Did you make a resolution to eat more plants this year? If you did, you’re certainly not alone: A whopping 43 percent of Americans who made resolutions are looking to incorporate healthful eating choices into their diets in 2020. More than 300,000 people worldwide have joined the Veganuary pledge for the month of January and beyond, committing to a fully vegan lifestyle for at least one month. Even self-professed meat lovers are dreaming up ways to pile their plates high with vegetables, beans, grains, and less meat. Add all this to the 5 percent of Americans of who self-identify as vegetarian, and 3 percent who self-identify as vegan, and you’ve got a lot of folks on the produce train.
Of course, the flip-side of setting big goals for ourselves is, well, sticking to them. Luckily, resolving to incorporate more plants into your cooking is pretty much the same as resolving to cook more at home in the first place: you’ll just need to plan out the recipes you’d like to try; make a grocery run or two to stock up on everything you need; and meal prep to high heaven. Speaking of prep: Just like with non-vegan meals, you’ll also want to consider larger-format, make-ahead, mix-and-matchable vegan staples, so you can cook once and eat well all week.
Below, you’ll find a bunch of recipes that will keep you company on your plant-eating journey—all of them meal-preppable, leftovers-friendly, and super-satiating, to boot. A dream, right? More plants and greater efficiency? Right.
Hearty tofu, vibrant turmeric, cheesy nutritional yeast, and a bevy of diced vegetables come together in this I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-egg scramble. Eat it with an English muffin today, then keep the leftovers for the ultimate veggie breakfast burrito later in the week. Or, stash it in the chill chest to enjoy down the line: As one community member remarks, “This tofu recipe is delicious, makes great leftovers, and even freezes well!”
2. Boosted Jook
Cozy rice porridge—wherein white rice is cooked in flavorful liquid (water, vegetable stock, meat or seafood broth, your choice) until it essentially falls apart—might be the perfect warming winter breakfast. It cooks up in big batches and keeps well in the fridge, readying itself for all sorts of toppings: tofu, mushrooms, and/or hardy greens; frizzled onions and/or garlic; roughly chopped herbs and hot sauces of all stripes.
Chia seed pudding is a bit like magic: take ordinary-looking, tiny black seeds, pour a bit of liquid (like water or non-dairy milk) over them, and watch them plump up into a luscious pudding right before your eyes. Not only is it batchable (make a few servings in advance and eat throughout the week, loosening with a little liquid if the consistency’s too gelled), it’s a flavor chameleon, able to take on toppings and mix-ins of all stripes. Go ahead—stir in a little jam, nut butter, or tahini to the plain “base” pudding, and top with toasted coconut, granola, or dried fruit of your choosing.
This rice pudding boasts double the rice, as you’ll combine cooked rice with rice milk (which you’ll make yourself!) until thick and creamy. If that sounds scary, worry not—all this means is blitzing brown rice with hot water and sugar in a blender until ultrasmooth, letting it soak for a couple hours, then using it to make the pudding (again, with cooked rice, which you can also make ahead). Top with dried fruits, nuts, or other fixings as you wish, eat hot or warm, then save any leftovers to reheat and serve later.
A 2-minute investment of time before you go to bed reaps one of creamiest, dreamiest breakfasts when you wake up—overnight oats. Simply stir together rolled oats, non-dairy milk, and any mix-ins (fruit, nuts, sweet dried doodads, tahini or nut butter, chocolate chips or nibs) in a lidded jar or vessel until it’s the right thickness for you, cover and put in the fridge, and…walk away. Yep, seriously! It’ll do its thing overnight.
Any cake can be breakfast, but this one especially: It’s packed with energizing bananas, cocoa, almond butter, and maple syrup, so it tastes great but it has serious staying power. Wrapped well, the cake gets even moister as it rests, so you’ll want to keep some around for your breakfasts all week.
This no-fuss bread has a short ingredient list—little more than flour, oats, maple, and yeast—and big intrigue. Its salty-sweet vibe makes it equally perfect for avocado toast (have you seen this Genius, wacky and wonderful take?) and swirls of jam alike.
This cult-favorite granola got its stellar reputation for a reason: It’s dang delicious. Olive oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, and a hefty pinch of salt create a shaggy crust around rolled oats, nuts, and seeds. A short trip to the oven, and an irresistibly crispy-crunchy, delightful breakfast or snack (or lunch, or dinner) is born.
