Mini No-Bake Fresh Mint Cheesecakes

These mini no-bake cheesecakes have a wonderfully fresh flavor thanks to both mint-infused syrup and whipping cream. They come together quickly with just a bit of advance planning and are perfect for summer since you don’t even have to turn on the oven. The entire family can enjoy these bite-size desserts with no artificial colors or flavors!

An overhead shot of a batch of Mini Fresh Mint Cheesecakes and a bottle of mint-infused simple syrup.
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that continue to make CaliGirl Cooking possible. This post also contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission when you click on them and make any subsequent purchases.

If you’re looking for an easy, refreshing dessert that’s already perfectly portion-controlled for you and your family, these Mini No-Bake Fresh Mint Cheesecakes are it! I’ve once again partnered with my friends at Sonoma Syrup Co. to come up with a tasty recipe to showcase all of the wonderful flavors of their fresh mint syrup, without any of that bright green faux mint color and flavor that shows up in most minty desserts you see. If you were a fan of my Fresh Mint Dark Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, you’re definitely not going to want to miss this one.

Special Equipment Needed for Making Mini Cheesecakes

Before we get into the recipe itself, it’s important to note a few pieces of equipment you’ll need to make it.

Mini Cheesecake Pan (optional)

If you want your cheesecakes to be the most aesthetically pleasing, I highly recommend investing in a mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms. I have one similar to this. If you don’t feel like investing or simply didn’t plan too far in advance to make this recipe (hey, I totally get it) you can simply line a muffin tin with paper liners for ease of pulling out the individual cheesecakes once they’ve set up in the fridge.

Hand Mixer and/or Stand Mixer

To be honest, I used BOTH my hand mixer and my stand mixer for this recipe, but you certainly don’t have to. If you only use one or the other, you’ll just have to do some transferring and extra washing of dishes while you’re putting together your cheesecakes. But you will need at least one of these! No one wants to spend hours hand-whisking heavy whipping cream until it’s fluffy.

Those are all of the special tools you’ll need, everything else is pretty standard, like mixing bowls, spatulas, etc.

What You’ll Need to Prepare in Advance

This recipe comes together in no time at all, as long as you do a little advance planning. Here are the two easy steps you’ll need to take at least a few hours before you decide to put together these cheesecakes:

  1. Set out the cream cheese to come to room temperature.
  2. Steep the whipping cream with some fresh mint so it has time to cool down before you actually move forward with whipping it.

Since we’re not baking this dessert, we want to make sure everything is at the optimal temperature before moving forward with the rest of the recipe.

How to Make a No-Bake Chocolate Crust

It’s no secret that the ultimate compliment to fresh mint is chocolate, so that’s exactly the type of crust we’re going to make. A no-bake cheesecake crust is easier than ever to put together. All you need are some crushed up crispy cookies and melted butter. Once they’re mixed together, pressed into your mini cheesecake pans and refrigerated, the butter will harden up again and form a nice solid base for the mint cheesecake filling.

I used some chocolate cat cookies from Trader Joe’s for my crust, but you could also use chocolate graham crackers or even just the cookie part of Oreo’s (no filling).

An overhead shot of a mini cheesecake pan filled with chocolate cookie crust.

A Light-and-Fluffy Fresh Mint Cheesecake Filling

Once you have the chocolate crusts pressed into your mini cheesecake pan or cupcake tin, you’ll want to make the filling.

The first (and very important) step to a fluffy filling is to whip the mint-infused cream you prepared in advance until stiff peaks form. This will give your cheesecakes a silky, smooth and light texture that’s sure to please anyone who tries it. To really up the fresh mint flavor here, we’ll also whip in some of Sonoma Syrup’s Mint-Infused Simple Syrup, which is made with all-natural flavors and no artificial coloring.

An overhead shot of a mixing bowl full of whipped mint cream.

Once your mint cream is sufficiently whipped, it’s time to make the other half of the filling by combining your room temperature cream cheese and some powdered sugar.

Next (and this is important) gently fold the mint whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and – voila! –your light and oh-so-fluffy mint cheesecake filling is ready to go.

Gently scoop the filling into your chocolate crust cups and refrigerate for at least a few hours for the filling to firm up a bit. It won’t be super stiff, but that’s how we get the light and fluffy texture. If you need the filling to be a little stiffer for removing the cheesecakes from the pan, simply pop them into the freezer for 20 minutes or so before serving.

