How I Prep a Week of Fall-Inspired Mediterranean Meals in Just 2 Hours
The Mediterranean Diet — a plant-centric diet that focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, and foods like olive oil that are rich in healthy fats — is the perfect vehicle for showcasing fall produce. This week’s Power Hour celebrates the rich colors and flavors of autumn with a week’s worth of healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
In your two-hour meal prep session, you’ll reach for an abundance of fall produce, such as butternut squash, kale, and spinach, to bring tons of good nutrition to your week ahead. Don’t expect cold salads, though: This meal plan is as packed with comfort food as it is with wholesome ingredients.
Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: One easy and wholesome store-bought option.
- Lunch: A hearty, packable choice, plus dinner leftovers to keep things interesting.
- Dinner: Cozy, feel-good dinners that are easy to pull off on busy weeknights.
- Nutritional Goals: All meals are centered around the Mediterranean Diet — a plant-centered diet that prioritizes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and unsaturated fats.
Meal Prep Plan Snapshot
- Feeds: 2 adults
- Prep Time: About 2 hours
- Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
- Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate (about 10 to 30 minutes of quick cooking)
- Yogurt with fresh fruit and granola
This week’s shopping list is heavy with fall produce and rounded out with beans, whole grains, dairy, and lean meat. It assumes cooking basics like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.
- Produce: Apples, 1 head of garlic, 3 shallots, 3 lemons, 1 small head radicchio, 1 small red bell pepper, 1 small bunch rosemary, 1 1/2 pounds kale (any variety), 1 1/4 pounds pre-cut butternut squash cubes, 1 yellow onion, 5 ounces baby spinach
- Meat: 1 pound ground turkey
- Refrigerated: 2 large tubs plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, 1 (20-ounce) package fresh cheese tortellini, 4 ounces feta cheese, 1/2 dozen eggs, small chunk Parmesan cheese, 12 ounces whole-milk ricotta, unsalted butter, 1 quart apple cider
- Pantry: Granola, Dijon mustard, 1 (12-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, 1 large jar pitted Kalamata olives, dried oregano, 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce, brown sugar or maple syrup, whole-grain mustard, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, red pepper flakes, 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- Other: Whole-grain sourdough bread
Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done
- Assemble the white bean soup: Make the white bean soup according to recipe instructions. Let cool while you prepare the squash. Once cool, cover and refrigerate.
- Braise the squash: Prepare the braised squash recipe through step 3 (up until you toast the bread). Once cool, refrigerate in an airtight container.
- Make the tortellini salad: While the squash is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the tortellini salad. Prepare the tortellini salad recipe according to the instructions. Refrigerate in individual serving containers or one large airtight container.
- Prepare the meatballs: Make and shape the turkey meatballs according to recipe instructions up to step 3 (do not cook). Tip: To add more fiber to the meatballs, use two small slices of whole-grain sourdough with the crusts removed in place of the white sandwich bread to make the breadcrumbs used in the meatball mixture. Refrigerate in a single layer in an airtight container.
A Week of Fall-Inspired Mediterranean Meals
Have a bowl of Greek yogurt with granola and an apple.
- Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday: Dig into a serving of tortellini salad.
- Wednesday and Friday: Warm the leftover braised squash from Tuesday’s dinner and serve it with a big dollop of ricotta and a slice of toasted whole-grain sourdough bread.
- Monday, Turkey Meatballs Over Garlicky Kale: Pan-fry the meatballs, then simmer them in marinara sauce until cooked through, according to recipe instructions. While they simmer, prepare the full recipe of sautéed kale. Enjoy half of the turkey meatballs over half of the kale and refrigerate leftovers for Thursday.
- Tuesday, Ricotta Toast with Cider-Braised Squash: Warm about a third of the braised squash in the microwave and prepare two thick slices of whole-grain sourdough bread according to recipe instructions.
- Wednesday, Mediterranean White Bean Soup: Scoop half of the white bean soup into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until simmering. Serve with toasted slices of whole-grain sourdough bread.
- Thursday, Leftover Turkey Meatballs over Garlicky Kale: Reheat servings of the leftover meatballs and kale in the microwave.
- Friday, Leftover Mediterranean White Bean Soup: Reheat the rest of the white bean soup, toast slices of whole-grain sourdough bread, and enjoy one more night of easy leftovers.