Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables

This Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables meal prep is super fast and easy, and holds up well in the fridge for tasty lunches all week!

The post Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Are you ready for this? Because I wasn’t quite ready for how easy and delicious this meal was. When I sat down to eat my first bowl of these Pesto Chicken and Vegetables I was like, “Oh yes, I’m going to make this every single week.” It’s the perfect light, flavorful, and fast recipe for meal prep. And it’s just SO SIMPLE.

Pesto chicken and vegetables in a skillet

Vegetable Options

I used a summery mix of yellow squash, zucchini, red bell pepper, green beans, and red onion for this quick sauté, but there are a lot of options when it comes to the vegetables. Here are some other vegetables you could add:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh corn
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach

The key thing to keep in mind when using different vegetables is when to add them to the skillet. For this recipe you don’t want to fully cook the vegetables. They should be just tender-crisp. So, keeping that in mind, add sturdy vegetables first and tender vegetables later to make sure they don’t get overcooked.

Can I Substitute the Chicken?

Yes, there are options for that, too! I think shrimp would be absolutely awesome in this recipe, as would tofu. If using tofu, I would do a cornstarch coating and fry it separately (see the technique used in this recipe) before tossing it together with the vegetables and pesto at the end.

How to Serve Pesto Chicken and Vegetables

I ate this dish as-is, just a bowl of flavorful chicken and vegetables. But there are more options! You could eat this over a bowl of rice, stir in some cooked orzo or quinoa, or even add them to a bed of greens. Honestly, I would probably even add them to a flat bread and top with mozzarella as a sort of vegetable pizza!

How Long Does it Stay Good?

I got about four days out of my pesto chicken and vegetables, but this can vary depending on the conditions in your refrigerator, freshness of the ingredients, and how long you cook the vegetables. As I mentioned above, you want to barely cook the vegetables for this recipe. Just make them tender-crisp so they don’t get too wilted. Not only does this give them great texture and a fresh, bright flavor, but they last a little longer in the fridge, too.

side view of a bowl full of pesto chicken and vegetables
Easy pesto chicken and vegetables in a skillet with a spatula

Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables

This Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables meal prep is super fast and easy, and holds up well in the fridge for tasty lunches all week!
Total Cost $11.07 recipe / $2.72 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 369.33kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 zucchini $0.60
  • 1 yellow squash $0.50
  • 1/2 red onion $0.19
  • 1.3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast $6.67
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1 cup frozen green beans $0.67
  • 1/3 cup pesto* $0.73
  • 1/8 tsp salt* $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper* $0.01
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan* $0.11

Instructions

  • Chop the bell pepper, yellow squash, and zucchini, and slice the red onion. I like to make different shapes for each vegetable, but aim to make the pieces all around the same size.
  • Cube the chicken breasts into ½-inch pieces.
  • Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Once the skillet and oil are very hot, add the chicken and sauté until the chicken pieces are opaque (3-5 minutes – the chicken will continue to cook as you add vegetables).
  • Add the green beans to the skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes more, or just until thawed.
  • Add the bell pepper and red onion to the skillet. Sauté for 1-2 minutes more. If water is beginning to pool in the skillet, turn the heat up slightly. It should be hot enough that the water released from the vegetables evaporates quickly.
  • Add the yellow squash and zucchini to the skillet and continue to sauté 2-3 minutes more, or just until the squash softens slightly.
  • Turn the heat off, add the pesto to the skillet, and stir until everything is coated. Give the vegetables a taste and add salt, pepper, or more pesto if desired. Top with a light sprinkle of Parmesan just before serving.

Notes

*You may need more or less pesto, salt, pepper, or Parmesan depending on the volume of your vegetables and your personal taste. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 369.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.68g | Protein: 36.8g | Fat: 19.2g | Sodium: 423.15mg | Fiber: 3.43g
Pesto chicken and vegetables in glass meal prep containers lined up side by side

How to Make Pesto Chicken and Vegetables – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Chop the vegetables first so they’re ready to go. Chop one red bell pepper, one yellow squash, one zucchini, slice ½ of one red onion and measure 1 cup frozen green beans. I like to do different shapes for the vegetables, but aim to keep them roughly the same size.