A stack of three mini fresh mint cheesecakes with a bottle of mint-infused simple syrup.

More Ways to Use Mint in the Kitchen

Mint is such a fun and refreshing flavor to incorporate into recipes, especially in the summer. Here are some other great ideas for adding more fresh mint flavor to your recipes during these warm-weather months:

Use it to make Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Chips.

Make a classic cocktail like a Mojito or a Mint Julep.

Stray from your usual cup of coffee with a Mint Matcha Latte.

Or stick to your OG latte but add a dash of mint syrup.

And, finally, what better way to cool off from the heat than with some Vanilla Bean Mint Lemonade?

I dare you to try this recipe and tell me these Mint Mini Cheesecakes aren’t a breath of fresh, minty air. Be sure to check out Sonoma Syrup Co.’s full range of all-natural products here and leave a rating and comment below as soon as you give the recipe a try!

A fresh mint mini cheesecake with a bite out of it with more mini cheesecakes behind it.

5 from 1 vote
A fresh mint mini cheesecake with a bite out of it with more mini cheesecakes behind it.
Mini No-Bake Fresh Mint Cheesecakes
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Refrigerator Time
5 hrs
Total Time
5 hrs 40 mins
 

These mini no-bake cheesecakes have a wonderfully fresh flavor thanks to both mint-infused syrup and whipping cream. They come together quickly with just a bit of advance planning and are perfect for summer since you don’t even have to turn on the oven.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: bite-size, cheesecake, dessert, family-friendly, mint, no-bake, summer
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 378 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookies (I used Trader Joe’s Chocolate Cat Cookies, or you could use chocolate grahams or Oreo’s without the filling.)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5-8 leaves fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons Sonoma Syrup Co. Mint-Infused Simple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • Fresh mint, to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. A few hours before you want to make the cheesecakes, pull out the cream cheese to let it come to room temperature and make the mint-infused heavy cream. To make the cream, bring the heavy whipping cream and fresh mint to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat and let it cool down until it is no longer too hot to the touch. Transfer the infused cream to a heat-proof dish or container (I used a glass measuring cup) and refrigerate until completely cool.

  2. Once the cream cheese is at room temperature and the infused cream has cooled down, prepare your mini cheesecake or muffin tin pans by either spraying the cheesecake tins (with removable bottoms) with cooking spray or lining the muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

  3. Next, prepare the crust. Depending on the equipment you have available, either combine the chocolate cookies and melted butter in a food processor and process until finely crumbled, or smash the cookies into small pieces in a resealable plastic bag, then combine the crumbs in a small bowl with the melted butter.

  4. Firmly press the cookie and butter mixture evenly into the bottom of each of your tins and set aside.

  5. Remove the infused cream from the refrigerator and place in either a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the mint syrup and vanilla extract. Using your hand mixer or the whisk attachment on the stand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. This may take a while, 5-10 minutes.

  6. In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Gently fold in the mint-infused whipped cream until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix.

  7. Scoop the cheesecake filling evenly into each of your mini cheesecake or muffin tins. Refrigerate for at least three hours before serving. If you feel the cheesecakes are still too soft, feel free to pop them into the freezer for 20-30 minutes before removing them from the pan.

Recipe Notes
  1. You can find mini cheesecake pans with removable bottoms here.
  2. Be sure to remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator and prepare the mint-infused whipping cream a few hours in advance. 
  3. It's important to make sure the cream is nice and whipped - with thick peaks - before folding it into the rest of the cheesecake batter. 
  4. The cheesecakes will be light and fluffy, even after setting in the refrigerator for a few hours. If you need them to be firmer for removing from the pan and serving, place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before enjoying.
Nutrition Facts
Mini No-Bake Fresh Mint Cheesecakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 378 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Cholesterol 71mg24%
Sodium 345mg15%
Potassium 116mg3%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 20g22%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 818IU16%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

5 Easy Meal Planning Tips for Busy Moms

These five meal planning tips are easy to implement and will save busy moms hours in the kitchen each week. Start using them today and make mealtimes stress-free and enjoyable for the entire family.

