The other night I grabbed a pre-made rice salad from Trader Joe’s for an already done dinner. It was pesto brown rice salad with tomato and tofu bits, and it was delicious. The container had three servings, and the ingredient list was short and simple (brown rice, pesto, tomato, tofu) but the flavor combined was bursting-in-my-mouth-good. It is a perfect 1-dish meal, with whole grains, protein, and a veg. While I enjoyed a night of having dinner already made, I realized I could have made this salad so simply at home, and at a much lower price.
So off I went, back to Trader Joe’s, but this time to pick up the individual ingredients. Trader Joe’s has a jarred pesto I purchased and the nutrition label was a bit shocking: 3 servings per container; 250 calories per serving; 26g of fat (granted only 4g of those were saturated). I decided I’d make this meal light on the pesto, and would add more tomatoes to boost the flavor.
I cooked a very large batch (about 6 cups) of brown rice last night so it was cold today. I mixed in 2/3 of the pesto, which means that for each cup of brown rice, there was only about 85 calories of pesto – much better than the original serving’s 250 calories! I diced about 12 baby roma vine ripe tomatoes and a block of firm tofu and added that to the rice mix and presto pesto! I now have that same pesto salad I enjoyed from Trader Joe’s. There are also enough leftovers to last the next few days, so it’ll feel like I bought the pre-made salad all over again!
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