I find meal planning to be a fun puzzle and it’s where I get
extensive use out of my components and
base recipes. I think in terms of meal planning/prepping, recipes
are too limiting. It’s much easier to mix and match based on what
you already have on hand. There’s a freedom that comes from
tossing big recipes out the window.
What do I mean by components and base recipes?
Components: small recipes that produce an item that is used in
various meals/forms. Sauces are an excellent example of this and
simple roasted vegetables are both solid examples.
Base recipes: generic recipes that you can use components in.
Master the basic concept of a recipe and use it across seasons and
flavor profiles. Good examples of this are frittatas, grain bowls,
And so, each week, I’m planning to share four ideas/recipes
that work well together in a week. These recipes are often made
from base recipes and use components I prep on the weekend. Use
as-is or riff on endlessly (because the end goal is for you not to
have to use recipes!)
Amaranth Polenta with Walnuts and Parsley Oil
This is one of those funky dishes that uses one of my favorite
components: carrot puree.
Once you prep the puree, this dish comes together quickly. Make a
batch of carrot puree and use for this recipe and the carrot
Polenta swaps: This recipe uses non-traditional amaranth for the
polenta base, but you could easily use traditional polenta or go a
slightly different route by using
Veg Puree: Swap out the carrot puree for sweet potato, butternut
squash, or even beet puree.
Toppings: Use whatever nuts/seeds you have on hand (pecan,
sunflower, or hazelnuts), and you can easily use fresh parsley than
the parsley oil.
with Parsley Oil
A classic from the archives, this chickpea stew is a solid
favorite (as long as I have good bread to go with it). It’s also
a wonderful way to use more of that parsley oil made to go with the
This is an odd little dish, but it is terrific for a quick,
weeknight dinner. It uses the carrot puree from the polenta dish
and made a bit creamier with the help of cashew cream (which can
also be prepped on the weekend).
Veg puree: Similar to the polenta, you can swap the carrots out
for something else. I love using sweet potato and butternut squash
puree with pasta.
Greens: I mention this in the post, but arugula can be swapped
out for other greens. You could use garlicky greens or
go as simple as swapping spinach for the arugula.
Finally, a dish that gets made with some variance each week.
Depending on if I remember or not, I’ll make falafel using
pre-cooked beans (like in this
recipe). I usually don’t add the quinoa, but the option is
If, however, I need to make hummus at the same time, I’ll soak
two bowls of chickpeas (one for hummus and
one for the falafel). Serve the bowl with arugula, hummus, and
grains. I like to use bulgur for a quick-cooking option.
One other option: ditch the hummus for a simple cashew cream
sauce. Add garlic and lemon juice into the premade cashew cream and
let sit for a few minutes. This is a great option if you have
leftover cashew cream from making the pasta!
Source: FS – Healthy – Vegetarian
Midwinter I Meal Plan