Seasonal Meal Prep Pt. 3: Fall Foods Edition

by | Oct 9, 2020 | WELLNESS

It’s that time again for another part in our four-part series of meal prepping based on the seasons! And let’s be honest, fall is a weird one. Not only does fall seem to last about ten full days here in Calgary, it’s also a super random time-weather wise. Though this fall (so far) has been a pretty gradual descent towards cooler weather, it’s not uncommon for it to be 20 degrees one fine September or October day, and blizzarding the next.

With that said, we can always integrate more stability in our lives through the foods we eat and the meals we prepare. In the fall, I love to focus on eating more warming and grounding foods, as we typically spend less and less time outside as we move from September into December. It’s not warm enough for Summer outdoor activities, like outdoor workouts, tennis, and bike rides, but it’s not quite cold enough for skiing and snowboarding either, so it’s totally normal to feel in limbo during this season.

So, in today’s blog post, I’m going to focus a lot on my current obsession: whole food bowls! These bowls are full of nutrient dense whole grains, veggies, healthy fats, and proteins. They are super versatile and can be eaten both hot and cold, so you can totally customize them to the fall weather du jour.

There also happens to be a ton of produce in season right now, so these bowls are my favourite way to eat a variety of seasonal foods in the simplest possible way. Below you’ll find three tried-and-true whole food bowl recipes that are a cinch to prepare ahead of time and will keep you healthy and happy all week long!

Hiro Bowl

Buddha bowls have been all the rage for quite a while now, so although this choice might seem a bit basic, I whole-heartedly believe this Japanese-inspired whole food bowl is WAY too good not to be on this list. If you’re a savoury-over-sweet person like me, you’re not going to believe how freaking amazing the miso tahini dressing is on this one. Double the dressing recipe and consider yourself warned.

Complex Carb Base:

I like to build my bowl with a base of approximately ½ a cup of brown rice and a generous handful of roasted diced sweet potato. Pro Tip: make your rice in an Instant Pot if you have one. It’s by far the easiest and fastest way, and there’s barely any cleanup required.

          Make 2 cups of brown rice

          Roast 2 cups of sweet potato (diced small) in avocado or coconut oil

Veggies:

I love to have about a full cup of roasted veggies on my bowl and I especially love using broccoli florets for this one, as they are like little sponges for the delicious miso tahini dressing that goes on top.

          Roast 3-4 cups of the following: broccoli, bok choy, onions, garlic, snap peas.

          Shred 1 cup of raw carrot

          Wash and chop 1 head of kale

Protein:

Typically, preparing the protein to go in my bowl is a day-of type thing. With the Hiro Bowl, I love roasted firm organic tofu, roasted tempeh, shelled edamame beans, or if I’m feeling extra fancy, sashimi-grade wild salmon.

Dressing—Miso Tahini:

To create this out-of-this-world dressing, simply blend together the seven ingredients listed below. I love that this dressing tastes so good, yet doesn’t have any added sugar and isn’t super rich like a lot of other miso dressing recipes.

          3 TBSP miso paste

          6 TBSP water

          3 TBSP tahini

          2 TBSP nutritional yeast

          1 TBSP low-sodium tamari

          ½ TSP rice vinegar

          Black pepper to taste

Other Toppings:

          Kimchi

          Sesame Seeds

          Sesame Oil

          Avocado

seasonal meal prep

Mediterranean Bowl

It’s no secret that although I’m not a huge fan of “diets” in general, the Mediterranean diet holds a very special place in my heart. (I wrote a blog post about the mental health benefits of a Mediterranean Diet which you can read here.) I’m also obsessed with Greek food, so if you love it too and want an easy way to incorporate more Greek-inspired flavours in your meal plan this fall, try out this Mediterranean Bowl!

Complex Carb Base:

I like this bowl with brown rice and sweet potato, as well.

          Make 2 cups of brown rice

          Roast 2 cups of sweet potato (diced small) in avocado or coconut oil

Veggies:

          Roast 3-4 cups of the following: cherry tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini, red onion.

