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Spicy Garlicky Sesame Tofu (30 Minutes!)

Welcome to another minimal effort, BIG flavor dish! This quicker-than-takeout sesame tofu is baked to crispy perfection and coated in a drool-worthy, sweet + spicy + garlicky sauce. It might have you questioning whether you’ll ever be ordering takeout …

Spicy Garlicky Sesame Tofu (30 Minutes!)

Welcome to another minimal effort, BIG flavor dish! This quicker-than-takeout sesame tofu is baked to crispy perfection and coated in a drool-worthy, sweet + spicy + garlicky sauce. It might have you questioning whether you’ll ever be ordering takeout again!

Pair with rice and steamed veggies for a simple, 30-minute meal that’s vegan, gluten-free, and naturally sweetened. Let’s make it!

Recipe Inspiration

This recipe is inspired by Sesame Chicken, which is commonly found in Chinese restaurants in the US and Canada (source).

Spicy Garlicky Sesame Tofu (30 Minutes!) from Minimalist Baker →

Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns (Vegan)

Gluten-free friends, the day is finally here: Meet our EPIC gluten-free hamburger buns! These slightly sweet, perfectly soft buns are sturdy enough to save your hands from condiments yet light and fluffy enough to avoid smashing your favorite veggie bu…

Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns (Vegan)

Gluten-free friends, the day is finally here: Meet our EPIC gluten-free hamburger buns! These slightly sweet, perfectly soft buns are sturdy enough to save your hands from condiments yet light and fluffy enough to avoid smashing your favorite veggie burger.

Bonus? They’re vegan and require just 10 ingredients! Get your grills ready — hamburger season is on!

How to Make Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns

These buns begin like any good FLUFFY bread recipe: with yeast!

Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns (Vegan) from Minimalist Baker →

Spicy Watermelon Salad (True Food-Inspired!)

True Food, you’ve stolen our hearts with your Watermelon Salad. We’re talking one of the best salads we’ve ever eaten. A homemade rendition had to happen! 
Friends, it’s now your turn to be swept off your feet. Just 20 minutes stand between …

Spicy Watermelon Salad (True Food-Inspired!)

True Food, you’ve stolen our hearts with your Watermelon Salad. We’re talking one of the best salads we’ve ever eaten. A homemade rendition had to happen! 

Friends, it’s now your turn to be swept off your feet. Just 20 minutes stand between you and this show-stopping, sweet + spicy watermelon salad that’s so hydrating, fresh, and perfect for summer. Let us show you how it’s done!

The base of this AMAZING salad is crunchy cucumber and sweet watermelon with bites of avocado and cherry tomatoes.

Spicy Watermelon Salad (True Food-Inspired!) from Minimalist Baker →

Easy Salmon “Sushi” Bowls

Who loves all things sushi but feels a little intimidated by making sushi at home? (Slowly raises hand.) Solution: this quick and easy salmon sushi bowl! It’s our take on the satisfaction of sushi without the need for sushi-grade fish or assembli…

Easy Salmon “Sushi” Bowls

Who loves all things sushi but feels a little intimidated by making sushi at home? (Slowly raises hand.) Solution: this quick and easy salmon sushi bowl! It’s our take on the satisfaction of sushi without the need for sushi-grade fish or assembling rolls! We’re into it. 

Just 9 ingredients required, friends. Let us show you how it’s done!

How to Make Salmon “Sushi” Bowls

These EASY salmon “sushi” bowls come together with just three required components, plus a few optional add-ons to step up the sushi vibes!

Easy Salmon “Sushi” Bowls from Minimalist Baker →

Gingery Smashed Cucumber Salad (Asian-Inspired)

Is it just us or does it seem like cucumbers repel any dressing you add to them? Not so fast! After some research and testing, we learned that smashing cucumbers helps the flavors stick around. Smashed cucumber salad to the rescue!
This Asian-inspired …

Gingery Smashed Cucumber Salad (Asian-Inspired)

Is it just us or does it seem like cucumbers repel any dressing you add to them? Not so fast! After some research and testing, we learned that smashing cucumbers helps the flavors stick around. Smashed cucumber salad to the rescue!

