Next Week’s Meal Plan: 5 Flexitarian Plant-Forward Dinners for Two

updated Aug 3, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: From Left to Right: Kimberley Hasselbrink, Joe Lingeman, Shelly Westerhausen, Joe Lingeman

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.

Cooking for two can be challenging: So many recipes are written to serve four or more. What makes it trickier still is when one eater wants meaty meals, while the other prefers to keep things vegetarian.

It takes a little extra legwork, but satisfying both people is totally doable. Your best solution is sticking with flexible plant-based meals, where a piece of chicken (home-cooked or rotisserie), shredded meat, or fish can easily be added or served on the side. These kinds of flexitarian, meat-or-not meals include stir-fries, tacos, pasta dishes, salads, and Buddha bowls.

This week’s meal plan is rooted in fresh dinners that take advantage of summer produce, while letting you garnish with as much (or as little) meat as you want. Each one is hearty and filling on its own, but I’ll walk you through the option of bulking up mealtimes with meat for eaters who prefer it.

Monday: Spicy Stir-Fried Zucchini

Keep this quick stir-fry on hand from now through the end of summer — when you’re no longer overrun with zucchini. If you’re leaning vegetarian, try bulking it up with some pressed and chopped tofu. For those looking to add meat, brown a little ground beef, turkey, or chicken (plan on about a quarter-pound per person) in a separate pan. You can also add a piece of rotisserie chicken or shredded meat to the plate. Serve the stir-fry over a bed of rice. (If you cook extra you’ll have it on hand for Thursday night’s grain bowl.)

Tuesday: Crustless Quiche with Summer Vegetables

This breakfast for dinner is a weekly summer favorite when I’m likely to have a whole lot of farmers market vegetables to use up. It’s totally adaptable to any veggies on hand, plus the leftovers make a really great cold lunch. Serve it up with a simple side salad, and dinner is ready.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Wednesday: Chicken and Veggie Pesto Salad

This robust, lettuce-free salad is one of my favorite dinner options to really put a farmers market haul to work. The recipe can be easily halved for two people, and to satisfy meat eaters I recommend cooking up just a single chicken breast (or swapping it for about a cup of shredded rotisserie chicken or a few slices of steak).

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Thursday: Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Avocado and Green Tahini

This one-bowl meal is packed with hearty ingredients, so you hardly need animal protein to fill you up. But should your meat-eater still want some for good measure, I recommend topping the bowl with a couple of meatballs, any kind of browned ground meat, or shredded chicken. Dinner comes together even faster if you cooked extra rice on Monday and simply need to reheat it.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Friday: Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies

This week wraps up with pasta, which is really all about the veggies. If you have extra zucchini or summer squash, cut it into half moons and toss it on the sheet pan as well. A couple of sliced links of chicken sausage or cooked and crumbled Italian sausage are always a nice addition for meat-eaters.


New to meal planning? Start here.