Enchiladas are the perfect large-format winter meal: They’re super-comforting, riffable to the max, and get even better-tasting over time, as the flavors meld. This version, which makes use of nutty quinoa, kale, mushrooms, and a smoky homemade enchilada sauce, can even freeze and defrost well (pro tip: after it’s baked and cooled, portion it out in individual or double servings before stashing in the freezer).
For a no-fuss winner of a lunch, look no further: A mixture of cooked chickpeas (a meal-prepping standby), meaty shiitake mushrooms, and a hit of sweet-zingy hard apple cider is the perfect companion for a thick slice of toast or two. As one community member raves, the recipe’s “Such a nice idea for a quick dinner when all of us are on different schedules. I made a big batch [of the saucy chickpeas] and all we have to do is toast our own bread.”
“Big-batch” and “make-ahead” cooking are especially effective when it comes to two particular types of food: dishes that include longer-cooking ingredients, like dried beans, rice, or lentils (so you can do it all at once, and not cook for several hours each day); and dishes that get more delicious over time (like casseroles, and pots of stewy, soupy things). This creamy red lentil soup, inflected with aromatics, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, and beet greens, checks both boxes. Though red lentils cook relatively quickly, compared to other types of lentils, you’ll still be glad you made a big batch all the same.
Quick-cooking couscous is a great staple for speedy lunches and dinners, but it can get a bit soggy if you don’t eat it right away. Cauliflower couscous—aka a head of raw cauliflower, pulsed until it resembles the durum-wheat pasta—on the other hand, stays crunchy and peppy for days, even when sautéed, thanks to moisture-loving golden raisins, which plump up as they sit in the cauli mixture. To make the dish ahead and keep the cashews extra-crunchy, toast the nuts separately, keep them in a tightly lidded jar in the pantry, and sprinkle on the couscous as you eat it through the week.
13. Tempeh Chili
Chili! One of the best meal-prepped dishes out there—it scales up brilliantly and tastes phenomenal on the second and third day. Cooked beans, crumbled tempeh, aromatics, and a ton of spices simmer in a big stockpot for half an hour or so, just waiting to be scooped into a bowl and topped with scallions, non-dairy cheese, cashew cream, you name it. Be sure to save a stash in the freezer—future-you will be grateful.
With a zippy miso broth, tender turnips and mushrooms, and nutty, chewy soba noodles, who wouldn’t be into this soup? To make it ahead, store cooked soba separately from the vegetable-y broth, then reheat separately and combine when you’re ready to serve.
This recipe has a few steps—cooking the dried lentils, forming them into “meat”balls, dunking those meatballs into a creamy coconut sauce, spiced with fenugreek—so it’s the ideal candidate for a cozy Sunday spent meal prepping. If you’re not eating them right away, just store the cooked meatballs and sauce separately in the fridge until you’re ready to combine. A few community members even suggest making a double portion of the sauce, if that’s your kind of thing. (It’s definitely my kind of thing.)
Community member darksideofthespoon was on a quest to make a great—not just good—quinoa salad: one with in-your-face flavor, contrasting textures, and general verve. I’m happy to say that she accomplished it with this recipe, and one that’s incredibly flexible, at that. You’ll combine cooked quinoa, a dried fruit of some kind (cranberries, raisins, cherries, chopped-up apricots), a nut of some kind (toasted hazelnuts or almonds or pecans, if you wish), a fresh fruit of some kind (any kind of apple or pear), and a whole mess of chopped herbs. Drizzle with a simple olive oil vinaigrette, toss together, then serve immediately—or save for lunch or dinner all week long.
This stew has it all: Yams and lentils for heft; tomatoes for acidity and roundness; kale and scallions for greenery; peanut butter and chopped peanuts for creaminess; spices and aromatics for flair. A note for the curious: It freezes well.
Once you cook the cannellini beans here—a perfect weekend prep task, if you ask me—this soup comes together in just about ten minutes. Ten! The beans, plus a good-quality stock, garlic, olive oil, and parsley, are only bettered by a thick slice of toast on the side.
Though this recipe as written is for a summer lasagna, feel free to swap in other-season vegetables of your choosing: strips of butternut squash, for example, would make a great sub for the eggplant in the fall and winter. Collard greens or chard could stand in for the zucchini, too. Whatever the season, you’ll want to make a whole pan over the weekend, then refrigerate or freeze in portions until you’re ready to eat. Once again, this casserole tastes better the next d—yeah, you know the drill.
