has anyone else been fascinated by the really serious “meal preppers”? You know the girls who can package up a full week of breakfast and lunch in matching to go containers? Then instagram it ’cause, you must.
here are my thoughts.
first, props to the dedication. it takes time to make all those meals in bulk, to purchase and plan the ingredients, and if it helps someone stay on track and not eat food out all the time- I support it! I firmly believe in finding what works for you, prioritizing your health, and sticking to a routine once you find a balance.
however, I have the attention span of a goldfish, and I will never be a meal-prep-ten-lunches and stick with them kind of girl. i do however, believe in making larger portions for dinner, and having it for a lunch or two after. that’s efficiency.
I recipe plan, with wiggle room. I put together list of basic recipes I think I’d like to try for the week with a rough idea of what ingredients sound like they would complement one another.
I recently purchased Love and Lemons book, and she discusses cooking backward. see what is fresh and available, then create the recipe from there. if you aren’t reading Jeanine’s blog, do it! I find so much inspiration whenever I browse her posts.
so what does that have to do with pasta salad? well, nothing specifically. but I wanted to break down my latest pasta salad because it was thrown together in a matter of minutes, was filled with only simple and clean ingredients, and was enough for a couple days of lunch.
I chose to cook backward with this one. originally I thought of doing something with asparagus, but I wasn’t impressed when I arrived.
I hadn’t had zucchini or summer squash in a while, so I grabbed them! I also saw sun dried tomatoes and remembered that I had some black olives at home (i’m obsessed), so I thought perfect, I’ll throw those in.
I always love to incorporate fresh herbs. they really add another element to the flavor, and make a dish feel more sophisticated. feel me? basil was what I chose for this pasta salad. it’s aromatic, tastes fresh and crisp, and works perfectly in the spring and summer months.
// here’s what you need //
1/2 package of pasta of your choice
(feel free to try gluten free or protein packed chickpea pasta)
1 yellow summer squash
2 tbsp. EVOO plus another to drizzle on salad
2-3 cloves of garlic minced.
1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1 cup black olives pitted
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
himilayan sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of basil plus more to garnish
// here’s how you make it //
slice the zucchini and squash into thin coins.
add garlic and oil to pan over medium heat.
sauté the squash in pan until golden brown and softened.
while veggies are cooking, boil and cook pasta according to directions.
drain and transfer to large bowl.
toss the zucchini, squash, olives, and cherry tomatoes with the cooked pasta.
add an additional drizzle of olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp), red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and dried oregano.
toss to dress the salad.
add about 1/2 cup of chopped basil to the pasta salad and mix to combine.
garnish with a basil leaf, and serve.
there you have it! improvise with different veggies, or try a balsamic vinaigrette if you’d like! most importantly, pack it up in mason jars. they will stay fresh for longer because they are air tight, and they are just cute.
open fridge, throw a mason jar of prepped salad in your bag, and start your day knowing you have a healthy vegan recipe whenever hunger strikes mid work day.
but since it’s not monday YET, make a batch of this 15 minute summer pasta salad, and enjoy with someone you adore.
happy weekend! xo