Meal Prep Monday: Rainbow Romesco Salad with Crispy Chickpeas and Cheesy Pesto Chicken

5/29/2017 07:50:00 AM

Good morning to you! Monday is here and I have a sparkly new Meal Prep Monday post for you! We've got a rainbow romesco salad with crispy chickpeas and cheesy pesto chicken. All the bright colours! So much flavour! A double protein hit! Light on carbs but still filling! Let's do this thing.

Rainbow Romesco Salad with Crispy Chickpeas and Cheesy Pesto Chicken

This salad component is basically a mash-up of different recipes from the Pinch of Yum blog - the rainbow power salad with roasted chickpeas, with the 5-minute romesco sauce instead of the suggested 5-minute magic green sauce. (I've tried the magic green sauce before, and it's fabulous, but I wanted to try something new this time!) I also added cheesy pesto chicken for funsies and to make the lunch more filling. My foodie friend Clarice got me on to this great blog; she's made a bunch of recipes from there and really enjoyed them. Pinch of Yum is super-popular on Pinterest, with lots of healthy and colourful recipes and, recently, some beautifully written, heartbreaking personal posts. Definitely worth a read!


Let's start with the chicken. One of my favourite items from my long-gone obsession with Thr1ve was their char-grilled chicken topped with cheese and pesto, and a quick Google search led me to this recipe. It's super easy - just coat some chicken tenders in basil pesto, and bake in a covered tray until almost cooked. Then cover in grated cheese and cook, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and brown. It's a great way to cook chicken, keeping it flavourful and moist. (After the first baking, the chicken gave off a lot of liquid, so I drained this off before adding the cheese. I didn't want a big soggy mess for my lunches!) However, if you were making the chicken to go with, say, pasta or rice, then I'd suggest keeping the delicious flavourful liquid. Anyhoo, here's a picture of the chicken before adding the cheese.

Pesto chicken

Now, let's talk about this romesco sauce! Pinch of Yum's romesco is a super-simplified version of the traditional Spanish sauce - just chuck a few ingredients into a processor and blitz. It was so incredibly tasty! And, with the main ingredients of this sauce being roasted capsicum and tomatoes, you're not just adding flavour to your meal, but also extra nutrient-rich vegetables. Heck yes! The recipe below makes more sauce than you'll need for four salads, so either scale down quantities, or make a big jar and keep eating it throughout the week. (I suggest making the big quantity, because it's So Good).

Romesco Sauce

Once you're done with the chicken and the romesco sauce, all you gotta do it roast some chickpeas in the oven, toast some pine nuts, and spiralize some zucchinis and a carrot. And that's the lunch! I chose to eat it with chopsticks - I just found it much easier to eat the zoodles that way. And because I was eating them like noodles, it made the lunch feel more substantial, as if I were eating actual noodles. I dunno, some weird psychological thing! But whether you eat it with chopsticks or a fork, this lunch is seriously delicious. I loved it!

This meal prep also gave me a lot of great leftovers. That romesco sauce is good on everything!

One night for dinner, I fried a piece of salmon (with paprika and lemon zest), and served it with extra zoodle salad and romesco sauce.

Fried salmon, romesco sauce, zoodle salad

Another night, I added sliced fried potatoes to this salmon-romesco situation.

Crispy-skinned salmon, fried potatoes, zucchini noodles and Romesco sauce

I pimped up one of my usual avocado toasts with some romesco sauce.

Avocado toast with romesco sauce

And another night, I used the romesco as a spaghetti sauce, adding salami, marinated feta, and toasted pine nuts. Fabulous!


Here are the recipes. Enjoy!

N.B. the below quantities make enough for four servings (with lots of romesco sauce leftover). Feel free to adjust quantities depending on your appetite!

Rainbow Salad
Place 3 small zucchinis and 1 peeled carrot through a spiralizer. Stir through 1/2 cup Romesco Sauce, the Roast Chickpeas, (recipes below!), and 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts.

Romesco Sauce
Adapted (only slightly) from this recipe on Pinch of Yum
For the dressing, blend together 280 grams roasted red peppers (from a jar), 10 cherry tomatoes, 1 cup raw nuts (I used half almonds half cashews), ¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 clove garlic, and the juice of half a lemon. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Roast Chickpeas
Adapted from the Roast Chickpeas on Pinch of Yum
Preheat the oven to 200C. Drain a 400 gram tin of chickpeas and place in a baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder1/2 teaspoon cumin and salt to taste. Stir to coat. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and as crisp as you like them. (I prefer a slightly doughy chickpea - cook for longer if you prefer crisp).

Cheesy Pesto Chicken
Recipe adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen
Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a baking tray with baking paper or foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread 2 tablespoons basil pesto over the base of the tray. Place 8 chicken tenderloins in the baking tray, turning them to cover in the oily pesto. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil (and drain off any juices if you like). Cover with a handful of grated tasty cheese. Turn the oven up to 200C and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is golden brown. (Test one to make sure!)

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  1. Would you believe I have a 1.6kg jar of roasted red pepper strips? You bet I'm gonna go romesco crazy! lolol



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