5 Easy Meal Planning Tips for Busy Moms
This post contains affiliate links.

I’m the first to admit that meal planning doesn’t always come easy, but in my experience as a meal planning consultant and baby and toddler feeding expert, I can confidently say that I’ve uncovered the best hacks for making meal planning just a little bit more manageable, especially for us busy moms who NEVER seem to have enough hours in the day.

5 Easy Meal Planning Tips for Busy Moms

Here are my top five meal planning tips for busy moms that you can implement today to save not only hours in the kitchen each week, but your sanity and peace of mind.

#1. USE PINTEREST TO GET ORGANIZED

If you’re one of the millions of mamas who mindlessly scrolls through Pinterest at least a few times a week, chances are you’ve already got a board or two devoted to your favorite recipe pins. So, put them to use!

Create three to four new boards on Pinterest and label them something like this: Meal Plan – Breakfast, Meal Plan – Lunch, Meal Plan – Dinner, Meal Plan – Snacks. To see an example of how this is done, check out my own personal meal plan Pinterest boards I’ve made here.

Next, go through all of the pins you’ve already saved to other boards, and re-pin those that you would realistically make on a regular basis to the appropriate Meal Plan board. Now, when you’re putting together a meal plan each week, you’ll have all of your recipes in one place for easy scrolling and selecting.

#2. SCHEDULE IT IN

Much like other menial tasks, meal planning can easily get pushed off for better, more exciting things. However, none of us can survive without eating, so us busy moms need to make meal planning a priority. That’s where physically scheduling in time to meal plan is essential. Whether you use a scheduling app, your Google calendar or a pen-and-paper planner, block off at least 30 minutes a week to devote to meal planning.  There are 168 hours in the week, so setting aside such a tiny portion of that will be completely worth it for all of the time you will save later on!

A busy mom working on her family meal plan for the week.

#3. IF YOU’RE COOKING ANYWAY, MAKE EXTRA

Whenever you’re whipping something up in the kitchen, take a moment to think if there’s any way you can make a little extra to save for later. Have a recipe that feeds six yet only have a family of three? Make the whole thing anyway and save the rest for another meal! Cooking some vegetables to throw into a salad? Cook some extra while you’re at it and use it in your kids’ lunches throughout the week. When you’re already taking time out of your day to prepare food, it will take much less time to make a little extra for later at the same time than it will for you to have a whole other cooking sesh later on.

#4. THE FREEZER IS YOUR MEAL PLANNING BFF

This simple meal planning hack is the one I have taken the most advantage of since becoming a mom, and it goes right along with the “making extra” tip mentioned above. Utilize your freezer!! When you make extra of something, freeze it up. If you have an hour or two on the weekend to meal prep some healthy snacks for your little one(s), freeze them for easy access throughout the busy week. Use resealable glass containers, Mason jars and/or Ziploc bags for freezer-friendly storage, and label them using blue painters’ tape and a Sharpie. It’s the best way to keep things organized!

Finally, if you don’t already have it, be sure to grab my Freezer Meal Cheat Sheet – part of my Ultimate Meal Planning Toolkit – to keep track of everything you’ve stashed and whatever you need to reheat and serve it when you’re ready.

A toddler helping her mom meal prep some healthy snacks.

#5. ORGANIZE YOUR SHOPPING LIST

Taking multiple trips to the grocery store – or running all over the store in one trip to grab everything you need – can be THE biggest time-suck. But it doesn’t have to be! Once you start devoting at least 30 minutes a week to meal planning, you’ll be able to make one big shopping list that should get you through most of the week. On top of that, if you organize your shopping list by section of the grocery store, you’ll be able to be the most efficient on this one trip, without bouncing back and forth from produce to dairy to meat to produce, etc. To grab your very own organized shopping list template, click here.

The goal of this tip is twofold, to (1) minimize the total number of times you’re having to go to the grocery store each week – something that takes at least 30 minutes per trip even if you’re just going for one item – and (2) to maximize your efficiency on that one trip.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to tackle some of these meal planning tips? If you give them a shot, I’d love to hear how they worked for you in the comments below.

If you still feel overwhelmed – that you still can’t fit these tips into your busy schedule, that you don’t even know where to start in the kitchen, or that you just plain don’t want to think about it – be sure to check out my personalized meal planning services, where I do all of this work for you 😉

Here’s to healthy, happy and stress-free cooking for all you busy mamas out there!

