My weekday meals are pretty basic. Until the days turn colder, I can't rely on no-thinking-required soups and crockpot meals. Instead, I concoct mismatched meals that follow this basic equation:
Protein + Vegetable side + Rice/Bread = Dinnertime!
In some ways, this makes the dinnertime challenge even more of a challenge, since I then have more questions to answer, such as what type of protein (and how will it be cooked) and what of the veggies? I find overall that this formula works for those who don't shop nor plan their meals in advance. I just buy a bunch of veggies and proteins and figure it all out later. If I end up having all of the ingredients for a recipe, great! If not, then it's back to the formula.
So this post is for people who find themselves in need of quick, easy vegetable recipes. Cook two of them for a meal or whip up one as a side. Either way, these are pretty easy.
Gomae (Japanese Sesame Spinach)
Sweet spinach? Yes, my friends. Not candy-sweet but sweet nonetheless. An easy side dish to balance more savory/salty dishes like rice, and say, a simple grilled fish.
Sauteed Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan)
What can be better than greens prepared Chinese-style -- simply sauteed quickly, and flavored with that forever winning combination of garlic-infused oil?
If you can't find gai lan, try this with other types of Chinese greens.
Kangkung Belacan (Malaysian Water Spinach w/Shrimp Paste)
If you've graduated beyond the 'ole garlic & oil technique, consider kicking it up (yes, the obligatory notch) with this preparation of water spinach with shrimp paste. Like fish sauce, shrimp paste stinks to high heaven, but is super flavorful and as of late I've been experimenting with it in all kinds of dishes. Water spinach doesn't resemble spinach, despite its name, rather it's a but is a versatile, hollow veggie that can be found in many Asian or Chinese grocery stores.
Hobak Namul (Korean: Squash Salad)
Fine. You can't find Chinese broccoli nor water spinach in your hometown. Surely you can find the new love of my life: zucchini? They're beautiful in summer and unbelievably sweet, depending on preparation. This Korean recipe for a side dish is highly addictive and one of my favorites growing up.
Oi Naengguk (Korean Cold Cucumber Soup)
Another recipe that doesn't require hard-to-find ingredients. Slightly sour, slightly sweet and definitely refreshing!