This week’s healthy meal plan menu is a tasty adventure inspired by flavors from around the world!
Before the busyness of the holiday season sets in, treat yourself to a little tastebud tour to distant lands. This week, we start in West Africa, travel up to the Maghreb region, and voyage across the Mediterranean Sea to end our trip in Italy.
From a creamy chicken and peanut stew to mushroom and goat cheese pizza, this week you can enjoy the bright and bold flavors of 4 different global recipes, each with vegetarian, Paleo, and gluten free versions.
If you’ve never tried your hand at Middle Eastern cuisine or never put peanut butter in a savory dinner before, then this week is the week to try something new! Once you bite into each excitingly delicious meal, you’ll be so glad you did.
“I was afraid of cooking outside of my comfort zone, so I got intimidated by fish dishes, or ethnic dishes, or just cooking something I hadn’t heard of. After being with Cook Smarts for a few years I can say that I enjoy all types of cuisines, fish is so much easier than I thought it would be, steaks come out great, and I am so proud of my stir-fry meals.”
– Kristin M. (Member since October 2013)
All meals come with gluten-free, Paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
Meal Planning Smarts
- Are you new to couscous? If so, you’re in for a treat. In two of this week’s recipes we use a standard couscous made from semolina (part of durum wheat) which cooks by steaming in hot water / stock, and is ready to eat in 5 minutes. You can easily substitute Israeli (pearl) couscous, which is actually a pasta and needs to be boiled in a large pot of water or stock just like any other pasta.
- For Wednesday’s Middle Eastern inspired meal we use harissa paste to fry a delicious veggie couscous. Harissa is a bold roasted pepper paste that is commonly used in Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, and Syria. If you can’t find this delicious paste in your local stores or ethnic grocers, you can substitute tomato paste with a few drops of hot sauce.
- To most closely achieve the pure peanut flavor of Monday’s Mafe (which is traditionally made with fresh ground peanuts), you can buy peanut butter labeled “natural”, which tends to have fewer sweeteners and additives than most other commercial varieties. However, the dish will still be delicious with any standard variety of creamy peanut butter you may have in your pantry!
- Since sweet potatoes are just so tasty (and healthy!), we use this hearty root vegetable in both the West African Mafe and the Kale Salad this week.
- We’ll make sure you use your whole bundle of cilantro by using it to add a bright citrusy finish to Monday and Wednesday’s meals.
- Take direction from our vegetarian friends and turn leftover sweet potatoes and kale into a fantastic frittata.
- It’s easy to wrap leftover salad greens, lamb, and couscous in a soft tortilla for a gourmet-style fusion lunch!
Tips for smarter meal planning come with every meal plan menu. The smarts above are only a portion of the tips we include to help you make the most of your ingredients and cook more efficiently. Join our community to get the full benefits of our meal plan service!
On the Menu
Although peanut sauce is most commonly associated with Asian cuisine, it is also a flavorful base for a popular West African dish called mafe. This creamy and comforting stew features chicken breast and root vegetables over a bed of couscous. Our light ginger, lime, and cilantro finish brings a bright complement to the rich sauce.
Gluten-free members can easily substitute quinoa for the couscous while vegetarians can simply replace the chicken with extra-firm tofu. Paleo members can enjoy a root veggie Paleo Curry Chicken.
This beautiful salad is not just pretty to look at – it’s actually packed with protein, hearty greens, roasted beets, and sweet potatoes, which will leave any diner feeling satisfied. To bring this salad to the next level, we add almond and goat cheese toppings that perfectly complement the taste of autumn delivered by our balsamic-apple cider vinaigrette.
This naturally gluten-free salad is easy to make Paleo by simply omitting goat cheese. Those who don’t eat meat can enjoy our Vegetarian Frittata Recipe with kale, goat cheese, and roasted beets and sweet potatoes.
WEDNESDAY | Spiced Lamb Chops with Harissa Fried Couscous
This Middle Eastern inspired meal will send your taste buds on a deliciously satisfying adventure. Luckily, not every adventure needs to take more than 35 minutes. This quick and easy recipe achieves rich flavors with only a few basic ingredients. Simply season some succulent lamb chops with thyme, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes and serve them with a veggie harissa couscous on the side.
To make this scrumptious meal gluten-free, all you need to do is use Monday’s leftover quinoa instead of couscous. Our Paleo recipe replaces the couscous side with a Mediterranean vegetable saute while the vegetarian version of this recipe spices roasted portobello mushrooms instead of lamb.
Better than delivery, this homemade pizza makes an average weeknight extra special. To make life easier, we use a store-bought pizza dough so you only have to spend 35 minutes prepping the entire meal. We top this healthy pizza with sauteed mushrooms, goat cheese, and a light garlic olive oil sauce and serve it with a delicious spinach and cranberry side salad.
This meal is naturally vegetarian and any gluten-free pizza dough and flour will make it safe for those avoiding gluten. For anyone eating Paleo, our Paleo version keeps the salad and replaces the pizza with earthy sauteed mushrooms and pan-seared “breaded” chicken.