It is time for the plate to step back and collect dust for a while. This is the season of the bowl! During those hot summer months, the only thing your bowls saw were ice cream and cereal, but fall is here. It’s the season of comforting soups, hearty stews, deep pots and anything baked in the oven. Which also means meal prep just got a whole lot easier!
Let’s start with breakfast, the most important meal, well of the morning. Help bring porridge back! Hot, nourishing grains give your stomach and energy staying power for the day. The best part is you can make a large pot of barley, oats, grits, cream of wheat or even rice or quinoa and eat something different all week long. How? Easy. Once your grains are cooked, but not mushy, portion them out into daily meal containers. Then add different toppings for each morning. Nuts, seeds and dried fruits are great, a pre-made granola added the day you eat it makes for a fun texture combo and don’t forget your spices! If you don’t have a sweet tooth, try making it savory. Fresh sliced avocado, shredded carrots, turmeric, paprika and a dollop of cream makes a delicious start to the day. Add an egg for extra protein.
Lunch is no longer about summer salads, but that doesn’t mean salad has to go. Now is the time to think about warm salads with tougher greens stacked in deep bowls. Mix up spinach, purple cabbage and kale for a solid pile of greens that can hold up to a little heat. Now let your imagination do the rest. Top them off with roasted butternut squash, pears and chickpeas or try out roasted sweet potato and Portobello mushroom with soft boiled eggs. Mix your greens and store them in a large bowl in the fridge. Then roast several combinations of toppings all at once. When they’re ready, put the different salad combos in daily, meal prep containers. When you’re ready for a salad, simply add your greens on top and mix.
Dinner often embraces leftovers. Make a large pot of vegetarian chili to warm your nights. It goes great with a side of cornbread and tastes better the longer it sits! The secret to great soups and stews is all in the spices. Many soups have the same base of carrot, onion and celery, but by the time they’ve been seasoned, they couldn’t be more different. To give yourself some creative variety, try making your favorite soup and adding pasta, quinoa, roasted squash, potatoes or sliced chicken on different nights. Embrace different cultures and experiment with a pot of curry, Pho or a creamy pot of borscht!
If variety is truly the spice of life, then fall is the time to dig in. There are numerous fall vegetables and flavors that will keep your bowls full this season.
Add a little olive oil to a pot and cook the onions and garlic until the onions are slightly translucent. Then add all of the dry ingredients and add 2 parts milk to 1 part water until it just reaches the top of your veggies but does not cover them. Don’t fill the pot as your soup will become too thin. One quarter teaspoon of each of the spices, except the cayenne is a good place to start. Keep adding in small pinches until you achieve the flavor you like. When it reaches a slow boil, turn off your heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then put it all in a blender or use an immersion blender and puree until creamy. When it’s ready to serve, you can add sliced almonds, roasted pumpkin seeds or even garlic croutons. It is delicious with sourdough bread as well.