Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Easy Vegan Meals
No matter what type of diet or food plan you follow, having a meal plan ensures your meals for the week ahead are well-balanced and satisfying. And if you’re eating a vegan diet or just want to slot in a week of plant-based meals, you’ll want to be especially sure you’re including plenty of protein-rich ingredients and good fats so meals will fill you up, and won’t leave you with a rumbling stomach.
In this Power Hour, I’ll guide you through turning a variety of colorful fresh vegetables and plant-based proteins into a mix of easy and totally satisfying breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to get you through the week. With about an hour-and-a-half of meal prep, you’ll tackle all of the hands-on tasks, like chopping and slicing, plus most of the cooking for the week. Let’s get started.
Get more plant-based meal plans: Here Are 8 Weeks’ Worth of Plant-Based Meals
Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: A simple and wholesome make-ahead breakfast that doesn’t require any additional work or reheating in the morning (five days).
- Lunch: A big-batch, make-ahead lunch that can be served a couple different ways to keep things interesting (five days).
- Dinner: Cook or prep dinner components so there’s no chopping required during the week, and meals get on the table with easy reheating or no more than 20 minutes of cooking (five days).
- Nutritional Goals: This week’s plan is focused on a balanced variety of vegan meals, using a mix of different vegetables and plant-based proteins to keep meals satisfying, colorful, and interesting.
Meal Prep Plan Snapshot
- Feeds: Two people
- Prep Time: About 90 minutes
- Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
- Weeknight Cooking Required? Minimal. A couple dinners require 20 minutes or less of cooking, and the remainder of dinners call for easy reheating and assembly.
- Easy Lemon-Marinated Bean and Vegetable Salad (with cheese omitted)
This week’s shopping list relies on a mix of produce, dry and refrigerated pantry basics, and store-bought conveniences. Shop your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before setting foot in the store (or opening your grocery delivery app) to avoid adding items to the cart that you already have on hand. I also used staple ingredients like olive and vegetable oils, kosher salt, and black pepper that are not listed here.
- Produce: 1 head garlic, 2-inch piece fresh ginger, 1 small red onion, 2 small yellow onions, 2 medium lemons, 1 medium lime, 3 large celery stalks, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 small bunch parsley, 1 small bunch dill, 1 small bunch cilantro, 1 pound carrots, 1 medium poblano pepper, 1 avocado, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 1 (5-ounce) container baby spinach, 1 bag mixed greens or arugula, 1 to 2 containers fresh berries (for serving with breakfast)
- Refrigerated & Frozen: 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (plus more for serving, if desired), 1 container hummus, 1 package extra-firm tofu
- Pantry: 3 1/3 cups steel-cut oats, dried fruit of choice (for oat topping), 3 cans cannellini beans, 1 can chickpeas, 1/2 teaspoon agave maple syrup, 5 tablespoons vegan red curry paste, 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can unsweetened light coconut milk, 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut or almond butter, 1 can chipotle peppers, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, ground cumin, dried oregano, 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, 1 pound dried bucatini or spaghetti
- Bakery/Deli: 4 pita breads, 3/4 cup Castelvetrano olives
Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done
- Drain tofu. Drain the block of tofu. Wrap in a few layers of paper towels, then set on a dinner plate. Weigh it down with a heavy object such as a skillet, pot, or large can, and let sit for at least 15 minutes to drain. Pat dry, then crumble into small curds with your hands.
- Cook rice. Rinse 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice (enough for serving with the burrito bowls and sweet potato curry) in a fine mesh strainer under cool running water. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in rice and a pinch of kosher salt. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the water is absorbed. Remove the pan from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Make oats. Prepare a double batch of quick steel-cut oats according to the recipe instructions. Transfer to individual jars or a large bowl and cool completely. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
- Prep vegetables. For the Marinated Bean and Vegetable Salad, prepare the following and add to a large bowl: Halve 3 large celery stalks lengthwise and then thinly slice them crosswise, halve and thinly slice 1 small red onion, halve 2 cups cherry tomatoes, and coarsely chop 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves and 2 tablespoons fresh dill fronds. Drain and rinse 3 cans cannellini beans. For the Carrot Soup, chop 1 small onion, peel and slice a 1-inch piece fresh ginger, and peel & chop 1 pound carrots. For the Sofritas, halve 1 poblano pepper lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds. Coarsely chop 1 small onion. For the Sweet Potato Curry, mince a 1-inch piece fresh ginger and 2 garlic cloves. Store in a small airtight container in the refrigerator. Peel 2 sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Store in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Broil peppers. Arrange an oven rack 6 inches below the broiler and turn the oven to broil. Place the poblano pepper on a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil, and toss to coat. Broil until charred all over, flipping halfway through, about 10 minutes total. Cool slightly. Meanwhile, cook soup.
- Make carrot soup. Cook Carrot Soup according to recipe instructions, about 25 minutes. Purée, transfer to an airtight container, cool completely, and store in the refrigerator.
- Make sofritas. While the soup simmer, prepare the Tofu Sofritas. Blitz the sauce in the food processor and cook the tofu, according to the recipe instructions. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Assemble salad. Prepare the salad dressing according to the recipe instructions, swapping agave or maple syrup for the honey, or omitting a sweetener altogether. Drizzle over the salad (with cheese omitted), toss to combine, cover the bowl, and store in the refrigerator.
Since the oats are already prepared, all that’s left to do before digging in to a cool, wholesome breakfast is to remove oats from fridge and portion into bowls or give the containers a stir, then top with a pour of non-dairy milk and fresh berries.
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Marinated Beans and Vegetable Salad with Greens: Each day serve two portions of the salad over a bed of mixed greens or arugula. If desired, top with an extra drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon.
- Tuesday and Thursday, Hummus Pita with Marinated Beans and Vegetables: Fill a split pita with a generous scoop of hummus and spoonful of marinated beans and vegetables.
- Monday, Sweet Potato Curry: Remove the containers with garlic and ginger, and sweet potatoes from the refrigerator. Prepare the curry on the stovetop according to the recipe instructions and simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve half the curry tonight and store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for later in the week. Meanwhile, reheat two portions of the white rice in the microwave or on the stovetop. Dinner is on the table in about 20 minutes.
- Tuesday, Sofritas Burrito Bowls: Reheat the sofritas and two portions of the white rice on the stovetop. Divide between bowls and top each with 1/2 avocado. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.
- Wednesday, Carrot Soup: Reheat two portions of the carrot soup and dig in for a quick and easy dinner. Save the leftovers for lunch over the weekend.
- Thursday, Leftover Sweet Potato Curry: Reheat the remaining curry and white rice, divide between bowls, and dig in.
- Friday, Green Olive Pasta: Follow the recipe instructions to prepare half of the pasta dinner, using olive oil in place of butter and leaving out the cheese. Dinner is on the table in less than 20 minutes.
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.