Is anyone else getting back in the groove of prepping for the week after transitioning from remote work back to the office?
Now that I’m in the office five days a week, I’m using part of my Sundays to make sure that I’ve got meals prepped, laundry done, and that I just feel generally prepared for a week outside of my house.
Recently, I started bulk prepping a lunch meal that is super easy, can be mixed and matched for whatever food restrictions you might have, and is really tasty.
If you want to get into bulk prepping your lunch meals, this might be a good place to start.
To make this meal, I use the following equipment:
- rice cooker (although you can easily use the stove to prep)
- sheet pans
- parchment paper
- nonstick cook pan
- glass containers to store for the week
Here are the ingredients you need:
- 2 potatoes (you could use regular or sweet potatoes)
- a package of frozen green beans that can be steam cooked in the microwave (the pre-cut ones work best)
- 2 zucchinis (or any squash of choice)
- 2 bell peppers (any color, but I tend to use red to add color)
- 1 block of tofu (or other protein of choice — a can of rinsed beans like chickpeas would also work well here)
- 1 cup of dry quinoa (other grains would also be fine)
- grape tomatoes and chopped cucumber (for garnish)
- olive oil
- soy sauce
- salad dressing of choice
Once I have these ingredients, I do the following:
- rinse the quinoa (or other grain) and add to the rice cooker (1 cup quinoa requires 2 cups of water) — mine takes about an hour to cook
- start the oven to heat to 375 degrees (Fahrenheit)
- chop the potatoes and mix them with some extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked black pepper (other seasonings could easily be added here)
- put the potatoes on the sheet pan spread out in one layer (this is where I use parchment paper) and cook them in the oven for 20 minutes, removing them to toss with a spatula, and then cooking for 20 minutes again (so, 40 minutes total)
- while the potatoes are cooking, chop and saute the zucchini and bell pepper in a little olive oil until cooked, but a little al dente, in a nonstick pan; once they are done, remove from heat and set aside
- chop tofu into half inch cubes and toss in a little sauce (I usually just use soy sauce for a simple flavor, but the possibilities here are endless)
- heat up the green beans in the microwave using instructions on the bag (I have a brand that I can get at my grocery store that just steam cooks in the bag in about 5 minutes)
- when the potatoes are done cooking, add them to a large mixing bowl and combine with the zucchini, bell pepper, and green beans
- using the sheet pan that the potatoes were on (and using the same parchment paper), add the tofu spread in one layer and let that cook for about 20 minutes, removing to toss with a spatula, and then cooking for another 10 minutes or so until the cubes are browned
- when the quinoa is done cooking, add to the large mixing bowl with the other vegetables and toss to combine
- to wrap it all up, I dish out a few spoonfuls of the mixture into my glass containers that I use for lunches and then add some of the tofu cubes on top — that’s it!
I eat this dish as a kind of cold salad, so I like to add a little salad dressing once I’m actually eating it at work. (I would recommend adding the dressing right before eating rather than mixing it into the large batch.)
The morning of the day that I’m eating the meal, I also add some chopped grape tomatoes and cucumber to the container as well so that I have a little more vegetable variety.
As you can imagine, this is a bulk prep meal that could be modified in all kinds of ways. Adding different seasonings and sauces could make this a curry-flavored dish, a Mexican-style dish, and you can switch out the veggies for whatever you have on hand.
I’ve loved putting this together and getting five full meals out of it for a week’s worth of lunches.
What are your current favorite bulk prep meals for work lunches?