Kitchn Love Letters

The $2 Aldi Pantry Staple That Helps Me Get Dinner on the Table in Just 90 Seconds

published Jul 8, 2024
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Wilmington, DE/USA - April 6, 2019: Aldi grocery store.
Credit: Abigail McCann/Shutterstock

Summer is finally in full swing, with sweltering days, breezy nights, and time away to rest. Yet, dinner didn’t seem to get the memo about taking a night off. The meal keeps coming around every evening and never clocks out. Luckily, this Aldi shortcut helps me get dinner on the table in minutes when I’m mentally miles away. 

Aldi is the discount retailer with German roots known for its low prices, high-quality private-label groceries, and fun finds hiding in the Aisle of Shame. I’ve been shopping at Aldi for years, and it’s become my go-to place to pick up groceries and stay on budget. If you spot me at Aldi (say hi! I’d love to hear about your favorite Aldi finds), you’ll see my cart filled with groceries that help me get dinner on the table fast.  

Several loaves of my favorite Italian bread and bags of frozen mixed vegetables and fan-favorite refrigerated pastas are some of my go-to regulars. I also stock up on pouches of Simply Nature 90-Second Quinoa & Brown Rice when I need a quick dinner solution. Here’s why you should too. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

What’s So Great About Simply Nature 90-Second Quinoa & Brown Rice?

There was a time when I batch-cooked grains like quinoa and brown rice at the beginning of the week to use for the next several days. That task tumbled way down my priority list, and I was overjoyed to find this 90-second solution. The grains are packaged in a microwaveable pouch that are shelf-stable and take up minimal space in my pantry. 

The quinoa and brown rice are garlicky, well-seasoned, and cook perfectly in less than two minutes. Each package costs just $2.29 and contains two cups of grains, which is enough to serve as a side for my family of four.

Credit: Patty Catalano

What’s the Best Way to Use Simply Nature 90-Second Quinoa & Brown Rice?

With its garlicky flavor, these grains from Simply Nature are ready-to-eat right out of the package, or as a starting point for seasoning with other spices that play well with garlic, like cumin and chili powder or powdered ginger and fresh cilantro. You can also use the grains as a base for salads like this Mediterranean quinoa salad that’s packed with briny olives, roasted red peppers, creamy cheese, and crunchy cucumber. If your garden (or Aldi produce section) is bursting with summer produce like tomatoes and corn, try this colorful summer vegetable grain salad.

Easy burritos are always on the dinner queue, and I’ve started stuffing my tortillas with chicken, cheese, and these grains. Bowl meals are another back-pocket dinner where I mix-and-match grains, sauce, protein, and crunchy veggies using recipes like this spicy Thai chicken and brown rice bowl and this tuna poke bowl as inspiration. 

Buy it in stores: Simply Nature 90-Second Quinoa & Brown Rice, $2.29 for 8.8 ounces