Cooking and Adulting: 4 Easy, Saucy Meals

Last week we talked about the struggle to eat healthy without getting bored, wasting food, and wasting time. This week we teamed up with our friends at Imperfect to make four easy meals using the same group of produce. Our secret sauce? Sauce!

Imperfect sources “ugly” produce straight from farms and delivers it to your door for 30-50% less than grocery store prices. Sign up using the code DTGS and get 20% off your first box!

Produce We Used

We used the same batch of produce from our Imperfect produce box to make four different easy-to-assemble meals. Here's what we used:

  • Eggplant
  • Yellow Squash
  • Red Onion
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Mini Tomatoes

Prep Steps

Before we got to assembling, we prepped the produce and the different "bases" we used for the meals:

  1. Slice eggplant, red onion, and yellow squash for lasagna
  2. Chop eggplant, red onion, and green pepper for pizza, pasta, and pesto chicken
  3. Chop mini tomatoes for pasta and pizza
  4. Sautee chopped veggies
  5. Cook the pasta, pizza crust, and chicken

1. How to Make a Veggie Lasagna with Marinara

Ingredients

  • Sliced eggplant, yellow squash, and red onion
  • Goat cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Marinara sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Layer sliced veggies in casserole dish
  3. Add goat cheese and marinara between each layer as you go
  4. Add parmesan on the top
  5. Cook for about 30 minutes
  6. Enjoy!

2. How to Make a Veggie Pasta with Pesto

Ingredients

  • Chopped eggplant, red onion, and green bell pepper
  • Chopped mini tomato
  • Pasta (We used Banza!)
  • Pesto Sauce

Directions

  1. Sauté eggplant, red onion, and green bell pepper
  2. Cook pasta
  3. Heat pesto sauce
  4. Combine veggies, pasta, and pesto sauce
  5. Top with mini tomatoes
  6. Enjoy!

3. How to Make Chicken and Veggies with Pesto

Ingredients

  • Chopped eggplant, red onion, and green bell pepper
  • Chicken
  • Pesto Sauce

Directions

  1. Sauté eggplant, red onion, and green bell pepper
  2. Cook chicken
  3. Heat pesto sauce
  4. Plate chicken and veggies
  5. Drizzle pesto on top of both
  6. Enjoy!

4. How to Make Veggie Pizza with Marinara

Ingredients

  • Chopped eggplant, red onion, and green bell pepper
  • Pizza Crust (We used this one!)
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Marinara Sauce

Directions

  1. Sauté eggplant, red onion, and green bell pepper
  2. Prepare pizza crust
  3. Add marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and veggies
  4. Bake for 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted
  5. Enjoy!

Top Takeaways

Thanks to everyone who participated! We loved receiving your questions and hearing your stories. Here are some of the tips we're taking away from the conversation:

1. How About Fajitas?

We asked you what other ideas you had for easy-to-assemble meals with this group of produce and you said fajitas. Yes please! Other ideas we came up with are a stir fry and omelette.

2. Seasoning and Cheese Will Get You There

When cooking something new, remember that "seasoning and cheese will get you there" when it doesn't turn out exactly how you wanted. Courtney said it and we totally agree.

3. We're Into Prepping

We heard that whether you prep before individual meals or prep for the entire week at once, some form of prep helps make cooking more efficient and accessible.

The Good Stuff

Here are a few of the recipes, products, and food waste tips we shared while cooking!

Homemade Pesto Sauce

We learned that pesto sauce can be made out of a variety of ingredients, not just basil and pine nuts. The simple combination is leafy greens, garlic, nuts, olive oil, and pepper. Here's a basic pesto recipe. Here's a recipe using cilantro and pumpkin seeds

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Want to give homemade marinara sauce a try? Here's an easy 1-pot marinara sauce recipe from Minimalist Baker.

Handpick App

The Handpick app will help you find recipes using what you already have in your kitchen. It's a great way to get more out of what you have and waste less.

Food Waste Tips

Check out the Imperfect Blog for helpful and practical food waste tips like how to use up excess producehow to pickle your produce to make it last, and principles for a life free of waste.

More About Imperfect

1 in 5 fruits and veggies grown in the U.S. never makes it off the farm, typically because it doesn’t meet the strict cosmetic standards of grocery stores. Imperfect works directly with farmers to find a home for this "ugly" produce through a subscription box delivery in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County, Portland and Seattle. Customers save money, eat healthier, support farmers, and fight food waste. The Imperfect community keeps over 100,000 lbs of produce from going to waste every week, and to date, we have kept over 7 million lbs of produce from going to waste.

Sign up using the code DTGS and get 20% off your first box!