Over the last few months, my meal prep game has been pretty one-note: just prep all the veggies. Every Saturday or Sunday, I drag all the vegetables from my winter CSA or the grocery store out of the fridge, and then wash, chop and store them in glass.
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I don’t worry about cooking anything in advance and I don’t worry about turning any of them into actual meals!
This simple practice gives me a massive head start on dinner that night (and nearly every meal that week), while also giving me a lot of freedom if I decide not to follow my prearranged meal plan, decide I’m not that hungry, or decide to go out for dinner with friends.
When I do go to make dinner, it’s as easy as making sure I have some form of protein on hand (fresh or frozen AND thawed) and pulling out whichever veggies I feel like eating. It ensures meals are fast, simple and made-from-scratch.
Since I’ve been consistently busy with some new projects, lunch usually involves throwing various foods in a bowl.
That may not sound that exciting but if you wanted to get fancy, you could call it a deconstructed salad, veggie or Buddha bowl.
There are lots of vegetables (some cooked, some raw, ideally some also fermented), maybe some fruit, definitely some protein, and definitely a generous amount of healthy fat like an avocado, nuts or a splash of olive oil.
Fantastically simple. And yet it never gets boring.
Although I have a good rotating mix of veggies, what really brings it all together is a flavour bomb of a dressing! And this dressing varies week by week.
I usually make one or two dressings as part of my Saturday or Sunday veggie prep extravaganza and then serve them on salads, sides, protein at dinner or anything else that strikes my fancy (garnish on stews and soups? sure thing!). The same veggies taste radically different just by changing up the sauce.
This recipe is from the 300 Best Blender Recipes Using Your Vitamix by Robin Asbell and as you can gather from its name, this cookbook is full of recipes that rely on a Vitamix (either completely, i.e. the whole recipe is made in the blender, or in part, i.e. some aspect of the recipe is prepared outside of the blender).
The 300 recipes run the spectrum from dessert to dinner and many of them are very healthy, requiring no or few modifications, even for someone like me with one or more food intolerances and/or allergies.
All of the recipes are presented in the same user-friendly style that Robert Rose is known for and each gives you a chance to discover some new tasks that your Vitamix blender can take off your hands!
Of course, many of these recipes can also be adapted for other high-powered blenders.
The Spanish Salsa Verde recipe immediately caught my eye because it’s so versatile. Good on fish, chicken, eggs, vegetables, quinoa or other grains—so pretty much everything—it offers a flavour boost of fresh herbs.
And even if you consider yourself “anti-anchovy”, please give this one a fair shot.
Anchovies offer an indescribable background flavour of umami and saltiness, and you get the benefit of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids (which we all need more of anyway!)
Anchovies are, after all, the secret to a classic Caesar salad so they can’t be all bad, right?
Try this Spanish Salsa Verde dressing on your next lunch, dinner or deconstructed salad. Your Vitamix will make quick work of the ingredients and turn those herbs into a smooth and saucy dressing for all your favourite foods.
Spanish Salsa Verde (from 300 Best Blender Recipes Using Your Vitamix)
This fresh green sauce is perfect over fish or chicken, tossed with rice or pasta, or even as a topping for eggs. There are just a few anchovies in the mix, adding umami and a salty richness. It’s entirely possible that even people who think they don’t like anchovies will love this sauce.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (125 mL)
- 1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar (60 mL)
- 4 large anchovies, drained (4)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled (2)
- 2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves (500 mL)
- 2 cups lightly packed fresh parsley leaves (500 mL)
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves (250 mL)
- 2 Tbsp drained capers (30 mL)
- 1/2 tsp salt (2 mL)
Place the oil, vinegar, anchovies, garlic, basil, parsley, mint, capers and salt in the Vitamix container. Secure the lid, remove the lid plug and insert the tamper. With the switch on Variable, select speed 1 and turn the machine on. Gradually increase the speed to 10, then flip the switch to High. Using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades, purée for 30 to 40 seconds or until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl and use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Use a salad spinner to wash and dry the herbs. Simply pick the leaves from the stems and lightly pack them into the measuring cup, then dump them into the salad spinner. Cover with cold water and swish the leaves to remove any grit. Lift out the spinner basket and pour out the water, then spin-dry.
If you prefer, you can replace some of the parsley with additional mint.
Image credit: Colin Erricson
Courtesy of 300 Best Blender Recipes Using Your Vitamix by Robin Asbell © 2016 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.
What foods will you try this herbaceous sauce on first?
Life is a plate… Eat up,
P.S. If you’re looking for more meal planning tips to keep your healthy eating on track, check out my post on the 10 Key Do’s and Dont’s of Healthy Meal Planning.