Easy Vegan Meal Prep Ideas: Part Two
Today is a great day to work on part two of my vegan meal prep post because I am actually doing what I’m writing about this very minute. I schedule meal prep day for Sunday or Monday, and it truly helps me stay on track with eating healthy when I make it a weekly habit, plus, it saves me tons of money.
What does a typical meal prep menu look like in my kitchen? Well, mine isn’t just about grab-and-go lunches stacked neatly in containers in my refrigerator. Nope. My weekly meal prep includes anything I make in large batches that will most likely be consumed within the week. This includes things like veggie broth, blanched vegetables, vegan meatballs, bread, pizza dough, enchilada sauce, pasta sauce, salad mix, pickled vegetables, instant pot beans, burritos, wraps, and more.
This is what my typical meal prep to-do list might look like:
- Cook two types of dried beans in the instant pot. Each 1 lb. bag will be divided in two portions after cooking. My go-to beans are lentils, garbanzo and black beans.
- Use half of the cooked black beans to make vegan meatballs. The meatballs will be divided into two portions and frozen for meatball subs or spaghetti. The other cooked half will be for taco salad, Cuban black bean soup, chili, or put into burritos.
- Use half of the cooked garbanzos for making veggie burgers and the other half for Buddha bowls, hummus, or three-bean salad.
- Peel one pound of carrots. Slice and blanch one half pound, and then shred the uncooked remaining half. Shredded carrots can go into wraps, burritos, salads, pilaf, breakfast hash, tacos, etc.
- Cook four cups brown rice and divide into two portions. If not using brown rice, you can use quinoa in it’s place.
- Wash and chop two heads of lettuce. Sometimes it all goes into one big salad mix, or I keep the leaves whole for paleo wraps, or I portion and use the rest for lunch prep. (A side salad pairs well with a vegan burrito or fried rice.) Two large heads are enough lettuce for us throughout the week because we also add the following extra veggies to our salads.
- Slice extra veggies like daikon, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cabbage, carrots and celery. Put a handful of each on the salad mix and portion the rest into containers or baggies for stir fry, fried rice, soups, or stews. (I’m a big fan of pickling the daikon and/or radishes rather than adding them to soup or stir fry.)
- Roast half of the root veggies and par boil the remaining half and shred. The roasted half will go into vegan burritos and the hash browns will be used in casseroles or breakfast hash.
- Make a double batch of pizza dough. Freeze the second batch. Use one batch for either mini calzones, pizzas or breadsticks, and then freeze second batch.
On farmers market day (Sunday) I get whatever deals I can find, and recently it has been radishes, papaya, Okinawa sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and bok choy. In addition to any produce deals, I normally buy two different varieties of lettuce for my weekly salad mix. I often add arugula from the garden to give it some bite, and usually buy red leaf lettuce and curly green leaf, or other similar varieties. You can keep your salad mix in a large, airtight container, and use as needed throughout the week, or, divide it up into salads for meals. I like to use half for pre-made lunches, and half for dinner, and we often eat it in taco salad.
When I buy radishes, I get two bunches and put one on the salad mix, and the other bunch gets quick pickled. Since I’m lucky enough to have access to young, green papaya in Hawaii, I will often make Thai green papaya salad from unripened papayas, or let them ripen and chop into cubes and freeze for smoothies. You may be able to find unripened green ones at a specialty grocery store or Asian market.
Cooked beans, such as garbanzos and black beans, as well as grains, like millet and brown rice, are things that I make in batches. I buy the 1lb bags of dried beans, cook them up in my instant pot, and split them into two portions. Each portion will be used for a meal that feeds a family of four. If you are a smaller household, you may want to separate the cooked beans into four portioned containers and use each portion like you would a can of beans from the store.
Prepped grains can be a meal prep life saver as well. The possibilities for prepped grains are boundless, here are some ideas:
- A scoop of quinoa in each lunch prep Buddha bowl, sushi bowl or put into quinoa salad, wraps or burritos.
- Several cold cups of cooked brown rice+ prepped veggies= last minute dinner of easy-breezy fried rice.
- Pre-cooked millet can be made into patties, put into wraps, or burritos.
- Amaranth, wheat berries, and farro can all be used in similar ways as quinoa, and can also make a great base for cold salads.
When talking about meal prep, you can’t forget to mention types of storage and how you will keep all of your delicious food fresh. My main go-to containers are made of glass, either in mason jar form, or the glass containers with a seal around the top and snap lid. My personal preference is glass, and you can use what you’re comfortable with, but the key is to have several each of various types and sizes. I’m also a big fan of bento-style meals with the divided compartments and bento boxes are perfect for lunch meal prep.
Cute little, individual bento containers I scored for .50 at a yard sale.
I’ll soon be dropping my third and final meal prep post, wrapping up my quick and easy vegan meal prep ideas, and will feature breakfast items, as well as herb preparations. I hope you can join me. Happy meal prepping!