The fridge is perfectly organized with glass containers of washed and cooked vegetables, grains, and beans. In the freezer, 2 luscious sauces await.
All you have to do is defrost, mix some from each category, and eat.
Dinner is ready in 5 minutes, and your exhausting work day comes down to this: a delicious, plant-based meal that not only tastes amazing but makes you feel amazing, too.
Does that sound like a total fairytale for you?
I get it. Most nights you probably opt for whatever is most convenient – may it be takeout or a frozen dinner.
But home-cooked food can be just as convenient. With 1 little trick.
Pick a day (on the weekend, or mid-week – whenever is convenient for you), and meal prep.
Vegan meal prep just means organizing your fridge, cooking whatever veggies, grains, and beans you want to cook, and making some delicious sauces to go along.
This 1 hour of vegan meal prep per week will save you massive amounts of time when you actually want to sit down to eat.
So today, I am giving you a vegan meal prep example.
I decided to pick dinner: because it is usually the most time consuming to prepare.
If you follow this guide, step by step, you will get your vegan meal prep done in less than an hour, and have 5 delicious vegan meals almost entirely done for the week! (All you have to do is add a few fresh cut veggies when you are ready to eat).
I love these glass containers to store my food prep for the week. I try to use glass as often as I can for this purpose.
First, I am going to go over the vegan meal prep part, step-by-step, and then get into assembling each meal, with days of the week pointed out.
Let’s get started. You can follow along in the video, so that the steps are easier to understand:
Pre-Meal Prep: Soaking
First, soak ½ cup of quinoa and 1 cup of cashews (separately) by covering in filtered water overnight in a bowl. To learn why soaking is so important for your health, read this.
Vegan Meal Prep Step 1: Roast your Vegetables
1 butternut squash
2 medium sweet potatoes
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked paprika
Start by pre-heating your oven to 400F/200C.
While the oven is preheating, chop 2 medium sweet potatoes into fry shapes. Peel and cube a butternut squash (see how I did it, although very clumsily, in the video).
Once the oven is done pre-heating, place the sweet potato fries and butternut squash cubes on parchment-lined baking trays. Make sure you use non-bleach parchment paper.
Then, sprinkle the butternut squash with ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (or use smoked paprika if you don’t like spicy).
Bake for about 30 minutes, checking for softness at that point by gently piercing them with a fork. Take them out of the oven when they are soft enough for your liking.
Lastly, once cooled, place sweet potato and butternut squash in 2 separate containers in the fridge.
Vegan Meal Prep Step 2: Cook quinoa and steam frozen beans
½ cup quinoa
½ cup organic frozen edamame (I used SeaPoint Farms brand from Sprouts)
1 cup filtered water
Rinse quinoa and discard soaking water. Put quinoa and a fresh cup of filtered water in a pot to boil on high. Place steamer basket on top in the same pot, and put edamame beans to steam in the basket.
Steam beans for 5 minutes, then rinse them in cold water and place them in a container.
Allow the quinoa to cook for about 5 more minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Place in a container in the fridge once it has cooled.
Vegan Meal Prep Step 3: Sauté mushrooms and onions
1 medium sweet onion
8 ounces of chopped baby bella mushrooms (or any mushrooms of your choice)
Heat a non-stick pan on high. Once hot, place onions on the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they start to turn slightly brown. Add your mushrooms at this point, and cook until they are soft – about 10 more minutes, continuing on high heat.
When they are ready, turn off heat, let cool, and place in a container when cooled.
Note that you do not need to add any liquids or oil to this sauté – it will cook really well without them, and you’ll be much healthier for skipping the oil.
Vegan Meal Prep Step 4: Pan-fry tempeh
4 tablespoons organic tamari soy sauce
1 block organic tempeh (I used LightLife brand in “original”, sold at Sprouts and many other health food stores)
Place tempeh and 3 tablespoons tamari on your non-stick pan, on high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, until it absorbs all tamari and gets brown on both sides (flip a few times during the cooking process to coat all sides in tamari). If you need to continue cooking, and there is no liquid on the pan, add another tablespoon of tamari.
Turn off the heat, let cool, and place in a glass container and in the fridge.