          I love this bowl with a giant handful of arugula

Protein:

Typically, preparing the protein to go in my bowl is a day-of type thing. I love fish with this bowl, so depending on what you have time for, you can open a can of wild tuna in olive oil or roast some wild salmon in a simple lemon-herb marinade. Lamb meatballs are also great with this and super simple to make.

Dressing—Kefir Tzatziki:

This dressing is based on one from Yang’s Nourishing Kitchen. Instead of straining the kefir, which adds an extra step, I simply use regular kefir so this recipe has a thinner consistency. Plain goat’s kefir is high in protein and a great way to get your daily dose of fermented food! If you can’t tolerate dairy, try making it with Maison Riviera’s plain coconut kefir. It’s surprisingly good!

          3/4 cup plain goat’s kefir

          1 mini cucumber (or ¼ English cucumber), grated

          2 cloves garlic, minced

          1 TBSP lemon juice

          2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

          2 TBSP fresh dill

          1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Other Toppings:

          Broccoli sprouts

          Mixed olives

          Crumbled goat’s feta

          Fresh Greek oregano

summer meal prep

Aleppo Bowl

Mmm… this bowl has such a beautiful spicy and warm flavour profile and it’s perfect for those nippy fall days. This bowl is also entirely plant-based and super high protein with the quinoa, chickpeas, and sprouted beans, so if you’re vegan or vegetarian, I highly recommend adding this to your meal prep rotation! If you aren’t plant-based and feel like you need a little more animal protein in your bowl, this one tastes great with chicken or ground lamb in place of the chickpeas.

Complex Carb Base:

I like this bowl with quinoa and sweet potato.

          Make 2 cups of quinoa or brown rice

          Roast 2 cups of sweet potato (diced small) in avocado or coconut oil

Veggies:

      Roast 3-4 cups of the following: eggplant, red peppers, zucchini, onions, garlic. For more flavourful and less squishy eggplant and zucchini, before cooking, cover the slices with a generous amount of salt to remove excess moisture. Remove as much of the salt as possible before roasting with other veggies.

        Add a giant handful of baby spinach to the warm base of quinoa and sweet potato to slightly wilt the spinach.

Protein:

Za’atar chickpeas are my go-to protein for this bowl, although you can do any protein you like. Simply heat a skillet to medium heat, and sautee 1 can of chickpeas in 1 TBSP of coconut oil and a generous sprinkling of store-bought Za’atar spice—I buy mine from the Silk Road Spice Merchant.

Dressing—Muhammara:

This dressing from Honey and Vanilla is like a sweet and tangy party in your mouth. It also happens to be a wonderful source of healthy fats thanks to the walnuts. Most big grocery stores sell pomegranate molasses in the international foods section but if you can’t find it, regular blackstrap molasses will work in a pinch. You’ll need a food processor for this recipe.

          1 1/2 cups lightly toasted walnuts

          12 oz. jar of roasted red peppers in water

          3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

          2 cloves garlic

          2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

          1 tablespoon raw honey

          1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

          1 teaspoon dried chili flakes

          1-2 tablespoons onion

          Sea salt and fresh pepper to season

Simply add all ingredients except olive oil to your food processor and pulse until combined. Slowly add in the olive oil while continuing to pulse until the dip is a mostly uniform consistency.

Other Toppings:

          Mixed olives

          Sprouted beans

          Broccoli sprouts

          Sun dried tomatoes

As you can tell from these recipes, they all follow a pretty standard formula, which makes them super simple to prep ahead of time! It also makes it easy to customize your bowls and get creative—which is definitely my favourite thing about cooking food at home.

If you try one of these bowls, let me know what you think in the comments below! And if you know anyone who has a hard time coming up with easy dinner ideas, forward them this post!!

Stay tuned in another few months for the fourth and final part of this blog series, Meal Prep in the Wintertime.  Happy cooking! ❤️

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