I wasn't planning on sharing a What I Ate this Week post today, but since my Vegan Father's Day Breakfast Recipes post went up yesterday, I figured why not push this post to today!
I also thought it would be fun to share simple Vegan Meal Prep Ideas that I incorporate into my weekly routine that makes preparing meals so much easier. I definitely do a lot more meal prepping in China, as I cook so many things in bulk, but so many of these principles still apply and I hope you find them helpful!
When it comes to vegan meal prepping, I usually cook or bake large batches of certain items at the beginning of the week, and then use those items to put together meals. I like to eat what sounds good at the moment, versus planning specific meals for each night of the week. For instance, I may bake a tray of sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week and then eat them with different toppings or sides each day depending on my cravings.
Below I'll share some ideas of vegan foods you can prepare in advance to make putting together meals later in the week easier. After that, you can see how I incorporate these foods into my meals!
Vegan Meal Prep Ideas
I'm ALL about condiments. They really can turn a "meh" dish into something delicious. I love to prep a batch of hummus or bean dip or salsa at the beginning of the week to add to salads, sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, etc. Salad dressings that I love are also so important for me to have on hand as they literally make me crave a big bowl of greens.
Roasted and Raw Veggies
Roasted veggies are my JAM, especially when they are already cooked for me. I love adding a serving of roasted veggies to any meal as a side dish. They also taste amazing on salads...even cold! Also, chopping up raw veggies at the beginning of the week or having baby carrots on hand allows me to easily add veggies to my meals when I don't feel like cooking, but want to get in some micronutrients.
There are so many different flavors of overnight oats you can make and a few batches will stay fresh for a few days in the fridge. You could prep 3-4 jars of oats at the beginning of the week and have pre-made breakfasts ready for you when you wake up! A couple of my favorite flavors are these Healthy Cookie Dough Overnight Oats and these Vanilla Protein Overnight Oats with Zucchini!
I've been on a major muffin kick this past week and muffins are a great food to prep in advance to store in the freezer for later in the week. I love making jumbo muffins as they can act as the main part of a meal, but smaller standard sized muffins make for great snacks! Muffins freeze really well and then you can just heat one or two up in the microwave whenever you have a hankering for a baked good!
This past week I made two different kinds of cold salads: Vegan Broccoli Salad and 4 Ingredient Bruschetta Pasta Salad (recipe coming soon!) and they were both life savers. They made for great side dishes for veggie burgers, sweet potatoes or even salads. I also loved that their flavor got better over time and they could be served cold straight out of the fridge...or even eaten straight out of the Tupperware!
Energy Bites and Granola Bars
We are a family obsessed with energy bites. We always have a large Tupperware full of them in the fridge and as soon as we start getting low, I make another batch. Our go-to energy bites are these 5 Ingredient Adaptable Granola Bars which I roll into balls and make with peanut butter and mini chocolate chips, but the flavors of energy bites and granola bars are endless. I often enjoy energy bites as a pre-workout snack or dessert.
Grains and Bread
Ah. We can't forget this category! In China I always make more rice or quinoa than we'll need so that I can use it as a base for meals later in the week. Top some rice off with pre-cooked roasted veggies, some beans from a can and a delicious condiment and you've got a delicious, healthy meal! It's also nice to have some of your favorite bread on hand so you can make sandwiches like Chickpea Salad Sandwiches, PB&Js or veggie burgers! In China I always like to have our favorite Homemade Whole Grain Sesame Crackers on hand...anything salty and crunchy is a must for easy snacking with hummus or other dips! Oh and making a big batch of cornbread to keep in the fridge or freezer is also an awesome vegan meal prep idea. We love our with savory entrees or even as a sweet treat smeared with jelly!
I also like to have fun drinks to enjoy throughout the week...usually as an afternoon pick-me-up when I'm not super hungry, but want something tasty. In China I make Homemade Kombucha, but lately I've been loving cold brew coffee (old post, delicious coffee!) that I can either drink black or turn into a Dairy Free Iced Mocha. When I'm in China, I also like to make my own Homemade Oat Milk or Nut or Soy Milk to have on hand for cereal, baking or latte/tea drinks throughout the week!
Snacks, Drinks and Desserts
I hope this post was helpful and gave you some ideas for recipes to make this upcoming week! Share this post with others who may find it helpful!
Hi Faith, your food blog is an inspiration to me.
Why do you need to do more food prep in China? Is it because of your personal lifestyle or is does it have to do with conditions in China? It sounds like your kitchen must be a modern one with oven and full sized appliances. That's good!
I live in the US but in an employee dormitory- no kitchen! I am allowed to have a slow cooker and a rice cooker. No oven. I do have a very small fridge. Do you have food prep suggestions for this situation?
We eat a lot of hummus and crackers and raw spinach from the store. Would like to do better though.
Thanks for your blog!
I'm SO glad to hear that Anita! As for why I like meal prepping in China...everything takes longer in China! I have to walk or take the bus to run errands and usually choose to walk. Language barriers and random people who want to talk to us on the street often slows life down as well. Meal prepping just allows me to whip up healthy meals quickly when the day doesn't go as planned! Life in China can be tiring because my brain is constantly thinking in a different language or having to deal with cultural difference, so sometimes it's nice to not think much about food:) We have a small kitchen in China, but I make it work! I bought the biggest oven I could, but it's still not a standard American sized oven.
And that must be a challenge living without a kitchen! But that's awesome you have a slow cooker and rice cooker. We use our rice cooker daily in china! I guess for your situation, you could just make a large portion of food whenever you're using your slow cooker and save the leftovers in the fridge to use in different ways. Again, condiments and dips help to vary meal up which is nice. Canned foods like beans and soups could be nice too as you could heat them up in your rice cooker! Then just eat them with some kind of grain, hummus and some greens and you're good to go! For breakfast you could do overnight oats as you don't have to cook them or use boiling water to soak them in the morning. I always have fresh fruit, nut butters and spices on hand to make boring oats more fun. Those are my thoughts for now! If you have any more specific questions, don't hesitate to ask!