Vegan Meal Prep Step 5: Add Flavor
This is where the magic comes in! All the flavor of your meals will come from the sauces you use. We are going to make 2 sauces that we will use in all 5 meals: chipotle cilantro cashew cream, and Asian sauce.
Both of these sauces are taught in my online course, The Effortlessly Flavorful Vegan Kitchen, which shows you how to make quick, easy and flavorful vegan meals using delicious sauces like these, and based on a step-by-step system that I developed.
First, we will make the Chipotle Cilantro Cashew Cream.
Click here to download the recipe, and here to watch the video recipe (a sample from The Effortlessly Flavorful Vegan Kitchen!). We are making 2 versions: 2 containers of plain, and 1 container with the cilantro and chipotle for extra variety.
Follow the instructions, but blend all ingredients without the chipotle and cilantro.
Divide the resulting mixture into 3 containers, equally. Chop up 1/3 cup cilantro very thinly, and add it into 1 container, along with a pinch of chipotle powder, to your liking.
Next, make the Asian sauce (recipe here), and divide into 2 separate containers. If you want to skip processed sugar like I did today, replace the maple syrup in the recipe with 4 small dates, or 2 Medjoul dates.
Place the containers in the freezer, so that the sauces can last you a very long time. When you are ready to eat them, simply take them out of the freezer about 1 hour before mealtime, and mix them with a fork to incorporate all ingredients after they defrost.
Vegan Meal Prep Step 6: Chop fresh veggies
¼ of a small purple cabbage
Use a food processor or a sharp knife to shred the cabbage, and store in a container in the fridge.
We are chopping the cabbage because it is very hearty and stores well. We will be adding some fresh chopped veggies when we are about to eat each meal.
Now that we are done with the meal prep, let’s assemble the meals.
Each day, follow the instructions below to put the meals together. I have scheduled them this way on purpose, so that we eat the meal that lasts longest in the fridge, last.
Monday: Cashew Cheese Salad Deliciousness
1/3 plain cashew sauce
3 tablespoons raw sauerkraut of your choice
2 large handfuls mixed greens
2 large tomatoes
¼ large sweet onion
1 English cucumber
½ block tempeh
Start by chopping tomatoes, onion, and cucumber. Then, mix with sauerkraut, pre-washed organic greens, sauce, and tempeh. If you want an entirely raw version, skip the tempeh.
Tuesday: Buddha Bowl
Use this awesome recipe, and add half a block of tempeh to it. All the chopping you have to do here is 1 green onion on top for garnish.
Wednesday: Butternut Squash Tacos
¼ cup quinoa
½ roasted butternut squash
1/3 cashew sauce (cilantro-chipotle flavor)
¼ cup cilantro
1 green onion
¼ cup edamame
3 organic, non-GMO sprouted corn tortillas (I like Food for Life brand)
First, chop green onion, cilantro, and cube avocado.
Warm up tortillas on a non-stick skillet on medium heat, for about 3-5 minutes on each side (they should not turn hard, just get very warm).
Lastly, stuff each tortilla with butternut squash, quinoa, edamame, avocado, cilantro, green onion, and a delicious drizzle of sauce on top. Heaven!
Thursday: Cheesy Butternut-Mushroom Pasta
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Add pre-cooked mushrooms and onions (half of the batch), half the butternut squash, 1/3 of the cashew sauce and devour!
Friday: Sweet potato fries with Asian sauce
2 sweet potatoes
½ of Asian sauce
I get it. It’s the end of the week and you are exhausted. That is why I have saved the easiest for last. Take out your sweet potatoes, and heat them up if you wish. You can put them back on a baking tray and warm them up in your oven. Dip in the delicious sauce, and REST!
(PS – how cute is my pineapple try and pineapple bowl? Never realized I love pineapples this much… I think my subconscious mind is telling me something)
I hope you have enjoyed these easy meals, and had so much fun with your fully-stocked and meal prepped fridge.
If you are struggling with planning your meals, and organizing your kitchen and fridge for a whole food, plant-based diet that is well planned and covers all of the necessary nutrients – you will be interested in my 4-week coaching program in San Diego.
Through “Effortlessly, Deliciously, Nutritiously Vegan”, I will teach you how to grocery shop, meal plan and prep, which nutrients you need daily to be successful on this lifestyle, and so much more.
Enrollment is only open to 3 clients each month. Click here to learn more about this exclusive program.