By Suzanne Boothby
Everyone wants to eat well, especially when it comes to your midday fuel, i.e. lunch, but you may not want to spend too many hours prepping the night before and you certainly don’t want to spend too much money eating out.
Here’s a plan to simplify your week that makes you 5 days-worth of plant-based lunches for just $25, plus a few pantry staples to help vary the flavors, in one prep session.
SAMPLE GROCERY LIST
1 16-ounce bag quinoa: $5
2 sweet potatoes: $3
1 bunch kale: $3
2 avocados: $3
1 15-ounce can black beans: $1.50
2 cucumbers: $2.50
2 plum tomatoes: $1.50
1 6-ounce container sprouts: $2.00
1 10-ounce container hummus: $3.50
You will have five total meals for the week: 3 quinoa bowls + 2 salads. Follow the directions below for everything you need. One of the best parts is that you can make it all in one session in about an hour or so!
First step is to make the quinoa. Follow the directions on the package or use this simple formula: 1 cup uncooked quinoa to 2 cups water. A typical package is 16 ounces, so you can cook it all up for the week in one big pot.
Simply Delicious Quinoa
1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a large saucepan.
2. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Yield: 6 cups cooked quinoa
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Once the quinoa is cooking, you can get started on the sweet potatoes.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Yield: 2 cups of roasted sweet potato
Serving size: 1/2 cup
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. If using coconut oil, melt oil in a small saucepan on low heat.
2. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes, oil and salt. For extra flavor, toss with chili powder or paprika.
3. Spread potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, until potatoes are golden brown.
Next, you can prep your black beans.
1. Simply open the can, drain and rinse beans and then pour them into a bowl.
2. Chop your tomatoes and toss into to the black bean mixture.
3. Dress them with whatever you have in your pantry, such as 1 tablespoon olive oil, a splash of apple cider vinegar or tamari, ½ teaspoon cumin and ½ teaspoon sea salt. For a spicier flavor, add a few dashes of hot sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Make the Quinoa Bowls
1. To assemble your quinoa bowls, portion out 1 cup quinoa, ½ cup sweet potato, ¼ cup black beans and slice half an avocado on top.
You will have enough to make at least 3 bowls for the week. With leftover quinoa, consider making this Breakfast Quinoa recipe or add it to your kale salad for a little extra protein.
For your other two lunches, you can make a kale salad with hummus, cucumber and sprouts.
Easy Kale Salad With Sprouts & Hummus
Yield: 2 big salads
1. Wash your kale and chop into ribbons.
2. Massage kale with olive oil and sea salt.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon (or apple cider vinegar) with mustard.
4. Now toss the dressing together with kale, cucumber and sprouts.
5. Portion out 2 salads in big containers.
6. Top each salad with about ¼ cup of hummus and a pinch of black pepper. For a slight variation, slice cucumbers into rounds and dip into the hummus.
Bonus: You’ll have an extra half avocado this week, so feel free to add it to your salad one day for a boost of healthy fat.
*prices vary depending on your location, these prices are based on retail prices in March 2017 on the East Coast of the U.S.