Welcome to the 3rd post in my Speedy Big Batch Meal Prep series. It’s been about a month since the last recipe, so in case you’re new and haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, here’s the skinny on what this series is all about:
All of the recipes will…
- be easy to make
- be gluten free
- be nutrient dense
- make enough for 5 servings
- keep well in the fridge for at least 5 days
- contain only clean, whole food ingredients
- include options for vegan and vegetarian diets (if they’re not already suitable)
- include suggestions for ingredient swaps, plus ideas for making the meal larger in volume, without adding tons of calories
So far we’ve had Lemony Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad and Asian Broccoli Slaw Salad with Peanut Ginger Dressing. This week’s feature also has a bit of eastern flare to it and reminds me of when I used to live in Bahrain.
It’s really common for prepared salads (like the kind sold at your local grocery store) to come coated in a mayo-based sauce or drenched in an oil-heavy dressing. This means you could be in for a whole lot more fat and calories than you anticipated. (For the record, I don’t have anything against fats but too often the kinds used are not the heart-healthy ones.) On the flipside, one thing I love about Middle Eastern salads is that the flavour comes from heaps of fresh herbs, lemon juice, and just a small drizzle of oil.
Like the previous recipes in this series, you’ll be hitting all of your nutritional bases with this one. The beans provide a mixture of plant-based protein and fiber, and the pine nuts are packed with mono-unsaturated fats (the good guys), vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. And don’t forget all those veggies – plenty of vitamins and minerals to be found in them too!
This recipe is perfect for making ahead of time, and as you can see in the photos, I’ve bulked it out with lots of mixed greens. Tossing them in boosts the nutrition profile while keeping calories in check, and food psychology-wise, seeing the larger portions can help to make you feel more satisfied. Just be sure to add the greens the day you plan to eat the salad so they don’t go soggy. 🙂
Middle Eastern 3-Bean Salad
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Ingredients (5 servings)
- 1 can each (540mL) chickpeas, red kidney beans, and navy beans, rinsed and well drained (or about 2 cups each of these beans, cooked)
- 1 large seedless cucumber, diced
- 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 loosely packed cup flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 loosely packed cup fresh mint
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Rinse and drain all beans as well as possible.
- Combine the beans in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients except for the lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Pour it over the salad and toss to coat well.
- Season with black pepper, and a little bit of sea salt if needed. Flavours will intensify after the salad has had some time to sit.
- This salad keeps well refrigerated for up to 5 days.
If you’re looking to…
- Amp up the portion size: Toss in unlimited mixed greens before eating, or add even more cucumber, celery and cherry tomatoes. If you do this, add a bit more lemon juice and olive oil.
- Give it more staying power: Try cooking up a batch of quinoa or millet (both gluten-free whole grains) when you prep the salad at the beginning of the week. These could be kept separate, or mix them right in so that the lemon and herb flavours can soak right in.
- Use a different protein source: Any blend of beans would work, but if you’re not a fan, try eliminating them and swapping in some baked/grilled chicken or a mild fish like tilapia, cod, or haddock. Portion-wise, about 4 cups of cooked chicken or fish should be enough for a lunch-sized meal.
So, tell me…
- What are YOU having for lunch today?
- For anyone who raced this weekend, how did you do!? Come on, boast like it’s your job. I raced on Saturday but I’ll have more on that in Friday’s post. 🙂
Last but not least, the winner of my Momentum jewelry giveaway is Shannon! Congrats girl – I’ll be emailing you shortly. For everyone else, the 15% off discount code still works until July 15th. Just enter GGS158 at the checkout on Momentum’s website. Happy shopping!