Power Hour Meal Prep

How I Prep a Week of High-Protein Vegetarian Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners in Just 2 Hours

updated Jan 12, 2023
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prepared meals arranged in a grid on a surface
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

As a registered dietitian, one of my favorite myths to debunk is that vegetarians can’t get enough protein in their diets because they don’t eat meat. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If you eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet, full of good things like beans and whole grains, you’ll have no problem getting enough protein — and then some.

This high-protein Power Hour Meal Prep Plan is proof. In one meal-prep session of about two hours you’ll have prepped a week of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that are both vegetarian and rich in protein. While the USDA Dietary Guidelines recommends consuming about 50 grams per day, you’ll get at least 60 grams (or more) a day in this plan. On top of that, this wintery meal plan will help keep you warm and cozy on even the chilliest of days.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: Two options to choose from that simply need be reheated (five days).
  • Lunch: A rotation of dinner leftovers in order to keep lunchtime as easy as possible (five days).
  • Dinner: Quick options that either just need to be reheated or turn leftovers into a whole new meal in 15 minutes or less (five days).
  • Nutritional Goals: This week’s meal plan is both vegetarian and high-protein. While the average person should be getting about 50 grams of protein per day, you’ll get at least 60 grams (or more) a day here.

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: 2 adults
  • Prep Time: About 2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Light (about 5 to 15 minutes of quick cooking and reheating)

Meal Plan



  • Leftover Vegetarian Chili with toast (21 grams of protein)
  • Leftover General Tso’s Tofu over quinoa (29 grams of protein)
  • Leftover Chili Mac (34 grams of protein)


Shopping List

This week’s shopping list leans on wholesome ingredients like vegetables, beans, and whole grains. It assumes cooking basics like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.

  • Produce: 5 large bananas, 2 medium broccoli crowns, 1 medium shallot, 1 large yellow onion, 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, 1 head garlic, 3 large bell peppers, 2 medium carrots, 1 small bunch celery 
  • Refrigerated: 1 quart whole milk, 1 large tub whole-milk cottage cheese, 1 1/2 dozen large eggs, 2 pounds firm tofu, 1 (8-ounce) bag shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Pantry: Maple syrup or honey, old-fashioned rolled oats, peanut butter, chili-garlic paste or sambal oelek, ketchup, tamari or soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, dry sherry, dark brown sugar, toasted sesame seed oil, ground cumin, 1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 1 (32-ounce) box low-sodium vegetable broth, uncooked quinoa, chili powder, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, 2 (14-ounce) cans roasted green chiles, 3 (15-ounce) cans beans (such as pinto, black, kidney, cannellini, or garbanzo), 1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, dried elbow macaroni, 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk, 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Other: 1 loaf Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Bread (or other high-protein bread)

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Drain the tofu: Wrap 2 pounds of tofu in a few layers of paper towels, then set on a dinner plate or cutting board. Weigh it down with a heavy object like a skillet, pot, or large can. Let rest while you make the chili and egg muffins.
  2. Preheat the oven: While the tofu drains, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. 
  3. Make the chili: Meanwhile, prepare the Vegetarian Chili according to recipe instructions and let it simmer while you get other prep done.
  4. Bake the egg muffins: Prepare the Broccoli Cheddar Egg Muffins according to recipe instructions.
  5. Stir-fry the tofu: While the egg muffins bake, cut the drained tofu into 1-inch cubes and prepare a double batch of General Tso’s Tofu
  6. Make the oatmeal: Prepare a double batch of the Peanut Butter Oatmeal on the stovetop according to recipe instructions (omit the toppings until you are ready to serve it).
  7. Cook the quinoa: Make a double batch of quinoa on the stovetop according to recipe instructions. Transfer each dish into a lidded containers and refrigerate.
Credit: Design: The Kitchn
Credit: Joe Lingeman

A Week of High-Protein Vegetarian Meals for Chilly Days


  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: Enjoy two egg muffins per person and rewarm them in the microwave, if desired.
  • Tuesday and Thursday: Rewarm two portions of peanut butter oatmeal in the microwave or on the stovetop, loosening it with milk or water, as needed. Top individual bowls with 1/4 cup of cottage cheese, half of a sliced banana, and an extra drizzle of honey or maple syrup, if desired.


  • Monday and Wednesday: Enjoy portions of rewarmed General Tso’s Tofu over quinoa.
  • Tuesday and Thursday: Enjoy portions of rewarmed Vegetarian Chili with two slices of toasted Ezekiel bread per person.
  • Friday: Rewarm the last of the chili mac.


  • Monday: Enjoy portions of reheated Vegetarian Chili with two slices of toasted Ezekiel bread per person.
  • Tuesday and Thursday: Enjoy portions of reheated General Tso’s Tofu over quinoa.
  • Wednesday: Make a quick Chili Mac: Bring the can of crushed tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil in a medium pot. Add 2 cups dried elbow macaroni, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in a few ladlefuls of leftover chili, 1/2 cup of evaporated milk and 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese until melted and the chili is warmed. 
  • Friday: Make Chili-Poached Egg Skillet: Place the last of the chili in a skillet and rewarm it over medium heat, loosening it with vegetable broth or water as needed. Crack 4 eggs into the skillet and continue to simmer until the eggs are just cooked through. Serve with one slice of toasted Ezekiel bread per person.

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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.