It seems to me that there are infinite “easy” cooking recipes out there that range from actually easy, to probably easy for someone who grew up in the kitchen, to maybe easy for a trained chef who has a fully stocked kitchen and a sous chef.
The goal with this series (starting with sandwiches and wraps) is to be a list of ideas that require (as the title says) zero cooking. Because maybe you like cooking, but are in a crazy busy season of life and don’t have time. Maybe you live in a place with only a mini fridge and no utensils to prep with. Or maybe you just don’t like cooking and have better things to do than spend time chopping, slicing, braising, sauteing, and/or cleaning up. Granted, some of these things will take a little prep, but – stay with me – it’s mostly opening packages and dumping things together or maybe spreading something with a knife. I’ve even made this list so you don’t even need to heat anything up.
The components for all of these meals are a bread or grain wrap + filling (usually protein) + fruit or vegetable
This model makes sure the meal includes at least 3 food groups on USDA’s MyPlate. If there is already a fruit or vegetable in the filling, adding another fruit or veggie on the side, makes it even closer to the goal of 1/2 the plate being fruit and/or vegetables.
Bread or Wrap:
- Sliced whole grain bread
- Hoagie roll
- Sliced sourdough
- Whole grain tortilla
- Whole grain pita
- Gluten-free sandwich wrap
- Whole grain waffles
These are just some examples, as there are so many bread options. Choosing a whole grain option will make for a higher-fiber and more filling meal.
Fruit or Vegetable:
- You can use a whole fruit or vegetable that’s ready to eat, like an apple or carrot (just rinse these) or banana or mandarin orange.
- You can also use packaged produce that is already prepared, like bagged spinach, baby carrots, or a jar of pickles.
- Most grocery stores also sell pre-washed and cut fruits and veggies in the produce section.
- A grocery store with a pay-by-weight salad bar can also be a resource for purchasing already washed and prepared veggies in smaller amounts (think shredded cabbage, pickled beets, or sliced cucumbers).
- Peanut/almond/cashew/sun butter
- Nut butter and jelly
- Nut butter and honey
- Nut butter and sliced fruit
- Nut butter and lettuce/spinach + optional mayo (I know it sounds weird, but some people like it)
- Turkey (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, Sriracha, horseradish or even guacamole)
- Turkey and veggie (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, Sriracha, horseradish, or guacamole)
- Turkey and cheese (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, Sriracha, horseradish, or guacamole)
- Turkey and cheese and veggie (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, horseradish, Sriracha, or guacamole)
- Roast beef (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, horseradish, guacamole, or Sriracha)
- Roast beef and veggie (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, horseradish, guacamole, or Sriracha)
- Roast beef and cheese (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, horseradish, guacamole, or Sriracha)
- Ham (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, horseradish, or guacamole – not sure if guac would go well with ham but fine if you want to try it)
- Ham and cheese (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, horseradish, Sriracha, hot sauce, or guacamole)
- Baloney (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, horseradish, Sriracha, hot sauce, or guacamole)
- Cheese (any cheese besides cream cheese can work as a protein food)
- Cheese and veggie (add ketchup, mustard, mayo, horseradish, Sriracha, or guacamole)
- Salami/pastrami/hot dog (salami and other sausages are higher in fat and sodium, so better to choose this less often, however – still provides protein)
- Tuna salad (many stores sell tuna salad already mixed OR make your own by mixing canned tuna with mayo or guac or yogurt and some salt or pepper)
- Chicken salad (see above – you can add flavor to either of these with garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, or a spice mix packet)
- Hummus and veggies – particularly ones with crunch – snap peas, lettuce, shredded carrots, small tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, sliced cabbage
- Egg salad (buy egg salad already made or mash up some hard-boiled eggs with mustard, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, paprika or whatever other spices you like in your hard-boiled eggs)
- Eggless salad (same as egg salad, but mash up tofu instead)
- Tofu and veggies (definitely want to add some flavor to this using soy sauce, hot sauce, Sriracha, etc. as tofu is pretty bland)*
- Pre-cooked chicken, lettuce, and Caesar dressing*
- Beans (baked beans or black beans, pinto beans or garbanzo beans, chili beans or white beans – add hot sauce, garlic powder, chili powder, or taco seasoning to plain beans)*
- Bean and cheese *
- Bean and salsa/guac/hot sauce*
- Bean and cheese and salsa/guac/hot sauce*
- Yogurt and fruit*
- Yogurt and fruit and nuts*
*These would probably work best as a wrap, but you could certainly make them into a messy sandwich
Some of these ideas might seem obvious, but just because they are super easy and common doesn’t mean they aren’t a good meal. Feel free to share your sandwich/wrap ideas in the comments.
And of course, this are general ideas and guidelines. They are not intended to treat any specific health condition. Speak with your doctor or dietitian about your specific dietary needs.