Cubed chicken breast on a cutting board

Cut 1.3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast into ½-inch pieces.

Cooked chicken in the skillet, frozen green beans being poured in

Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Once very hot, add the cubed chicken and sauté just until the chicken is opaque (3-5 minutes – it will continue to cook as you add more vegetables). Next, add the frozen green beans and sauté for a couple of minutes more, or just until thawed.

Red bell pepper and red onion added to the skillet

Next add the bell pepper and red onion. Continue to sauté a couple of minutes more. If you see water pooling in the skillet, turn the heat up higher. The heat should be high enough that any moisture released by the vegetables evaporates quickly.

zucchini and yellow squash added to the skillet

Finally, add the yellow squash and zucchini to the skillet. Sauté just a couple of minutes more, or just until the raw edge is taken off the squash.

Pesto being added to the skillet

Turn the heat off. Add about ⅓ cup pesto to the skillet and stir until everything is coated.

Finished pesto chicken and vegetables

Give the vegetables a taste and add salt, pepper, or more pesto if needed (I added a pinch of each).

pesto chicken and vegetables in a bowl topped with a pinch of parmesan

Top with a light sprinkle of Parmesan just before serving.

Three glass meal prep containers full of pesto chicken and vegetables

Perfect for meal prep!!

The post Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Simple Sautéed Vegetables

“What should I serve on the side?” is one of the most common questions I get. So it’s never a bad idea to have an arsenal of simple side dishes that you know how to make by heart and that can be paired with just about anything you cook. These simple sautéed vegetables are exactly […]

The post Simple Sautéed Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

“What should I serve on the side?” is one of the most common questions I get. So it’s never a bad idea to have an arsenal of simple side dishes that you know how to make by heart and that can be paired with just about anything you cook. These simple sautéed vegetables are exactly that. They’re easy, colorful, delicious, flexible, and go with just about anything you make for dinner.

Sautéed vegetables in a skillet with a spatula

This Recipe is Flexible!

This is actually more of a technique than a recipe because you can swap in just about any vegetable or seasoning that you have to make this match your meal. See all my vegetable and seasoning ideas below!

Vegetable Options

I used carrots, red bell pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash for my vegetable sauté, but you can swap in so many different types of vegetables. I suggest aiming for a variety of colors and textures, and chopping them into different shapes to keep things interesting.

The only other thing to know is to add hard vegetables to the skillet first and softer vegetables to the skillet last, so they can all achieve a similar level of doneness. Here are some great vegetable options:

  • Broccoli
  • Red or Yellow Onion
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans
  • Snow Peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus

While this quick sauté is a great option for most vegetables, here are a few that I’d avoid for this method:

  • Potatoes (unless pre-boiled)
  • Tomatoes (too watery, will create a wet cooking environment)
  • Leafy Greens (you might get away with kale, but others are probably too delicate)
Sautéed Vegetables on a plate with chicken and rice

Seasoning Options

I uses a super simple combination of basil, oregano, salt, and pepper for my vegetables because that mix goes with just about anything. But you can totally switch that up and add different seasonings to match your meal. Here are some other seasoning ideas:

High Heat is Key

The one true key to making these sautéed vegetables turn out well is to make sure you use a really hot skillet. Medium-high works well for me, but this can vary depending on your cookware and the individual settings on your stove top. The skillet should be hot enough that water sprinkled on the surface sputters and spatters, but not hot enough that the oil begins to smoke.

Why high heat? High heat ensures that any moisture coming out of the vegetables evaporates quickly, instead of pooling in the skillet, which would cause the vegetables to simmer and soften instead of staying nice and crisp.

