Fall Kale Salad

It’s finally started to cool down a bit here and we’re super excited to be receiving some beautiful fall fruits and vegetables in our Hungry Harvest box. The kids have been going nuts over all of the grapes, and we’ve been going wild about all of the kale, sweet potatoes, and squash. Last Saturday night for dinner we made a giant fall salad that was filling, delicious, and felt like fall in a bowl. The dressing recipe makes a lot, so save it to use on grain bowls or to top veggie burgers later in the week like we did!

Our kids aren’t generally too into salad, but we gave them some of the roasted vegetable cubes and apples along with sandwiches so they were getting some of our food. Watson takes tiny, tiny bites in order to qualify to get a treat later, if we’re feeling generous. Sometimes Vivian just eats all of the sweet potatoes she can find. Freddy is our wild card. He often eats whatever we put in front of his face, but sometimes he turns up his nose at everything. I still can’t quite get a read on that guy.

Watson and a big fall salad

Ingredients:

Dressing:

1 cup pecans
Juice and zest of two oranges
1/4 cup tamari
2 cloves garlic
Juice of one lemon
1 Tbsp gochujang

Salad:

1 bunch kale, shredded
2 sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup chickpeas, roasted with garlic powder and salt
2 carrots, cut into small cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 apples, cut into cubes or matchsticks
1/2 cup kumquats, sliced and seeds removed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Directions:

Toss the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and carrots in the oil and roast at 450 for about 30 minutes, or until the cubes are brown in places.

Meanwhile, blend together dressing ingredients until smooth.

Toss kale, roasted vegetables, fruits and about 1/4 c of the dressing, or however much makes you happy. Top with pumpkin seeds and devour.

Healthy Meal Prep – Mix & Match Lunch Salads

Here at Our Chaotic Kitchen, we’re all about healthy meal prep┬áideas. 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!

Middle Eastern Mason Jar Salad

The combination of parenting and jobs recently prompted us to get our heads into the extreme food prep game. Mornings run so much more smoothly when we’ve just got to grab lunch and go, especially with all of the time necessary to feed and clothe three often grumpy kids. We’ve gotten pretty good at having healthy vegan lunches and dinners for the week mostly prepped over the weekend.

One of our mainstays is the mason jar salad. It’s healthy and vegan and delicious and, when layered correctly, super easy and fresh. This particular one is inspired by Middle Eastern flavors, but you can easily improvise and put your own spin on one of these bad boys.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup tahini
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 Tsp cumin
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp salt
3-4 Tbsp water, more if needed

1 can chickpeas
1 Tsp Ras-al-Hanout*
1 large cucumber, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 bunch of greens

*If you don’t have Ras-al-Hanout, substitute 1/4 Tsp each of paprika, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon

Directions:

First, the dressing. If you’ve never made lemon tahini dressing before, get ready, because it’s magical. Put the tahini into a medium bowl, add the lemon juice, and start stirring. It’s going to get weird and clumpy, but don’t worry. Keep stirring. At some point soon, all of a sudden, it will get smooth and thick and several shades lighter than it started. Magic! At that point, mix in the cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Add a little bit of water at a time and keep mixing until you reach your desired consistency. We like it thin, but not too thin.

In another bowl, toss the chickpeas with the Ras-al-Hanout until they’re well mixed and set aside.

Take 4 clean empty pint jars and first divide the lemon tahini dressing among them. Next, divide the diced cucumbers and tomatoes, followed by the chickpeas, and finally the greens. The order is very important, so that the dressing doesn’t cause the greens to get soggy.

When you want to eat, just upend the whole thing into a bowl, maybe using a spoon to get all the remnants of dressing out on top of your salad, and eat. These generally keep in the fridge for a week or so.