The Ultimate Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce

This Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce contains over five different vegetables, yet your little ones will never even know it. It’s the perfect base for a weeknight meal the entire family will love, plus it’s simple to make and freezer-friendly!A bowl of whole wheat penne loaded with Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce, the perfect family-friendly freezer meal!

If you’re sick of struggling to get your toddler to eat anything of nutritional value, stuck in a rut with what to make for your family’s picky palates, or just ready to mix up your dinner game, this Ultimate Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce recipe is for you!

You’re going to love that this recipe is packed with nutritional value, comes together with almost no waste, can be made well in advance AND makes plenty to cover at least two dinners for your family. Every mama’s favorite kind of recipe!

Why Hide Veggies in Your Food?

While it’s important to remember to continuously offer your baby or toddler vegetables in their truest form, there are several arguments to be made for hiding them in recipes whenever you can:

Textural Issues of Whole Veggies

First, it introduces your child (or hey, even your picky spouse) to a new flavor or flavors even if he or she can’t get past certain textural issues with the vegetables in their pure form. The texture issue is a real one for many picky kids and this is a great way to overcome it!

Increased Nutritional Value

Secondly, sneaking veggies into a recipe your family already loves is a fantastic way to up its nutritional value. Many little ones love foods like muffins, pizza and pasta, so why not make them healthier versions and get some extra nutrients in in the meantime?

Benefits the Entire Family

One of the biggest things I stress to my clients and course students is the importance of eating together as a family and everyone eating the same thing. If you’re always thinking of ways to add more veggies into what you’re making for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the entire family will benefit from the increased nutritional value.

Food Segue

Hiding veggies in foods your little one(s) already love is also a great way to begin a food segue. This is a gradual technique used for feeding babies and toddlers that eventually gets them to like a certain food in its purest form. You can read more about how to do a food segue with your baby or toddler here.

A dish of pasta topped with Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce.

Tips for Hiding Veggies in Food

I know what you’re thinking: But where do I start when it comes to hiding veggies in all my favorite recipes? Well, this Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce is a great start, but here are some general guidelines you can follow when you’re experimenting with adding veggies to other types of recipes:

Match Colors and Shapes

Think of a vegetable that will compliment a food that your little one already loves – and looks like it, too! For example, pair diced beets with berries, or kiwi with avocado.

Make It Small

One of the best ways to slowly start introducing a vegetable to your baby or toddler is to do it in small doses and then gradually increase the amount. Shredded or puréeing vegetables are perfect ways to work them into the mix.

Take Advantage of What Your Little One Already Likes

If your babe is already obsessed with sweet potato, slowly start working some butternut squash into the mix. If he or she can’t get enough of muffins or pancakes, play around with the different ways you can up their nutritional value the next time you make them. Capitalize on what already works!

An overhead shot of a bowl of Hidden Veggie Pasta.

How to Make Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce

The simple answer: throw everything together in a big saucepan or Dutch oven, let it simmer away, then purée!

Once you have all of the ingredients prepped, this recipe involves almost no hands-on time. I also love that this recipe has almost no waste, we use a full cans or cartons of everything, so you don’t have to worry about half a carton of broth sitting unused in your fridge for weeks to come.

Freezing Your Pasta Sauce

 If your making this recipe in advance and plan to serve it later (which you totally should!) follow these tips for storing:

  • Once the sauce has cooled down slightly, transfer it to Mason jars or a resealable plastic bag
  • Let it cool completely
  • Label it (and be sure to include the date you made it)
  • Freeze until ready to use!

Different Ways to Serve Your Sauce

News flash: This red sauce isn’t just for pasta! Here is a list of all of the different ways you can use up your batch of sauce:

Pasta
Pizza
Lasagna
BAKED chicken
Egg bake
stirred into Polenta
Eggplant Parmesan
Chili
Stuffed peppers/spaghetti squash
Minestrone or other tomato-based soups
As a dipping sauce for grilled cheese

Now, who’s ready to get cooking??

If you try this recipe, be sure to rate it and leave a comment below!

Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

This Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce is great for all ages and is the perfect base for a weeknight family meal. It's freezer-friendly and makes a ton so you'll always have a healthy dinner option on hand. It's also loaded with more than five different veggies!

Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baby-friendly, baby-led weaning, family-friendly, freezer-friendly, Italian, kid-friendly, make-ahead, pasta, red sauce, toddler, vegetables
Servings: 20 people
Calories: 26 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium roasted sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning Salt-free for young babes
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 32-ounce carton chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste Minimize for young babes
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once oil is heated, add onion and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until onion starts to become fragrant and translucent.

  2. Add garlic, carrot, bell pepper, zucchini and sweet potato and stir to combine. Allow to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes. Add Italian seasoning and stir to combine.

  3. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth, and once again stir to combine. Bring to a low boil (very gently bubbling), then turn off heat.

  4. Transfer sauce to a blender in two batches. You may need to use a mixing bowl to hold some of the extra soup while you are blending. Blend until smooth, then return to the original saucepan or Dutch oven on low heat.

  5. Season with salt and pepper as needed, but if you will be serving this to young babes, minimize the salt as much as possible.

Recipe Notes

TO FREEZE: Let sauce come to room temperature, then transfer to Mason jars with lids, label (including date made) and freeze.

You can easily sub in whichever veggies you wish if you need to use something up!

Nutrition Facts
Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 26 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 8mg0%
Potassium 82mg2%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 1640IU33%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Easy Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Lasagna-Style!

This easy stuffed spaghetti squash recipe has all your favorite lasagna ingredients stuffed into handy (and healthy!) spaghetti squash boats. It’s an easy weeknight meal the entire family will love!

An overhead shot of two plates of stuffed spaghetti squash with herbs and a hunk of Parmesan.

I love finding ways to add an extra-healthy touch to a typically indulgent dish. While I’m certainly not against a hearty slab of lasagna every once in a while, putting all of the dish’s typical ingredients into a vessel that also just so happens to be a delicious vegetable ups the nutrition-factor AND presents the dish to the kiddo in a new and unusual way. You may recognize this tactic from my ever-so-popular Papaya Breakfast Boats recipe. Kids get such a kick out of eating out of something other than a plate or bowl.

So, here’s the scoop on this Easy Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Lasagna-Style!

What You Need to Make Lasagna-Style Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

You don’t need much to make this delicious family meal, mostly all of the typical ingredients you’d use to make a classic lasagna, with spaghetti squash taking the place of the pasta.

You’ll need:
  • Garlic herb butter (Trader Joe’s has a great one!)
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Italian sausage
  • Marinara sauce
  • Ricotta
  • Mozzarella
  • Fresh oregano

And a few other basic things like salt, pepper, onion and garlic.

How to Make It

 Aside from a little bit of cooking time on the front end, this meal is very much “set-it-and-forget-it.” My favorite kind of meal!

A close up shot of lasagna-style stuffed spaghetti squash.

The first thing you’ll need to do is give your spaghetti squash a little head start on cooking. This will take the majority of the cooking time, about 30-45 minutes. You could also do this part in advance when you meal prep for the week!

If you don’t choose to prep your squash in advance, you can start on the filling while they’re cooking.  You’ll be preparing the “lasagna” part of this dish over the stove top, to make sure the meat gets fully cooked and all of the ingredients get nice and integrated.

Once your filling is ready and your squash boats have gotten their cook on, it’s time to stuff ‘em!

Sprinkle on the mozzarella and then it’s time to bake. The stuffed boats will only need to be in the oven for 10-15 minutes, with another 4 minutes or so of broiling to get your cheese nice and bubbly. Everything is already cooked through, we’re just putting on the finishing touches right now.

How to Serve Your Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Unless you have some hungry teenagers on your hands, you’re probably going to want to divide your stuffed squash halves in half once again after they’re cooked. Serve them with a little sprinkle of fresh oregano and some fresh bread to scoop up any extra filling, and you have yourself a delicious, well-balanced dinner.

Bonus if you can find some sleek black dining plates like these to serve [affiliate link], they’re such a fun change-up to the typical white china this time of year!

A giant forkful of a stuffed spaghetti squash.

Other Easy Weeknight Meals Like This One

 You asked, so I’m answering. Many of you have mentioned to me that you need more ideas for weeknight dinners (hence this tasty recipe) so I also want to point you in the right direction of some other great weeknight meals I have here on the site. Here are some of my other favorite weeknight meals, especially for this time of year:

What are your favorite weeknight meals for fall? Let me know in the comments below!

