As I delve further into nutritional cooking and health-supportive living, it becomes more and more apparent that lack of affordable convenience is what keeps many people from being able to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Truthfully, this is an issue for me as well. I’m cooking constantly for others, but when it comes to myself, I’m just like everyone else…squeezing in meals where they fit and eating whatever I can easily get my hands on. But this is where I differ from the majority. Because instead of shelling out extra moolah for someone else’s labor or consistently resorting to processed and nutrient-poor foods, I instead, use a scant amount of my free time to stock my kitchen with everything I need to create tasty, easy, packable, fresh, satisfying and nutrient-rich meals.
It’s really pretty simple. Once a week I make a batch of quick pickled red onions, I cook up several portions of a whole grain like quinoa, I prepare some fresh veggies and I whip up a five-minute sauce that I can add to meals all week. Other items to have on hand? Canned beans, pre-prepped proteins (like grilled chicken and hard boiled eggs), avocados, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds. Sounds simple enough, right? With a quick trip to the store and one to two hours of the weekend, all of these items can be easily prepped and stored for use all week long.
This Cauliflower Satay Nourish Bowl is a perfect example of a throw-together meal like this. It utilizes my flavorful pickled red onions, creamy avocados and my pre-cooked quinoa and roasted cauliflower. Then I add a (big) drizzle of my 5-minute peanut sauce, and I’ve got a 15 minute meal that gets packed up for an on-the-go lunch or used as an uber easy dinner for Matt and myself after a long day.
Stay tuned for my next recipe, which will use the same base ingredients (quinoa, avocado, pickled onions), but gets a few adjustments to totally transform the flavor profile. Trust me, you’ll be a meal prep pro in no time. Keep scrolling for some nutritional highlights and, of course, the recipe.
All-Natural Peanut Butter is the building block of my satay sauce (shocker lol). Peanut butter provides protein, fiber and heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats. Peanuts and peanut butter are also a great source of copper, manganese and vitamin b-3. Plus they’re packed with antioxidants and are believed to lower risk of cardiovascular disease (particularly in women). Choose an organic peanut butter that contains ONLY peanuts, and maybe some salt.
Avocados, as most know, are nutritional super heroes. Avocados are rich in vitamins -b, -c, -k and -e as well as potassium, folate and beneficial mono-unsaturated fats. Additionally, because they’re high in fiber and low in carbs, avocados are known for assisting in weight-management, detoxification and elimination.
Quinoa is an awesome choice of whole grain because it’s one of a handful of grains that is considered to be a complete protein. This means that it contains all nine amino acids required to provide the body with adequate protein. Quinoa is also a great choice for meal prep because it cooks in just 15 minutes.
Cauliflower Satay Nourish Bowl
Serves: 4 Start to Finish: 1 hour
1 cup dry quinoa
2 large heads cauliflower
sea salt, fine grain
1 small-medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3+ cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup nut or seed butter, I like crunchy peanut butter*
2 tablespoons tamari (organic preferred, high quality soy sauce works too)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 teaspoon sriracha (or similar hot sauce)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 small clove garlic, peeled and grated
2 avocados, diced or sliced
juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add 1 cup dry quinoa, 2 cups water and 3/4 teaspoons salt to a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil, uncovered. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover with lid. Summer for 14-15 minutes, until excess water is mostly absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit, still covered, for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut cauliflower into bite size florets. Toss with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and 1.5 teaspoons salt. Roast cauliflower at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Toss florets. Roast for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Make pickled red onion. In a small bowl, combine 1 thinly sliced red onion, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup water and 3/4 teaspoons sea salt. Mix until salt is dissolved. Add 1 thinly sliced red onion. Toss to coat. Add additional vinegar and water, in equal amounts, to cover onions (you shouldn’t need much). Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes. Or make ahead…I always have pickled red onion ready to go in the fridge. The longer they sit, the better they get.
Make satay sauce. Combine peanut butter, tamari, rice vinegar, sriracha, sesame oil, grated garlic and 2 tablespoons water. Mix well. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce is thinned to desired consistency.
When all components are complete, combine to create 4 nourish bowls. Each bowl gets about 3/4 cup quinoa spritzed with lime juice to taste, 1/4 of the roasted cauliflower, 1/4 of the cut avocado, 2-3 tablespoons pickled red onion, 1 extra teaspoon of the pickling liquid for more flavor, and 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds for garnish. Serve with satay sauce.