I have talked about meal planning and bulk meal prep on the blog before (here). Today, I wanted to bring the concept to life in one of my go-to recipes that can be 100% made ahead of time and enjoyed for dinner with enough leftovers for lunch. It is that perfect make-you-feel-light-and-yet-full meal. These colorful and flavorful bowls offer plant-based protein from the quinoa, chickpeas and tahini sauce. The starchy sweet potatoes help make it even more filling. Roasting vegetables is one of my favorite ways to reach my daily intake. This recipe really emphasizes a variety of colorful vegetables of different textures to keep each bite satisfying.
Whenever I make this simple meal on Instagram stories I get lots of questions about how I make the chickpeas, roast the veggies, make the sauce and layer the tasks in the most efficient way. I make this so many times and have it down to a science now. I’m excited to share my simple methods with you in the recipe below.
Here is the broad overview: Prep and roast your veggies and chickpeas in the oven (max cook time is 35 minutes – I use my countertop oven for the chickpeas since they cook at a different temperature). Make a batch of quinoa on the stovetop (start this after the veggies go in – takes about 30 minutes but requires almost no hands-on time). Whisk together the tahini sauce (takes 2-3 minutes). Assemble your bowl and enjoy!
You certainly don’t have to do this all at once if you don’t have time. All of this can be made 3-5 days in advance if you prefer to spread out the tasks. I would say the chickpeas are best when fresh if possible so if you can do one thing last minute I would choose that. But, they are just fine if you cannot manage that. I typically double or triple the crispy chickpeas while I’m making them so I have more to snack on and use in meals throughout the week. You can also use hummus in place of the crispy chickpeas and tahini sauce if you want to simplify this dish even further.
Having these basics on hand (cooked quinoa, a good sauce, roasted veggies & crispy chickpeas) makes pulling together easy salads, bowls and meals a breeze on busy weeknights.
Many of you have asked me if my kids will eat this recipe. The short answer is, yes, sort of! I deconstruct it for them and they eat parts of it, which I feel is better than becoming a short order cook and making completely separate meals. This one is full of good-for-you nutrients that they need so I’m happy if they each get in one veggie from this meal. Here is how it usually goes down in our household: I put everything out buffet style and my kids select which vegetables they want to use to build their bowl. They typically dip the vegetables in the tahini sauce and eat handfuls of the crispy chickpeas on the side. My five-year-old loves quinoa and can eat a boatload of that, but my three-year-old doesn’t go for it yet. My 18-month-old eats just about anything these days so he is a happy camper when I put elements of this bowl in front of him.
With the kids, I’ve learned sometimes all the components of a meal together are not appealing but if I deconstruct them and allow them to select what they want on their plate from what I have prepared they will feel more in control and actually want to eat it. I try to choose a variety of colors with the vegetables. I selected my favorite combination here (sweet potatoes, beets, broccoli and cauliflower) but you can use any vegetables you want (or that you know your kids like). To keep it extra kid-friendly (and also simple) I toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper. If I’m