Power Hour Meal Prep

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

updated Aug 19, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell
Credit: The Kitchn

One of the most common misconceptions about a vegetarian diet is that it’s almost impossible to get enough protein. As a registered dietitian, I’m here to tell you that is not true, and you can absolutely fulfill your protein needs (and then some!) on a plant-based diet.

This week’s meal prep plan proves just how easy it can be to eat a high-protein vegetarian diet. With just two hours of prep, you can set yourself up for a wholesome week of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners while keeping weeknight cooking to a minimum.

Find more plant-based meal plans: Here Are 8 Weeks’ Worth of Plant-Based Meals

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: One grab-and-go option that kicks off the day with a boost of protein (five days).
  • Lunch: Alternating choices that are feel-good and hard to tire of (five days).
  • Dinner: Prepped components that can be transformed into high-protein meals in a flash (four days).
  • Nutritional Goals: The average amount of protein most people need in a day is 50 grams. This meal plan sets you up with about 65 grams per day.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: Two adults
  • Prep Time: About two hours
  • Meals Covered: About 75% (no Friday night dinner or weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Light (15 to 20 minutes of light cooking to bring dinner together)

Meal Plan

Breakfast 

Lunch 

Dinner 

Credit: The Kitchn

Shopping List

This week’s shopping list is focused on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and vegetarian-friendly protein plus a few pantry staples. It assumes items like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.

  • Produce: 1 medium shallot, 2 medium heads broccoli, 10 bananas, 1 bunch scallions, 1 lemon, 1 head of garlic, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 1 bunch cilantro, 2 large avocados, 1 beefsteak tomato, 1 head Bibb lettuce, 1 yellow onion, 1 knob fresh ginger, 1 lime, 1 bunch fresh basil, 10 plum tomatoes, 1 bunch fresh oregano
  • Refrigerated: 1 (16-ounce) container full-fat cottage cheese, 1 dozen large eggs, 1 quart whole milk, 2 ounces cheddar cheese, 1 (18-ounce) container whole-milk Greek yogurt, 2 (14 to 16 ounce) blocks extra-firm tofu, 4 ounces feta cheese
  • Pantry: Paprika, ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, barbecue sauce, 3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, old-fashioned rolled oats, canned chipote in adobe chile, mayonnaise, coconut oil, green curry paste, 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk, 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium vegetable broth, light brown sugar, tamari or soy soy, brown rice, 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas
  • Other: Pita bread, 1 (14-ounce) package frozen broccoli florets
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Design

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Preheat oven and dry out black beans: Heat oven to 350°F and bake black beans for the black bean burgers.
  2. Make egg muffins: Assemble the egg muffins according to recipe instructions. When the black beans are done, increase the oven temperature to 400°F and bake the muffins.
  3. Start tofu bowls: While the egg muffins bake, press the tofu for the BBQ tofu bowls and make the dressing. 
  4. Roast tofu and vegetables: After removing the egg muffins from the oven, continue with the BBQ tofu bowls recipe, tossing tofu with spices and spreading vegetables on another sheet pan. Transfer both sheet pans to the 400°F oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  5. Cook brown rice: Meanwhile, cook 2 cups of brown rice according to recipe instructions.
  6. Prepare black bean burgers: Prepare 6 black bean burgers according to recipe instructions.
  7. Toss tofu with BBQ sauce: When the tofu and vegetables are done, toss the tofu with BBQ sauce and let cool on the counter.
  8. Cook black bean burgers: Pan-fry black bean burgers and transfer to a plate to cool.
  9. Make chipotle mayo and prepare pita fillings: Whisk a bit of adobe sauce into mayonnaise, slice the tomato, and wash lettuce leaves. Tuck all away in the fridge for morning pita sandwich assembly.
  10. Assemble BBQ tofu bowls: Assemble tofu bowls with some of the cooked brown rice in 4 packable storage containers.
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

A Week of High-Protein Vegetarian Meals

Breakfast

Grab an egg muffin and a banana on your way out the door.

Lunch

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: Black Bean Burger Pita Sandwiches: In the morning, cut a large pita in half and stuff each half with some of the chipotle mayo, one black bean burger, a slice of tomato, and a leaf or two of lettuce. Wrap each sandwich and take to-go.

Tuesday and Thursday, BBQ Tofu Bowls: Grab a pre-packed container of the BBQ Tofu Bowl.

Dinner

Monday and Wednesday, Tofu and Broccoli Green Curry: Prepare the recipe according to recipe instructions and split over two days, serving the curry over reheated brown rice.

Tuesday and Thursday, Feta and Tomato Braised Chickpeas: Prepare the recipe according to recipe instructions and split over two days, serving the chickpeas with pita bread.

Friday: Skip cooking tonight and head out to your favorite restaurant.

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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.