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The Meal Prep Trifecta Ada is Cooking Now

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Hello! Ada here. For better or worse, I've had less time to spend in the kitchen lately, and this cooking crunch has left me feeling a little desperate on figuring out what to eat. Sure, I can research and recommend awesome recipes, hungrily pulling them up on my computer while my fridge sits empty in the room next door, but how do all these suggestions actually solve the problem of what I should eat tonight? I haven't had the time (or is it want?) to pour over a new recipe or even to make a grocery list that requires gathering ingredients outside of my usual cart. And with said business, it feels more important than ever to fuel my body with wholesome, nutrient-dense meals. I know you know the struggle.

But then, I remembered a formula that has gotten me through uninspired and busy times like this in the past... Let's call it the meatball + veg + sauce trifecta. It's PERFECTLY suited for summer produce, and it has become my go-to as of late.

For about a month or two straight, I've been making Greek-style lamb meatballs about every other week. These meatballs are the anchor for a mezze of other dishes including large pepper and tomato salads, cucumber tzatziki, sun-dried tomato or roasted pepper pastes, tabouli, and hummus - sometimes the classic chickpea-variety, and sometimes a hummus-inspired dip of roasted beets or carrots plus tahini and olive oil or maybe yogurt and garlic.

The prep for this formula always involves a chunky and toothsome vegetable component (like a chopped zucchini salad or tray of Harissa roasted carrots) and always at least one saucey thing (hummus, tahini, garlic-chive aioli). (See also, what are garlic chives, and how to use them?).

Truthfully, I'm always low-key chasing a wrap called the Kuzu from Keboalicious - a menu item that seems to have disappeared sometime over the years. When I lived in East Austin, the Kuzu was a beloved favorite of mine, and then my of my boyfriend's, who is now my husband. All this to say, this kuzu-chasing meatball + veg + sauce formula works well for both of us, and makes for excellent lunches eaten at home or packed up in an insulated lunch box.

A bowl of bright orange carrot hummus, swirled with sumac and cilantro.
Carrot Hummus as made and photographed by Mackenzie Smith Kelley.

The formula requires some upfront investment of time. At a leisurely podcasting pace, I'd set aside a couple of hours. There is a lot of chopping involved, especially if you aspire to make a pepper/tomato salad with very tiny dices, which I recommend you do. Think pico de gallo, but Mediterranean. But after the prep, I can usually make these vittles last us all work week, in some form or another.