Side view of sautéed vegetables in the skillet
Side view of sautéed vegetables in the skillet

Simple Sautéed Vegetables

These simple sautéed vegetables are an easy, delicious, and colorful side dish that can go with just about anything you make for dinner!
Total Cost $2.92 recipe / $0.73 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 102.55kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 carrots $0.42
  • 1 zucchini $0.72
  • 1 yellow squash $0.78
  • 1/2 red bell pepper* $0.75
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.07
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional) $0.04

Instructions

  • Peel and slice the carrots. Chop the zucchini and yellow squash into half-rounds. Slice the bell pepper.
  • Heat the skillet over medium-high. Once the skillet is very hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the sliced carrots and sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Next, add the bell pepper, zucchini, squash, basil, oregano, and garlic powder. Continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or just until the vegetables begin to soften. You want to take the raw edge off the vegetables, but not cook them to the point where they are limp.
  • Once the vegetables have just begun to soften, remove the skillet from the heat. Add the butter and toss until it has melted and coated the vegetables. Finally, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, give them a taste and adjust the salt or pepper as needed. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley just before serving.

Notes

*You can use a full pepper. I happened to have a leftover half pepper from something else, which it’s listed as ½ in the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 102.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.98g | Protein: 2.15g | Fat: 6.9g | Sodium: 166.88mg | Fiber: 3g

How to Make Simple Sautéed Vegetables – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Start by chopping all of your vegetables ahead of time because this dish cooks quickly and you won’t have time to do any chopping after the cooking begins. I used 3 carrots, one zucchini, one yellow squash, and half of a red bell pepper (I had that left over from something else). Whatever vegetables you choose, aim for a variety of colors and textures.

Carrots being sautéed in a skillet

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once the skillet is very hot, add 1 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the sliced carrots and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Since carrots are a hard vegetable and they take a bit longer to cook, they will go in before the rest of the vegetables.

Zucchini, squash, bell pepper, and herbs added to the skillet

Next, add the zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper, along with ¼ tsp dried basil, ⅛ tsp dried oregano, and ⅛ tsp garlic powder. Sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or until the vegetables just begin to soften. You want to take the raw edge off, but not cook them to the point where they are soft and mushy.

butter added to sautéed vegetables in the skillet

Once the vegetables being to soften a bit, remove the skillet from the heat and add 1 Tbsp butter. Toss until the butter is melted and coating the vegetables.

Finished sautéed vegetables in the skillet with a spatula

Finish the vegetables by seasoning with a pinch of salt and pepper. Give them a taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Garnish with chopped parsley (optional) and serve!

Close up side view of sautéed vegetables in the skillet

Eat the rainbow!

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Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne

This was actually supposed to be a baked ziti, but it turns out ziti is just about impossible to find in grocery stores right now, so I went with a Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne instead. Sometimes you just have to roll with it! This recipe is a very vegetable-forward version of my Classic Baked Ziti, chock […]

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This was actually supposed to be a baked ziti, but it turns out ziti is just about impossible to find in grocery stores right now, so I went with a Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne instead. Sometimes you just have to roll with it! This recipe is a very vegetable-forward version of my Classic Baked Ziti, chock full of colorful vegetables, a quick homemade red sauce, and layers of ooey-gooey cheese. This recipes makes a LOT of pasta but the leftovers are awesome and freezable! 

Overhead view of a casserole dish full of roasted vegetable baked penne

Take a Short Cut

This roasted vegetable baked penne is kind of a labor of love because there are so many moving parts, BUT you can take a short cut by using some jarred pasta sauce instead of making your own. Use about one and a half 24oz. jars of store-bought pasta sauce in place of the homemade sauce listed below.

How to Store Leftovers

As I mentioned in the intro, this makes a LOT of pasta. But the leftovers are super yummy, and it makes a really great item to stash in your freezer for grab-n-go lunches or quick dinners on busy nights. After baking, divide the pasta into single serving containers and transfer to the refrigerator. Once fully cooled, you can transfer some (or all) of the containers to the freezer for longer storage. I usually leave as many as I can eat in one week in the fridge and freeze the left. The leftovers can be reheated quickly in the microwave.

What Vegetables Can You Use?