This Asian-inspired take is super fresh, crunchy, savory, a little spicy, and full of ginger and sesame flavor. Plus, so EASY — just 10 ingredients, 1 bowl, and 10 minutes required.

Gingery Smashed Cucumber Salad (Asian-Inspired) from Minimalist Baker →

Vegan Ginger Sesame Noodles with Crispy Tofu

All the flavor and comfort of your favorite noodle stir-fry takeout, but easier than deciding where to order? You bet! This EASY, weeknight-friendly meal is a breeze thanks to one of our favorite kitchen essentials: the sheet pan.
Flavorful seasoned to…

Vegan Ginger Sesame Noodles with Crispy Tofu

All the flavor and comfort of your favorite noodle stir-fry takeout, but easier than deciding where to order? You bet! This EASY, weeknight-friendly meal is a breeze thanks to one of our favorite kitchen essentials: the sheet pan.

Flavorful seasoned tofu and crispy roasted veggies combine with saucy, gingery sesame noodles for a nourishing, 10-ingredient party in a bowl! Consider dinner planned. Let us show you how it’s done!

Vegan Ginger Sesame Noodles with Crispy Tofu from Minimalist Baker →

Perfect Roasted Green Beans

Green beans without the fuss? These PERFECT roasted green beans are an effortless side the whole family will love. Say goodbye to babysitting beans on the stovetop! 
Just 3 ingredients, 1 pan, and 20 minutes required for these savory, caramelized,…

Perfect Roasted Green Beans

Green beans without the fuss? These PERFECT roasted green beans are an effortless side the whole family will love. Say goodbye to babysitting beans on the stovetop! 

Just 3 ingredients, 1 pan, and 20 minutes required for these savory, caramelized, perfectly salted beans that basically cook themselves. Let the kitchen multi-tasking begin!

How to Make Roasted Green Beans

It doesn’t get much easier than roasted veggies!

Perfect Roasted Green Beans from Minimalist Baker →

Creamy Mushroom Chicken (Samoan-Inspired)

Savory, saucy, and satisfying! What’s not to love?! This Creamy Mushroom Chicken is inspired by a Samoan dish and doesn’t skimp on comfort or richness.
It’s a flavorful, 1-pot meal that’s elegant enough for hosting but easy enough for weeknight dinners…

Creamy Mushroom Chicken (Samoan-Inspired)

Savory, saucy, and satisfying! What’s not to love?! This Creamy Mushroom Chicken is inspired by a Samoan dish and doesn’t skimp on comfort or richness.

It’s a flavorful, 1-pot meal that’s elegant enough for hosting but easy enough for weeknight dinners. Serve with veggies and rice (or coconut rice!) and it’s meal prep perfection. Let us show you how it’s done! 

This easy, 1-pot recipe begins with sautéing onion, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger for a flavorful base.

Creamy Mushroom Chicken (Samoan-Inspired) from Minimalist Baker →


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Meal Prep Noodle Soup Jars

These easy meal prep noodle soup jars are a fast, convenient, and budget-friendly make-ahead lunch idea. Just add hot water, mix, and enjoy!

The post Meal Prep Noodle Soup Jars appeared first on Budget Bytes.

January is the season when meal prep reigns. Whether you’re just trying to get more organized or trying to refine your food budget, these meal prep noodle soup jars are a great option for make-ahead lunches. I took my favorite upgraded instant ramen recipe and transformed it into these cute and convenient meal prep jars. Just add hot water, mix, and they’re ready to eat! Bonus, the jars kept the soup ingredients super fresh for several days with NO wilting!

Noodle soup jars lined up in a row, viewed from the side.

What is a Meal Prep Soup Jar?

These cool little jars are basically like homemade cup noodles, except with more delicious add-ins and in a reusable container. You just add hot water to the jar, mix it up to make the broth and soften the veggies, then the soup is ready to eat! So easy and so convenient.

