If you’ve been a Loveleaf Co. reader for a while, you know I’m all about the simplified meal prep. Spending half of the weekend cooking meals for the week? It’s not going to happen (at least for me – I’ve tried ;). Instead, most weeks, I plan 3-4 meals for the week and prep the more time-consuming components of those meals on Sunday or Monday night.
But sometimes I don’t plan much at all. And that’s ok too. When I’m extra busy (….or my kitchen is being updated), here’s what I do to make my week instantly easier: I make a sauce.
It might sound weird, but making one sauce will open up hundreds of meal possibilities – even when you don’t have a clear plan for the week. You can use the sauce on pizza, salad, bowls, tacos, as a veggie dip, sandwiches, etc. Having a sauce, ready to go, gives your brain something to work with; think of it as a starting place on busy weeknights.
The choice doesn’t have to be between planning and prepping for a whole week or… nothing. Making a sauce ahead of time is just one tangible way you can drop the all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to meal prep. If you’re new to meal prep, super busy one week, or just feeling uninspired in the kitchen, take 5 minutes to make a sauce and go from there.
There are lots of recipes on Loveleaf Co. (this pesto and this tahini sauce are a few of my favorites) – or search Epicurious for something that sounds good to you. Below, I’ll show you how I turn this coconut peanut sauce into three different weeknight meals.
Ok, let’s turn one sauce into three different meals using one of my favorite sauces of all time: coconut peanut sauce. Make the recipe early in the week and then enjoy…
- Nutty Cauliflower Fried Rice with Broccoli. Simply use the coconut peanut sauce instead of the almond butter sauce.
- Thai-Inspired Socca Pizza. If you don’t want to make the socca pizza crust, use your favorite store-bought pizza crust! I love the cauliflower one from Trader Joe’s.
- Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls. No spiralizer, no problem! Use your favorite noodles (I love these) instead of the spiralized sweet potatoes.
These are just a few ideas! Here are some other simple ones:
- Make a salad. In a bowl, mix together some greens, a protein (shrimp or tofu would be good!), and a healthy carb (like chickpeas!) with the coconut peanut sauce. Top with peanuts, hot sauce, and cilantro.
- Make a bowl. Cook some brown rice (or quinoa!) and roast some vegetables. Add both to a bowl, drizzle with coconut peanut sauce, and top with peanuts, hot sauce, and cilantro.
- Make a sandwich. Toast some bread (this one is my favorite). Spread the coconut peanut sauce on the toast. Layer some baked tofu slices, avocado, and maybe sprouts. Cut in half and enjoy!
So if the idea of meal prep stresses you out, start small. Start with a sauce. Paired with some fridge and pantry staples, endless meal combinations are waiting to be made.
Let me know if you try this simple meal prep hack and, if you need more ideas, check out our recipes. Happy prepping!
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