5-day meal plan + grocery list | may
Here’s what I cooked for dinner this week. We usually go out two nights--I tend to max out after preparing more than five meals. The fresh produce offerings here in England are probably different than what you are seeing, depending on where you are...like, eggplant in the spring you might be asking??? The season for eggplant is usually fall, but they grow a lot of their produce using green houses
since it’s always cold so I guess some veggies are available year-round. And, they do love their "aubergines" here. The eggplant isn't really a focal point of any recipe (just the photo above!), so leave it out if you wish.
I'm not someone who does an entire day of meal prep at the start of the week. I usually don't even plan out my meals. Of course, I do have a few repeat offenders that I cook from week to week that guide my shopping. But other than that, I just buy produce that looks good at the market, or whatever I’m craving at the moment, then look up a recipe later at home. It’s likely that all these items are showing up at your farmers’ market or local grocery store. If not, I have made options for substitutions in the downloadable grocery list below. Once you get your groceries, you can pick and choose what days you want to cook, leaving room for flexibility.
Meal #1: Caesar Salad | Serves 2-4
You will only need half the dressing you prepare for this recipe—freeze the other half and use it for dinner next week and you’re already ahead! Instead of kale, I used baby gem lettuces since they are in season now, and sometimes you need a break from kale (also cooking kale later on in the week!). Gem lettuces are like a petite romaine; they are tender and sweet. I added two sliced avocados to the salad as well. Instead of the roasted chickpeas, I made cauliflower tossed with some olive oil and sea salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower in the oven between 400-425 F (depending on how hot your oven cooks) for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and tender (stir about 3/4 of the way through cooking). I toasted pepita seeds (sunflower seeds would be a good addition too!) for some added crunch. Just throw them in the oven for five minutes while the cauliflower is cooking—but don’t forget about them! For a quick dairy-free parmesan topping: mix 1 cup hemp seeds, 1/2 cup nutritional yeast and 2 teaspoons Maldon sea salt…or use any parmesan of your choice.
Meal #2: Quick Pasta with Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Pine Nuts |Serves 4
I bought this great cookbook called The Green Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer. All the recipes are cooked on one sheet pan in the oven. For this recipe, you do have to cook the penne pasta on the stove top, but everything else is cooked on one sheet pan. This is Joshua’s new favorite weeknight meal and mine as well— It’s truly a perfect weeknight dish. I like to add a few handfuls of arugala for some extra greens, or you could throw in some spinach. Sometimes I’ll fry an egg on top if I don’t want to eat too much of the pasta or cook an extra head of broccoli so there are leftovers. I also like to throw in an avocado or two.
1 large head of broccoli cut into florets
handful of pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1/2 a jar of sundried tomatoes in olive oil, roughly chopped, plus 2-3 tablespoons of their oil
1 box of penne pasta (I used gluten-free brown rice pasta)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 small bunch fresh basil, sliced chiffonade (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup)
2 cups of arugula
1 lemon, zest & juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
optional red pepper flakes
optional avocado on top or fried egg or both!
parmesan of choice to garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 F and bring a large pot of salted water to boil. On a large sheet pan or baking dish, combine the broccoli florets, olives, sundried tomatoes and their olive oil and sea salt to taste. When the oven is heated, roast for 15 minutes.
Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to the instructions. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid.
After 15 minutes of roasting the veggies, stir the broccoli mixture and sprinkle pinenuts over the top. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the pinenuts are toasted and the broccoli is lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven and immediately toss with the cooked pasta, basil, arugula, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, pasta water, fresh ground pepper to taste and optional red pepper flakes. Top with parmesan, optional avocado and/or fried egg and serve.
You can move meal #3 to #4 if you don’t want to have sundried tomatoes two days in a row. This is another recipe I keep in my weekly rotation. It’s mostly pantry ingredients and takes about 15 minutes to cook and get on the table. I always add avocado smash and sometimes a fried egg if we are extra hungry. You can use the rest of the sundried tomatoes in their oil from Meal #2. The recipe calls for dried basil but I normally use dry oregano and it tastes good, so whichever you have in your pantry will be just fine.
Meal #4: Mushroom Toast
This is one of my throwback recipes that I use to cook on a weekly basis but somehow forgot about. It’s super easy to make, but if you don’t have any cashew cream on hand, which I’m sure you don’t, just use a tablespoon of white miso paste instead or a couple spoonfuls of tahini. I had some eggplant so I cooked that before I cooked the mushrooms. It is totally optional, so feel free to leave it out and just add an extra 1/2 pound of mushrooms to your shopping list. I also didn’t have any thyme or oregano, but it tasted flavorful enough without it, especially with the parsley on top. To prep the eggplant, cut it into small cubes and place it in a strainer over the sink or a bowl. Toss with sea salt and let drain between 15-30 minutes. Cook the eggplant separately for 10-15 minutes until tender. Then mix in with the cooked mushrooms when you are ready to add the tahini or cashew cream.