There are few constants in this world, but one I have come to expect in the 9 years I’ve lived in Oregon is beautiful, warm, summer-like weather the first weekend of May. I know this because I typically have a Cinco de Mayo party this weekend, and every year it’s been so warm that we’ve had to race the ice from melting in our margaritas. I din’t have the party this year. Mostly because I didn’t think the weather would deliver. Instead, the hubs and I went to the Portland Kentucky Derby, and today I write this post from my deck under the hot sun. The weekend did not disappoint.
Sunny days like today don’t go to waste in Oregon. Everyone is out and about cheerfully going about their day and taking in the Vitamin D. For instance, this morning instead of driving the mile to the gym we ran there and back. Afterwards we planted flowers and spent the afternoon in the yard with the dogs. Despite the urge to lay in the sun with a glass of Rosé and soak up every last ray of sun before the rain returns, I did get to a little meal prep and this week’s blog post. To complete the Meatless Monday Series, I decided to focus on lunch and bring you easy lunches to prep on Sunday and enjoy all week long.
If I’m not eating leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, I’m eating a Salad for lunch. Especially when traveling. As much as I eat out when I’m traveling, a good salad at lunch helps me feel balanced and healthy. At home, most of our dinners are accompanied by a salad also. It’s the simplest, and freshest, way to get your daily allotment of veggies.
Here are a few salad essentials to prep on Sunday for a healthy (meatless) lunch on Monday. And hey, if you want to throw some animal protein on you salads Tuesday-Friday I won’t be mad at ya.
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 package firm tofu
- Spinach (buy enough to make 3-4 salads)
- Red Onion
- Olive Oil
- Walnuts or nut of your choice
- Other options: bell peppers, tomatoes, apple, etc.
NOTE: If you are preparing Tofu, do this before anything else:
- Remove tofu from package; drain water.
- Turn tofu on its side and cut into (3) 1″ thick slices.
- Lay tofu between two absorbent layers of paper towel, and place something heavy on top to help drain the water from tofu. I use a very think, heavy, cutting board.
- Let sit for 20-30 minutes. The drier the tofu the better the results.
- Cook 1 cup of quinoa per directions.
Quinoa is a fantastic meal prep food. It’s full of nutrients, keeps well in the fridge and can be used for breakfast under couple fried eggs, thrown on a salad for lunch, or transformed into a healthier fried rice for dinner.
Quinoa is a staple in most vegetarian diets because it’s a good source of protein and a healthy carb.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel and cut into 1″ cubes.
- Place in medium size bowl.
- Coat with Olive Oil, 1 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. cinnamon, salt and pepper.
- Place on lined cooking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Sweet potatoes, or yams, are also a health food staple because they are full of vitamins; such as, Vitamin A, C, Magnesium and Fiber.
Turmeric has a long list of health benefits, one being it’s ability to help breakdown fat during digestion.(1)
Cinnamon is a spice power food. It’s not only delicious, but has also been linked to helping treat Type-2 Diabetes, lowering cholesterol, and has anti-inflammatory properties.(2)
Start pepping the tofu while the sweet potatoes are cooking. At this point they should feel moist but not wet.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Chop tofu into 1″ cubes.
- Place medium size bowl.
- Coat with Olive oil and ~1 Tbsp corn starch (the corn starch helps give the tofu a crispier texture).
- Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Chop your favorite veggies and put them in storable containers. This will make it easier to throw a salad together for lunch or dinner. I like these containers.
Now you’re ready to assemble your salads. You can do this all ahead of time on Sunday or daily. Drizzle with Olive Oil and lemon for an easy, healthy salad dressing.
Thanks for reading!
(1) Beauty From the Inside Out. Bobbi Brown. (2017).
(2) 7 Health Benefits of Cinnamon. www.organicauthority.com/health/11-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html