Healthy cooking in bulk
January 3, 2017 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Looking for your favorite healthy delicious recipes to cook in bulk!

So I can't believe this question hasn't been asked 100 times already, but I'm coming up empty looking at the archives for this particular take on the recipe question.

I'm looking for recipes that:
a.) provide 4+ main servings for each batch that can be re-heated relatively easily
b.) are pretty healthy-- hoping for things that are veggie centric, but meat/cheese/pastas are fine in moderation
c.) Don't necessarily have to be simple or easy, I'm a pretty good cook. I want recipes that taste good over stuff that's super easy.
d.) I have a slow cooker and am happy to use it, or not.
e.) I'm looking for cold weather food right now, mostly. I won't be able to face a cold veggie salad for at least three months.

Some examples of things already on heavy rotation in our household: Cuban black bean soup, Thai style curry w/ veggies and chicken, Spaghetti squash with homemade red sauce, Kale sausage soup

posted by geegollygosh to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 93 users marked this as a favorite
This soup is a weekly must for us in winter. It is stupid simple but really excellent on its own as a side or with some protein or other stuff tossed in it.

Nom Nom Paleo's kalua pork recipe in the slow cooker is delicious and makes a lot of meat that can be reheated in any number of applications from hash to tacos (though it doenst have any veggies in it by itself).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:57 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you like kale sausage soup, you'd probably like a tuscan style pancetta white bean soup. I like to mash up the beans with a fork so it's kind of creamy at the end. Good winter soup.
posted by monologish at 2:04 PM on January 3, 2017

Palak curries can be very healthy if you minimise oil and use yogurt instead of cream. Personally I like palak paneer, but have also made chicken palak. There are loads of other Indian veggie curries that don't have to include loads of oil or cream.
posted by kadia_a at 2:04 PM on January 3, 2017

This Ethiopian lentil stew is one of my favorites. I am lazy, so instead of mixing the berbere spices myself, I buy this ready-made version. I serve it over rice, which I think could also be frozen.
posted by FencingGal at 2:19 PM on January 3, 2017

For years I've been making a Moroccan stew in the slow cooker with chicken thighs, butternut squash, dates, tangerines including the peel, and onion, seasoned with a ton of cumin and cinnamon. I don't remember the source of the original recipe. I top with cilantro and sliced almonds. It makes your house smell fabulous. If you're eating pasta, serve with couscous. The stew is much, much better the second day and beyond.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 2:28 PM on January 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

I love these chilaquiles (make the vegan nacho cheese!) so much.

I kind of follow this enchilada recipe, the principle is sound and delicious, I just don't like chicken.
posted by Duffington at 2:33 PM on January 3, 2017

I could eat these Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos every day for the rest of my life. I actually use yams, not sweet potatoes. If you use 2 large yams and 2 cans of black beans, I find it makes enough for 4 meals in my 3-person household. Just scoop the leftover filling into medium zip lock bags and freeze. If you squish the mixture so that it lays in a kind of flat thin-ish layer in the bags, it defrosts quickly in warm water.

I make and freeze huge batches of my own version of red beans and rice, which involves using the leftover liquid from cooking a ham to cook the beans from dried. Then I saute some celery, onion and green pepper and throw that in, along with some canned tomatoes or tomato paste and some store-bought cajun seasoning. Yum.

Also, I make and freeze big batches of Italian Wedding Soup. I use ground turkey instead of the usually suggested beef/pork mixture.
posted by kitcat at 2:34 PM on January 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh I forgot the link to the nacho cheese is broken in the chilaquiles recipe. Cashew Nacho Cheese.
posted by Duffington at 2:35 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Crescent Dragonwagon's gumbo zeb is the gold standard for veggie-heavy cook-ahead food as far as I'm concerned. It's a Big Kitchen Project that will leave you with five or six quart freezer bags full of a rich, spicy, tangy, intensely flavorful mix of greens and herbs and seasonings. Any time you want a big pot of amazing soup that will last you a few days or a week, thaw out one or two of those bags, thin it down with stock to the strength you want, and add whatever starch, protein, or fresh veggies you have on hand.

