Meal prep is a great way to have all of your food ready for the week, enabling you to make healthy choices, and save money while you’re at it! Not only does it keep you on track with your fitness goals, but it saves a lot of time. Imagine coming home after a long day of work, your meal already planned and ready to assemble in mere minutes. Does it sound too good to be true? Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here to send you Weekly Meal Prep inspo every week to get you in the kitchen!
We’ll give you a set of ingredients to work with every week and include seasonal recommendations, when possible. The primary goal with our weekly meal prep guide below is to help you focus your meals predominately around a new set of ingredients or theme every week. We’ll give you a plethora of creative ways to prep these ingredients to create healthy, quick, easy and tasty recipes, so you’ll never be bored.
This week we’ve chosen butternut squash, cranberries, black beans and brussels sprouts for some festively fall meals!
1. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is full of vitamin A, beta-carotene, and many other important nutrients for a healthy and balanced diet. Which is great, because it’s also delicious! The sweet flavor pairs so well with so many other ingredients, and it’s been a long-standing fall staple. It’ll make you feel festive this season, and is also so versatile that you won’t get bored. You can roast it, mash it, saute it, you name it! Put it in sandwiches, soups, stews, salads, use it as a pasta sauce or stuff it with other ingredients – any way you want it, butternut squash will be delicious. Store a big batch in the fridge to be combined with so many recipes, and keep reading to find some ideas to get you started!
Cranberries not only bring a tartness to any dish, but also fiber, vitamin C, and manganese among other vitamins. They are a small powerhouse of flavor, and they can spice up any recipe. You can make Sabrina Russo‘s Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce for your fall meals, whether you eat it on your own, add it to sandwiches as a spread, you name it! Or, you can use dried cranberries as an accent in a wide variety of dishes. You can use them in desserts like these Soft Chocolate Cranberry Cookies by Katarina Hawk, or in drinks like this Winter Sangria by Adam Merrin and Ryan Alvarez. Just wait until you see how they pair with butternut squash!
3. Black Beans
Protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium – black beans have it all. They are a staple protein source in many plant-based diets, and can provide a hearty flavor and texture to many dishes. They also are easy to prep – you can buy them dried, soak and boil them, seasoning however you like and storing in the fridge for future use, or make your life even easier and buy them canned. Combine them with any number of veggies, grains, proteins and toppings for a nutritious and delicious meals.
4. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts have gotten a bad reputation, but the truth is that they are a delicious seasonal vegetable when prepared correctly. Vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber are all found in these little green cruciferous veggies. Make sure to clean them, then cut any way you like. They can be enjoyed raw, roasted, sauteed, you name it! We’ll tell you some ways to combine them with your other prepped ingredients to make delicious fall dishes.
If you prefer your brussels raw, try this Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad by Gabrielle St. Claire, which also includes cranberries as a topping. You could definitely add black beans or roasted squash to this salad as well – they would complement the nuts and ‘bacon’ perfectly. Another salad idea that pairs brussels sprouts with cranberries? This Kale and Cranberry Salad With Lemon Tahini Dressing from Shannon Leparski.
Roasting brussels sprouts is a great way to draw out their flavor, and is a popular comforting dish during the autumn, just like Christin McKamey‘s Autumn Vegetables With Balsamic Glaze or Florian Nouh‘s Holiday Stir-Fry with cranberries. You could even try replacing the delicata squash with butternut in this recipe for Maple Cinnamon Glazed Roasted Delicata Squash by Jessica Gavin, in which the brussels sprouts are also sweetly complimented by the maple cinnamon glaze that will put you in a perfectly fall mood.
The heartiness of this Wild Rice Pilaf With Butternut Squash, Cranberries, and Pecans from Cathy Elton will be perfectly comforting on a chilly weeknight when you get home after a long day, especially if you prep all of the ingredients beforehand. Kristen Genton‘s Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash would also be awesome if the filling was stuffed into a butternut squash, a la this Pecan Stuffed Butternut Squash by Maria Koutsogiannis! Speaking of filling stuffed fall staples, you could prep your black beans in the style of these Black Bean Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes from The Plant-Based Londoner. If these recipes have you craving butternut squash and cranberrries, but you’re just hungry enough for a snack, we’ve still got you covered with Jennifer Harmon‘s Butternut Squash Crostini With Cranberries and Tahini Dressing.
Butternut squash and black beans just elevate each other’s flavors and make each other even better, as if that were possible. Don’t believe us? You will after trying this Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili by Christina Bedetta, or Susan Edelman‘s Butternut Squash and Black Bean Bisque, both of which are warm, nourishing and comforting on a night when you need a hearty meal without too much hassle.
Hopefully with all of these ideas, you’re all set for your weekly meal prep this week! If you still need ideas or want to try other ingredients, check out our Meal Prep Archives for a variety of ingredients and awesome ways to utilize them for delicious and nutritious meals. For more meal inspiration, check out our Food Monster App. With over 10,000 recipes right in the palm of your hand, you’ll always have something delicious and new to try. It’s available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. Full of allergy-friendly recipes, subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
Lead Image Source: Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili