Meal prepping does not have to be overwhelming. In fact, it should be exciting and a positive life change! Start with a simple dish you love to cook, something you are familiar with, and truly enjoy. This brussel sprout salad only requires a few key ingredients and is quite scrumptious!
How to make a well balanced salad bowl
Salads are one of my favorite Summer lunches. A salad can be diversified week after week from the toppings to the dressing – the options are endless. Contrary to what some believe, a salad bowl is not “rabbit food” or just lettuce. When done correctly, a salad should combine all the macronutrients and should be enough calories to satisfy and fill your tummy.
To make a perfect salad bowl follow these simple tips:
GREEN BASE: this will become your bottom layer. You can choose from a wide range of greens such as romaine, spinach, iceberg, or in this case, brussel sprouts.
PROTEIN: such as chicken, steak, or in this case, I chose a plant based protein. I love beans within salads. For me, I personally try to avoid animal based protein as much as possible in my diet. There are so many plant based options to choose from which is excellent. For a list of plant based sources of protein, check out this blog link here.
GRAINS: such as quinoa, rice, couscous, or in this case whole grain orzo pasta. Orzo is one of my favorites because it resembles rice (which I adore) but it has the taste of pasta (which I adore even more). It adds nutrients and a satisfying flavor.
HEALTHY FAT: It’s a good idea to add a healthy fat such as avocado, cheese, chia seeds, or nuts. In this particular salad I added walnuts which go so well with the rest of the flavors in this brussel sprout salad.
CRUNCH: Consistency is everything and sometimes a crunch is just necessary. Croutons are delicious but I suggest you choose a crunchy vegetable. I don’t love vegetables, but in salads, I really enjoy them along with all the other nutrients. Ideas for a crunchy consistency include cucumbers, carrots, peppers, celery, broccoli, or cabbage, just to name a few. In this brussel sprout salad, the salad base itself is pretty crunchy and I added shredded carrots and cucumbers for an extra crunch!
FRUIT: This is optional as some people do not like mixing sweets into their salads. I personally love it though. Some popular options include apple slices, canned peaches, tangerines, pears, and strawberries. Dried fruit is a wonderful, inexpensive option that makes meal prepping even easier though. In this salad in particular, I chose to use dried cranberries which come in a bag so I can easily sprinkle them on when I’m ready to eat. Prepping is not even necessary!
DRESSING: Some dressings are filled with additives, preservatives, sugar, and calories which is why I usually prefer to make it homemade. A high quality dressing without these chemicals usually come at quite the cost though. For example, Primal Kitchen is an excellent, clean brand made with wholesome ingredients but an 8oz. bottle costs nearly $6.00. Hummus is a high protein, health alternative to dressing. If you would like a delicious recipe, check out my roasted red pepper hummus linked here.
The brussel sprout salad recipe
Begin by preparing the brussel sprouts. You’ll want to wash all the brussel sprouts and chop off the bottom. Then, add the washed brussel sprouts to a food processor like the one I use which can be found on Amazon, linked here. Once the brussel sprouts are shredded, this becomes the base of the delicious salad bowl. If you’re meal prepping this salad for the week, store this in a large airtight container like this one, found on Amazon.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas ahead of time and store in an airtight container. If you couldn’t tell, successful meal prepping relies on having excellent storage containers. It is an inexpensive investment which will make your life so much simpler!
Dice the cucumber and shred the carrots. Or, if you’re trying to be extra efficient, simply purchase shredded carrots. It is a bit more expensive than buying whole carrots but will save you some aggravation.
Cook the orzo and once cooked, its a good idea to drizzle some olive or avocado oil in there so the pasta doesn’t stick together sitting in the airtight container.
You’ll want to purchase walnuts and dried cranberries. Meal prepping can seriously be THAT SIMPLE.
Once you’re ready to indulge, simply go into your fridge and take a serving of each item from the prepared airtight container and add the walnuts and dried cranberries. Finally, top off the salad with a balsamic dressing. For this salad in particular, I was originally going to make homemade balsamic vinegar until I looked at the ingredients in balsamic vinegar and noticed caramel coloring. Caramel coloring is a known carcinogen and only exists in products for coloring purposes. I avoid it at all costs. Thankfully, I found Organic Balsamic & Fig Dressing at Trader Joe’s which pairs wonderfully on this salad.
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Take a look at this video which outlines my entire process of meal prepping from meal planning, to cooking, to cleaning.
Comment below and let me know your favorite salad combinations. Questions? I’d be happy to help, reach out anytime. Enjoy!