Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week
Cooking extra food at the beginning of the week is the key to making my life way easier Monday through Thursday (Friday is takeout night!).
Cook Once, Eat All Week is here to help you prep the basics for healthy meals (lots of veggies, along with some grains and pulses) ahead of time, then give you the simple recipes to turn those ingredients into hearty, satisfying meals.
And this might be my simplest meal prep session yet. I decided to take a bunch of sweet potatoes, roast them up, and make them the base of my meals for the week. And by "bunch" I mean 8 small (or 4 to 5 large) sweet potatoes — enough to make 2 servings of each of the four dishes below.
Sure, that's a lot of sweet potato, but they're versatile, comforting, and oh-so-good for you.
Plus, you can most definitely freeze the soup and meatless Sweet Potato and White Bean Balls for a rainy day.
- 8 small sweet potatoes (or 4 to 6 medium/large)
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- Swiss chard, cleaned and chopped into ribbons
- Baby spinach
- 1 can white beans
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 red onions
- 1 large leek (or yellow onion)
- Sage or rosemary
- Parsley or cilantro (optional)
- Oil of your choice
- Ghee or grass-fed butter
- Tamari or soy sauce
- Cayenne pepper
- Fennel seeds
- Salt and pepper
1. Roast sweet potatoes.
Heat oven to 425°F. Wrap each sweet potato in foil. Pop in the oven, and roast for 1 hour or until soft.
2. Roast cauliflower.
Chop cauliflower into florets on an oiled baking sheet with a sprinkling of salt for 30 minutes until golden.
3. Sauté greens.
Clean and chop Swiss chard into ribbons. Sauté with olive oil in a large pan with 1 garlic clove, finely chopped (or grated on a microplane) and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes and set aside.
1. Sweet Potato and White Bean Balls
- 1 large roasted sweet potato, skin removed
- 1½ cups cooked white beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated on a microplane
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- salt and pepper
Ingredients for "sauce"
- 1 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Ingredients for serving
- Wilted Swiss chard
- Roasted cauliflower
1. Oil a baking tray and heat oven to 400°F. Put sweet potato and white beans in a large bowl and mash with a fork, breaking up the beans.
2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, mashing lightly as you distribute everything. Feel free to use your hands.
3. Roll the sweet-potato-and-white-bean mash into golf ball–size balls (the mixture should make about 8 balls) and place on the oiled baking tray.
4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating your pan at the 15-minute mark.
5. While that’s in the oven, toss tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and pop those in the 400°F oven too. Cook tomatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown in spots and beginning to collapse.
6. Assemble bowl with a base of wilted garlicky greens and roasted vegetables (like cauliflower) and top with sweet potato balls and roasted tomatoes.
2. Baked Sweet Potato and Sautéed Mushrooms
- ghee or olive oil
- 1 lb. cremini or portobello mushrooms, sliced
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon sage, finely chopped
- 2 big handfuls of shredded Swiss chard or baby spinach
- 2 baked sweet potatoes, reheated
- 2 eggs
1. In a large pan heat ghee or olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes until beginning to soften.
2. Add sage and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Add Swiss chard and cook for another minute until wilted.
3. In another small pan, cook egg in a little ghee or olive oil until sunny-side up (or desired style).
4. Place reheated baked sweet potatoes on plates or in bowls and top with mushroom mixture and egg and some fresh ground pepper and salt to taste.
3. Sweet Potato Soup With Smoky Chickpeas
Ingredients for soup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
- 1 medium leek or yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated on a microplane
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 3 to 4 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 large roasted sweet potato (or 2 small), skin peeled off
Ingredients for chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup chickpeas
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- wilted Swiss chard or spinach
- parsley or cilantro (optional)
1. Heat oil or ghee in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped leek and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for another minute.
2. Add cumin and coriander, stir, and cook for another 30 seconds. Add vegetable broth or water and sweet potato. Stir, slightly mashing the sweet potato with a spoon.
3. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Using a stick blender or regular blender, puree soup until creamy.
5. To make spiced chickpeas, heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add chickpeas and a pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to heat through. Add smoked paprika and cayenne and toss to combine. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat.
6. Pour soup over cooked Swiss chard. Top with smoky chickpeas and a sprinkling of fresh parsley or cilantro (optional).
4. Cauliflower Stir-Fry and Mashed Sweet Potato Bowl
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or oil of your choice
- 1 small or medium red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated on a microplane or finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, grated on a microplane or finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1 to 2 cups roasted cauliflower
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 2 big handfuls of baby spinach
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 small roasted sweet potatoes (1 per person), peeled, mashed, and reheated
1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened and slightly golden. (Add a tablespoon or two of water if the pan gets dry at any point.)
2. Add ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add rice wine vinegar and stir.
3. Stir in cooked cauliflower and chickpeas and cook until warmed through (about 1 to 2 minutes).
4. Add baby spinach and sesame oil, stir well to combine, then turn off the heat. Let stand until the spinach is wilted.
Serve atop warm mashed sweet potato.
Photo courtesy of the author
Leah Vanderveldt is an author living in Brooklyn, New York. She received her bachelor’s in communications and media from Fordham University, and is certified in culinary nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute. She is the author of two cookbooks: The New Nourishing and The New Porridge.
Vanderveldt is a former food editor at mindbodygreen and has previously worked for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Australian Home Beautiful.