What’s in This Noodle Soup

Similar to our upgraded instant ramen, we made our own flavored broth concentrate with a mix of Better Than Bouillon, soy sauce, sesame oil, and spices. Then we added some fresh vegetables (mushrooms, spinach, carrots, and green onions) to round out the bowl, and a little sesame seeds and sriracha for fun. These soup jars are, of course, endlessly customizable, so feel free to add your favorite ingredients!

How to Enjoy meal prep soup jars

Just like with cup noodles, fill the jar with boiling water from a tea kettle or a hot water tap (the kind on the front of commercial coffee makers), close the lid tightly, then shake the jar to mix the bouillon with the water. Let the soup sit for a few minutes to slightly cook the vegetables and soften the noodles. Give it one last stir with a fork or spoon (or spork!) and enjoy! You can eat the soup straight out of the jar, or empty it into a bowl.

How Long Do They Last?

There’s some sort of magic that happens in this mason jar that keeps the ingredients fresh far longer than I would have ever expected. For food safety reasons I don’t suggest keeping these jars longer than five days, but I will just tell you that on day five the ingredients in the soup jars looked just as fresh as they did on day one. The spinach and mushrooms showed no signs of wilting and the noodles had not dried out!

To maximize the lifespan of your noodle jars, pay attention to how you layer the ingredients. The wet ingredients always go on the bottom. Next, you add ingredients that don’t wilt easily and aren’t too absorbent (in this case the carrots, then the mushrooms). Lastly, you’ll want to add any ingredients that tend to wilt or get mushy (noodles and spinach). This layering technique separates the liquids and soft ingredients for maximum storage life!

Overhead view of a bowl of noodle soup with sriracha.
Four noodle soup jars lined up in a row.
Print

Meal Prep Noodle Soup Jars

These easy meal prep noodle soup jars are a fast, convenient, and budget-friendly make-ahead lunch idea. Just add hot water, mix, and enjoy!
Course Lunch, Soup
Cuisine American, Asian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 220kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp bouillon* $0.48
  • 2 tsp soy sauce $0.04
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder $0.05
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds $0.12
  • 2 tsp sriracha (optional) $0.06
  • 1 carrot, shredded $0.14
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced $0.96
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.22
  • 2 3oz. blocks instant ramen $0.50
  • 2 cups fresh spinach $0.60

Instructions

  • To each 16oz. jar add the following: 1 tsp bouillon, ½ tsp soy sauce, ¼ tsp sesame oil, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp ginger powder, ½ tsp sesame seeds, and ½ tsp sriracha.
  • Peel and shred the carrot. Clean and slice the mushrooms and green onion. Divide the carrots, mushrooms, and green onions between the jars.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil for the ramen noodles. Discard the seasoning packets or save them for another use later. Add the noodles to the boiling water and boil only for about 2 minutes, or just until the noodles are tender but still slightly firm. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse briefly with cold water to cool. Drain well.
  • Divide the noodles between the four jars, then top with a handful of fresh spinach for each jar.
  • Close the jars and refrigerate until ready to eat (up to five days). When ready to eat, add 1-1.5 cups boiling water. Close the jars and shake them to dissolve the broth. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir once more with a spoon or fork before enjoying.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*We used vegetable-flavored Better Than Bouillon, but you can use any type of powdered or paste-style bouillon here OR use the seasoning packets that come with the instant ramen (divide each packet between two jars).

Nutrition

Serving: 1jar | Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 1110mg | Fiber: 2g
Four noodle soup jars lined up in a row.

How to Make Meal Prep Noodle Soup – Step by Step Photos

Ingredients for broth in the bottom of four jars.

To each of the four 16oz. jars add the following: 1 tsp vegetable bouillon, ½ tsp soy sauce, ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, ⅛ tsp ginger powder, ½ tsp sesame seeds, and ½ tsp sriracha (you can add the sriracha here or use it to top your soup later).

Shredded Carrots added to the jars.

Shred one carrot and divide it between the jars (about ¼ cup shredded carrot per jar).

Mushrooms and green onion added to the jars.

Slice four mushrooms and two green onions. Divide the mushrooms and onions between the jars.