I used a classic mix of zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, and bell pepper so I could have a really colorful mix. If you want to substitute any of these vegetables, here are some other good options:

  • Mushrooms
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots

In general you want to opt for softer vegetables for this dish, as opposed to harder root vegetables, but if you do want to include vegetables that are more firm, make sure to cut them into much smaller pieces to help them soften more quickly while they roast.

Close up front view of roasted vegetable baked penne being scooped out of the casserole dish

 
Overhead view of roasted vegetable baked penne being scooped out of the casserole dish

Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne

Layers of pasta, flavorful roasted vegetables, a simple homemade red sauce, and melty cheese make this roasted vegetable baked penne to die for!
Total Cost $11.34 recipe / $1.42 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 494.86kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 red onion $0.44
  • 1 zucchini $0.79
  • 1 yellow squash $1.11
  • 1 bell pepper $1.69
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.26
  • tsp salt $0.02
  • tsp pepper $0.02

Simple Red Sauce

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.26
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.79
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste $0.12
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning* $0.30
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • ½ cup water $0.02

Pasta & Cheese

  • 1 lb. penne $1.00
  • 15 oz. ricotta $2.19
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend**, divided $1.86
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish) $0.11

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Dice the red onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper into 1-inch pieces. Spread the diced vegetables out over a large baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss until all the vegetables are coated in oil.
  • Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven, stirring once half way through, for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the edges are brown and caramelized.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, begin the red sauce. Finely dice the yellow onion and add it to a sauce pot with the butter. Sauté for a few minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, and water.
  • Stir the sauce to combine. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are finished roasting (about 30 minutes).
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the shredded Italian cheese blend, and ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the penne. Once boiling, add the penne and continue to boil until the pasta is tender. Drain the penne in a colander, then return it to the pot with the heat turned off.
  • Stir one cup of the red sauce into the drained pasta to coat the pasta in flavor. Add the roasted vegetables to the remaining red sauce and stir to combine.
  • To layer the casserole, place half of the sauce coated penne in the bottom of a 9x13" or 3 quart casserole dish. Add half of the cheese mixture on top in dollops, followed by half of the roasted vegetable and red sauce mixture. The ingredients do not need to create a solid layer or completely cover the previous layer. Repeat with a second layer of pasta, cheese, and vegetable red sauce. Finally, top the casserole with the second cup of shredded Italian cheese blend.
  • Cover the casserole with foil, making sure it doesn't touch the cheese on top. Place the casserole in the oven (still turned on to 400ºF) and bake for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, remove the foil and switch the oven from bake to broil. Broil the top of the casserole to brown the cheese for 3-5 minutes (watch closely as broilers can vary quite a bit from oven to oven). Top with chopped parsley if desired and serve!

Notes

*If you do not have Italian seasoning, you can replace this with equal parts dried basil, dried oregano, dried morjoram, and thyme.
*If you do not have shredded Italian cheese blend, use equal amounts shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, and provolone. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 494.86kcal | Carbohydrates: 60.24g | Protein: 20.76g | Fat: 19.79g | Sodium: 681.56mg | Fiber: 5.35g

How to Make Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne

Whole vegetables on a cutting board

For the roasted vegetables I used one red onion, one zucchini, one yellow squash, and one red bell pepper. You can choose just about any vegetable you’d like (see notes above the recipe for suggestions).

Diced vegetables on a baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Dice the vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Place the diced vegetables on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables until they are coated in oil.

Roasted vegetables on the baking sheet

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast, stirring once halfway through, for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and caramelized on the edges.

Diced onion and butter in a sauce pot

While the vegetables are roasting, begin the rest of the casserole. Start with the homemade red sauce. Dice one yellow onion and add it to a sauce pot with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft.

Red sauce ingredients in the pot

Once the onions are soft, add one 28oz. can crushed tomatoes, 3 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp salt, and ½ cup water. Stir to combine. Allow the sauce to come up to the simmer, then turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are done roasting (about 30 minutes). 

Cheese mixture ingredients in a bowl

While the vegetables are roasting and the red sauce is simmering away, prepare the cheese. Stir together 15oz. ricotta, 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend, ¼ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp salt.

