Prep these balsamic pasta jar salads and sweet potato, chickpea, broccoli bowls at the same time and you will have two different lunches to enjoy through the week! Both recipes are ready in under 45 minutes.
I'm back with another 2-for-1 meal prep post...where I provide you with two recipes that you can prep at the same time, giving you a some extra variety in your lunches for the week. If you missed our last 2-for-1 meal prep recipe set, here they are!
I've been thinking about variety and meal prep, and how do we introduce more of it into our routine.
One idea is to have more freezer-friendly lunches on rotation...because you can swap them in and out as you'd like and are less likely to get bored. Stay tuned for more freezer-friendly lunches!
Unfortunately there are just some foods that don't really freeze well, and I'm not willing to let them go from my diet! Salads are one obvious non-freezable recipe, and roasted sweet potatoes are another one of my faves. So today's 2-for-1 meal prep is perfect to keep these recipes in your meal prep routine! Let's check out these balsamic pasta jar salads and sweet potato, chickpea, broccoli bowls, shall we?
If you participated in our September Lunch Prep Challenge, then these recipes will look awfully familiar to you! They were our week 2 recipes.
Want in on our next challenge? Sign up below for free recipes, shopping lists and video prep tutorials!
Our first recipe is the balsamic pasta jar salads, which I think might just be my favorite recipe in the entire lunch prep challenge!
It's no secret that I have a soft spot in my heart for salad recipes, and this balsamic pasta jar salad has all of my favorite elements: a tangy vinaigrette, something salty (feta), something crunchy (sesame seeds), something sweet (dried cranberries). Pair all of this with chicken breast, whole wheat pasta and plenty of leafy greens, and you are in for one delicious (and filling!) salad.
Layering this salad in a jar means that the leafy greens and pasta stay far away from the vinaigrette, keeping them both from getting soggy or mushy...and storing the chicken in the vinaigrette keeps it nice and moist. Win win!
Behind door number two are these sweet potato, chickpea, broccoli bowls...which looks kind of boring because I didn't take any photos of the tasty yogurt sauce that you toss it all in before enjoying. D'oh!
But trust me, the yogurt sauce brings a ton of flavor and creaminess to this lunch bowl, making it anything but boring. It also happens to be ridiculously easy to throw together. Woo woo!
How to prep these balsamic pasta jar salads and sweet potato, chickpea, broccoli bowls at the same time? It's all about time management.
- get your pasta cooked, then cool it.
- get your chicken and sweet potatoes in the oven
- prep your broccoli and chickpeas and add them to the pan with the sweet potatoes
- shake together your balsamic vinaigrette and stir together your yogurt sauce
- cool veggies & chicken, portion everything out, and voila! done.
- do a happy dance because you have four portions of two delicious lunches waiting for you in the fridge
Tips for your perfect balsamic pasta jar salads and sweet potato, chickpea, broccoli bowls:
- I used my favorite 2-cup capacity storage containers for the sweet potato, chickpea, broccoli bowls, and these ½ cup capacity storage containers to store the yogurt sauce.
- for the balsamic pasta jar salads, I used my regular pint-sized mason jars and my favorite salad dressing shaker for the vinaigrette
- find more meal prep lunch ideas in my Meal Prep Lunch Recipes eCookbook, or this round-up of 19 Healthy Lunch Meal Prep Ideas
- Looking for more pasta salad recipes? Try this Healthy Greek Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe!
2 for 1 Meal Prep: Balsamic Pasta Salad Jars and Sweet Potato, Chickpea, Broccoli Bowls
Balsamic Pasta Jar Salads
- 1 cup 2.3 oz uncooked pasta
- 1 chicken breast 7 oz
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- 2 cups kale or spinach
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Balsamic Dressing (for jar salads)
- 1.5 tablespoon olive oil
- 1.5 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 0.5 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
Chickpea, Sweet Potato & Broccoli Bowls
- 3 cups sweet potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 cups broccoli cut into 2 inch florets
- 1 cup chickpeas drained
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt & pepper
Yogurt Sauce (for broccoli bowls)
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon dried dill
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool.
- Heat oven to 425°F.
- Place the chicken breast in a small baking dish; drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the sweet potatoes in ½ tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange on a large baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Flip the chicken and return to the oven for 10-15 more minutes, until cooked through. Rest 10 minutes before cutting into ½ inch cubes.
- Toss the the broccoli and chickpeas in remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange on the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes. Return to the oven for 15 more minutes. Cool slightly, and divide sweet potatoes, chickpeas and broccoli between two 2 cup storage containers.
- While chicken and veggies are baking, shake together all balsamic vinaigrette ingredients, and stir together the yogurt sauce.
- Assemble jar salads: divide all jar salad ingredients between two 1-pint jars in the following order: balsamic vinaigrette, chicken, pasta, kale, dried cranberries, feta cheese, sunflower seeds.
- Portion yogurt sauce: transfer the yogurt sauce to two ½ cup capacity storage containers.
- Storage:Store jar salads, broccoli bowls and yogurt sauce in separate sealed containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- To serve:Jar salads: shake all contents out into a large bowl, toss to coat completely in vinaigrette, and enjoy cold.
- Broccoli bowls: heat in the microwave until heated through, drizzle with yogurt sauce, and enjoy.