Hardy millet, butternut squash, florets of Romanesco cauliflower, and grapes all stand up well to being dressed with a chunky herb vinaigrette, then refrigerated for a few days as it makes its way into your lunch, little by little. Since this salad does include avocado, which will likely oxidize and brown when stored in this fridge, it could be a great idea to add that fresh to the salad when you’re serving it throughout the week.
21. Palak Paneer
This vegan riff on a North-Indian favorite, made with pressed and marinated tofu standing in for the paneer, allows for make-ahead-ability at several turns: Press and marinate the tofu up to two days before you want to serve; make the spiced spinach puree and cashew cream before that, even freezing and defrosting it when you’re ready to put it together. Though it requires a few steps, breaking up the tasks makes the endeavor a little easier—and well worth it.
Like your favorite pan of gooey, cheesy macaroni and cheese—but 100 percent vegan, thanks to creamy, luscious cauliflower. Top with breadcrumbs and bake off before eating, or stick the unbaked casserole in the freezer for a rainy day. As one community member remarked, “The flavors seemed to meld better after sitting. After dinner I went out for the evening and when I returned, had another helping and it was even better.”
It’s crispy! Crunchy! A little chewy! Sweet! Sour! Smoky! Spiced! And it’s ready to be your lunch or dinner, any day this week. Making a double-batch of the crispy chickpeas would also not be a bad idea for your snacking needs.
Sweet potatoes are a plant-based staple, and here’s a recipe that switches up the same ol’, same ol’. A zesty orange-and cardamom-salt blend blankets coins of honey-drizzled roasted sweet potatoes, to excellent effect—but you can switch up the seasonings as you wish. Speaking of seasonings, the orange-cardamom salt can go on about a million other things, too: raw radishes or avocado toast, to start.
Earthy, meaty mushrooms can take on bold flavors really well, and they’re definitely up for the task in this dish. VIbrant chile oil, soy, cilantro, and peanuts, among other seasonings, layer together here while creating a surprisingly balanced starter or side. They last for several days in the fridge, and can be eaten with rice, quinoa, subtly dressed wheat or rice noodles, or a big tofu steak.
Somewhere between a fresh cabbage salad (like the kind you’d have with Baja-style tacos) and a sauerkraut, this slaw rewards you for leaving it alone; after some time marinating with some salt, the cabbage gets tender and a little funky without losing its bite. You can easily eat it as soon as it’s shredded and dressed, though—no resting necessary. Why not do both? Pile some on your plate now and save the rest for lunch and dinner down the road.
Here’s another side-salad–hybrid that gets better after a few days of neglect. Thick planks of zucchini, submerged in garlic-laced red wine vinaigrette, will keep for up to a week in the fridge (tightly wrapped, of course). It goes with pasta, on toast, alongside grilled tofu or mushrooms, atop rice—the possibilities are endless.
Making a big batch of this herb jam on a weekend is never a bad idea. It leverages all sorts of green odds-and-ends in the fridge, plus a generous amount of oil-cured olives and seasonings, steamed until tender and then briefly sautéed and mashed together. Keep it around for a few days to stir into pasta or rice, spread onto bread (for sandwiches or otherwise), or eat with crackers as a full-bodied, very different kind of dip.
Hummus is a plant-based blessing! Full of protein, it’s extremely satisfying and nutritious. It’s also extremely versatile as a standalone snack, accompaniment for a heaping grain bowl, a big plate of fattoush, and so much more. As it takes a minute to put together (hint: soaking the dried chickpeas overnight, then cooking them in the Genius way the recipe recommends, will yield the smoothest, creamiest hummus of your life), it’s a great weekend project that will pay it forward for days to come.
Pesto is another meal-prep staple, both to those following a plant-based lifestyle and otherwise. It’s always ready for you to stir it into pasta, thin it with lemon juice for a quickie salad dressing, slather it on bread, or mound it onto a hot baked potato. This version uses hefty chard stalks, garlic, pepitas, and a pinch of smoky, earthy cumin to give it depth. The sauce lasts quite a long time in the fridge, and freezes well, too.
Miso, sun-dried tomatoes, and a healthy sprinkling of smoked paprika transform kidney beans into a dip that could rival the flavors of the smokiest Spanish chorizo. One commenter attested to its do-anything nature: “I had it with pita chips, scrambled eggs, rice…the possibilities are endless.” We concur wholeheartedly!
There are many, many excellent plant-based desserts that you can prep in advance, but few reach the prowess of this superstar recipe: An ooey-gooey, super-nostalgic chocolate-chip cookie. A sweet bonus? It’s also naturally sweetened.