Stirring red sauce into cooked pasta.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add 1 lb. penne and continue to boil until the penne is tender. Drain the pasta in a colander, then return it to the pot with the heat turned off. Add 1 cup of the red sauce and stir to coat.

Roasted vegetables added to the pot of red sauce.

Stir the roasted vegetables into the rest of the red sauce.

Layer one of baked penne in the casserole dish

Now that the sauce, cheese, and pasta are done, it’s time to start layering! Add half of the sauce coated pasta to the bottom of a 9×13″ (3 quart) casserole dish. Next, add half of the cheese mixture in dollops, followed by half of the vegetable red sauce. Each layer will not fully cover the previous layer. You don’t need to spend time trying to spread it out. It will all melt together as it bakes.

Second layers of baked penne in the casserole dish

Repeat with a second layer of pasta, cheese, and vegetable red sauce. Finally, add the second cup of shredded Italian cheese blend on top.

Baked Penne casserole with foil covering half the dish

Cover the casserole dish with foil, taking care not to let it touch the cheese. Bake the casserole for 35 minutes.

Finished roasted vegetable baked penne in the casserole dish

After 35 minutes, remove the foil and change the oven from bake to broil. Let it broil for a few minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown on top. Top with a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley for garnish, if desired.

Overhead view of roasted vegetable baked penne being scooped out of the casserole dish

Enjoy!

The post Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Recipe | Pesto-Roasted Veggie Sandwiches

I never need an excuse to go to our local French bakery. I might go there to get something for a meal, but I won’t leave without a tarte tatin or eclair. The bakery is owned and operated by a French family, so the food and the accents really make…

I never need an excuse to go to our local French bakery. I might go there to get something for a meal, but I won’t leave without a tarte tatin or eclair. The bakery is owned and operated by a French family, so the food and the accents really make you feel like you’re in Paris and not Wisconsin. (Oh, how I wish I was in Paris and not Wisconsin.) Anyway! In seeking new and different ways to use pesto, I wanted to do something sandwichy. Yes, it’s a word! Sandwichy! I bought a crusty loaf of sourdough bread from aforementioned bakery, and then yellow squash, zucchini, and portabella mushrooms from the grocery store. I had pesto, Parmesan cheese, and an onion on hand. Because roasting is pretty much my default way of preparing vegetables, I thought I’d marinate the veggies in a pesto and olive oil mixture and then throw them in the oven until they got all caramelized and delicious. If you prefer grilling your vegetables, that would work too, of course—I mean, basically the idea is to cook the vegetables before putting them on the sandwich, you know? These sandwiches are bound to become a weekend staple […]

Ratatouille

It’s ratatouille season! Ratatouille is a classic end-of-summer French stew that’s fun to say (rat-tuh-TOO-ee) and fun to make. It’s packed with fresh produce: tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini…

The post Ratatouille appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

best ratatouille recipe

It’s ratatouille season! Ratatouille is a classic end-of-summer French stew that’s fun to say (rat-tuh-TOO-ee) and fun to make. It’s packed with fresh produce: tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash, and bell pepper.

This summer, we sampled authentic French ratatouille in Provence. I liked some ratatouille more than others, so I vowed to come up with my own favorite ratatouille recipe when I came home. Today is the day!

ratatouille ingredients

In Provence, ratatouille is typically cooked on the stove. Each vegetable is cooked in olive oil until it’s properly tender. In the end, all of the ingredients are combined and simmered to meld the flavors.

The French know how to cook, and this concept is definitely one to follow. Ratatouille combines a large volume of late-summer vegetables that have different cook times. If you tried to throw them all into a pot at once, none of the veggies would have a chance to caramelize, the eggplant would fall apart by the time the zucchini is tender, and your ratatouille would probably never meet its full potential.

This recipe is a little different. We’re going to roast the vegetables until they’re deliciously caramelized on the edges and a little dehydrated (no squeaky or mushy zucchini here). Then, we’ll add those perfectly roasted veggies to a simmering fresh tomato sauce.

