“Cooking, I found, gives us the opportunity, so rare in modern life, to work directly in our own support, and in the support of the people we feed. If this is not “making a living,” I don’t know what is. In the calculus of economics, doing so may not always be the most efficient use of an amateur cook’s time, but in the calculus of human emotion, it is beautiful even so. For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?”
– Micheal Pollan, Cooked
ROASTED CARROT SALAD WITH QUINOA, CHICKPEAS + EVERYDAY TAHINI DRESSING
It is so often heard that meal prep is the key to quick and healthy meals at home. But what does this look like exactly? For me, it looks like this. Below are the ingredients and quantities that I will cook at the beginning of the week. I keep them stored in containers in the fridge for easy lunches.
I cook the quinoa like pasta, I know this may be sacrilege to some, but it saves a few minutes and most of the time I don’t measure out my grains either so it saves a few dishes as well. If you’re the precise type of cook, the water to quinoa ratio is 2:1, bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes covered, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
The dressing made its first appearance on the blog last summer. I’ve updated it here with some apple cider vinegar and tamari, but otherwise it’s the same recipe. Be warned that it will thicken up quite a bit in the fridge (as the olive oil solidifies) so you can always take it out to bring to room temperature as you are beginning to make lunch.
The toasted almonds my favorite crunch of the moment, but toasted sesame seeds or chopped raw almonds are equally delicious.
I always have some sort of greens in the fridge. Sprouts are easy to come by in the winter time, and soon the farmer’s markets will be bursting with spring leaves.
So, Meal prep. Here we go. A batch of cooked grains. Some vegetables ready to go. A few fun toppings and a good dressing. It is, indeed, as easy as that.
Feeds a very large crowd or makes a few lunches for you and yours. Vegan + Gluten Free.
800g – 1kg carrots (they shrink a lot in the oven)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 + 1/4 cup quinoa
1 + 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (1 small can)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
Mixed baby greens
Sunflower seeds sprouts or micro greens of choice
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 + 1/2 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup olive oil or your preferred neutral oil
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 400 F / 200 C
Peel the carrots and slice into diagonal rounds. The thicker you cut the longer they will take in the oven, I aim for a thickness of about half an inch. Place the carrots on a sheet pan covered in parchment and drizzle over just enough olive oil to coat generously and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and roast in the oven until tender, flipping and rotating the pan after 15 minutes. Check for done-ness at 25 minutes, but they may take up to 35 minutes.
While the carrots are roasting – cook the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a metal sieve for about 30 secs. Bring a medium pot full of lightly salted water to a boil, add rinsed quinoa and reduce to a medium boil. Cook quinoa for 15 minutes, then strain. Like pasta. Easy.
Make the dressing. Add all ingredients except oil and water to a blend and being blending. Drizzle in oil until emulsified and add water until desired consistency. The dressing will thicken up quite a bit in the fridge. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Toast almonds in a dry skillet until light brown and fragrant, stirring often to prevent burning. Set aside
Now you have a batch of cooked quinoa. A bunch of roasted carrots. An open can of chickpeas. Some good toppings (toasted almonds, sprouts, even some sesame seeds would be nice) and a decent dressing. Meal prep done. Add fresh greens. Assemble as you wish. Enjoy when you want.
Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!