Easy Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Lasagna-Style!
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

This easy stuffed spaghetti squash recipe has all your
favorite lasagna ingredients stuffed into handy (and healthy!) spaghetti squash
boats. It’s an easy weeknight meal the entire family will love!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dinner, gluten-free, Italian, lasagna, squash, weeknight
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 656 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved with some of the insides scooped out to form a well Reserve any of the extra insides to stir into the filling.
  • 2 tablespoons garlic herb butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup marinara sauce See notes for recipe, or use a jarred version.
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place spaghetti
    squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet facing up. Brush the garlic herb butter
    evenly over each of the spaghetti squash halves. Roast in the preheated oven
    for 30-45 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

  2. While the squash is cooking, prepare the filling. Place a deep skillet on the stove over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add the onions and sauté for a few minutes, until fragrant and translucent, then add the garlic and stir to combine. Let cook for a minute or two and then add the Italian sausage and cook until browned.

  3. Add in the marinara, ricotta and oregano and stir to combine. Let the mixture heat up and come to a gentle bubble, then turn off the heat.

  4. When your squash is fork-tender and you’ve pulled it out of the oven, lower the oven heat to 350 degrees. Then, carefully scoop the filling into each of the halves and sprinkle with mozzarella.

  5. Return the squash to the 350-degree oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, then turn on the broiler and cook for another 4 or so minutes, until the cheese on top is browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting the halves in half and serving.

Recipe Notes
  1. You can find a great recipe for homemade marinara here!
  2. You can roast your spaghetti squash up to two days in advance. It will reheat in the oven when you bake the filling.

 

Nutrition Facts
Easy Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Lasagna-Style!
Amount Per Serving
Calories 656 Calories from Fat 459
% Daily Value*
Fat 51g78%
Saturated Fat 22g138%
Cholesterol 129mg43%
Sodium 1327mg58%
Potassium 776mg22%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 1171IU23%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 379mg38%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki Marinated Chicken

This easy Mediterranean Bowl is full of so much flavor, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your weekly meal plan. Loaded with tzatziki marinated chicken, tzatziki sauce, crispy chickpeas and more, most everything can be made in advance for quick weeknight assembly.

A Mediterranean Bowl loaded with chicken, tomatoes, cucumber and tzatziki.

I hope you’re ready for a life-changing, flavor-packed weeknight meal, because this Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki Marinated Chicken is just that! I’ve been dreaming about creating a recipe like this for a while, and now that it’s finally here, I couldn’t be more excited.

The other exciting part? All of the components of this bowl that require ANY sort of cooking can be made well in advance. I mean, this meal can even be served cold without ANY reheating! That’s the ideal weeknight meal if you ask me.

I think it’s about time we start talking about all of the delicious things that go into this Mediterranean Bowl. Shall we?

What Goes into an Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl?

This recipe is so loaded with flavor, the real question should be, “What doesn’t go into an Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl?” Because there’s not much!

Let’s start from the top with the real star of the show:

Tzatziki Marinated Chicken

I consider this a pretty genius idea on my part if I do say so myself. Yogurt marinated chicken is nothing new. It’s a great way to infuse some moisture and flavor into grilled chicken. So, when we’re talking about a Mediterranean Bowl, why not marinate our chicken with everyone’s favorite Greek yogurt-based sauce – tzatziki!

You’ll want to mix up the sauce and start marinating the chicken at least a few hours before you want to cook it, so this is where you’ll have to plan a bit in advance. The good news is, once the chicken is cooked, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a few days before using.

Tzatziki Sauce

While you’re mixing up the marinade for the chicken, why not make the tzatziki sauce you’re going to top your bowl with? The ingredients vary only slightly, and there is a lot of overlap, so you can proverbially kill two birds with one stone.

You can store the tzatziki in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days before using as well. In fact, it gets better the longer it sits since the flavors have more time to meld.

An overhead shot of a healthy Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki marinated chicken.

Couscous

Since we’re going Mediterranean, we’re using couscous as the grain base for our tasty bowls. If you’re not familiar with making couscous, let me tell you, it’s so quick and easy to make! I just bought the whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe’s and whipped it up in less than 20 minutes. It’s also great to make in advance and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Crispy Chickpeas

Yes, crispy chickpeas! These are another food that, if you haven’t yet made them, you better hop to it because they are the BEST healthy snack. And the flavoring possibilities are endless. For these bowls, I kept the crispy chickpeas simple with a dusting of garlic powder and dried oregano. They tie in perfectly to the rest of the ingredients with the best crispy crunch. You may want to make extra, because you won’t be able to stop nibbling on them as you cook!

