Power Hour Meal Prep

How I Prep a Week of Summery Plant-Based Meals

updated Jul 12, 2022
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Plant based summer meals prepped. Clockwise: Spaghetti pie, summer vegetable grain salad, farmers market breakfast loaf.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman / Food Stylist: Anna Stockwell
Credit: The Kitchn

If you’re looking to embrace a plant-based diet, summer is absolutely the best time to start. The season is bursting at the seams with colorful fruits and vegetables, making it easy to fill your plate with them.

Today’s Power Hour celebrates this abundance of wholesome produce. Put in a little time in the kitchen before the week gets started, and in under two hours you’ll have meal prepped an entire week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that lean on in-season favorites like tomatoes, zucchini, berries, and more. Here’s how to make it happen.

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

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman / Food Stylist: Anna Stockwell

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: One easy and satisfying option that sneaks veggies into the mix (five days).
  • Lunch: A colorful, ready-to-eat salad plus easy leftovers (five days).
  • Dinner: Simple meals that put vegetables front and center but don’t skimp on satisfaction (five days).
  • Nutritional Goals: Each meal is plant-based and vegetarian. Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and beans are the focus.
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: 2 adults
  • Prep Time: Under 2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 75% (no Friday night or weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate (10 to 30 minutes of easy cooking and reheating)

Meal Plan

Breakfast

Lunches

Dinners

Credit: The Kitchn

Shopping List

This week’s shopping list is a mix of colorful and seasonal vegetables, along with other plant-based goodies like whole grains and beans. It assumes cooking basics like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.

  • Produce: Fresh berries of choice, 2 zucchini or summer squash, 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, 1 large English cucumber, 3 bell peppers, 1 bunch scallions, 1 head garlic, 1 bunch parsley, 1 bunch basil, 1 pound carrots, 1 head romaine lettuce, 2 large tomatoes, 1 red onion
  • Meat and Deli: 8 ounces uncooked pork breakfast sausage, 1 rotisserie chicken, 12 ounces bacon, 2 pounds ground beef, 1 pound ground pork
  • Refrigerated: Whole-milk plain yogurt, 1/2 dozen large eggs, 1 cup basil pesto, 3 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian-blend cheese, white miso paste
  • Pantry: All-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, almond butter, quinoa, red wine vinegar, 1 pound dry spaghetti, old-fashioned rolled oats, walnuts, 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, chili powder, ketchup or mustard
  • Other: Hamburger buns
Credit: The Kitchn

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Bake the breakfast bread: Start by heating the oven to 350°F and preparing the breakfast bread according to recipe instructions, using a mix of grated zucchini and carrots.
  2. Make the grain salad. While the bread bakes, make the vegetable grain salad according to recipe instructions. Refrigerate the salad in an airtight container.
  3. Assemble the spaghetti pie. Prepare the spaghetti pie according to recipe instructions. The recipe makes two pies, so follow the instructions to freeze one of the pies. Cover and refrigerate the other pie to bake off on Monday night. 
  4. Prepare the veggie burger patties. Make the veggie burger patties according to recipe instructions. Refrigerate the uncooked patties in a single layer in an airtight container.
  5. Wrap the cooled bread. Once the breakfast bread is completely cool, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and store at room temperature.
Credit: Kitchn
Credit: The Kitchn
Credit: Joe Lingeman

A Week of Summery Plant-Based Meals

Breakfast

Enjoy a slice of breakfast bread as is or toasted with almond butter, along with some fresh berries on the side.

Lunch 

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Summer Vegetable Grain Salad: Dig into a portion of the grain salad.
  • Tuesday and Thursday, Leftover Spaghetti Pie: Enjoy leftover slices of spaghetti pie.

Dinners

  • Monday, Spaghetti Pie with Ricotta and Summer Veggies: Remove the spaghetti pie from the refrigerator while you preheat the oven and bake as directed, uncovered, until heated through.
  • Tuesday, Veggie Burgers: Grill the veggie burgers according to recipe instructions and enjoy them on buns with your desired toppings (ketchup or mustard, romaine lettuce leaves, sliced tomato and red onion). Refrigerate the four leftover burgers in an airtight container for Wednesday and Thursday nights’ dinners.
  • Wednesday, Chopped Summer Salad: Grate a garlic clove in a large bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, and several pinches of salt and pepper. Chop the remaining head of romaine lettuce and add it to the bowl, along with chopped bell pepper, halved cherry or grape tomatoes, and torn parsley and/or basil leaves. Toss to combine. Crumble two of the leftover veggie burgers into bite-sized pieces, add to the bowl, and toss once more. Taste and season with additional vinegar, salt, and pepper before serving. 
  • Thursday, Veggie Burger Hash: Chop any remaining veggies you still have in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer (carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, tomato, scallions or red onion). Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering and sauté the mix of veggies until crisp-tender. Chop the last two leftover veggie burgers, add to the skillet, and sauté for a few more minutes until heated through. Serve garnished with chopped parsley or basil, or with a dollop of yogurt, if desired.
  • Friday, Out: Head out to your favorite restaurant after a successful week of meal planning!

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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.