The only remotely hard part is making the roux, and there is a secret cheat that makes even that part easy. Follow these microwave roux instructions instead of the ones in the recipe. They make the whole process quick and idiot-proof. Everything else is just chopping, cooking, stirring, and time, and it is so completely worth it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:20 PM on January 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

This link is pretty cool- it's basically roasted veggies and quinoa that you assemble in four different ways, with a variety of beans and spices to keep it interesting. FWIW, when I did this, I made each recipe with 1 1/2 cups of quinoa rather than 1 cup to make each serving more substantial.
posted by ezrainch at 3:59 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is a great year round soup, I can get 6-8 servings out of each pot. Variations of this soup are common throughout the Middle East. I adapted it ever-so-slightly from a recipe I found on Orangette.

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

4 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed or grated on a Microplane
2 T tomato paste
1 T cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste; I like heat)
2 carrots, diced
2 cups red lentils
2 quarts chicken stock (I use Better Than Bouillon to make mine if I don't have homemade)
2 cups water
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper
Juice of one lemon

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Saute onions until golden, about five minutes. Add garlic and saute one more minute, then add tomato paste, and spices. Cook for a few minutes until spices smell great. Add lentils, carrots, stock and water. Bring to the boil then lower to a simmer. Cook for about a half hour, during which time red lentils will fall apart and become a comforting gunge of orange delight. When lentils are cooked, taste and adjust seasoning. Puree partially (I use an immersion blender for this), then allow soup to remain on low heat. Add lemon juice and cilantro. Stir occasionally so lentils don't cook to the sides of the pot (depending on how long you intend to hold it). Ladle into big greedy bowlfuls.

Note: you could sub Aleppo pepper flakes (lots, like at least 1 TBSP) for the hotter cayenne if desired.
posted by little mouth at 4:33 PM on January 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

This is an old favorite:

Celeriac Soup

I usually don't add the cream. And it can be further modified to be vegan if that is desired. Freezes well.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:53 PM on January 3, 2017

My go-to for this kind of thing:

1. Saute onion, garlic, leek, bell peppers, whatever, in olive oil; add spices (Moroccan, Italian, whatever).
2. Dump in 1 or 2 28-ounce cans of chopped tomato (flavored or not).
3. Add 1 or 2 cups of barley, or lentils, or bulgar, or rice. Add water if it seems to need it.
4. Cook mostly covered over very low heat for 20 minutes to 3 hours, depending on which grain you added (20 for rice, 3 hours for barley). Add water if it needs it, stir if it needs it.
5. Toss in (or not) thinly sliced greens, or thinly sliced prosciutto, or leftover beans, or anything that looks like it would taste good with whatever's already in the pot, towards the end so it doesn't get overcooked.
6. Serve with crumbled feta, or pine nuts, or slivered almonds, or thinly sliced red onion, or shaved parmesan, or whatever looks good.

I make this all winter, in its many forms, depending on what I've got in the house.
posted by Capri at 8:21 PM on January 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

Chili with vegetables and lentils.
posted by neushoorn at 11:48 PM on January 3, 2017

This spicy Moroccan chickpea dish is one of my favorites and makes a big batch. It's better once it has sat overnight so is perfect for batch cooking. It makes 8 servings in total.
posted by newsomz at 2:24 AM on January 4, 2017

I bake chicken thighs once a week, in different preparations (lemon/garlic; pineapple juice/soysauce; dijon mustard/panko bread crumbs; etc.) I usually bake 8-10 thighs for the two of us, so we have extra to eat as-is or use for other purposes (salad, tacos) for the rest of the week.

Fried rice in a big batch is good for veggie use/intake and easily reheats.
posted by sarajane at 9:09 AM on January 4, 2017

I make this cabbage risotto/soup every winter and LOVE it! I do it with red cabbage instead of savoy, and once the smothered cabbage is cooked (scroll down to bottom of page), I freeze 3/4 of it, and follow the rest of the recipe to make risotto for that days meal. I use less liquid than she does so it is more a risotto than a soup, but you can do either.

Can be served with chicken sausages along side for those that want meat, or just as is, with parmesan cheese, for a flavorful, delicious meal. Using the leftovers? Thaw a portion of the cabbage, throw together the rice, stock, seasonings and thawed cabbage, and cook - dinner in 30 mins.

1 good sized head of cabbage is 3 meals for my 2 person family. (My husband supplements with animal protein)
posted by darsh at 3:56 PM on January 6, 2017

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