The Thug Kitchen ethos is definitely not one of subtlety. (This is, after all, the vegan recipe site that proclaims “This is the only website dedicated to verbally abusing you into a healthier diet. That’s where the Internet bus driver just dropped your ass off. Welcome to Thug Kitchen, motherf*cker.”)
But in Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as F*ck, the latest book from founders Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway, they address a very relatable problem that most people won’t need a whole lot of convincing on: spending less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying good-for-you food.
“We wrote this book to tackle the #1 excuse we hear from people about why they don’t cook: time,” Davis and Holloway explain. Which is important because there’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal (even science agrees).
The unapologetic authors aren’t taking any excuses for your takeout habits. “Everybody seems to have enough time to be caught up on their Netflix queue[…], but when it comes to cooking for yourself, suddenly everyone’s too goddamn busy,’ they write.
To prove just how easy it is to Netflix and chill and cook something healthy, Thug Kitchen 101 rounds up ridiculously tasty recipes that take minimal time to make. As in, you can have dinner on the table faster than it takes you to scroll through your Instagram feed. Yes, really.
Keep reading for 3 super-fast, super-delicious recipes—each can be made in less than 15 minutes.
Yields 4–6 servings
This is no #saddesklunch salad. Watermelon radishes, carrots, and cabbage add some vibrant color (hint…major nutrients!) to more standard spinach. Plus, the whole thing can be made in five minutes or less, which is way faster than you could ever order something from Postmates.
For the jalapeño-cilantro dressing:
1 jalapeño, seeded and cut into quarters
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 Tbsp lime juice
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp agave nectar, or another liquid sweetener
1/4 cup olive oil
For the salad:
1 small head napa cabbage, cut into thin strips (about 6 cups)
3 cups sliced spinach
3 carrots, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (about 2 cups)
1/2 cucumber, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (about 2 cups)
3 cups radish matchsticks (2-inch long)
2 cups jicama matchsticks (2-inch long)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup minced chives or green onions
1. First, make the dressing: Pulse the jalapeño and cilantro until finely chopped. Add the lime juice, vinegar, and agave then blend again.
2. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is thick, about 15 seconds. Set it aside for a minute.
3. Make the salad: Combine all the veggies in a large bowl, then toss in the dressing. Fold in the salt and chives.
4. Serve right away or let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Best eaten within 2 hours of dressing.
Sweet Potato al Pastor
Yields 8 good-size tacos, or enough for 4 to 6 people
Traditional tacos al pastor are made from pork, but this plant-based version uses shredded sweet potatoes instead. (Is there anything the tuber can’t do?) But thanks to the addition of tempeh, the plant-based dish isn’t lacking in protein. These would be perfect for Taco Tuesday, or really, whatever day tomorrow is….
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks with 1/4 cup juice
1/4 cup lime juice
3 Tbsp mild chili powder
2 tsp liquid smoke*
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp olive oil or safflower oil
8 oz. tempeh, cut into thin 1-inch long strips
3 cups shredded raw sweet potato
2 Tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
8 corn tortillas
Optional: diced onion, jalapeños, cilantro, pineapple salsa, for topping
1. Make the filling: In a blender or food processor, throw together the onion, pineapple, lime juice, chili powder, liquid smoke, smoked paprika, cumin, and oregano. Blend until the sauce starts to look somewhat smooth, then set aside.
2. In a large skillet, warm the oil up over medium heat. Add the tempeh and sauté it around for about 2 minutes, then fold in the sweet potato and sprinkle over the Bragg’s. Keep cooking until the sweet potato starts to soften up, 3 to 5 minutes longer.
3. Pour in the sauce you blended up earlier and stir it all up until everything is covered and starting to warm up, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. Start making tacos: Warm the tortillas and serve topped with the filling, onions, jalapeños, and cilantro, or pineapple salsa.
*Look for liquid smoke near the barbecue sauce at the grocery store.
Yields 4–6 servings
In a time crunch, it doesn’t get much simpler than throwing a bunch of veggies in a skillet (or wok). This Korean stir fry is gluten-free thanks to its noodle alternatives, and is also full of vitamins (look at that rainbow of color for proof). Double the batch and revel in leftovers the next day.
12 oz. sweet potato, mung, or thin rice noodles
¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp garlic chili paste
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 small white onion, slivered
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
2 cups sliced shiitake or button mushrooms
4 cups chopped greens, such as bok choy, spinach, or kale
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
1. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, water, and chili paste in a small glass and set aside.
3. Warm the sesame oil up in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in the white onion, carrots, and bell pepper and cook until everything starts to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the mushrooms and cook for a minute more.
4. Fold in the noodles and add the reserved sauce mixture and keep tossing them around for about another minute till everything gets all mixed up and nothing sticks to the pan. Fold in the greens and cook until they start to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat, taste, and add more of anything you think it needs. Top with toasted sesame seeds and serve it up right away.
Reprinted from Thug Kitchen 101 by Thug Kitchen. Copyright © 2016 Thug Kitchen, LLC, Matt Holloway, and Michelle Davis. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.
Another reason to cook your own meals? You’ll avoid many processed foods, which slow down your metabolism. And if you want to add some good-for-you snacks to your repertoire, too, these healthy versions of your favorite vending machine noshes should do the trick.