When it comes to getting organized, sometimes it pays to call in the pros. Every week as part of Well+Good’s new Prep School series, a healthy eating expert will share a meal-prep plan that makes eating healthy all week a cinch. This week, My Fresh Perspective creator and health coach Angela Simpson is our resident meal prep queen. Here, she reveals one all-star cauliflower dish that can be reinvented in so many ways, you won’t have to cook the rest of the week.
As a holistic health coach and a culinary nutrition expert, it’s Angela Simpson’s job to help people find easy ways to eat healthy. Moms with houses full of kids, single 20-somethings pulling late nights at the office, people who want to eat nutritious food but hate to cook…she’s seen it all. Every time, it helps to have a plan.
And the crux of that plan is this: having a few core recipes that are versatile enough to be reinvented in totally new ways throughout the week. (Unless, you know, you like eating the same salad every day.) That’s where her za’atar chicken with turmeric roasted cauliflower and quinoa pilaf comes in. The whole dish takes about an hour to make, but what you end up with—besides a delicious, inflammation-fighting meal—is this: three gluten-free staples (chicken, quinoa, and turmeric roasted cauliflower) that can used in a whole slew of ways throughout the week.
Keep reading for everything you need for a week’s worth of cauliflower dinner ideas that are totally gluten-free:
Ingredients to buy for the week
- 1 small head cauliflower
- 2 cucumbers
- 10 oz. cherry tomatoes
- 1 beet
- Greens of your choice
- Fresh parsley
- 1 lemon
- 2 avocados
- 10 oz. berries of your choice
Meat and eggs
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 dozen eggs
- Nut butter of your choice
- Lemon juice
- Avocado oil
- Gluten-free bread
- Optional: Low-sodium broth
- Optional: Salad dressing of your choice
What you’ll need from the pantry
The one recipe to cook on Sunday:
Za’atar chicken with turmeric roasted cauliflower and quinoa pilaf
Meal prep tip: Not only does this dish leave you with a protein-rich Sunday dinner, you’ll end up with the three core ingredients that will save you from cooking all week: chicken, roasted cauliflower, and quinoa. Save the leftover core ingredients in separate glass containers and put them in the fridge to eat later in the week. Freeze the chicken breasts that you don’t use for use another time—it should last for at least a few months.
Yields 2 servings
For the cauliflower:
1 small head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
2 Tbsp avocado oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of pepper
For the quinoa pilaf:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water or low-sodium broth
1 cup thinly sliced English cucumber
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Sea salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1. Marinade the chicken: In a large resealable bag, combine the oil, lemon juice, and one tablespoon of Za’atar. Add the chicken and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
2. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment.
3. Take the chicken out of the marinade and place it on one baking sheet. Generously shake the remaining Za’atar on top, aiming to cover as much of each chicken breast as possible. Bake for 30 minutes (give or take 10 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts) or until no longer pink inside.
4. Meanwhile, toss the cauliflower in all of its coating ingredients in a bowl. Once coated, pour them onto the other lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until crispy. (You can do this while baking the chicken if your oven fits both pans. I recommend putting the cauliflower pan on top rack if you can’t fit them on the same one.)
5. Make the quinoa pilaf: Cook quinoa in the water or stock according to package directions. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes, and the majority of the liquid should be absorbed by the end. While it cooks, prepare the remaining ingredients for the pilaf.
6. Drain any excess water off the quinoa and allow it to cool slightly. Reserve half and store in a glass container in the fridge to use later in the week. Take the remaining quinoa and add it into a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and stir well to coat in oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
7. To serve, place a fourth of the quinoa pilaf into a bowl, followed by a serving of roasted cauliflower and one chicken breast. Garnish with lemon and some extra parsley if desired, then serve.
8. Store the remaining chicken, cauliflower, and quinoa in separate glass containers in the refrigerator.
Other meal prep staples to make ahead of time:
Hard boiled eggs: Chicken is a great source of protein, but eating it every day can get old pretty fast, so hard boil two eggs to use later in the week. (Save four eggs—uncooked—to use later in the week.)
Roasted beet: While your oven is still on from cooking the cauliflower and chicken, wrap your clean, scrubbed beet in tin foil and roast it for an hour. When they’re done, wait for them to be cool enough to touch (but still warm) and wipe the skins off with a paper towel, then chop and store them for future use.
Got all that? Here’s what you’ll be eating the rest of the week:
Monday dinner: Egg salad sandwich
Leftovers: 2 hard boiled eggs
New ingredients: Gluten-free bread, 1 cup greens, 1 avocado
It doesn’t get easier than a classic egg salad sandwich, which can be ready in about three minutes. You can make a mayo-less egg salad by mashing an avocado and eggs together and adding a touch of lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper. Add your egg salad and a serving of greens between your slices of gluten-free bread and that’s literally all it takes.
Tuesday dinner: grains and greens bowl
Leftovers: 1 chicken breast, 1/2 cup roasted turmeric cauliflower, 1/2 cup quinoa pilaf
New ingredients: 2 cups greens, 1 Tbsp. tahini, salad dressing of your choice (or olive oil)
Add some of your leftover quinoa pilaf into a bowl of greens to make the base for a nutrient-rich grains-and-greens bowl. This is another good way to incorporate the leftover cauliflower. For protein, cut up one of your leftover chicken breasts and work it into your salad. Top it all off with a drizzle of tahini and your go-to salad dressing or olive oil.
Wednesday dinner: avocado toast with quinoa porridge
Leftovers: 1/2 cup quinoa
New ingredients: 1/2 avocado, gluten-free toast, almond milk, berries, nut butter, cashews
Avocado toast is a healthy win no matter what day of the week it is. Round out your meal with quinoa porridge by mixing a serving of leftover plain quinoa with almond milk. (It’s best to let this sit in the fridge overnight, so plan ahead or prep it in the morning to eat later in the day.) Top it off with nut butter and cashews for protein and berries for some natural sweetness.
Thursday dinner: Cauliflower and Quinoa Bowl
Leftovers: 1/2 cup roasted turmeric cauliflower, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 roasted beet
New ingredients: 1 egg, 1 cup greens, cherry tomatoes, Za’atar (if desired)
Use up the last of your plain quinoa by making another grain bowl with greens, beets, leftover roasted cauliflower, and sliced cherry tomatoes. For protein, take five minutes to fry or cook sunny-side up an egg to add on top, and sprinkle with a bit of Za’atar, salt, and pepper.
Friday dinner: Mediterranean breakfast-for-dinner Salad
Leftovers: 1 cup roasted turmeric cauliflower
New ingredients: 1/2 roasted beet, 2 eggs, greens, tahini (optional), olive oil (optional)
Use the last bit of your roasted turmeric cauliflower by pairing it with poached eggs, roasted beets, and greens to make a breakfast salad…for dinner. (Here’s the deets on how to poach the eggs). Drizzle a bit of tahini and/or olive oil on top for extra flavor. This easy meal is full of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants, and lots of bright colors thanks to the remaining cauliflower and beets.