Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of High-Protein Plant-Based Meals in Just 1 Hour
One of the most common myths about protein is that if you don’t eat a lot of meat, or avoid it completely, you won’t get enough of the nutrient. As a Registered Dietitian, I am here to tell you that simply isn’t true. If you eat a well-balanced diet, even one that doesn’t include meat, you’ll easily get your fill of protein and then some. So if you’re trying to eat a high-protein diet that also happens to be plant-based, know that it’s easier than you might think.
Plant-based eating doesn’t come with a set of rigid do’s and don’ts, and in fact the way it’s interpreted can vary slightly from person to person. For some, it mimics a vegan diet. Others continue to include animal products, like honey, cheese, or eggs into their diet. The most important thing is eating what feels best to you.
This Power Hour Meal Prep Plan is here to offer you some guidance on how to achieve both health goals. It comes together easily and is full of satisfying, wholesome meals that you’ll hardly tire of.
Looking for more plant-based meal plans? Here are seven weeks of plant-based meal plans for every type of eater.
My Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: Filling, ready-to-eat breakfasts that will keep you satisfied through the morning.
- Lunch: No-fuss options that also make use of leftovers.
- Dinner: Wholesome meals that come together easily on busy nights.
- Nutritional Goals: This week’s meal plan is both high-protein and plant-based. While the average person should be getting about 50 grams of protein per day, you’ll get 65 grams (or more) a day here. If you’re avoiding dairy, feel free to omit or swap in your favorite non-dairy alternatives for the dairy products included.
Meal Prep Plan Snapshot
- Feeds: 2 people
- Prep Time: About 1 hour
- Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
- Weeknight Cooking Required: Moderate (About 30 minutes of easy cooking to bring dinner together)
- Blueberry Walnut Overnight Oats (14 grams of protein)
My Shopping List
This week’s shopping list is focused on plant-based staples like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and vegetarian-friendly protein plus a few pantry items. It assumes staples like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.
- Produce: 1 pint blueberries, 1 small red onion, 1 small bunch of celery, 1 bag of shredded carrots, 1 bag or box of arugula, 2 beefsteak tomatoes, 3 medium shallots, 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, 1 bunch of parsley, 1 bunch of oregano, 1 head of garlic, 1 large bunch broccoli rabe, 1 bunch of basil, 1 bunch of scallions, 1 lemon, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 1 medium head of broccoli, 1 bunch of cilantro
- Refrigerated: 1/2 gallon dairy or non-dairy milk, 1 small tub plain Greek yogurt, 1 (8-ounce) block feta cheese, 1/2 pint heavy cream, unsalted butter, 14 to 16 ounces extra-firm tofu
- Pantry: 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, 2/3 cup chia seeds, 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, 1 jar fermented (such as Bubbies) or regular dill pickles, apple cider vinegar, whole-grain mustard, ground turmeric, red wine vinegar, 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, 3 cups green French lentils, tomato paste, 2 (32-ounce) cartons vegetable broth, 12 ounces dried penne pasta, paprika, ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
- Other: Sliced multigrain bread, frozen pre-cooked brown rice
Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done
- Make overnight oats. Combine 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 5 cups dairy or non-dairy milk, 1 pint blueberries, 1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, and 2/3 cup chia seeds in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
- Make smashed chickpeas. Prepare the smashed chickpea salad according to recipe instructions but do not assemble the sandwiches. Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Make white bean salad. Assemble the tomato and feta white bean salad according to recipe instructions. Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Cut vegetables for tofu bowls. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons and the head of broccoli into florets. Store the vegetables together in a large zip-top bag or storage container in the refrigerator.
- Make dressing for tofu bowls. Whisk together the ingredients for the tofu bowl dressing and store in the refrigerator.
Give the overnight oats a stir and enjoy a generous 1/2 cup serving each morning. Top with an additional splash of milk, if desired.
- Monday and Wednesday, Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwiches: Place two slices of multigrain bread on a work surface and top each with about 1 cup of chickpea salad. Top each with a small handful of arugula and a slice or two of tomato, then close the sandwiches with two more slices of bread.
- Tuesday and Thursday, Tomato and Feta White Bean Salad: Divide half of the salad between two bowls on Tuesday and then divide the remaining salad for lunch on Thursday.
- Friday, Leftover BBQ Tofu Bowls: Enjoy the leftover assembled bowls from Wednesday night.
- Monday and Thursday, Tomato-Braised Lentils with Broccoli Rabe: Prepare a double batch of the tomato-braised lentils but only sauté a single batch (1 large bunch) of broccoli rabe. Transfer half of the tomato-braised lentils to an airtight container and refrigerate for dinner on Tuesday and Friday. Divide the remaining on Monday and Thursday nights in shallow bowls topped with the broccoli rabe. When rewarming the lentils (in the microwave on the stovetop), add a splash of vegetable broth to thin it out as needed.
- Tuesday and Friday, Tomato-Braised Lentil Pasta: Cook 12 ounces dried penne pasta according to package instructions and rewarm the reserved tomato-braised lentils. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the now-empty pot. Add the warmed lentils and a generous splash of cooking water. Toss to combine and coat the pasta in a creamy sauce, adding more cooking water if needed. Add a few generous handfuls of arugula and toss a few more times until just wilted. Enjoy half of the pasta on Tuesday night and save the rest to reheat on Friday night.
- Wednesday, BBQ Tofu Salad Bowls: Prepare the bowls — reheating the frozen pre-cooked rice, too — according to recipe instructions. Enjoy two of the assembled bowls and cover and refrigerate the other two for Friday lunch.
Power Hour Meal Prep is the series where we help you put it all together. We show you how to eat well during the week with an hour or two of Power Hour prep over the weekend. Every plan is different; mix and match to find your own personal sweet spot.