Enjoy our chef-approved tips and tricks for family meal prep!
By the time you finish work, plan dinner for the night, grocery shop, cook, and clean, it can feel like there’s no time left to spend with your family. A great way to get that time back, while also saving money and making it easier to eat healthier, is to start meal prepping! Our chefs have mastered the art of meal prepping and every week prepare 3-5 meals for their clients. Meal prepping can be intimidating if you aren’t able to regularly work with our chefs, especially if you’re cooking for your entire family. However, by using some of our chef’s techniques you’ll be a pro in no time! So, to explain some of our top meal prep tips and to help you practice, we’re going to run through the basics of making buddha bowls!
What are Buddha Bowls?
Recently, you may have seen Buddha Bowls on a list of trendy foods or on the menu of your local vegan restaurant. But, if you are not familiar, they are a traditionally vegetarian meal made with a whole grain base, roasted veggies, and plant-based proteins. However, several chefs and home cooks have put their own spin on the concept, occasionally adding more traditional proteins or different bases. These bowls are extremely customizable and utilize ingredients that are easily repurposed in different recipes, which makes it a great way to start meal prepping for your family. In addition, they are also jam packed with nutrients and work for a wide variety of diets!
Building Your Bowls and the Basics of Meal Prep
First, you have to choose what you want to go into your bowls. Below we compiled just a few of the possible ingredients you can use to make your Buddha Bowls. If you’re overwhelmed by the options, it might be helpful to think of what flavors your family usually likes. For instance, you can pick your ingredients based on your favorites and create Mexican, Mediterranean, or Asian-inspired bowls. Alternatively, just let your creativity run wild!
Cilantro Lime Dressing
Sweet Chili Sauce
Your Base: Cooking in Bulk and Planning Your Meal Prep
One of the tenants of meal prepping is cooking in bulk. Cooking big batches of versatile ingredients can be a huge money and time saver and works as a great foundation to build your meals throughout the week. For example, your base for your Buddha Bowl is a great thing to cook in bulk for meal prep because you’ll just need to add extra scoops of whole grains or additional servings of noodles to the pot to have enough for other dinners. Rice especially can be repurposed for almost every meal.
If you decide to cook in bulk, it’s important to plan in advance to make sure you’re using everything up. First, pick a time to plan out all of your meals for the week, while factoring in days to have leftovers. Then, build your menu around your ingredients you can cook in bulk. For instance, if you’re making Buddha Bowls and you’re planning on using rice noodles as your base, consider making a chicken stir fry or another Asian noodle dish. Moreover, planning everything at once will eliminate the dreaded “what should I make for dinner tonight?” panic and last-minute grocery runs.
Your Protein: Meal Prep for Several Diets
If you’re cooking for a wide variety of diets and tastes, you shouldn’t have to cook separate meals to accommodate your entire family. Buddha Bowls are the perfect example of a meal that can be easily made for anyone with easy substitutions and just a few more steps. For example, if you’re making Mediterranean-inspired bowls, and you have a vegetarian and a meat lover in your family, you can roast some chickpeas with your other veggies and sauté some chicken on the side so everyone has a source of protein. Planning meals around vegetables and plant-based proteins and cooking traditional proteins in separate pans is a great way to make meals accessible to your entire family.
Your Veggies: The Power of the Sheet Pan
If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest then you’ve likely been bombarded with “sheet pan dinners”, and with good reason. Sheet pans are a tried-and-true tool for our chefs and veteran meal preppers. Cooking several ingredients at once using a sheet pan reduces cook time, cuts down on dishes, and is a great way to prep the veggies for your buddha bowls. Once you’ve cut up your veggies, evenly spread them out on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Most importantly, make sure your veggies aren’t too crowded. When you crowd anything in a pan, it will cook unevenly. Afterwards, drizzle your veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with desired seasonings. If you have any extra room on your sheet pan, consider pre-roasting veggies for a dinner later in the week.
This easy and vegetarian friendly Buddha Bowl recipe is a great way to experiment with meal prep! For the meat lover in your family, add some grilled chicken for an extra source of protein. After you’re done making your bowls, if you have extra veggies and toppings serve them in a pita for a meal later in the week!
Moroccan Cauliflower Buddha Bowls
Roughly 6 servings
- 2 cups dry couscous, prepared per package instructions
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- 14 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 zucchini
- 1 red onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Feta cheese crumbles or goat cheese
Tzatziki (can be substituted for store bought cucumber dill dip)
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup Cucumber shredded
- 2 teaspoons salt (for cucumbers)
- 3 teaspoons fresh garlic minced
- 3 teaspoons dill
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the couscous according to package instructions. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
- Next, dice zucchini, red onion, and bell pepper
- In a small bowl, combine ground cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and ground coriander.
- Spread cauliflower, chickpeas, zucchini, red onion, and bell pepper evenly on sheet pan.
- Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with spices
- Bake for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, as the vegetables are roasting, shred the cucumber for the tzatziki and place in a mesh strainer. Sprinkle the cucumber with salt and set aside.
- Combine yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon juice, and olive oil.
- Press down on the shredded cumber in the mesh strainer to press out extra liquid, then combine with yogurt mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Finally, to assemble the bowls, combine cooked couscous and roasted vegetables, then top with hummus, tzatziki, and feta/goat cheese as desired.