Power Hour Meal Prep

Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Easy Plant-Based Meals for Two in 2 Hours

updated Dec 3, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell
Credit: The Kitchn

As we slide deeper into cold December days and further into winter, this is a meal plan I intend to come back to again and again. It’s stacked with feel-good plant-based meals that are all about warmth and comfort. Best of all, with about two hours of meal prep you’ll get the lion’s share of cooking and prep work done for the week ahead. You’ll be reward with a make-ahead breakfast that can be eaten warm or cold, a filling lunch option that’s ready for you to dig into, and prepped dinners that only require some light cooking. This plan also seeks to repurpose leftovers into wholly new meals, and use up ingredients across meals so you’re not left with many stragglers.

Plant-based eating doesn’t come with a set of rigid dos 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.

Looking for more plant-based meal plans? Here are seven weeks of plant-based meal plans for every type of eater.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: Wholesome, filling breakfast that’s fully prepped or takes minimal effort to assemble in the morning (five days).
  • Lunch: Easy grab-and-go lunch options that require no further prep (five days).
  • Dinner: Comforting dinners that easily repurpose leftovers into new meals and can be prepped or fully cooked in advance (five days).
  • Nutritional Goals: Our primary nutritional goals for the week are feel-good meals that follow a plant-based diet.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: Two people
  • Prep Time: About 2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate. Most dinner elements are prepared and require light cooking to bring them to the table.

Meal Plan




Credit: NA

This week’s shopping list is filled with lots of colorful vegetables, plant-based proteins, and plenty of easy-to-find pantry items. It assumes staples like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.

  • Produce: 1 pint blueberries, 1 bunch lacinato kale, 8 ounces red cabbage, 4 lemons, 1 lime, garlic, 1 large yellow onion, 1 small yellow onion, 2 stalks celery, 1 medium jalapeño, 2 avocados, 1 bunch cilantro, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 1 English cucumber, 2 ounces baby kale, 2 medium bell peppers (any color)
  • Refrigerated & Frozen: Medium container non-dairy yogurt, 3 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • Pantry: 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal, 1/4 cup maple syrup, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, baking powder, 2 cups old-fashioned oats, 1 cup farro (pearled or semi-pearled), 2 cups whole raw almonds, 12 ounces pitted dates, Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon molasses (dark or light), 1 cup dried red lentils,  1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 1 box low-sodium vegetable broth, 2 cans black beans, 1 can kidney beans, 8 ounces dried soba noodles, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari), 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, 2 teaspoons sambal or Asian chile-garlic paste, 4 corn tortillas, 1/2 cup dried brown rice
Credit: The Kitchn

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Bake sweet potatoes. While the oven heats to 350°F, scrub and dry 2 medium sweet potatoes. Rub the potatoes with a thin layer of olive oil, prick all over with a fork, and wrap with aluminum foil. Bake until soft, about 45 minutes. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  2. Prepare baked oatmeal. Prepare the baked oatmeal according to the recipe instructions, using coconut oil and flaxseed meal mixed with water as an egg alternative. Skip the overnight rest and bake in a 350°F oven until lightly puffed and set, about 45 minutes. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate.
  3. Toast almonds. Prepare the toasted almonds for the slaw by tossing them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. To minimize dirty dishes, use a large saucepan (which you’ll use again for the farro) in place of a skillet, and toast according to the recipe instructions. Cool completely and roughly chop.
  4. Cook brown rice and farro. Rinse 1/2 cup brown rice in a fine mesh strainer. Use this recipe as a guide for cooking the rice, and because you’re halving the amount, start checking for doneness around 25 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse 1 cup farro in a fine mesh strainer, and cook in a large saucepan according to the recipe instructions.
  5. Prepare chili. Prepare the chili according to the recipe instructions. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  6. Prepare dressing and slaw. Meanwhile, make the dressing according to the recipe instructions, but skip the pecorino cheese. To prepare the slaw, strip the stems from 1 bunch lacinato kale, thinly slice the leaves into ribbons. Core and thinly slice 1/2 medium head of red cabbage into ribbons. Add to a large bowl, along with the chopped dates, cooled farro, chopped almonds, and about 1/4 cup of dressing. Divide the salad into individual jars or containers. Store the remaining dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Joe Lingeman

A Week of Easy Plant-Based Meals


Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Healthy Baked Oatmeal: Reheat two portions of the oatmeal in the microwave with a little bit of non-dairy milk, or eat cold from the fridge, mixed with a splash of milk.

Tuesday and Thursday: Dig into a bowl of your favorite non-dairy yogurt topped with berries, before starting your computer for the day.


Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Farro and Dates: Grab a container of pre-portioned slaw from the fridge, drizzle with some extra dressing, if desired, and dig in.


Monday, Vegan Chili: Reheat two portions of the chili in the microwave. Top with sliced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, and if desired, sliced jalapeño.

Tuesday, Garlicky Soba Noodle Bowls: While the soba noodles cook according to the package instructions, whisk together the dressing and prep the vegetables. Rinse the cooked noodles under cold water, drain well, and toss everything together. Tonight’s dinner comes together in about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, Stuffed Peppers: Tonight’s dinner come together with a little assembly and hands-off cooking. Preheat the oven to 375ºF and lightly coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with oil. Use this recipe as a guide for prepping and baking the peppers. Place the cut bell peppers in the prepared baking dish. Mix together the cooked brown rice and 1 cup of the chili (no need to reheat either) and spoon the mixture into the peppers. Add 1/2 cup water to the baking dish, cover with foil, and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 40 minutes.

Thursday, 10-Minute Black Bean Tacos: Prepare the taco filling according to the recipe instructions, then fill the warmed tortillas, and top with sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeño (if desired), and a squeeze of lime. 10 minutes is all that stands between you and taco night.

Friday, Chili-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Tonight’s dinner requires some quick reheating and simple assembly. Reheat the cooked sweet potatoes in the microwave and remaining chili in the microwave. Split open the open, fluff with a fork, and spoon the chili over top.