Meal Prep Week-Long Power Bowls

You’ve probably seen the meal prep trend online where dozens and dozens of meals are prepped in containers for the entire week? Holy moly. I can say that will probably never be me. I once tried an over-ambitious meal prep and not only did I end up with way too much food, but it took […]

You’ve probably seen the meal prep trend online where dozens and dozens of meals are prepped in containers for the entire week? Holy moly. I can say that will probably never be me. I once tried an over-ambitious meal prep and not only did I end up with way too much food, but it took up most of my day.

On the flip side, I’ve realized that my veggie intake falls pretty flat when I don’t do any prep at all.

Soooo….there has to be a happy medium!?

This little dilemma is exactly why I came up with a simple plan that totally fits into my life these days. The recipe below (which is totally customizable!) takes less than 30 mins of active prep time, but makes enough food for several portions, increasing the odds that you’ll be a veggie powerhouse for the workweek. *arm flex* I love how I can quickly reheat a couple things and build a hearty, nutritious bowl in a matter of minutes!

My meal prep method has been going like this:

  1. Roast two huge sheets of veggies
  2. Cook a grain
  3. Chop a couple fresh veggies (sometimes I skip this if I’m tight on time)
  4. Have toppings on hand, ready-to-roll—things like avocado, nuts/seeds, beans, dressing, etc.

This method has dramatically changed my meals in recent weeks (specifically, lunches) and increased my veggie consumption a ton. All of the ingredients can be changed up so it never has to be repetitive and you can be flexible with using what you have in your fridge/pantry. It helps cut down waste because you can easily use up those “on the verge of dying” veggies in your crisper. Just throw ‘em in the oven and roast the heck out of ‘em! And if you get tired of bowls, throw the prepped food into delicious wraps or even soups/stews.

If you’re feeling extra-ambitious and want to prep even more food, I’d recommend adding one or more of the following tasty items:

I’ve provided a detailed recipe below because it helps to have something to work from the first time, but like I said, feel free to run with it. If you simply commit to roasting 2 big sheets of veggies, cook a grain, and chop some fresh veggies….you’ll be well on your way to making easy throw-together power bowls all week long. My future hangry self has been thanking me a lot.  

Before I go, I want to mention that The Oh She Glows Recipe App is still on sale for 99 cents in the Apple iTunes Store until mid-March! You’ll find these delicious power bowls in there, as well as more than 160 of my favourite plant-based recipes (this number includes 30 app exclusive recipes too). Happy cooking :) 

5 from 5 reviews
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Meal Prep Week-Long Power Bowls

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

I love having prepped food in the fridge, but don’t love doing hours of meal prep each week. So I came up with this simple method that takes just 25 minutes of active prep time. The healthy food components can be enjoyed for several days in power bowls, wraps, and even stirred into soups! Power bowls are so fun for family meals because you can switch up the veggies and toppings to suit each palate, giving kids control to build their own bowls. This recipe is also a handy make-ahead option if you’re having friends over for a meal. Simply chop all the veggies the night before and refrigerate them in containers. Just before your guests arrive, pop the veggies into the oven, cook the quinoa, and prep the toppings. After cooking, you can all have fun assembling your own power bowls and everyone will be super impressed by the stunning rainbow-coloured meal!

Yield
8 servings
Prep time
25 Minutes
Cook time
35 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the roasted veggies:
  • 3 small (680 g) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (4 cups)
  • 4 cups (500 g) brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved*
  • 1 medium (800 g) cauliflower, chopped into small florets (4 heaping cups)
  • 1 medium (230 g) red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large (500 g) red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For the quinoa:
  • 2 cups (400 g) uncooked quinoa**
For the fresh veggies:
  • 1 medium (370 g) English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 medium (135 g) bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups (255 g) grape tomatoes (1 dry pint)
For the power bowl toppings:
  • Chopped lettuce/greens (Romaine, Iceberg, kale, etc)
  • Salad dressing***
  • Ripe avocados
  • Cooked beans or lentils
  • Nuts and seeds (I use hemp hearts and roasted pepitas)
  • Hummus or pesto

Directions:

  1. Position two oven racks near the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line two extra-large (15- x 21-inches) rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. It’s important to use extra-large baking sheets so there’s enough room for all those healthy veggies.
  2. Divide the chopped, “to-be-roasted” veggies onto the baking sheets. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over top each sheet and toss the veggies until they’re fully coated in the oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the veggies for 30 to 40 minutes (I find 35 minutes is perfect in my oven for lightly charred veggies) until fork tender and golden. There’s no need to rotate/move the pans or flip the veggies halfway through baking unless you’re particular about even cooking.
  4. While the veggies are roasting, add the quinoa to a large pot along with 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) water. Stir. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to low-medium, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove the lid and fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork.
  5. While the quinoa cooks, chop the cucumber and green onions. Rinse the tomatoes (I hold off slicing them until just before serving).
  6. Remove the roasted veggies from the oven. Once mostly cool, transfer all of the veggies and quinoa into containers, seal with airtight lids, and place into the fridge for up to 4 days.
  7. To make the power bowls: Add a couple generous handfuls of chopped lettuce/greens to the bottom of a large shallow bowl. Drizzle with a bit of dressing and toss the lettuce/greens until coated. Top with spoonfuls of your prepped food (quinoa, roasted and fresh veggies)—I always warm up the quinoa and roasted veggies first! Now, add diced avocado, more salad dressing, cooked beans or lentils, nuts and seeds, and hummus or pesto. Keep the power bowl flavours interesting by changing up the toppings each day!

Tips:

* If your brussels sprouts are quite large, quarter them instead of halving.