The chickpeas can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for at least a couple of days. You’re going to have to practice your self-restraint to not eat them all before it’s time to top your bowls with them!

These are all of the ingredients for the Mediterranean Bowls that require any sort of prep, and as you can see, you can make them all in advance. Now you’ve got the hard part out of the way, let’s talk about how to make these bowls your own!

Two Mediterranean Bowls surrounded by fresh tomatoes, dill and cucumber.

How to Customize Your Bowl

The ingredients I mentioned above are the basic building blocks of your Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl, but they’re certainly not all there is to it. Here are the other ingredients – that require no prep at all – that you can mix and match to really customize this recipe to your own personal taste:

Tomatoes
Cucumber
Avocado
Olives
Hummus
Fresh dill
Fresh oregano

Serving Your Mediterranean Bowl

Since we’re still in the heat of summer, I highly recommend serving these bowls cold. Sure, they’re a great weeknight dinner option, but they’d also be great to pack for lunches for both yourself and the kiddos. I think they’d be the perfect picnic fare! Heck, you could even make a full Mediterranean feast for a crowd and serve these bowls with my Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb.

I hope you give these Med Bowls a shot ASAP because they are seriously bursting with flavor. And if you’re looking for more great meal prep recipes, be sure to check out my Meal Prep board on Pinterest!

An overhead shot of two healthy Mediterranean Bowls flanked by gold forks, fresh tomatoes and dill.

Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki Marinated Chicken
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 mins
Marinating Time
3 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 30 mins
 

This easy Mediterranean Bowl is full of so much flavor, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your weekly meal plan. Loaded with tzatziki marinated chicken, tzatziki sauce, crispy chickpeas and more, most everything can be made in advance for quick weeknight assembly.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: bowl, chicken, family-friendly, Greek, marinade, meal prep, Mediterranean, weeknight, yogurt
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 768 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the chicken:
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the tzatziki:
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Persian cucumber, grated and water squeezed out with a paper towel
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • Dash of salt (to taste)
For the crispy chickpeas:
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Other ingredients:
  • 5-6 cups prepared couscous
  • 1 Persian cucumber, sliced
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, cut into sixths
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Fresh dill and oregano
Instructions
To make the chicken:
  1. Place chicken breasts in Ziploc. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients, then pour into Ziploc. Seal Ziploc, smoosh around to coat the chicken with the marinade, and refrigerate for a few hours, or ideally overnight. 

  2. When ready to cook, turn grill on medium heat. Place chicken breasts on grill and cook until done, about 10 minutes on the first side and 8 minutes on the second side (but use your best judgment.) Let cool before storing.

  3. Before adding the chicken to your bowl, dice it up.

To make the tzatziki:
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Place in a resealable container in the refrigerator to store until ready to use. 

To make the crispy chickpeas:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Using a sieve, drain the chickpeas and rinse off with water.

  3. Pour the chickpeas onto a dish towel and rub until dry. It’s okay if some of the skins come off.

  4. Place chickpeas in a small bowl and coat with olive oil and salt. You’ll add the other seasonings after cooking.

  5. Pour chickpeas out onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until crispy.

  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle on garlic powder and oregano, toss to coat. Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

To assemble the bowls:
  1. The couscous will form the base of your bowl. Then, just top with diced chicken, a dollop of tzatziki, a sprinkle of chickpeas, and whatever other toppings you decide to use. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes
  1. DISH DENSITY: High
  2. The chicken will need at least one hour of marinating time, but you can make it up to a few days in advance of assembling these bowls.
  3. Prepare the tzatziki at the same time you are preparing the marinade for the chicken, as the two utilize many of the same ingredients. The tzatziki can also be made up to a few days in advance.
  4. You can also cook the couscous in advance. If you want, make some extra so you can use it for other meals throughout the week!
  5. Store the crispy chickpeas in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. Make extra for snacking!
  6. These bowls can be enjoyed cold (making them a great lunch to bring to work) OR at cooking temperature.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki Marinated Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 768 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 74mg25%
Sodium 549mg24%
Potassium 831mg24%
Carbohydrates 116g39%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 47g94%
Vitamin A 405IU8%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 86mg9%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.