Partially cooked instant ramen in a pot.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add two bricks of instant ramen. Boil for about 2 minutes, or just until the noodles are tender, but slightly under cooked. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water.

Noodles added to the jars.

Add the rinsed and cooled noodles to the jars.

Fresh spinach added to the jars.

Add about ½ cup fresh spinach to each jar on top of the noodles.

Hot water being poured into the jar.

Close the jars with a tightly-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to five days. When you’re ready to eat the soup, remove the lid and add 1 to 1.5 cups of boiling water.

Mixed jar of soup held in a hand.

Screw the lid on the jar tightly then shake to mix the bouillon with the hot water. Let the soup sit for a few minutes for the flavors to blend and the vegetables to soften.

A fork lifting noodles out of a bowl with the jars in the background.

Give the soup one last mix with a spoon or fork, then enjoy the soup straight out of the jar or dump it into a bowl for serving.

Overhead view of a bowl of noodle soup with sesame seeds.

I topped my noodle soup with sriracha. …Because of course I did. ;) Enjoy!

The post Meal Prep Noodle Soup Jars appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sushi Bowls

Homemade Sushi Bowls are a fast, easy, and inexpensive alternative to eating out. Get your sushi fix without spending a fortune!

The post Sushi Bowls appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Confession: I’ve been spending way too much on sushi lately. But I don’t have the skill to make beautifully rolled sushi at home. So when that sushi craving hits, I just whip up an easy sushi bowl instead. It’s got all of the components of California roll piled into a bowl instead. They’re not fancy, for sure, but they’ll crush that sushi craving without leaving you $30 in the hole.

Close up overhead view of a sushi bowl with sriracha mayo.

What is in a Sushi Bowl?

I kept this sushi bowl as simple as possible to keep the price low and to make it easy to prepare, but they’re very customizable! My sushi bowls had seasoned sushi rice, a few crunchy vegetables (carrot and cucumber), nori (seaweed), and crab stick. You can jazz these sushi bowls up and make them fancier as your budget allows.

Here are some other fun ingredients to add to sushi bowls:

For Best Results, use short grain rice

Using short grain rice is really important for getting that classic sushi flavor and texture. Those little grains have a high starch content and a very different texture than long grain white rice. Packaged “sushi rice” carries a hefty price tag at regular grocery stores and can be quite expensive, so I suggest checking bulk bins, or better yet making a special trip to an Asian grocer.

Another option is to use Calrose rice, which is fairly common in U.S. grocery stores. Calrose is a medium grain starchy rice grown in California that still works really well for sushi bowls.

What is Imitation Crab?

Imitation crab is what you’ll find in California rolls and a lot of other Americanized sushi. It’s real white fish that has been shaped and flavored to resemble crab meat, but at a much lower price. You can usually find it in stick form, chunks, or flaked. It’s pretty tasty, IMHO, and very affordable!

Close up side view of a sushi bowl.

Seaweed options

Adding a bit of nori (dried seaweed) really goes a long way toward making this bowl taste like real sushi. Luckily, “nori snacks” have become really popular the last few years. They are just smaller single-serving-sized packages of nori rather than the larger packs you’d typically use to roll a lot of sushi. I sliced up a few small squares of nori snack for each bowl and, boom! Done.

How to Store Sushi Bowls

These sushi bowls work really well for meal prep and stay good in the refrigerator for about four days. You definitely want to cool the rice as quickly as possible after cooking and before packing your sushi bowls so that the warm rice doesn’t wilt the vegetables. So after seasoning the rice, spread it out on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish then refrigerate until cooled before packing the sushi bowls into meal prep containers.

