and see the same ingredients and can only think to make the same old meal or pack the same old lunch that you have already eaten five times this month. Cooking feels like a chore and you’re uninspired; you’re in a cooking rut! Don’t worry, you’re not too far gone. All you need is a little inspiration and a few new recipes to mix things up. Here are my six tips for getting out of a cooking rut.
- Find Inspiration To get the creative juices flowing, you need a little inspiration. Start looking for recipes that make you want to cook again. Although Pinterest is always good for this, I prefer to go through cookbooks I haven’t looked at for a while and put a sticky note on recipes that pique my interest. Cooking magazines and websites are also great for inspiration. Look for twists on classic, new ingredients to try, and dishes you’ve never heard of. Try making one new recipe a week to mix things up. Not sure where to start? Check out Vega’s Recipe Center.
- Cook Together If you usually cook alone it’s easy to get bored and uninspired. Cooking with someone else can change the game completely and is a great way to spend more time with loved ones. Everyone has different tastes, go-to meals, and cooking tricks to share. So, grab your best friend/kids/partner/sister/brother/next-door-neighbor/parent and get to cooking. Teach each other your favorite meal or pack each other’s lunches for the next day.
Mix it Up
Jump out of your comfort zone and get some new to you ingredients at the market. The possibilities are endless— look for vegetables you’ve never tried, a different type of grain or even new condiments. If you are shopping at the farmers’ market or in a smaller store, ask them how to use it. Google, of course, is also great for figuring what to do with new ingredients.Try jackfruit. It’s an ingredient that is gaining popularity in the plant-based world. Jackfruit can be found canned in the Asian foods sections of the grocery store, or you can try purchasing it online. It can also be bought in the full fruit (usually found at Asian specialty stores) but takes a long time (and makes a big mess) to butcher down into the edible parts. Tip: Buy jackfruit canned in brine or water, not in syrup. Try jackfruit in taco form and use the extras for a twist on a pulled “pork” sandwich to bring for lunch.
- Try Something New Everybody likes a theme party. Make your kitchen into a theme party in four steps: choose a theme, pick a recipe, pair with drinks, and choose matching music. Here are my favorite themes:
- Nacho Night: Taco Tuesday is old news. Instead, make a tray of nachos with all your favorite toppings and dips. Use your favorite taco meat alternative for added protein and top with enough veggies you won’t feel guilty about eating nachos for dinner.
- Dessert for Dinner: For the days when you really just want to skip straight to dessert.
- Brinner (Breakfast for Dinner): THE BEST MEAL EVER INVENTED! These Strawberry Protein Waffles are still one of my favorite recipes to ever come out of the Vega kitchen. Pair them with tons of fresh fruit and a generous serving of coconut whipped cream and you will forget all about that cooking rut.
Have a classic family recipe that your Mom makes? Why not put your own twist on it to make it your own. Have a go-to meal at your favorite restaurant? Try to create it at home. Experimenting making your favorite dishes at home can definitely get you back into the cooking groove.Here is a plant-based twist on the classic Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup combination, to get you started.
- Old Ingredient, New Trick Try doing something new with your go-to ingredients. Grill up a zucchini and put it in a bun. Roast your garlic to be used in recipe you would usually sauté garlic in. Bake your cauliflower with lemon and almonds instead of steaming it. There are hundreds of techniques but we tend to always use the same handful.Other ways to change up cauliflower:Cauliflower Fried Rice: Replace rice with cauliflower in this grain-free, veggie packed dish.Cauliflower Buffalo Wings: These are so addictive and a great way to completely change cauliflower. They are also great made into tacos or a wrap.
What are your go-to meals for getting out of a cooking rut?