You’re finally making strides with your health… then you realize you’re hosting your junk-food-loving relatives this weekend.
Or maybe your family was excited about all the new recipes and colorful veggies on their plates for a while when your youngest suddenly refuses to eat anything green.
It can be straight-up frustrating to have to appease everyone at the table without you being the one to compromise - not only what you’re eating, but the pace at which you reach your goals. Don’t even get me started on cleaning the dishes.
Let me introduce you to the Modular Meal (is there a sexier name for this? If so, let me know).
Everyone can pick and choose what garnishes work for them so you can hog all the greens. This saves you from making multiple meals for each person at the table or being sucked into eating a cheeseburger when you would have been completely happy throwing that burg over a salad.
Here are my easy go to’s:
Chili (vegetarian or turkey / beef)
- Toppings for you/everyone interested: cilantro, parsley, green onions, avocado slices, pulled pork (if you’re keeping the base vegetarian), salsa, cauliflower rice
- Toppings for the group (optional): shredded cheese, chips, sour cream, rice
Rice Noodle Bowls
- Toppings for you/everyone interested: thinly sliced cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, radishes, scallions, bell peppers, sriracha, poached chicken / shrimp, cilantro, peanuts, thai basil (you can sub the noodles for a bed of lettuce and herbs)
- Toppings for the group (optional): crunchy, glutinous crispy noodles
Minestrone Soup (use potatoes or gluten-free noodles)
- Toppings for you/everyone interested: pesto, chopped/drained fresh tomatoes, avocado slices, gluten-free crackers
- Toppings for the group (optional): shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic bread
Salad Night (think: a big bowl of greens)
- Toppings for you/everyone interested: halved cherry or grape tomatoes; slices of red bell pepper, cucumber or fennel; toasted Marcona almonds; bacon or diced cooked steak; poached or hard-boiled eggs; leftover roasted vegetables; grilled chicken cubes; chicken/tuna salad, quinoa
- Toppings for the group (optional): cheese, croutons, throw it into a tortilla and make it a wrap, creamy dressings
Spaghetti (go for the zucchini or butternut squash noodles)
- Toppings for you/everyone interested: parsley, olive oil, roasted veggies, pasta sauce, Kite Hill ricotta cheese, grape tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, sun-dried tomatoes
- Toppings for the group (optional): Parm cheese, ricotta cheese, legit pasta
Tacos or Taco Salad
- Toppings for you/everyone interested: beans, rice, salsa, guacamole or fresh avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, sauteed peppers/onions/mushrooms, ground beef, chicken; if you’re making a taco salad option, make sure you have tons of chopped lettuce!
- Toppings for the group (optional): shredded cheese, taco shells, tortilla strips, sour cream, refried beans
Pizza Party (cauliflower crust or gluten-free crust)
- Toppings for you/everyone interested: any veggies or meats you like, pineapple, spinach, olives, arugula (fresh, after cooking), olive oil
- Toppings for the group (optional): gluten/wheat crust, extra cheese or dairy, fried toppings like eggplant
Want more cooking ideas for a crowd? Check out some of my favorite recipes, and if you missed my blog about camping meals and snacks for a crowd it will help you stay on track for your fall outdoorsy trips!