Hi friends! This week’s meal prep is coming at you a day late because I was off on an adventure to Portland, Oregon! I had never been anywhere on the west and it was so, so fun. I spent a lot of time outside and everything was just so beautiful and the food…y’all. I ate some amazing meals and some amazing donuts and it was great! If you want to see I’ve got a highlight on my instagram 🙂
Now that I’m back I wanted a meal prep that was delicious (as always) but celebrated some of the fruit that’s becoming available right now so I threw pretty much all of them into a salad! I love salads but sometimes they just aren’t filling and leave me hungry an hour later – not ideal for lunch on a busy day. This salad is definitely a filling one and I love it! It’s super flexible and will always be delicious if it’s got all of the key components. I know it looks like a lot of elements, but most of it was just chopping things up so it’s a quick and easy meal prep option!
Elements to Make a GREAT Salad
- the greens – I personally love spinach but it’s about what you’ll be excited to eat! Greens like kale store super well but not everyone is a fan. I’ve got tips below for storing your greens to make sure they last all week
- the grains – I like to add grains to make sure the salad is going to keep me full. I had some extra quinoa in the freezer but farro or really any grain will be great. Just make sure when you make it to at least salt it! We don’t want it to be bland and the salt is the bare minimum. Other spices could be really fun too!
- the fruit and veg – I like to go for things that have some texture to them and a pop of sweetness, but also that are in season. Peaches are just becoming available at my local fruit stand so I used those, some blueberries, and apples. I also threw in some cucumber because I wanted a vegetable and also it’s crunchy which I love
- the protein – not strictly necessary but I like to include it! I make some quick grilled lemon chicken but use whatever you’d like, or leave it out
- the crunch – I always add some nuts or something with crunch to a salad because they add an extra element that makes the salad extra special. The pecans and pepitas in my freezer were the perfect addition. Whatever you use, just be sure to toast them so all the flavor comes out!
- the extras – think about adding a cheese or herb to add some extra flavors to the salad party. I added basil (my fav!) but some feta cheese would have been perfect here too!
- the dressing – I like a tangy one to go with all of the sweet fruit so I used my balsamic vinaigrette! use your favorite one though
Storing Greens & Fruits
In the past I’ve avoided meal prepping salads because it’s so hard to make sure that it stays fresh all week. However, I’ve finally cracked the code! Let’s look at the tricky elements:
- storing greens – I’ve found that, regardless of the greens you’re storing, your best bet is to wash them and make sure they’re as dry as humanly possible. then, place in a large storage bag along with one or two paper towels to capture any remaining moisture. Doing this I’ve found that anything, even my spinach, will easily last all week.
- storing cut fruit – the downside to precutting fruit is it can become browned and sad. just add a squeeze or two of lemon juice and it’ll still brown a tiny bit but far less than it would otherwise. the browning doesn’t affect the taste at all, just the look!
That’s it! The recipe for the perfect salad for me is below but switch it up so it’s YOUR perfect salad!
This salad is so fresh and bursting with tasty elements that will keep you happy and full! The fresh fruits bring pops of sweetness while the crunchy elements and herbs keep every bite interesting. Switch it up to use your favorite greens and fruits!
for the salad
- 1 package baby spinach
- 2 peaches
- 1 large apple
- 1 cucumber
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 red onion
- 1.5 cups cooked quinoa, or another grain
- 1/2 cup basil
for the balsamic viniagrette
- 6 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
for the lemon chicken
- 2 chicken breasts
- juice from 1 large lemon
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- marinade the chicken: prep the chicken breasts by pounding them with a meat mallet (or just use the heel of your hand!) so that each piece is the same thickness. place them in a medium bowl and add the other chicken ingredients. mix to combine and let sit for 20-30 minutes
- toast the nuts & pepitas: preheat the oven to 350*. spread the pecans and pepitas on a sheet pan and toast for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until thoroughly toasted. set aside
- prep the fruit and veg: wash the spinach and dry very well before storing in a plastic bag with a paper towel, if using for meal prep. cut all of the fruit into small pieces and toss the apples with the juice from half a lemon. remove the seeds from the cucumber and cut into bite sized pieces. slice the red onion and place in a bowl of ice water for 3-5 minutes to take out some of the bite. remove from the water and store everything in containers
- cook the chicken: in a grill pan or cast iron pan, heat the remaining tbsp of oil over medium heat. cook the chicken breasts for 5-8 minutes per side, depending on their thickness, until the internal temperature reaches 160*, carry over heat will take it up to 165*. let rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into pieces
- make the vinaigrette: combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar. shake vigorously. taste and adjust seasoning as desired
- enjoy: arrange all of the salad toppings on top of a bed of spinach. top with the vinaigrette and enjoy on it's own or with some crusty bread!