Power Hour Meal Prep

How I Prep a Week of High-Protein Vegetarian Meals in Under 2 Hours

updated Jun 21, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk
Credit: The Kitchn

While I like to slot my family’s meal plan with vegetarian meals, my husband is often worried that the lack of meat means lunches and dinners won’t be filling enough. He’s hardly alone; this is a common misconception. But my answer to that — my approach to eating vegetarian meals that leave me satisfied — is being sure to include a solid source of protein.

This week’s plan replaces meat with high-protein vegetarian alternatives, like lentils, tofu, eggs, Greek yogurt, and a plant-based beef substitute, along with ingredients that are rich in fiber and healthy fats. With about two hours of upfront prep work, this week’s Power Hour Meal Prep Plan sets you up with a week’s worth of high-protein vegetarian meals that require barely any cooking — just some reheating and assembly. Here’s how to do it.

Try more high-protein meal plans: Here Are 9 Weeks’ Worth of High Protein Meals

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: Fully prepared grab-and-go breakfast (five days).
  • Lunch: Two filling veggie-packed lunches that can be eaten warm or cold (five days).
  • Dinner: Fully cooked or prepped components for most dinners (four days).
  • Nutritional Goals: Our primary nutritional goals for the week are to keep meals vegetarian with plenty of protein to keep them filling.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: Two adults
  • Prep Time: About two hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Light (10 to 15 minutes of light cooking to bring dinner together)

Meal Plan




Credit: The Kitchn

Shopping List

  • Produce: 1 pint blueberries, 1 (10-ounce) bag shredded Brussels sprouts, 1 avocado, 3-inch piece fresh ginger, 1 head garlic, 4 carrots, 1 bunch scallions, 1 yellow onion, 1 bunch celery, 1 medium spaghetti squash (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), 1 pound zucchini noodles
  • Refrigerated & frozen: Half-gallon whole milk, large container Greek yogurt, 1 (20-ounce) bag frozen shredded potatoes, 1-dozen large eggs, 8 ounces sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese, 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, 1 pound Beyond beef
  • Pantry: Old-fashioned rolled oats, chia seeds, almond butter, brown lentils, 1 bottle sesame-ginger salad dressing, 1 can black beans, 1 can chopped green chiles, 8-inch flour tortillas, salsa, rice vinegar, soy sauce, tahini, 8 ounces dried soba noodles, 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes,
  • Other: White wine
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Press and marinate tofu: Wrap the block of tofu in a clean kitchen towel, place on a dinner plate, and weigh it down with a cast iron skillet to press for 15 minutes. Meanwhile whisk together the tofu marinade. When the tofu is ready, cut into 1-inch cubes, mix with a few tablespoons of the marinade, reserve the remaining marinade to use as a sauce, and set the tofu aside while you while you prepare the egg casserole.
  3. Bake egg casserole and spaghetti squash. Prepare the egg casserole according to the recipe instructions. Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Drizzle each half with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and place cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the egg casserole is set and the spaghetti squash is tender, about 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scrape the strands from the spaghetti squash with a fork, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate.
  4. Cook lentils: Cook 1 cup of lentils on the stovetop, simmering for about 25 minutes, according to these instructions. Drain the excess water, set the lentils aside, and rinse out the pot to reuse for the soba noodles.
  5. Make Bolognese: Meanwhile, prepare the Beyond Beef Bolognese according to the recipe instructions.
  6. Sear tofu: While the Bolognese simmers, sear the tofu in a large skillet. Wipe out the skillet, then use it to sauté the shredded Brussels sprouts for about 5 minutes.
  7. Cook soba noodles: Cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions, drain, and rinse well. While the noodles are cooking, shave the carrots and slice the scallions. Place the soba noodles, carrots, scallions, and remaining marinade in a large bowl and toss together.
  8. Mix together salad: Place the sautéed Brussels sprouts and lentils in a large bowl and stir together with the sesame-ginger dressing.
  9. Make overnight oats: Double the recipe for overnight oats and mix together in a large bowl according to the recipe instructions. Cover and refrigerate.
Credit: Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

A Week of High-Protein Vegetarian Meals


Give the overnight oats a stir and spoon among bowls. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, drizzle of almond butter, and a small handful of blueberries.


Monday and Thursday, Sesame Brussels Sprouts and Lentil Salad: Divide the salad among bowls, drizzle with additional dressing, if desired, and dig in.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, Breakfast Burrito Egg Casserole: Warm a couple flour tortillas in the microwave and top them with a piece of the egg casserole, a few slices of avocado, and salsa. Fold the tortillas around the fillings and roll into a burrito.


Monday, Beyond Beef Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash: Reheat the spaghetti squash and half of the Bolognese in separate pans on the stovetop. Divide among plates and top with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Tuesday and Thursday, Sesame Soba Noodle Bowls: Each night, divide half of the soba noodles and carrots among two bowls. Toss with a small drizzle of sesame-ginger dressing, if desired. Top with tofu, plus a sprinkle of sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.

Wednesday, Leftover Beyond Beef Bolognese with Zucchini Noodles: Reheat the remaining Bolognese on the stovetop. Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the zucchini noodles, and cook, tossing regularly until just softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Divide the zucchini noodles among two bowls, top with Bolognese, and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.


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.