How I Prep a Week of Extra-Easy Vegetarian Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners in 2 Hours

published May 16, 2023
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

This week my meal prep plan goals are twofold: Stack my meal plan with a week of feel-good vegetarian meals, and keep the prep and cooking as easy as can be. My go-to strategy for successfully tackling the latter is opting for meals that can be fully prepped and cooked in advance and leave ample leftovers that can be reinvented into brand-new meals.

The bulk of the week’s meals are fully prepped during the weekend cooking session, so that weeknights require minimal time and effort in the kitchen. Set aside about two hours for this Power Hour Meal Prep Plan and you’ll be rewarded with prepped and cooked breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week ahead. Let’s get started!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Meal Prep Goals

  • Breakfast: A satisfying, low-effort breakfast that’s mostly prepped in advance (five days).
  • Lunch: A filling salad that’s sturdy enough to make in advance without wilting, plus repurposed leftovers (five days).
  • Dinner: Satisfying, balanced meals with vegetables at the center of the plate (four nights).
  • Nutritional Goals: All of the meals in this week’s plan are vegetarian. 
Credit: The Kitchn

Meal Prep Plan Snapshot

  • Feeds: Two people
  • Prep Time: Just under 2 hours
  • Meals Covered: About 80% (no weekend meals)
  • Weeknight Cooking Required? Minimal/moderate: Most nights require reheating and assembling, with a night of light cooking. 

Meal Plan


Hard-boiled eggs + English muffins



Credit: NA

This week’s shopping list relies on a mix of produce, dry and refrigerated pantry basics, and store-bought conveniences. Cooking oils, kosher salt, and black pepper are not included in the list, so check your pantry before heading to the store.

  • Produce: Garlic, 2 bell peppers, celery, 1 English cucumber, 1 small red onion, 1 medium yellow onion, 1 head iceberg lettuce, 1 head radicchio, 1 medium fennel bulb, 1 lemon, 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 1 small bunch fresh parsley, 4 sprigs fresh oregano, 2 pounds mixed mushrooms, 1 small bunch curly or dinosaur kale, 1 box baby arugula (about 5 ounces)
  • Refrigerated & frozen: 1 dozen large eggs, 10 ounces feta, 4 ounces semi-hard cheese (such as Gruyère, Swiss, Gouda, Munster, Fontina)
  • Pantry: English muffins (2 packs), red wine vinegar, farro (1/2 cup), pepperoncinis, 4 cans chickpeas, 1 1/2 tablespoons harissa paste, 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, 1 can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk, 1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal, 1 cup regular or whole wheat Israeli (pearl) couscous, 8 ounces dried penne pasta, 1 loaf sourdough
Credit: The Kitchn

Power Hour: How to Get the Prep Done

  1. Cook braised chickpeas. Heat the oven to 325°F while you prep the ingredients according to the recipe instructions (this will take about 10 minutes). Reserve the chopped fennel fronds in a small container and store in the refrigerator. Bake for 1 hour. Wait to stir in the lemon juice, feta, and fennel fronds until right before serving. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
  2. Cook mushroom stew. Meanwhile, prep and cook the mushroom stew according to the recipe instructions. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
  3. Hard-boil eggs. Use the hands-off time while the mushrooms cook to hard-boil 10 eggs on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot.
  4. Cook farro. Meanwhile, bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the 1/2 cup farro and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Boil until farro is tender but has a slight chew in the center, 10 to 15 minutes for pearled and 25 to 30 minutes for semi-pearled. Drain and return to the saucepan to cool.
  5. Cook Israeli (pearl) couscous. Cook 1 cup regular or whole-wheat Israeli (pearl) couscous according to the package instructions.
  6. Make vinaigrette & prep chopped salad. Whisk together the vinaigrette for the chopped salad in a large bowl, according to the recipe instructions. Pour half into an airtight container and transfer to the refrigerator. Chop the vegetables (excluding the lettuce) and cube the feta and add to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Add 1 can drained chickpeas and the cooled farro. Stir to combine. Cover the bowl well with plastic wrap or store in a large airtight container in the refrigerator. Chop the lettuce and radicchio. Transfer both to a large airtight container, toss to combine, and refrigerate.
Credit: The Kitchn


Hard-boiled eggs + English muffins: Each morning, toast an English muffin and partner with one or two hard-boiled eggs. Keep things interesting with different spreads (like butter, jam, nut butter, hummus) or toppings (like, everything bagel seasoning or dukkah).


  • Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad: Each day toss together equal amounts of the chickpea mixture and lettuce mixture (heaping 1 cup of each) in a serving bowl. Drizzle with the reserved dressing, if desired, and dig in.
  • Wednesday and Friday, Mushroom Toast Melts: Position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiling element and heat the broiler to HIGH. Grate about 1/3 of the semi-firm cheese (Gruyère, Swiss, Gouda, Munster, Fontina). Cut 2 slices sourdough and brush each side with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon total), place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until the bread is golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the leftover mushroom stew on top of each piece of bread and top with cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and browned in spots, 1 to 3 minutes more. A warm lunch is ready in under 10 minutes.


  • Monday, Harissa Olive Oil-Braised Chickpeas and Fennel with Salad & Bread: Reheat about half of the chickpea mixture on the stovetop, then divide between two bowls. Toss together a simple arugula salad (swap some of the semi-firm cheese for the Parm called for in the recipe) and cut a couple of slices of sourdough to go with it.
  • Tuesday, Mushroom Stew with Polenta: Cook a half batch of polenta on the stovetop, according to the recipe instructions. While the polenta cooks, reheat about 2 cups of the mushroom stew. Spoon the polenta between two bowls, top with warm stew, and enjoy.
  • Wednesday, Couscous Bowls with Braised Chickpeas: Reheat the couscous and remaining chickpea mixture. Add a handful of arugula to two bowls, then top with the couscous and chickpeas.
  • Thursday, Creamy Mushroom Pasta: Cook 8 ounces dried penne pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup water and drain. Heat about 1 1/2 cups of the leftover mushroom stew in a high-sided skillet on the stovetop. Stir the pasta and reserved pasta water into the stew. Ladle into bowls and enjoy.
  • Friday, Pizza takeout! 


This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: How I Prep a Week of Extra-Easy Vegetarian Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners in 2 Hours