Healthy Meal Prep – Mix & Match Lunch Salads

Here at Our Chaotic Kitchen, we’re all about healthy meal prep ideas. When we’re doing our weekly meal prep, we prioritize vegan recipes, since we’re all about those vegetables. We also like to keep things gluten-free if possible. Nobody in our family has gluten sensitivity or intolerance, but we want to be inclusive to those who do. Finally, we want to do what we can to make our weekly meal prep as easy as possible.

Healthy Meal Prep: The Foundation of a Healthy Week

This week we got a surplus of greens from Hungry Harvest*, so we knew we’d have to make ourselves some salads. We wanted to make sure we stayed within our healthy meal prep guidelines, but we also wanted to find a way to not eat the same exact thing every day. This mix-and-match solution was easy and fun!

*The link above is a referral link. If you click it and order, you and we each get $5 off our next order, so everybody wins!

The base of each salad is the same: diced cucumber, diced cubanelle pepper, shredded hearts of romaine, and sliced grape tomatoes. Cucumbers and peppers sit at the bottom of each quart jar, so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy. The tomatoes get their own quarter pint jars. Each salad then gets a topping and dressing of its very own! We decided this week to make two different types of salads.

A good supply of mason jars is the cornerstone of healthy meal prep

Falafel and Beet Hummus Salad

We had some leftover beet hummus in the fridge, so we used the rest of it as a dressing. We’ve written before about our love of easy falafel patties, and they seemed like just the right thing to spruce up this salad. The result is a beautiful, vibrant salad full of Middle Eastern flavor. Here’s a quick recipe for easy falafel patties using chickpea flour.

Ingredients:

1 cup chickpea flour
3/4 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 Tsp baking soda
I Tbsp ras al hanout
1 Tsp cumin
1/2 Tsp salt

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together into a thick batter. Heat some olive oil on medium high heat. Once hot, place heaping tablespoon-sized dollops of batter into the oil. Fry evenly on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Taquito Filling and Black Bean Dressing Salad

We made taquitos this weekend for some tasty lunches this week (recipe to follow!), and we had some leftover filling. The filling was made from cauliflower rice, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and taco spices. It made an ideal topping for a Mexican-inspired salad! We used the black bean dip that we made to go with the taquitos as a base for the dressing.

Healthy Meal Prep Can Be Easy Meal Prep

The important thing here is that we didn’t have to go far out of our way to make delicious, healthy salads for the week. We just made smart use of foods we already had around. Maybe you don’t like hummus or black bean dip or falafel. That’s fine! Sometimes keeping things healthy is all about keeping them easy, so that we have less excuse to slip up. So go ahead and use whatever leftovers you’ve got in your fridge to make a lunch salad more fun!

Vegan Dessert – Coconut Walnut Beet Cake

Hungry Harvest* gave us some beets this week, and we’re never sure what to do with them. They taste too earthy, and in a way that’s hard to mask. We were also aching for a new vegan dessert, and coming up blank on how to use those beets, so we arrived at two (count ’em, two!) separate beet-based dessert recipes. This is the first one, and man, it’s a beauty.

*The link above is a referral, and if you click it and order, you and we will both receive $5 off of our next Hungry Harvest order!

We made the crumb topping from coconut sugar, coconuts, and walnuts, and it’s sweet and delicious. The cake itself is sweet and subtle and gorgeous to look at. I honestly just want to bring this cake to my room and look at it for a couple of hours because of how pretty it is. We’ve made a lot of vegan dessert by now, and this is definitely one of the best.

One thing we’ve noticed with a lot of gluten free recipes is that breads, cakes, etc., tend to be far more crumbly than their gluten-laden counterparts. We had come to accept this as a sad but inevitable truth of the gluten-free vegan dessert game. Friends, I have come to tell you that this beet cake is proof that what I had taken as an iron law of gluten-free vegan dessert is simply not so. The cake was moist, the crumbs had just the right consistency, and above all else, everything was absolutely delicious.

A tiny, gorgeous vegan dessert cake made from beets

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 medium sized beet
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup brown rice flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp salt
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
3 Tbsp water
1/4 cup maple syrup

Topping:

1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup coconut

Directions:

Wrap the beet in foil, throw it in the oven at 400° F, and literally forget it’s in there until an hour or two later when your husband asks what that thing in the oven is. Once cool, peel the beet and pop it in the food processor with the coconut oil and walnuts, process until smooth. Mix the flaxseed meal and water to form “egg”. Stir the rest of the ingredients for the cake and then dump in the beet purée and flax. Pop into a small cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes at 400° F. Stir topping ingredients together and after that 30 minutes turn on the broiler, sprinkle on the topping and go to town until it’s browned like a good crumb topping should be. Eat warm from the oven straight out of the pan with a fork. No judgement and no regrets.