Taste

Your Weeknight Meal Planner: Almost Too Pretty To Eat

Get inspired for the week ahead with our top picks from this week’s menu.

You know what they say, April showers bring May flowers. This week, we’re crafting our dinners around bright, colorful dishes that are almost too pretty to eat…almost. Just because Cinco de Mayo has come and gone, doesn’t mean the celebration has to—start the week with one of our favorite taco recipes, accented with avocado and tangy red onions. On Tuesday, opt for a spin on the taco theme with pork lettuce wraps topped off with a creamy ginger sauce. Then, spice things up mid-week with a take on Thai curry. Thursday calls for a chef’d up version of steak and potatoes. Finally, round out the week with a hearty salad that boasts a dollop homemade pink hummus.

Now, on to the recipes!

Monday: Turkey and Poblano Tacos

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
¼ ounce cilantro
3 limes, divided
2 red onions, divided
8 ounces poblano chile
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1½ pounds ground turkey
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
6 tablespoons sour cream
2½ teaspoons honey
12 flour tortillas
1 avocado
2 ounces queso fresco
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF, if using. If you prefer not to break out another pan, preheat oven to 425ºF to toast the tortillas all at once in Step 5. Rinse all produce. Pick cilantro leaves, discarding stems. Halve limes. Peel onions, halve, and thinly slice. Halve poblanos lengthwise; using a knife tip, discard seeds and stems, then cut into ¼-inch pieces (be sure to wash your knife, board, and hands after cutting chiles).

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add spice mix, poblanos, and half of onion. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent and spices are toasted, about 3 minutes.

3. Add turkey to pan with aromatics, still over medium-high heat. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and cook, breaking up, until meat is browned, 3–5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and their juices and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced by half, 8–10 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

4. While filling cooks, in a small bowl, stir together sour cream, juice of 1½ limes, and ½ teaspoon salt. In a medium bowl, stir together honey, juice of remaining limes, remaining onion, and ⅛ teaspoon salt to combine. Set onion aside to marinate until ready to serve.

5. If warming the tortillas in the oven, stack tortillas, wrap in foil, and place in oven to warm through, 5–10 minutes. Otherwise, heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Carefully hover your hand a few inches away from the pan—when you can easily feel heat, add tortillas in a single layer, working in batches as needed. Toast until warmed through, about 30 seconds per side. Stack tortillas and wrap in foil to keep warm until ready to serve.

6. Halve avocado and discard pit; carefully scoop out flesh, discarding skin, then thinly slice. Divide tortillas among serving plates and layer with turkey filling, lime crema, marinated onion, avocado, and queso fresco—or set out all the toppings and let everyone build their own tacos. Garnish with cilantro and dig in!

Cooking for a smaller crowd? Check out the 2-serving version of this recipe.

Tuesday: Chinese Pork Lettuce Wraps

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 cup jasmine rice
2 yellow bell peppers
2 heads Boston lettuce
4 scallions
¼ cup pickled ginger
1¼ pounds ground pork
⅓ cup sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 ounces mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. In a small pot, combine rice, 1½ cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once, reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and simmer until water is fully absorbed, 10–12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then cover again to keep warm until ready to serve.

2. While rice cooks, rinse all produce. Halve bell peppers lengthwise, discarding seeds and stems; cut lengthwise into ¼-inch strips. Pat lettuce dry with paper towel and separate large leaves for wraps. You’ll need at least 3 lettuce leaves per person, but if you have extra, feel free to double up the wraps. Trim and discard scallion roots; thinly slice crosswise on a diagonal, keeping whites and light greens separate from dark greens. Finely chop pickled ginger and place in a medium bowl.

3. Heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add pork and cook, breaking up, until cooked through and no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add sherry vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar, and cook until sauce is slightly thickened and flavors have melded, 1–2 minutes more. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Reserve pan, off heat, for Step 5.

4. While pork cooks, to bowl with pickled ginger, add mayonnaise, half of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon water, a pinch of salt, and black pepper as desired. Stir to combine, then set aside until ready to serve.

5. Return pan from pork to medium-high heat with remaining sesame oil. When oil is shimmering, add slaw mix, bell peppers, scallion whites and light greens, ¾ teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, 5–6 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

6. Divide lettuce wraps among serving plates. Fill wraps with rice, then pork, then stir-fried vegetables. Spoon over creamy ginger sauce, garnish with scallion dark greens, and dig in!

Wednesday: Green Curry Scallops

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 Thai lime leaves
1 cup sticky rice
¼ ounce cilantro
¼ ounce ginger
8 mini sweet peppers
2 limes
1 Thai chile
8 ounces snow peas
2 tablespoons green curry paste
2 5.46-ounce cans coconut milk
1¼ pounds bay scallops
canola oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. Rinse all produce. Using your hand, crumple Thai lime leaves; place in a small pot with rice, 1½ cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once, reduce heat to low, then cover pot and cook until water is fully absorbed, 12 minutes. Remove pot from heat; fluff rice with a fork, then cover again to keep warm.

2. While rice cooks, pick cilantro leaves and finely chop stems, keeping separate. Trim and discard skin of ginger and mince. Trim and discard stem ends from mini sweet peppers and discard seeds; thinly slice crosswise into rings. Halve limes and set 1 lime aside for curry; cut remaining lime into wedges for serving. Halve Thai chile lengthwise; using a knife tip, discard seeds and stem, then thinly slice. Always wash your knife, board, and hands after cutting spicy chiles.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add snow peas and sweet peppers and sauté, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 minutes. Add green curry paste, ginger, and Thai chile (skip or use half for less heat) and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes more.

