Midwinter I Meal Plan

Hello! You've landed on an older recipe. Sometimes the older recipes aren't written as clearly as they should be or something might need to be clarified. If something seems confusing or a question arises, send me an email and I'll help!

Blue bowl with carrot polenta on a white background with parsley oil and walnuts.

I find meal planning to be a fun puzzle and it's where I get extensive use out of my components and base recipes. I think in terms of meal planning/prepping, recipes are too limiting. It’s much easier to mix and match based on what you already have on hand. There’s a freedom that comes from tossing big recipes out the window.

What do I mean by components and base recipes?

Components: small recipes that produce an item that is used in various meals/forms. Sauces are an excellent example of this and simple roasted vegetables are both solid examples.

Base recipes: generic recipes that you can use components in. Master the basic concept of a recipe and use it across seasons and flavor profiles. Good examples of this are frittatas, grain bowls, and pasta.

And so, each week, I’m planning to share four ideas/recipes that work well together in a week. These recipes are often made from base recipes and use components I prep on the weekend. Use as-is or riff on endlessly (because the end goal is for you not to have to use recipes!)

January: Midwinter I Meal Plan

Weekend Prep

Carrot Puree
Parsley Oil
Cashew Cream

Featured Ingredients


Close-up image of amaranth polenta with carrot puree and topped with parsley oil and walnuts.

Recipe 1: Carrot Amaranth Polenta with Walnuts and Parsley Oil

This is one of those funky dishes that uses one of my favorite components: carrot puree. Once you prep the puree, this dish comes together quickly. Make a batch of carrot puree and use for this recipe and the carrot pasta.

Polenta swaps: This recipe uses non-traditional amaranth for the polenta base, but you could easily use traditional polenta or go a slightly different route by using millet.

Veg Puree: Swap out the carrot puree for sweet potato, butternut squash, or even beet puree.

Toppings: Use whatever nuts/seeds you have on hand (pecan, sunflower, or hazelnuts), and you can easily use fresh parsley than the parsley oil.

Kale and Chickpea Stew | @naturallyella

Recipe 2: Chickpea Kale Stew with Parsley Oil

A classic from the archives, this chickpea stew is a solid favorite (as long as I have good bread to go with it). It’s also a wonderful way to use more of that parsley oil made to go with the amaranth polenta.

Recipe 3: Miso-Carrot Pasta

This is an odd little dish, but it is terrific for a quick, weeknight dinner. It uses the carrot puree from the polenta dish and made a bit creamier with the help of cashew cream (which can also be prepped on the weekend).

Veg puree: Similar to the polenta, you can swap the carrots out for something else. I love using sweet potato and butternut squash puree with pasta.

Greens: I mention this in the post, but arugula can be swapped out for other greens. You could use garlicky greens or go as simple as swapping spinach for the arugula.

Recipe 4: Falafel Bowls with Arugula + Hummus

Finally, a dish that gets made with some variance each week. Depending on if I remember or not, I’ll make falafel using pre-cooked beans (like in this recipe). I usually don’t add the quinoa, but the option is there.

If, however, I need to make hummus at the same time, I’ll soak two bowls of chickpeas (one for hummus and one for the falafel). Serve the bowl with arugula, hummus, and grains. I like to use bulgur for a quick-cooking option.

One other option: ditch the hummus for a simple cashew cream sauce. Add garlic and lemon juice into the premade cashew cream and let sit for a few minutes. This is a great option if you have leftover cashew cream from making the pasta!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment on “Midwinter I Meal Plan”


Welcome to my little internet nook. On this site you'll find over a thousand vegetarian recipes, pantry knowledge, and more. I'm ever obsessed with food from gardening, cooking, and preserving. I hope you'll find endless inspiration on these pages and visit often. 

Virtual hugs, Erin (aka: e.l.l.a.)

a few good grain recipes

Do away with ads, get access to the back issues of casual, be the first to know about upcoming events, and more.
become a member

beans. beans. beans.

Have a nerdy food question, need a recipe recommendation, or just want to share something exciting you've made?
magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram