As I've transitioned into living in my own apartment while working a full-time job from home, I have become more aware of how much I dislike cooking in the middle of a work day and how much EASIER it is to prep a meal ahead of time (or at least most of the meal).
During my first week in my apartment, I took a trip to Trader Joe's (as you will soon find out, I am a frequent visitor), and I stocked up on some essentials. What I thought was going to be.a quick "essentials only" trip to the grocery store turned into a full HAUL. And the funniest part is that since that trip to the grocery store, I've just kept re-stocking the same items I bought that first time around. You know what ingredients I continuously bought...?? FALAFEL BOWL INGREDIENTS!
Why you may ask? Well, falafel is easy to make, it's incredibly filling, and is packed with fiber, protein, and micronutrients. When paired with a greek salad and some tabbouleh or couscous, it makes a meal that I am HAPPY to eat throughout my work week.
The main ingredients to stock up on:
Pita bread (optional)
For the Tzatziki sauce, you can either use store bought or make your own. If I'm feeling adventurous during my Sunday evening meal prep, then I will make my own (see recipe below). But if not, I'll usually grab some from the store. I recommend Good Foods Tzatziki Style dip which you can find at Target.
When I am meal prepping these bowls, what I'll do is make a large batch of the greek salad, a large batch of couscous or tabbouleh, and prepare an entire recipe of my Tzatziki sauce. If I have the time to cook throughout the week (~5 min max) I'll cook the falafel on each day as needed to keep them as fresh as possible. If not, I will cook the falafel balls ahead of time and either store them in their own container. This way, when lunch time rolls around, the bowls are ready to assemble and I can easily grab each component from it's separate container. OR if you like to portion out your meals ahead, you can assemble the bowls on meal prep day to save yourself some more time. It's all up to you!
Serves 4 (double this to have enough for your entire week)
Total time: 35 minutes
1 package couscous, cooked according instructions
12 oz arugula, for serving
4 rounds pita bread, for serving
2 cups Trader Joe's Falafel mix
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh dill, diced
2 tablespoons lemon zest
juice of 2 lemons
1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
Greek salad 1 English cucumber, diced into 1/2 inch pieces 8 oz kalamata olives, quartered 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh mint, cut into strips
juice of 1 lemon
To prepare the Greek salad, dice all ingredients and place in a large bowl. Toss salad and set aside.
Prepare falafel according to package instructions and set aside.
To make Tzatziki sauce, place all ingredients in a high powered blender. Pulse and blend until a smooth and creamy consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
cooking the falafel
In a large pan on medium heat, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Make sure the oil is hot by placing a tiny amount of the falafel mix into the oil - if it sizzles/bubbles, the oil is ready. Place a layer of paper towels on a large plate next to the stove. Once the oil is hot, using a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop, start scooping falafel balls into the oil. Lightly flatten them with a spatula and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Once each falafel ball has been cooked thoroughly, transfer it onto the plate with the paper towel to soak up excess oil. Repeat until all falafel mix has been used up.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the pita bread directly on the rack and bake for 5 minutes until pita is warm. Cut into wedges. To prepare the bowls, start by placing a handful of arugula in each bowl. Top arugula with about 1/2 cup of tabbouleh, 1 cup of Greek salad, 4-6 falafel balls, and a few wedges of pita bread. Drizzle the Tzatziki sauce over the top.