4. Open coconut milk—coconut milk solids naturally separate from the liquids during transit, but come together during cooking. Vigorously shake the cans before opening, or pierce the solids with a spoon before pouring into the pan to avoid a messy splatter—and add to pan with vegetables, along with ½ cup water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened slightly, 3–4 minutes. Meanwhile, pat scallops very dry with paper towel; season with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Once thickened, remove pan from heat and stir in juice of 1 lime and ¾ teaspoon salt.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add scallops and sear, without stirring, 2 minutes (to keep them from sticking to the pan). Then, stir scallops and continue cooking until opaque and cooked through, 1 minute more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer scallops to pan with green curry, still off heat, and toss to coat. Remove and discard Thai lime leaves from pot with rice.

6. Transfer Thai lime rice to a clean, dry surface; sprinkle over cilantro stems. Using a spoon, spread rice into an even layer, then flatten and knead, folding it over itself repeatedly, until grains become sticky. Roll into 4 balls and transfer to serving bowls. Top with green curry scallops and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over. Dig in!

Thursday: Seared Steak

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 pound green beans
1½ pounds red-skinned potatoes
⅛ ounce parsley 3 shallots
2 pints cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
4 steaks
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt

Instructions:
1. Trim and discard ends of green beans (line up the ends to trim them all at once—or enlist a kitchen helper to snap off the ends of the beans with their hands). Cut potatoes into 1- inch cubes, place in a large pot, and set aside. Roughly chop parsley leaves, discarding stems. Peel shallots and mince.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add shallots and cook until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until soft and beginning to burst, 8–10 minutes. Using a spoon, mash tomatoes to release their juices. Remove pan from heat. Stir in sherry vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper. Set aside until Step 6.

3. Pat steaks dry with paper towel and season all over with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add steaks and sear, working in batches and adding oil as needed, until browned and medium rare, 4–5 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a plate and set aside to rest.

4. While steaks sear, cover potatoes in pot with cold water by 1 inch and season generously with kosher salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Then, add green beans to pot with potatoes. Continue boiling until beans are bright green and potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife tip, about 2 minutes more. Drain and return to pot, off heat.

5. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil pot with vegetables, still off heat, and gently stir to coat. Add Parmesan and stir to combine. Taste and add kosher salt and pepper as desired.

6. Cut steaks against the grain into ¼-inch slices and divide among serving plates. Cutting meat against the grain ensures tenderness. Find the direction of the grain (muscle fibers) and slice across it, rather than parallel. Return pan with tomato vinaigrette to medium heat to warm through, about 1 minute. Stir in parsley, then spoon over steaks. Serve with potatoes and green beans. Garnish with Maldon salt—when using Maldon salt, whose flakes are larger than kosher salt, a little goes a long way. Only use as much as desired—and dig in!

Steak is perfect for date night—try this recipe for two!

Friday: Za’atar Carrot, Kale and Bulgur Salad

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 15-ounce cans white beans, divided
12 ounces red beets
1 English cucumber
2 lemons, divided
2 shallots
¾ cup shredded carrots
2 teaspoons za’atar spice mix
1 cup bulgur wheat
10 ounces curly kale
3 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Drain and rinse white beans and pat dry with paper towel. Rinse all produce. Peel beets and cut into ½-inch dice. Hold each beet in 1 hand with a paper towel (to keep from staining) and peel with the other. No peeler? Trim ends of beets and stand on your cutting board. Then, cut downward, following the curve of the beet. Halve cucumber lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch halfmoons. If you have a zester and want to infuse your hummus with even more lemon flavor, zest up to ½ lemon, then halve lemons. Peel shallots, halve, and thinly slice.

2. Place shallots in a large bowl (big enough for the salad) with juice of ½ lemon and set aside to marinate until Step 5. On 1 half of a baking sheet, toss carrots and half of white beanswith za’atar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper (a helper can do this part). On other half of sheet, toss beets with 1½ tablespoons olive oil. Arrange in a single layer and roast until vegetables are tender and white beans are crispy, 13–15 minutes.

3. While vegetables and white beans roast, season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in bulgur and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a fine-mesh sieve (the tiny grains will slip through most colanders), drain bulgur and return to pot, off heat. Meanwhile, pat kale dry with paper towel, stack leaves, and thinly slice, discarding long stems.

4. Once roasted, reserve ⅓ cup beets and set aside for Step 6. In a blender or food processor, add remaining roasted beets and pulse until almost smooth. o blender? Mince roasted beets (not reserved ¼ cup), garlic, and remaining white beans, combine in a bowl with remaining hummus ingredients, and mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Add tahini, whole garlic cloves, lemon zest (if using), remaining white beans, juice of ½ lemon, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Blend until smooth. Use remaining lemon to brighten a glass of water.

5. To bowl with marinated shallots, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired and stir to combine. Add kale to bowl with dressing and, using your hands, massage until beginning to soften and darken, 30–45 seconds—this is a great task for a helper. Add cucumber and bulgur and toss to combine.

6. Divide kale and bulgur salad among shallow serving bowls. Top with roasted carrots and white beans and reserved roasted beets. Dollop over beet and white bean hummus or serve alongside (to get the look above, drag the back of a spoon through the hummus in each bowl). Dig in!

Check out the 2-serving version of this recipe to spice up your salad desk salad.

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