Overhead view of a sushi bowl being eaten with chopsticks.
Completed sushi bowl from above on a dark background.
Print

Sushi Bowls

Sushi Bowls are a fast, easy, and inexpensive alternative to your favorite sushi bar. Get your sushi fix without spending a fortune. 
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Asian
Total Cost $8.82 recipe / $2.21 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 642kcal

Ingredients

SUSHI RICE

  • 2 cups short grain white rice $1.36
  • 2 cups water $0.00
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar $0.27
  • 2 Tbsp sugar $0.02
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05

TOPPINGS

  • 8 oz imitation crab $2.99
  • 1 carrot $0.19
  • 1 cucumber $0.59
  • 1 avocado $1.50
  • 1 pack nori snack $1.15
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds $0.18

SRIRACHA MAYO (optional)

  • 4 Tbsp mayonnaise $0.30
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha $0.22

Instructions

  • Place the uncooked short grain rice in a medium sauce pot. Rinse the rice well and drain off as much water as possible.
  • Add 2 cups of fresh water, place a lid on the pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice rest, undisturbed and with the lid in place, for 10 additional minutes.
  • To prepare the sushi rice dressing, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. If needed, microwave for 15-30 seconds to help the sugar dissolve.
  • While the rice is cooking, prepare the toppings. Shred or chop the imitation crab, shred or julienne the carrot, slice the avocado, slice the cucumber, and break the nori snacks into smaller pieces. Stir together the mayonnaise and sriracha in a small bowl.
  • When the rice is finished cooking, sprinkle about 1/4 of the vinegar dressing over the rice, then gently fold or stir the rice to combine. Repeat the process until all of the vinegar dressing has been incorporated into the rice.
  • To build your sushi bowls, place about 1 cup of the seasoned sushi rice in a bowl, then top with crab stick, carrot, cucumber, avocado, a few pieces of nori, a pinch of sesame seeds, and a drizzle of the sriracha mayo.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1Bowl | Calories: 642kcal | Carbohydrates: 103g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 20g | Sodium: 1185mg | Fiber: 8g

How to Make Sushi Bowls – Step by Step Photos

Rice being poured into a sauce pot.

Place 2 cups of the uncooked rice in a medium sauce pot. Rinse the rice well and drain off as much of the excess water as possible. Add 2 cups fresh water, place a lid on the pot, then bring the water up to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes (make sure it’s simmering the whole time). After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice rest, lid in place, for an additional five minutes. 

Rice vinegar, sugar, and salt being stirred in a small bowl, the bottle of vinegar on the side.

While the rice is cooking, mix up the rice seasoning. This seasoning gives the rice its characteristic sushi flavor and glossy appearance. Combine 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp white sugar, and 1 tsp salt. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. If needed, microwave the mixture for 15-30 seconds to help dissolve the sugar.

Seasoning being drizzled over the rice in the pot.

Sprinkle about 1/4 of the vinegar seasoning over the rice. Gently fold or stir the rice to distribute the dressing. Repeat this process until all of the dressing has been incorporated and the rice appears slightly glossy. Make sure not gently fold, rather than stir, the rice to prevent it from becoming mushy.

Prepped sushi bowl toppings.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the rest of the sushi bowl toppings. Shred one carrot (use a large-holed cheese grater), chop one cucumber, slice one avocado and chop or break up 8oz. of imitation crab into small pieces.

Imitation crab and nori snacks.

Imitation crab is basically just white fish that has been shaped and flavored to resemble crab. You can usually find this in the seafood department or frozen seafood department of the grocery store. Nori snacks can usually be found in the International aisle of larger grocery stores. They’re usually around $2 per pack and contain several squares each!

Sriracha mayo being stirred in a small bowl.

Prepare a little sriracha mayo to go on the sushi bowls… Simply stir together 4 Tbsp mayo and 2 Tbsp sriracha. NOM.

Sriracha mayo being drizzled over the sushi bowl.

Finally build your sushi bowls by adding about 1 cup of the seasoned sushi rice, then topping with some of imitation crab, sliced avocado, shredded carrot, sliced cucumbers, a few pieces of nori, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and a delicious drizzle of sriracha mayo.

Completed sushi bowl from above on a dark background.

Seriously, SO GOOD.

Close up of a bite of sushi bowl being held by chopsticks.

Bonus: sushi bowls are a little harder to pick up with chopsticks than rolled sushi, so you can’t inhale them quite as quickly. Take time and savor that flavor. ;)

The post Sushi Bowls appeared first on Budget Bytes.