While summer echoes softly in the wind, there’s a child inside of your adult mind excitedly whispering…YAY FALL. Right? The time has come to gently rejoice and slip back into comfy rituals (and cozy knits).
*Deep restorative sigh*
It’s safe to say we made the most of summer 2020. You may have experienced a deeply personal shift in awareness or a professional breakthrough. Perhaps your priorities shifted, and you gained fresh clarity around what matters in your life. Maybe you developed an appreciation for locally made face masks and gin-distilled hand sanitizer.
One unifying reminder from the pandemic is the intrinsic need to connect – whether through a lens, a screen or in a “bubble.”
As we transition from one season to the next, social gatherings will continue to look a little different. From Zoom weddings to virtual cocktail hours, the world keeps adapting in creative and inspiring ways.
Another source of social and cultural connectivity is FOOD. Sharing nutrient-dense meals and recipes have brought people together for many moons, near and far. We’ve always managed to stay connected through the simple act of eating together.
The clouds may “rain” on your physically distanced parade, but the skies don’t have to usurp your good intentions. In uncertain times, we can still adapt and layer up for all-weather outdoor gatherings.
Regardless of outdoor (preferably covered) locale, here are four nutrient-dense ideas to fuel your next mindful meal share. We’re turning to the trusted mason jar to support our feasting endeavours. These classic vessels are ideal for contactless meal sharing, personal portioning, reusing/cleaning and transferring contents onto a plate or warming pot.
Remember to wear your coziest sweater.
tuja tip: Use 1L mason jars, and leave some room at the top to allow your beautiful ingredients to blend in the jar when shaken (with lid on) or easily stirred together with a fork. Depending on group size and sharing plans, you can also divide each recipe into individual 500mL jars.
1. Warm Quinoa Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
You may be thinking…another quinoa salad?? However, the versatility of this seed is virtually endless. Paired with black beans and creamy butternut squash, this is a must-try medley for fall.
- Start by baking your butternut squash: cut the squash into bite-size cubes, drizzle with oil, spread onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 mins at 375F or until tender.
- Create your mason jar base of cooked quinoa (~½ cup) and black beans (~¼ cup).
- Add desired colourful veggies such as bell peppers, cucumber, celery, radish and yellow zucchini (diced into cubes or bite-size pieces).
- Once cooled, add a layer of butternut squash cubes on top.
Green Goddess dressing:
- 1 cup grass-fed full-fat Greek yogurt, plain (or plant-based yogurt like coconut)
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, mint
- ¼ cup chopped chives
- 1 medium clove garlic, chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt & pepper, to taste
Combine all dressing ingredients into a food processor or high-speed blender and process until smooth. Drizzle dressing into your jar and mix when ready to serve.
For a sweet taste of late summer, try a Honey Lime & Mint Quinoa Salad.
2. Fall Falafel Feast
Packed with plant protein, these home-baked falafels are deliciously savoury and fulfilling – and easily shareable!
- Start by baking your Chickpea Lentil Falafel Bites.
- Create a mason jar base layer with your choice of chopped organic leafy greens (ex. mesclun, kale, romaine, spinach).
- Next, add cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, pitted Kalamata olives, parsley sprigs and Feta cubes (goat’s cheese or dairy-free).
- Once cooled, place your falafel bites on top.
- Spoon in some homemade tzatziki, and you have yourself a fall Mediterranean feast.
3. Golden Coconut Curry with Cauliflower & Mung Beans
A beloved curry bowl served in a jar. This Indian-inspired plant-based curry is one of the coziest ways to fuel up and ease into the colder months.
The central layer is your curry, which leaves room to go wild with fun toppings such as chopped cilantro, cashew pieces, shredded coconut and diced green onion.
For the curry:
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 BPA-free can of coconut milk, full fat
- 1 BPA-free can of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups chopped cauliflower
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp curry powder
- ⅓ cup mung beans, rinsed or pre-soaked
- 3 cups veggie stock
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Sea salt & pepper
- In a large pot over medium heat, add coconut oil, onion and garlic. Stir until onion is translucent.
- Add your chopped cauliflower along with spices, and cook for 5 minutes or until cauli softens. Next, add veggie stock, coconut milk, diced tomatoes and mung beans.
- Cover pot with the lid and let simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Be sure to wait until your curry has cooled to portion out into mason jars.
4. Chia Pudding with Avocado Chocolate Mousse
A mason jar meal share would not be complete without dessert. And this one takes the cake.
- In your mason jar (500mL), combine 3 Tbsp of chia seeds with 1 cup of almond milk (or preferred DF milk).
- Add 1 Tbsp of pure maple syrup or raw honey, 1 tsp of cacao powder and 1 tsp of true vanilla extract.
- Stir and let “set” in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Once set, add a generous dollop of Avocado Chocolate Mousse, raw cacao nibs or fresh berries (leftover summer blueberries, raspberries or blackberries will do nicely).
For a more vibrant fruity version, try Raspberry Cardamom Chia Pudding.
As the temperature dips and you’re sharing meal time (or space on the trail/sidewalk/grocery store line-up), always, always leave extra room for kindness.