Next Week's Meal Plan

A Week of Simple Plant-Based Dinners from Laura Wright of The First Mess

updated Nov 5, 2020
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Credit: Laura Wright

Whether you follow a plant-based diet or simply like to slot wholesome meat-free dinners in your meal plan once in a while, there’s no one better-suited to help you cook up the most delicious, fuss-free meals you’ll keep coming back to than Laura Wright. She’s the creator of The First Mess blog and author of the vegan cookbook by the same name, and boy does she ever have the amazing ability to turn humble vegetables into the most crave-worthy, satisfying meals.

Here, she shares a week’s meal plan with us, and tells us how she does it.

Credit: Laura Wright

5 Easy and Satisfying Meat-Free Dinners from Laura Wright

The theme of my meal plan is 100% plant-based dinners that are super flavorful, hearty, and simple to prepare. I focus on whole food ingredients, familiar cooking techniques, and bold flavors for plant-based meals that satisfy all types of eaters at the table. When planning our meals for the week, I’m also taking into consideration what will heat up nicely for a next-day working lunch for my partner. All of these work well on that front!

Credit: Laura Wright

Monday: Harissa Chickpea Bowl with Potatoes, Lemon Tahini & Greens

With this recipe, some potatoes roast until crispy in the oven while you build the flavors of spicy harissa with some chickpeas in a skillet. A quick toss of greens and a drizzle of creamy lemon tahini sauce brings it all together.

Get the recipe: Harissa Chickpea Bowl with Potatoes, Lemon Tahini & Greens

Credit: Laura Wright

Tuesday: Crispy Garlic Sesame Tofu

This recipe relies on my favorite technique for amazing tofu: freezing in a marinade. This simple practice gives the tofu a “layered” texture and really allows the flavors of sesame oil, garlic, and tamari to work their way in. We cook the tofu in the oven so that there’s time to prep some simple brown rice and steamed or sautéed broccoli on the side.

Get the recipe: Crispy Garlic Sesame Tofu

Credit: Laura Wright

Wednesday: Smoky Squash Chili with Quinoa, Pinto & Black Beans

This chili is so hearty! It’s loaded with flavor from the adobo sauce, lots of spices, a spoonful of cocoa powder for depth, and fire-roasted tomatoes. The squash gives it a fall feel and quinoa really helps to fill it out. If I’m feeling up to it, I’ll make some corn muffins to go on the side, but this chili is filling enough on its own.

Get the recipe: Smoky Squash Chili with Quinoa, Pinto & Black Beans

Credit: Laura Wright

Thursday: Creamy Olive and Arugula Pesto Pasta

This pasta is peppery, garlicky, a bit creamy, and just perfect with the briny-salty flavor of green olives chopped in. It’s a real flavor explosion! Walnuts make the pesto super buttery. I love using a lentil or chickpea-based pasta to bring up the protein and satiation factor with this meal.

Get the recipe: Creamy Olive and Arugula Pesto Pasta

Credit: Laura Wright

Friday: Sweet Potato Cakes with Lemony Slaw

Quinoa and mashed sweet potato unite with a bunch of spices and hemp seeds to form these slightly crisp and satisfying savory cakes. We perch them on a heap of kale and cabbage slaw with a creamy lemony dressing and a big handful of chopped fresh dill. These sweet potato cakes hold up well if you do advanced meal prep early in the week.

Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Cakes with Lemony Slaw

Thanks so much, Laura! For more of Laura’s delicious recipes check out her cookbook, The First Mess, and her blog which goes by the same name. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But we’re firm believers that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. We 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 one or a family of four or five. Every week we share a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests or from a guest contributor, for Next Week’s Meal Plan!