This method yields amazing ratatouille. My husband says it’s the best he’s ever had. It’s also easier to make than proper stovetop ratatouille, since it requires less time standing over the stove. Hooray!

Continue to the recipe...

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Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep

Making sure I get vegetables into my diet takes daily effort. But one thing I know for sure is that if I have them prepped, I am 1000x more likely to eat them. So this week I made these Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep boxes to hopefully remove one more barrier between me and my […]

The post Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Making sure I get vegetables into my diet takes daily effort. But one thing I know for sure is that if I have them prepped, I am 1000x more likely to eat them. So this week I made these Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep boxes to hopefully remove one more barrier between me and my vegetables.?

Four glass rectangle meal prep containers with Roasted Vegetable Salads and three small dressing containers

How to Eat Your Roasted Vegetable Salads

This salad is meant to be eaten cold, but you could certainly warm it if you prefer. Warming the salad will cause the spinach to wilt, so it will be more like a sautéed spinach in the dish, which would still be quite delish! You’ll still want to add the dressing after reheating.

Dressing Options

I used my Lemon Dill Tahini Dressing for this salad because I’m still obsessed with it, but I think there are some other suitable options if this one is not your favorite. A green goddess dressing would be amazing, as would a yogurt based Greek salad dressing. 

Vegetable Options

What I love about this meal prep is that you can always change up the vegetables to give it a new flavor. It’s still the tail end of summer, so I am using mostly summer vegetables here. Other great summer vegetable options are eggplant, asparagus, and bell peppers.

When we head into fall and winter I’ll probably start using harder winter vegetables, like sweet potato, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots. Just keep in mind that the hard winter vegetables may take slightly longer to roast.

Other Topping Ideas

I’m all about keeping things simple, but if you have some of these items laying around waiting to be used up, here are some other ingredients that would make great toppings for this roasted vegetable salad: pita bread (cut into wedges), kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, or fresh parsley.

Dressing being poured onto a Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep container

Where can I get those containers??

The glass containers are the 3-cup rectangular Pyrex containers and the dressing cups are 2.5 oz. metal dipping cups. Both were purchased from Amazon, and can be found in the “meal prep” category of my Amazon Shop

 

Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep

These Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep boxes are an easy, no-reheat, plan-ahead lunch option that will help you get your daily vegetables!

Lemon Dill Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • Freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
  • 1/4 cup tahini ($0.75)
  • 1/4 cup warm water ($0.00)
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.09)

Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa ($1.20)
  • 1.75 cups water ($0.00)

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes ($1.99)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms ($1.69)
  • 1 zucchini ($0.95)
  • 1 yellow squash ($0.56)
  • 1 red onion ($0.44)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)

Other

  • 4 cups fresh spinach ($2.15)
  • 1/2 cup hummus ($1.15)
  1. Make the dressing first. In a small bowl combine the garlic powder, onion powder, dill, parsley, salt, pepper, tahini, water, and lemon juice. Stir or whisk until smooth. Refrigerate the dressing as you prepare the rest of the salad.

  2. Begin cooking the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa well in a fine wire mesh sieve. Place the rinsed quinoa in a small sauce pot and add 1.75 cups water. Place a lid on top, turn the heat on to high, and bring it up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

  3. After letting the quinoa simmer for 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest with the lid in place for five minutes. Empty the cooked quinoa out into a casserole dish, spreading it out to increase the surface area. Refrigerate the dish with the quinoa until you're ready to assemble the meal preps.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place the grape tomatoes onto a large baking sheet. Slice the onion into 1/4-inch strips. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash into 1/4-inch wide half-rounds. Cut the mushrooms in half. Mix the vegetables together on the baking sheet. If there are too many to fit in a single layer on the baking sheet, divide them between two baking sheets.

  5. Add the olive oil, oregano, garlic powder, and salt to the vegetables. Use your hands to mix the vegetables and seasoning, until the vegetables are well coated in oil.

  6. Roast the vegetables in the preheated 400ºF oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until the vegetables are browned on the edges. Allow the vegetables to cool for about 10 minutes at room temperature.

