Tropical Dinners | Meal Plan Menu

This week of meals uses marinades, braising liquids, and sauces to build tons of flavor!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • July 26, 2019

Have you been craving a relaxing beach getaway lately? If so, let your taste buds start getting excited for a bit of island hopping this week!

We start Monday off strong with some Hawaiian-inspired BBQ Sausage Pineapple Foil Packets so you can float away on the bliss of sweet and savory perfection. Next, we take a jaunt to the Caribbean Sea with flavor-packed Slow Cooker Mojo Pork Bowls topped with fresh homemade salsa. Then, cool off on Wednesday with a Grilled Chicken Salad that features refreshingly juicy tropical oranges and crisp jicama. To close out the week, we pop back over to Cuba for Mojo Pork Cubanos (or meatless Plantain Melts!) with Cumin-Spiced Green Beans for a quick, yet completely satisfying, end to your culinary vacation.

Believe it or not, you can put together each of these deliciously flavorful meals in only 20 – 30 minutes of active cooking time! Since we design each recipe to build on the next, you have tons of great ways to spend even more time relaxing this week. All you have to do is follow our simple efficiencies, make-aheads, and leftovers suggestions that you can find if you keep reading below. 

If you want to feel like you’re sipping cocktails at a beach resort this week, click here:

“Each [Cook Smarts] meal is like a mini culinary adventure for me!”

–  Lili S. (Member since Feb 2014)

All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.

On the Menu

MONDAY | Foil Packet Hawaiian BBQ Sausage with Pineapple, Bell Peppers & Rice

Sweet, savory, and served over rice, this Hawaiian-inspired foil packet dinner features pineapple, bell peppers, squash, spices, and BBQ sausage. This quick meal only takes 20 minutes to assemble and can be prepared up to a day ahead of time.

This naturally gluten-free recipe is easy to make vegetarian by using veg / vegan sausage or cubed seitan. To make this meal Paleo, simply use your favorite Paleo-friendly BBQ sauce and nix the rice.

TUESDAY | Slow Cooker Mojo Pork Bowl with Rice, Spinach & Fresh Salsa

Citrus juice and zest add the perfect tang to this Caribbean-inspired Mojo pork recipe. To keep things fresh, the tender, shredded pork is served over rice, chopped baby spinach, bright homemade salsa, and a dollop of smooth sour cream. This delicious dish only requires 30 minutes of prep, while the rest is taken care of by your slow cooker or Instant Pot.

Whether you are a vegetarian or not, you may want to try our Seared Plantain Bowl with Cuban Rice and Beans recipe! While the original recipe is already gluten-free, it can also be made Paleo by omitting the tortilla chips, sour cream, and rice, and opting for pepitas and plantains instead.

WEDNESDAY | Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange, Jicama & Honey Paprika Vinaigrette

Thanks to the protein-rich chicken and the healthy fats from avocados, this fresh salad is hearty enough to stand on its own for dinner. With crisp butter lettuce, sweet oranges, juicy jicama, crunchy pepitas, and a smooth honey paprika vinaigrette, this Paleo-friendly salad will refresh any warm summer day!

This gluten-free and Paleo salad recipe can be made vegetarian by grilling up tofu instead of chicken.

THURSDAY | Mojo Pork Cubano with Cumin-Spiced Green Beans

With shredded Mojo pork leftover from Tuesday’s dinner, these Cubano sandwiches are a breeze to make. In only 25 minutes, you can have flavorful grilled sandwiches and cumin-spiced green beans on the table for a quick and satisfying meal!

To make a gluten-free sandwich, simply grab a GF sandwich bread at the store. To make these Cubanos vegetarian, enjoy sweet and savory Leftover Plantain Melts. Hitting the same flavor beats, our Leftover Mojo Pork Stuffed Portobellos are perfect for anyone following the Paleo diet.

Smart meal planning ideas come with every weekly menu. The smarts listed below are only a portion of the meal prep tips we include to help you make the most of your ingredients and your time. Join our community to get the full benefits of our meal plan service every day!

Meal Planning Tips


  • If you cook our Original, GF, or Paleo meals this week, you can make a double batch of Mojo pork to use for dinner on both Tuesday and Thursday night. This method of “cooking once and eating twice” will save you time in the kitchen while making leftovers fun and interesting.
  • If you are cooking meatless this week, you can go ahead and roast a large batch of plantains to use for both Tuesday’s Cuban plaintain bowls and Thursday’s plaintain melts.

Make Aheads:

  • Get a headstart on the week by assembling Monday’s foil packets on Sunday. Since they reheat well, you can even cook them more than a day in advance.
  • Sauces and dressings are great and simple to make in advance as well, as they can be done up to 5 days ahead of time. Over the weekend, or while cooking dinner early in the week, whip up Wednesday’s honey paprika vinaigrette and Thursday’s sandwich spread.


  • Using up leftover pork is super easy – all you need to do is put them in tacos, sandwiches, wraps, or stir-fries and you’ll instantly boost the flavor level!
  • If you make extra salsa on Tuesday, any leftovers are great to fold into scrambled eggs or omelets to add color, flavor, and freshness.
  • Since jicama is great for dipping, slice up leftovers and serve crunchy jicama sticks as a healthy snack to dip in salsa or hummus.

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Weekly Meal Planner | Menu for Week of 7/29/19 via Cook Smarts

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