'Component cooking' concept could pare down your time in the kitchen

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
"Component cooking" concept could limit your time in the kitchen
"Component cooking" concept could limit your time in the kitchen

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Cooking can require a lot of time and an overwhelming amount of ingredients, but cooking instructor Pamela Salzman says "component cooking" can help pare down your time in the kitchen.

The idea is to buy, prep and then cook your base ingredients. That way, you're only cooking once, but you'll be able to make multiple meals.

"Fall is the best time of year. It's really the most bountiful time because you have that end of summer tomatoes and melons and zucchini and always beautiful squashes. You're also starting to get things like winter squash and persimmons and apples," said Salzman.

In this lesson, Salzman roasted squash, zucchini and cauliflower to use for tacos, soup and a grain bowl.

"This is something I would just toss with good quality olive oil and then roast for about 45 minutes to a half-hour," said Salzman.

She stresses that the quality of your olive oil is important. She uses California Olive Ranch olive oil in her daily cooking.

"Something that has a dark glass bottle so the dark glass prevents light from oxidizing or turning your olive oil. It's also important to look for the harvest date on your olive oil -- that's the sign of a good quality olive oil," Salzman said.

Once roasted, she puts the produce in refrigerated containers to use for the week.

"And it's just so easy then you can go about your day without worrying about what you're going to have for dinner, because it's already practically done," said Salzman.

Salzman's recipe for the grain bowl is below. You can find more recipes here.

Grain Bowl

To make a simple grain bowl, you first start with the base, which can be any cooked grain or legume that you would like. Next, top with any roasted veggies (I typically roast vegetables on a sheet pan in one layer at 400 degrees with olive oil until tender and caramelized) or sautéed or steamed, if you prefer. Add protein if you desire. Finally, top off the bowl with your favorite sauce.

For the base: (use about 1 cup grains or legumes per bowl)

3 cups cooked grains/legumes: brown rice, millet, quinoa, farro, lentils, barley, wheat berries.

For the veggies: (use about 1 cups veggies per bowl)

8-10 cups mixed cooked vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, butternut squash, carrots, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, beets, kale, broccolini, parsnips

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Or raw vegetables such as thinly sliced or julienned radishes, tomatoes, microgreens, avocado, and carrots

For the chicken: see below

For the sauce: (use about 2 Tablespoons sauce per bowl)

Green sauce recipe follows

Cook grain/legume for base according to package directions. Set aside.

To roast veggies, line 2 baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 and toss veggies with olive oil. Roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet until desired doneness. Time will depend on size and type of vegetables. While the veggies are roasting, make your desired sauce. Top your base with the roasted veggies and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.

Green Sauce


1-2 jalapeños, with seeds and ribs removed (I use 1 with no seeds)

1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems

2 Tablespoons grated pecorino or parmesan cheese (omit for dairy-free)

1 medium garlic clove

1 Tablespoon unrefined, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, about lime

cup soy-free Veganaise or your favorite mayonnaise

teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tacos


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

teaspoon ground chipotle powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

black pepper to taste

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

cup prepared tomato salsa (I used pico de gallo.) + more for serving

suggested accompaniments: corn tortillas, guacamole, salsa, shredded lettuce, cilantro-lime slaw

Place the chicken in slow cooker and sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, salt and pepper. Add garlic and salsa and rub around to combine. Cover; cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-7 hours.

Either shred the chicken with 2 forks right in the slow cooker or transfer to a plate to shred. Moisten chicken with cooking juices and serve with desired tortillas/taco shells and toppings. Grain bowl idea: shredded chicken over rice with lettuce, avocado and cilantro.

Oven method: preheat oven to 350 degrees. In step 1, place all ingredients (except accompaniments) in a 5-quart Dutch oven or ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add 2 cups water or chicken stock. Cover and bake until chicken is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Proceed with step 2.

Instant Pot Method

Place the chicken in the Instant Pot and sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, salt and pepper. Add garlic and salsa and rub around to combine. Secure lid, set vent to sealed/sealing, and set to manual high pressure for 9 minutes. After the machine finishes cooking the chicken and converts to the warm setting, do a quick release with the vent. Proceed with step 2.