  7. To build the meal prep bowls, place one heaping cup of spinach in each dish. Add 1/2 cup of the cooked and cooled quinoa on top of the spinach. Divide the roasted vegetables between the four containers, then add 2 Tbsp hummus to each dish.

  8. Divide the dressing between four small dressing containers. Refrigerate the salads and dressing for up to 4 days.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Four glass containers with Roasted Vegetable Salad and three dressing containers

Step by Step Photos

Lemon Dill Tahini Dressing dripping off a spoon into a white bowl.

Make the Lemon Dill Tahini Dressing first. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp dried dill, 1/2 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp salt, some freshly cracked pepper, 1/4 cup tahini, 1/4 cup warm water, and 3 Tbsp lemon juice. Stir or whisk until smooth. Refrigerate the dressing until you’re ready to make your salads.

Cooked Quinoa in the pot

Next, begin the quinoa. Rinse 1 cup quinoa well in a fine wire mesh sieve. Place the rinsed quinoa in a small sauce pot, add 1.75 cups water, and place a lid on top. Place the pot over high heat and allow it to come to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Spread out quinoa in a dish to cool

After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the quinoa rest, with the lid in place, for 5 minutes. Then empty out the quinoa into a shallow dish and spread it out to increase the surface area, so it will cool faster. Refrigerate the quinoa until you’re ready to build your salads.

Whole vegetables for Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep

Begin preheating the oven to 400ºF. You can use any mix of vegetables for this meal prep (see notes above the recipe for more ideas). I used 8 oz. mushrooms, 1 pint grape tomatoes, 1 red onion, 1 zucchini, and 1 yellow squash.

Chopped vegetables ready to roast on a sheet pan.

Slice the onion into 1/4-inch strips, slice the zucchini and yellow squash into 1/4-inch half-rounds, and cut the mushrooms in half. Leave the tomatoes whole. Combine the vegetables and spread them out onto a large baking sheet so they are in a single layer. Use two sheets if needed to make sure they’re not piled on top of one another. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Toss until the vegetables are well coated in oil and spices.

Roasted vegetables on the sheet pan

Roast the vegetables, stirring every 15 minutes, until they are browned on the edges (about 40 minutes). Let the vegetables cool on the sheet pan for about 10 minutes.

Add spinach and quinoa to meal prep containers

To build the meal prep salads, add a heaping cup of spinach to each container. Then add 1/2 cup cooked and cooled quinoa to each container.

roasted vegetables and hummus added to containers

Once the vegetables are cool enough that they won’t wilt the spinach, divide the roasted vegetables between the four containers. Add 2 Tbsp hummus to each container.

Divide dressing into containers

Lastly, divide your dressing into four small containers. Refrigerate your roasted vegetable salad up to four days.

Glass meal prep containers with Roasted Vegetable Salad in a row.

The post Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad with Raw Squash and Feta

Meet my favorite couscous salad, featuring pearled couscous and colorful summertime produce. This Mediterranean-style salad is light, refreshing, and overflowing with colorful rounds of thinly sliced raw…

The post Mediterranean Couscous Salad with Raw Squash and Feta appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

Mediterranean couscous salad recipe

Meet my favorite couscous salad, featuring pearled couscous and colorful summertime produce. This Mediterranean-style salad is light, refreshing, and overflowing with colorful rounds of thinly sliced raw zucchini and yellow squash. That’s right, raw squash! It’s so good.

This salad is a simple, light summer dish full of vegetables, whole grains, chickpeas and feta. I came up with this recipe six years ago for Free People’s blog, and it’s become one of my mom’s go-to potluck dishes. So, I thought I’d update it to meet my 2019 standards.

couscous salad ingredients

This salad is just the kind of meal I’m craving during this hot summer weather, and it would be perfect for your Fourth of July parties. If you’re looking for more Independence Day recipes, I’ve got you covered. I’ve listed a few of my other favorite salads below, too!

Continue to the recipe...

The post Mediterranean Couscous Salad with Raw Squash and Feta appeared first on Cookie and Kate.