With the cold winter weather, we wanted to bring in the heat with our dishes. We used harissa sauce to bring heat and a smokiness to our recipes. We also incorporated the earthy and nutty flavors of pistachio nuts to pack a powerful punch for nutrition and also bold flavors. And we can’t go through the winter months without incorporating one of our favorite winter fruits, the pomegranate. Pomegranates ripen during the winter months and bring vivid colors for meal appeal and are a superfood class of their own.
Breakfast Recipe One: Egg Stuffed Peppers with Pistachio Pesto & Harissa Sauce
Baking eggs in the oven is one of our go-to cooking methods when it comes to making an easy breakfast. Typically we use up leftover veggies or dice up some sausage and bake eggs in a frittata or bake mini egg muffins. For this recipe, we took the same concept and decided to bake eggs in its own edible vessel. We sliced up bell pepper and removed the core and cracked our eggs into the wells. Just a few minutes in the oven and you have a sweet tender bell pepper with a baked version of a “sunny side up egg”. Just like any stuffed pepper, you can add additional ingredients such as herbs, other veggies, and top it off with your favorite sauce. We topped ours off with a sweet and smoky harissa sauce and a little bit of pistachio pesto to add a nice herb and nutty flavor. With additional slices of avocado, you’ve got a power breakfast to start off your day.
Breakfast Recipe Two: Pistachio Pomegranate Granola
Granola is nutritious and filling for breakfast. However, many varieties can contain excess sugar and unwanted preservatives. So making your own granola can help you avoid these unwanted ingredients, and it takes less than 5 minutes to make. We used oats that are filled with fiber and can help lower cholesterol. We added pistachio nuts because they provide healthy fats and are a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. And since it’s the holiday season, we added pomegranate seeds. Not only do they add a bright red color, but they add a bright and tart burst of flavor. Just add a touch of honey and cinnamon to bring it all together.
Lunch Recipe One: Baked Harissa Chicken Tenderloin with Pomegranate Seeds and Roasted Turnips
This Harissa chicken uses the sweet and smokey red chili pepper paste to create a bold, spicy, and flavorful dish. With all the cold weather, we wanted something to heat up our tastebuds. This easy and healthy harissa chicken is so quick to make and serve on top of a bed of salad. The chicken tenderloins are marinated in harissa paste for a sweet and spicy dish. It is a gluten-free and low carb way to boost flavor to any chicken recipe. To contrast the sweet and spicy flavors of the dish we added pickled flavors of pepperoncini peppers. We also sprinkled juicy pomegranate seeds for a bit of tartness and sweetness to cut through all the heat. We wanted to add extra veggies for our meal, so we also roasted up some winter vegetables such as diced turnips. This added some crunch to our salad in place of croutons.
Lunch Recipe Two: Hot and Sour Soup
This hot and sour soup is a favorite in Asian take out, and now you can enjoy it right at home. Drinking warm soup has been a method to keep illness away and strengthen digestion. It’s incredibly easy to make at home and you can customize it to suit your flavor preferences. This means you can adjust how “hot” and how “sour” you want the soup to be. You can easily upgrade the nutritional value by adding extra veggies. For this recipe, we kept the heat simple by using red pepper flakes, but you can use the traditional chili garlic sauce found in most recipes. The sour flavors came from rice vinegar, but you can easily use lemon juice. Typically you’ll find pork or tofu as the main protein sources, but we decided to just keep it simple with eggs. We used low sodium chicken stock and low sodium soy to limit the amount of sodium typically found in this soup.
Dinner Recipe One: Pistachio Crusted Salmon with Roasted Asparagus
Salmon and asparagus are two food items that are nutritious and offer many health benefits. They often can stand on their own, but we wanted to bring bold and exciting flavors to this classic baked dish. Making this dish will make you feel like you are eating something from a gourmet restaurant and only requires minimal ingredients. The nutty pistachio mixed with the spicy dijon mustard tastes exquisite when combined with salmon. What makes this dish even better is that this elegant meal can be made in less than 20 minutes.
Dinner Recipe Two: Instant Pot Harissa Beef Stew
You can’t go wrong with a basic beef stew. Beef stew is a standard dish in many cuisines with the warm and filling broth and the fork-tender beef that just brings so much comfort in the winter months. But we are always looking for ways to level up our meal prep and introduce new flavors. Many beef stews use tomato paste or tomato sauce as a base to flavor the soup. We took it up a notch and decided to use harissa sauce. It just added extra kick and smokiness to this slurpilicious stew. Most stews are paired with root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. For this recipe, we opted for turnips. Turnips are a winter vegetable that is in season and are perfect for a low carb or keto alternative in place of potatoes. This hearty and flavorful beef stew is perfect for a chilly night.
Meal Planning and Preparation Tips
- When it comes to meal prepping, many find themselves with leftover ingredients. Therefore, we are always aiming to use ingredients that we can overlap throughout meals. For this meal plan, we used harissa sauce in our breakfast stuffed peppers, oven-baked chicken tenders, and also instant pot harissa beef stew. Pistachios often come in a large bag, so we made pistachio pesto, added it to our granola, and used it as a crust topping for our salmon.
- To make sure we were able to cook all of our meals in the quickest way possible, we also incorporated recipes that use the same meal preparation, and also sequenced our cooking steps in the most efficient way. While we were waiting for the beef stew to cook in the instant pot, we baked three recipes in the oven: breakfast stuffed peppers, harissa chicken, and salmon with asparagus. Meanwhile, we had two stovetop dishes that took less than 15 minutes to cook: granola and the hot and sour soup.
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