Whole30 newbies and veterans alike know that meal prep is one of the most important keys to success, but sometimes life happens and you just can’t make it work. Here are two flavorful, satisfying mains—one for when you’re on your meal prep game and one for when you just need food and you need it right now.
Portuguese Wedding Soup
This soup unites Portuguese caldo verde and Italian wedding soup in holy matrimony. While both soups feature a brothy base and wilted greens, this takes the meatball approach of Italian wedding soup and the filling potatoes of caldo verde to yield a Whole30 compliant, filling, nutritious, big-batch meal that will last for days.
Caldo verde is most often made using a flavorful smoked Portuguese sausage called linguica. The brands of linguica I found at my local markets all contained either sugar, milk powder or nitrates—all of which are verboten on Whole30. However, these meatballs are redolent of traditional linguica flavors, including garlic and hot smoked paprika. Because the paprika is a dominant flavor, don’t skimp on the quality of the pimenton picante. If necessary, you can use regular smoked paprika with a pinch of cayenne.
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 large egg
- 1 large clove garlic, grated on a microplane
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon pimenton picante (hot smoked paprika)
- 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, add egg, garlic, salt, pimenton picante black pepper and vinegar. Whisk with a fork to combine.
2. Mix in pork by hand to incorporate well
3. Roll meatball mixture into small, 1 inch balls and place on lined baking sheet.
4. Bake in oven for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, you can get started with the rest of the soup.
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 quart Whole30 compliant chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 5 cups water
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5 inch pieces
- 1 lb collard greens or kale, stemmed and torn into strips
- Pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Prepared meatballs (see above)
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Salt, to taste
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent. Then, add garlic and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add red pepper flakes.
2. Add stock and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce liquid to a simmer and stir in collard greens and potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are very tender, testing occasionally with a fork or paring knife.
3. Smash a few (about 5) of the potato chunks against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon, stirring to mix the smashed potatoes into the stock. This will provide body and texture throughout the soup. Feel free to smash more if you like a thicker stock.
4. Add meatballs and vinegar. Season to taste with salt.
5. Serve or reserve for later.
Kimchi Fried Cauliflower Rice
Kimchi is the perfect powerhouse ingredient for Whole30. Its fermented, spicy, salty, funky flavor isn’t subtle, and when caramelized, turns into a kind of magic condiment that makes everything it touches super savory. This recipe for fried “rice” is so easy, it’s hardly a recipe at all. In the midst of Whole30, this kind of easy, throw-it-together mishmash is a lifeline in what can seem like a never-ending cycle of meal prep. Take spare scraps of compliant proteins and vegetables and throw them in with the cauliflower rice you had in your freezer (I like the version from Trader Joe’s). Feel free to scale up. This amount yields a single, delicious serving.
- 1 - 1.5 cup frozen cauliflower rice, defrosted according to package instructions
- 1/3 cup compliant cabbage kimchi, chopped into bite-sized pieces (check ingredients - most, but not all kimchi is compliant)
- 1/4 cup pre-cooked chopped vegetables or meat (optional)
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon kimchi juice from the jar
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut aminos (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons ghee or avocado oil, divided
- 1 egg
- Salt (optional)
- Heat 1 tablespoon avocado oil or ghee in wok or large skillet over medium-high flame
- Add kimchi and stir-fry until the edges are brown and caramelized
- Add cauliflower rice and chopped vegetables/meat (if using) and stir fry for one minute to heat through
- Add kimchi juice and coconut aminos, if using. Stir to combine
- Turn off heat and add toasted sesame oil. Stir to combine.
- Add about 3/4 of the chopped scallions. Stir to combine.
- Transfer cauliflower fried rice to bowl
- Fry egg in a non-stick skillet with remaining tablespoons ghee or avocado oil until whites are set, but yolk is still runny.
- Place egg on top of cauliflower rice and sprinkle with remaining scallions.
- Sprinkle egg with salt to taste, if desired.