Next Week's Meal Plan

5 Low-Effort Dinners Our Features Director Is Cooking This Week

published May 15, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

I’m used to meal planning every week, but since the start of the pandemic, things have gotten serious. My boyfriend and I now plan every single thing we’re going to eat two weeks at a time in order to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store. I’m also definitely hitting some fatigue in cooking, so I’m looking for things that are low-effort with lots of room for leftovers.

For the past couple of weeks we’ve been heavy on rice dishes and freezer-friendly meals, but this week I’m really craving something less carb-heavy. That’s why the below meal plan is heavy on two things: beans and greens. We just got our bulk order of beans from Rancho Gordo, and I’m so excited to experiment with all the different varieties. It’s also supposed to hit 90°F in Los Angeles this week, so I just want anything that feels super fresh and doesn’t require a long time in the oven. Here’s what we’re making this week!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Monday: Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Salad

A version of this recipe has made an appearance four times in the past two months while we’ve been sheltering in place. There are, however, a couple of things we do differently. First, we slather the carrots in turmeric before roasting. Second, we usually add feta, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. And third, we use this incredible cilantro-lime vinaigrette. It’s just so fresh and satisfying and I could eat endless amounts of it without feeling sick (a true sign of a good recipe, right?).

Get the recipe: Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Salad

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Tuesday: Thanksgiving Lentil Salad

This recipe might be called “Thanksgiving lentil salad,” but don’t let that stop you from making it year-round. Grains and greens defy seasonality. To brighten the dish up, I’m doubling the amount of kale and adding crushed Castelvetrano olives and feta (because all my meals should involve some kind of cheese).

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Wednesday: Marinated White Beans

When I told my boyfriend I wanted to make beans on toast for a meal this week, he was confused. Isn’t that … really boring? But trust me when I say this isn’t just dumping a can of beans on sandwich bread. As Ina always says, you need the good ingredients here! You need to start with good bread and good beans. Toast your bread, spread on a thick layer of ricotta or some kind of creamy cheese, add your marinated beans, and sprinkle some fresh parsley and lemon zest on top.

Get the recipe: Marinated White Beans

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Thursday: Greek Lamb Meatballs

These Greek lamb meatballs are surprisingly easy to make, so it feels like a weeknight treat without a ton of effort. I like to serve this with fried chickpeas that you cook in the same pan as the meatballs after they’ve finished and then lots of cilantro and mixed greens.

Get the recipe: Greek Lamb Meatballs 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Friday: Easy, Crispy Baja Fish Tacos

A couple of weeks ago we splurged and got these flour tortillas from a local restaurant. They’ve won “best flour tortilla in Los Angeles” for two years now, and they are so incredibly good. So, needless to say, we’re eating a lot of tacos. I love this recipe because it’s so versatile. I top these tacos with cilantro, pickled onion, avocado, and a hefty squeeze of lime.

Get the recipe: Easy, Crispy Baja Fish Tacos

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Welcome to Next Week’s Meal Plan! Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But I’m a firm believer that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. I want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking for one or a family of eight. Every week, I’ll be sharing a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests or from a guest contributor.