The holidays are such a fun time filled with family friends and food. Once the new year hits though and things get back to normal my body craves veggies and greens. Salads are always my go to when I feel like I need a boost of nutrition. They are super easy to whip up, store, and take on the go, making healthy meal prep a breeze when starting this new year.
Healthy Meal Prep
When I was growing FoodByMaria I did double duty as a server at a local restaurant. It was a great job that gave me the flexibility to make an income while building my dream job. Unfortunately being in the restaurant industry meant late nights and the potential of having to eat out if I didn’t make time to prepare a breakfast, lunch or dinner . At this point in my life I fell into a food rut. I was burning the candle at both ends and on top of that I was struggling to fuel my body with the nutrient rich food it needed. This is when I started making salad jars for meal prep every week. I noticed a change in my energy levels almost instantly. I know that by giving my body the fuel it needed, I was able to push through those long days and give both my serving job and FoodByMaria all the love they needed.
Which brings me to the star ingredient. Quinoa. A lot of plant-based and vegan recipes use quinoa, and for good reason. This tiny grain packs some serious punch in the nutrition department. That’s why I love using it in my salads, it is a serious game changer! Along with raw veggies and beans, you can create a totally satisfying and filling plate (or jar) of greens. You can find quinoa super easy these days, my go to quinoa is Bob’s Red Mill. They have a few different options as there are different types of quinoa:
- White – the most common variation you’ll find. It has a light flavour and is quite fluffy
- Black – earthier flavour than white quinoa
- Purple and Red – nutty flavour and slightly chewy
- Rainbow – a mix of all the colors
For this recipe you can use any color of quinoa, just remember to rinse it before cooking. This will remove the coating that is on quinoa that can give it a bitter taste.
Salad on the Go
Hopefully I’ve inspired you to do a little meal prep this new year. A little time spent preparing this plant-based salad will make such a difference for your week ahead. Fuelling our bodies with real and raw food is so important and it doesn’t have to be timely or hard. If you like this salad below I’ve linked a few other recipes that are perfect for on the go:
- Six Ingredient Couscous Salad
- Loaded Zucchini and Quinoa Salad with Prunes
- Turmeric Quinoa, Spinach + Radish Salad
Check out the recipe here and don’t forget to let me know what you think over at @foodbymaria! Tag #foodbymaria and #fearnotfoodisyourfriend so I can see all your beautiful recreations.
Quinoa Salad - Bob's Red Mill
- 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 1 cup sweet red pepper
- 1/2 cup cucumber
- 1/2 cup olives
- 1/4 cup capers
- Into a small jar combined the ingredients for the dressing, and shake well! Set aside.
- Simple add all your salad ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir.
- When serving add dressing just before eating! If you love infused flavour then add it all to the mix and enjoy throughout your day or add to a jar for easy lunch access!