 

** If you don't think you'll eat this much quinoa in 4 to 5 days, feel free to halve this amount (use 1 cup uncooked quinoa + 1.75 cups water).

 

*** Looking for a delicious homemade dressing? Try my Lemon-Tahini Dressing, Shake-and-Go Balsamic Vinaigrette (Oh She Glows Every Day, p. 273), or Roasted Garlic and Red Wine Vinaigrette. I always keep Maison Orphee Italian on hand when I don't have homemade dressing prepped.

 

Feel free to roast a head of garlic along with the veggies. The roasted cloves are especially delicious thrown into my Roasted Garlic and Red Wine Vinaigrette found in my Warm + Roasted Winter Salad Bowl recipe.

 

Make it nut-free: Top your bowl with seeds (such as roasted pepita seeds and hemp hearts) instead of nuts and make sure your dressing is nut-free.

One Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins (Vegan + Gluten-free)

One thing that’s been especially hard during my recent health struggles is that I’ve had some negative feelings resurface surrounding food and restriction. Those of you who’ve been reading for years may know that one of the reasons I started blogging back in 2008 was to share my journey to health. I spoke a lot […]

One thing that’s been especially hard during my recent health struggles is that I’ve had some negative feelings resurface surrounding food and restriction. Those of you who’ve been reading for years may know that one of the reasons I started blogging back in 2008 was to share my journey to health. I spoke a lot about my journey to recovery from disordered eating, something I had struggled with for over a decade.

When I taught myself how to cook and fell in love with making plant-based recipes, I started to make positive associations with food again. And slowly, as I learned to eat intuitively (and embraced therapy!), I built a solid, positive foundation channeling that energy into something that made me feel really good. I don’t know where I’d be now if I didn’t have your support and community along the way. Knowing that my readers were eager to try out the recipes I was sharing kept me immensely motivated to keep going! It still does to this day.

The various symptoms I’ve been dealing with this past year (as well as committing to the dreaded allergy elimination diet) have challenged my relationship with food a great deal. If you’ve dealt with food allergies or sensitivities, you know how much it can drive you crazy in frustration as you try to figure out what’s going on. Every single food becomes suspect. I had incorrectly thought that it was a single food causing my troubles, when in fact it was much more complex than I had realized, with many hormonal imbalances and other systems at play.

Over the past year I found myself starting to question everything I was putting into my body, to the point where for a while I was only consuming a handful of specific foods. I didn’t know what I could eat because everything seemed to be causing reactions. It really messed with my head for a while there! This isn’t my first test by any means, and I know that these challenges and setbacks are a normal part of the journey—there’s no shame in struggling with things you may have thought you’d beaten. I can already tell that this experience has had many silver linings, one of them being a deeper appreciation for my health. And as I’ve seen my health improve over the past couple months, I’ve been so relieved to be getting back to a friendly place with food again by celebrating what it can do for me rather than fearing it!

And what better way to celebrate food this time of year than with the irresistible combo of chocolate and pumpkin? These rich and chocolaty gluten-free and vegan muffins have been enjoyed by everyone lucky enough to get their hands on a trial batch…minus a couple chocolate-hating toddlers roaming around our kitchen. *shrugs* Needless to say, Eric and I have had our fair share throughout the testing process…no complaints over here. Pair the muffins with my popular Pumpkin Spice Latte and you’ll have yourself a delicious and festive autumn snack!

 

 

   

4.8 from 35 reviews
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One Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free

These moist, dense, gooey pumpkin chocolate muffins are similar to that feeling you get walking through a pumpkin patch, sipping dark hot chocolate, and crunching colourful autumn leaves beneath your feet! Picture a delicious pumpkin chocolate cake or brownie—but in muffin form. What could be better? How about that they take just one bowl to make! This recipe is adapted from Beaming Baker and my Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins.

Yield
12 muffins
Prep time
15 Minutes
Cook time
22 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the chia egg:
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) ground chia seed*
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) water
For the wet ingredients:
  • 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
For the dry ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 g) gluten-free rolled oats, blended into a fine flour**
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice***
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup (120 g) non-dairy chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, divided**** (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. Add the rolled oats to a high-speed blender and blend on high until a fine flour forms. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ground chia seed and water until combined. Set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
  4. To the same bowl, add the rest of the wet ingredients (pumpkin, oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla) and stir until smooth.
  5. Add the dry ingredients (oat flour, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Whisk until smooth (I love using my big whisk for this task!).
  6. Set aside 1/4 cup (45 g) of chocolate chips (if using) for the topping and stir the remaining chips into the batter.
  7. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each two-thirds full. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the tops of each muffin.
  8. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes (I bake for 22), until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove each muffin and place it directly onto the cooling rack until fully cooled. Leftover muffins can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for several days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Tips:

* If desired, you can use 1 tablespoon ground flax in place of the ground chia seed. Proceed with mixing in the 3 tablespoons (45 mL) water as directed.

** You can use 150 grams oat flour rather than grinding your own (this is equal to 1 cup and 7 tablespoons oat flour measured using the scoop-and-shake-until-level method). Alternatively, 1 1/2 cups (233 g) whole-grain spelt flour will also work as a swap for the oat flour. If using whole-grain spelt flour, you will likely need to bake the muffins for a couple extra minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). Please keep in mind that spelt flour is not gluten-free.

*** If you're a big pumpkin spice fan, you can use up to 1 tablespoon of spice mix in this recipe.

**** Try chopped walnuts or pecans for a crunchy, healthy twist!

You can make these muffins into a loaf instead. Simply pour the batter into a 9x5-inch loaf pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes (I bake for 46) at 350°F (180°C) until a toothpick comes out clean.