Hello! I know it’s cliché but it would not feel right to start this first blogpost of the year without a proper greeting. I hope you’ve all had lovely, cozy and stress-free Holidays. While I’m generelly not the New Year’s resolutions kind of person, I do have one resolution for 2020. It’s finally doing things that will make my life and work easier. The things that I have somehow always accepted as the status quo, but that drive me crazy every time. Examples of this include super boring things such as a missing hair pin that I need when I curle my hair occaisionally, the fact that I do not have enough storage space on my computer or that I only own one battery for my camera. Somehow I have managed without all these things in the past, but imagine how much more productive I’d be when I actually fixed some of these “problems”. While some fixes will be expensive, some cost as little as 1 Euro. Mostly it’s just my own laziness that prevents me from tackling these things, and that’s why I have decided not to let laziness define this year. Which brings me to today’s recipe.
When it comes to cooking healthy meals it is usually not laziness that prevents us from getting creative in the kitchen. It is decision fatigue and a lack of ideas. If this relates to you, then today’s 15-minute meal prep couscous salad is definitely your kind of recipe. All you need to do is invest 15 minutes into your health a week, and you’ll have a delicious lunch waiting for you in the fridge four days in a row. Cook once, eat four times! Now if that does not sound promising, I do not know what does.
While I’ve shared quite a few meal prep recipes on the blog already, this one if by far the simplest. It’s one recipe that you’ll divide equally into four lunch boxes. This might sound boring in the beginning, but meal prepping is mainly about a) great taste and b) simplicity. The more complicated a meal prep recipe is, the less likely we are to actually give it a try.
For those more advanced and experienced cooks, I’ve shared some simple ideas to upgrade this recipe, so you do not have to eat the same thing four days in a row. However, I bet that you’ll still be excited to eat it on day four, simply because it is waiting for you in the fridge. This is my understanding of luxury.
A last note on the lunch boxes. I used glass containers from a well-known Swedish furniture store simply because I’ve had them for ages. You can of course also use old glas jars. It is just very important that you use air-tight containers in order for the salad to stay fresh for up to four days. You do not need fancy tupperware or buy new glass or stainless steel lunch boxes to do meal prep. I do, however, recommend storing the dressing in seperate, small and leak-free glass containers. Use about 3 tablespoons of dressings per salad.
Heavenly for body and soul, because …
… meal prep recipes enable us to eat healthy during busy weekdays. A lack of time is often the number one reason why we fail to eat healthy during the week. That’s exactly where this salad comes in. All you need is 15 minutes to prep a healty lunch for four days.Print
For the couscous:
- 200 g organic whole-grain couscous (use a gluten-free one if needed, I use Alnavit organic corn & ric couscous)
- 200 ml hot, but not boiling water
- 2 tablespoons of Ajvar (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- the juice ½ lemon
- 3 spring onions
- a good pinch of sea or rock salt and pepper
For the salad:
- 1 cucumber
- 300 g cherry tomatoes
- 1 jar or tin of chickpeas (240 g drained weight)
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 bunch of rocket salad
- two handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 handful of parsley
For the dressing:
- 8 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- the juice ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or rice syrup (or honey)
- ½ teaspoon sea or rock salt and pepper
- For the couscous, mix the hot water with Ajvar, salt and pepper and pour it over the couscous. Mix well and let it sit for five minutes. Season to taste with the olive oil and lemon juice and more salt and pepper if necessary.
- For the salad, cut all ingredients except rocket and baby spinach into bite-sized pieces and drain the chickpeas. Roughly chop the parsley and mix all ingredients in a bowl.
- Wash the rocket and spinach well and spin-dry or dab dry.
- For the dressing, mix all ingredients in a leak-proof glass container.
- Divide the couscous between four lunch boxes, then add ½ bunch of rocket or a handful of baby spinach and finally fill it up with the salad (see photos).
- Add the dressing just before eating (approx. 2-3 tbsp. per salad), in order for the ingredients to stay fresh as long as possible.
- One last note: the recipe is designed to keep the individual ingredients fresh, hence the compartmentalization of the different salad componets. Everything should be eaten together of course, so when you’re ready to eat, pour the dressing in the bowl, put the lid on and shake carefully.
- Instead of ajvar, harissa or mojo rojo can also be used. All pastes are based on bell peppers and give the neutral-tasting couscous a heavenly aroma. You can get Ajvar, Harissa or Mojo Rojo a jar in any supermarket, I prefer to buy it in organic quality.
- If you like, you can marinate 200 g of diced tofu with 2 tablespoons of tamari, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and fry until golden brown. Place the tofu in a fourth layer next to the salad leaves in the lunch box.
- If you don’t have Ajvar or Mojo Rojo at hand, you can mix 2 tablespoons of tomato paste with 2 tablespoons of paprika powder, some olive oil and salt instead. You can also pour vegetable stock over the couscous instead of water. In this case, however, the additional salt must be omitted or reduced.
- Of course the recipe can be adapted to your eating habits. This recipe is vegan by nature, gluten-free and without refined sugar and therefore a good basis for many forms of nutrition.