The pandemic has given rise to all sorts of time consuming kitchen projects, from sourdough to canning. But really, most of us have jobs and families, and could use a few strategies to help us eat healthful foods with minimal kitchen time. That’s where my book, Vegan Meal Prep comes in handy. It’s a plan for cooking once a week, and assembling dishes from your prep all week long.
Meal Prep is The Key
In today’s blog and video, I’m featuring one easy meal prep item: shredded carrots. I love using my food processor to make my life easier, and this is a prime example. Just shred carrots and you’ll have them ready to go, to toss in salads, or to make these two easy recipes.
You might also like my Scarlet Shredded Salad, once you get that food processor going!
Put The Food Processor to Good Use
Of course, if you don’t have a food processor, you can shred the carrots by hand, but that kind of kills the time-saving benefits of the recipe. If you’ve read this blog before, you know I’m a big fan of time-saving, multi-use appliances. The food processor and my Vitamix get plenty of use at my house. If you don’t pull out the food processor on a regular basis, I hope this recipe will inspire you to use it to its full potential, and save yourself kitchen time in the balance.
Carrots Are Good Food
It almost goes without saying that carrots are good for you. Vitamin A and carotenoids famously support your vision, and made Bugs Bunny into a sassy superbunny. The also supply Vitamin C, Potassium, Calcium and Vitamin K, and lots of fiber. Adding more of them to your life is a good thing- and these two recipes will make that idea into a delicious reality.
Plant Based Baking 101
These sweet, chewy bars don’t last long at my house. I had two with a scoop of yogurt for breakfast just yesterday, and a couple more got packed in my bag for a snack at work. They couldn’t be easier to whip up- and they rely on Chia seeds for a binder. I keep chia seeds on hand for sprinkling on smoothie bowls or cereal, and alternate between chia and flax for a whole foods egg replacer. Just use a clean coffee grinder, spice grinder, or your trusty high-powered blender to grind them to a powder. Then they soak up the liquids and form a plant-based binder to keep your tender bars from being crumbly. The bonus is that Chia is a superfood in its own right, so you are adding beneficial fats and protein to your bars at the same time.
Once you have your bars, make the carrot salad, which keeps for four days or so in the fridge. You can also just store the shredded carrots and throw the salad together later in the week.
Because Meal Prep makes life easier, and if you do it right, a little bit healthier, tastier, and brighter.
Carrot Raisin Bars
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or your favorite milk
- 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cups coconut oil melted
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Oil a 9-inch square pan. Reserve.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, spices, baking soda and salt.
- In a cup, whisk the non-dairy milk and chia seed, then stir in the lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and coconut oil.
- Stir the non-dairy milk mixture into the flour mixture and blend well,
- Stir in the carrot shreds and raisins just to combine. Spread the batter in the pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed and firm to the touch. Cool on racks.
- For the glaze, place the powdered sugar in a cup and use a fork to stir in the lemon juice. It will make a thick paste. Add a few drop of lemon juice until just pourable. Drizzle over cooled bars. Let dry at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Moroccan Carrot Salad with Dates and Almonds
- 4 large carrots about 4 cups shredded
- 1/2 cup pitted dates sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
- Grate the carrots coarsely. Put them in a bowl with the dates. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice and cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Whisk in the olive oil gradually. Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss to mix. Serve immediately or in up to four days, topped with toasted almonds.