Power Hour Meal Prep

Meal Prep Plan: How I Prep a Week of Meatless Meals in Under 2 Hours

updated Jun 21, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn
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This Power Hour might just be my favorite one yet. It will teach you how to use the best of this season’s veggies to create a week’s worth of satisfying, feel-good meals. While it happens to be vegetarian, absolutely anyone will find it useful, whether you’re curious about taking a week off from meat or simply want to get more vegetables on your plate. And, if there are eaters at your table who do want meat, I’ve made note of where to add that in. Here’s how to do it.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

My Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: An easy, wholesome, packable choice.
  • Lunch: Creative vegetarian meals that lean on dinner leftovers.
  • Dinner: Simple vegetarian meals with options for adding meat.
  • Nutritional Goals: Feel-good, satisfying meals that put vegetables first.
(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: Two people
  • Prep Time: About 1 1/2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate (20 to 30 minutes of light cooking to bring dinner together)

Meal Plan

Breakfast

Lunches

Dinners

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(Image credit: The Kitchn)
Credit: Sheela Prakash

Shopping List

This week’s shopping list is vegetable-forward and balanced by dairy, whole grains, and a few pantry items. It assumes staples like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.

  • Produce: 1 pint blueberries, 1 pint raspberries, 1 pound sweet potatoes, 1 bunch lacinato kale, 1 small bunch basil, 1 head garlic, 2 lemons, 2 tomatoes, 2 large bunches parsley, 1 small bunch mint, 1 small cucumber, 1 small bunch scallions, 2 limes, 4 portobello mushrooms, 2 poblano peppers, 2 red onions, 1 small bunch cilantro, 1 (12-ounce) bag mixed baby bell peppers, 1 pint cherry potatoes, rosemary
  • Meat & Seafood: No meat this week, but if you have a meat-eater at home, pick up some fully cooked sausage and either a rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breasts at the store to add to their meals.
  • Refrigerated: Dairy or non-dairy milk, block of feta cheese, shredded Mexican cheese, small log of goat cheese, 1 pound fresh potato gnocchi, small chunk of Parmesan cheese, hummus
  • Pantry: Old-fashioned rolled oats, wheat bran, ground cinnamon, sliced almonds, raw pecans, raw pepitas, unsweetened coconut flakes, dried cherries, dried apricots, quinoa, 1 can chickpeas, Castelvetrano olives, roasted unsalted almonds, dry orzo pasta, ground cumin, ground coriander
  • Other: Corn tortillas
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(Image credit: The Kitchn)
Credit: Sheela Prakash

Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done

  1. Roast the sweet potatoes: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 450°F. Cut the sweet potatoes and roast them with the chickpeas for the quinoa bowls according to recipe instructions. 
  2. Cook the quinoa: While the sweet potatoes and chickpeas roast, cook the quinoa.
  3. Make the pesto and assemble bowl: Chop the ingredients for the pesto together, slice the kale and olives, and assemble the quinoa bowls in six packable containers. 
  4. Make the muesli: Lower the oven temperature to 350°F and rearrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds. Prepare the muesli according to recipe instructions.
  5. Boil the orzo: While the muesli bakes, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo for the orzo tabbouleh.
  6. Prepare the tabbouleh: Chop the vegetables and herbs for the tabbouleh and combine them with the cooked orzo, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  7. Cut vegetables: Prep the mushrooms, peppers, and onion for the tacos and store them in one zip-top bag or storage container and prep the peppers, onion, garlic, and rosemary for the gnocchi and store them in another zip-top bag or storage container.
Credit: Kitchn
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(Image credit: The Kitchn)

A Week of Vegetable-Forward Meals

Breakfast

Each night before bed, I combine 2/3 cup muesli with 2/3 cup milk in two Mason jars. In the morning, we give each jar a stir and eat the muesli with berries.

Lunch

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowls with Crispy Chickpeas and Chopped Pesto: For each day, we each take one container of the ready-to-go bowl.
  • Tuesday, Leftover Gnocchi and Veggies: We divide the rest of the gnocchi and vegetables we ate for dinner Monday night.
  • Friday, Orzo Tabbouleh: We divide the rest of the orzo tabbouleh we ate for dinner Thursday night and top it with crumbled goat cheese.

Dinner

  • Monday, Crispy Sheet-Pan Gnocchi and Veggies: We combine the prepped peppers, onion, garlic, and rosemary with cherry tomatoes and gnocchi and roast everything together on a sheet pan. Sliced, fully cooked sausage can be added for a meat option.
  • Tuesday, Orzo Tabbouleh Hummus Bowls: We spread a few generous spoonfuls of hummus into two shallow bowls and top it with some of the orzo tabbouleh. Shredded chicken can be added for a meat option.
  • Wednesday, Roasted Mushroom and Poblano Tacos: We roast the prepped mushrooms, peppers, and onions and eat half of the mixture with goat cheese and cilantro in corn tortillas. Shredded chicken can be added for a meat option.
  • Thursday, Orzo Tabbouleh Hummus Bowls: We repeat our dinner Monday and make bowls with hummus and orzo tabbouleh but save what’s left of the tabbouleh for lunch.
  • Friday, Mushroom and Poblano Quesadillas: We take what’s leftover of the roasted mushrooms and peppers and make quesadillas with shredded Mexican cheese and the remaining corn tortillas. Shredded chicken can be tucked inside for a meat option.
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

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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.