Easy Vegetarian and Vegan Make Ahead Meals

I’m usually pretty bad when it comes to food prep. I buy a bunch of food, let it sit on the counter/fridge/freezer until I’m ready to use it, and sometimes toss some of it because it goes bad before I have a chance to use it. When I get home from work, I’m usually way too tired to spend an hour or more trying to whip something together. I realized that I’m wasting time and money eating this way.

Since Sundays are usually pretty calm, especially now that I won’t have The Walking Dead to look forward to until October (boo!), I decided to give food prep a whirl. Something as simple as chopping and slicing ingredients, putting them in storage bags, and tossing in the fridge can save so much time. All I need to do is grab the ready-to-cook ingredients, toss in a pan, and voila! Dinner is done in minutes.

Megan's Food Prep 3-30-14

1. Cilantro lime quinoa salad – This has turned out to be one of my favorite meals that I created, but it takes a good hour to make. I made a huge batch this weekend that I can enjoy throughout the week. I rinsed and cooked the quinoa, and let it cool in the fridge while I chopped grape tomatoes, scallions, cucumber, Kalamata olives, and fresh cilantro. Toss everything with the quinoa and season with garlic pepper, fresh lime juice, and lemon juice. A tasty, refreshing salad that is super healthy. Also great with avocado!

2. Sliced red bell peppers and onions – One of the most time consuming (and sometimes painful) tasks in the kitchen is chopping vegetables. I usually buy mushrooms already sliced, but don’t have the same luxury with bell peppers and onions. I can find these already prepped with other veggies (often part of an Asian stir-fry mix), but usually have to pick out the veggies I’m not a fan of. Carrots, baby corn, and water chestnuts, in case you’re wondering. It’s true, I’m not a carrot loving girl. So that I can enjoy the veggies that I do like, I decided to buy a couple bell peppers and a large yellow onion and slice both. That way all I have to do is grab the amount I need when I’m ready. I always have the option of throwing what I don’t use in the freezer for later use.

3. Diced tofu with minced garlic and lemon pepper – I pressed the tofu (took about an hour) and diced into small pieces (I don’t like huge pieces of tofu). I minced four garlic cloves and put the tofu and garlic in a storage bag, along with freshly ground lemon pepper (a great Trader Joe’s find). I’m storing it in the fridge until I’m ready to use. Just toss into a pan with some olive oil and the peppers and onions.

4. Sunflower seed pesto – This dairy free pesto is made with sunflower seeds (a great substitute for pine nuts), fresh basil, a few garlic cloves, and fresh lemon juice. Great for serving with tofu or over whole wheat pasta with tomatoes and Kalamata olives.

5. Freezer ready strawberries – I scored an awesome deal on a 2 pound container of strawberries last week – $3.99! I’ve been munching on them, but realized their shelf life wasn’t going to last much longer before I would be able to finish all the berries. So, I sliced the berries and stored in the freezer until I’m ready to use them. Great for smoothies, oatmeal, and maybe paired with a piece of dark chocolate?

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6 thoughts on “Easy Vegetarian and Vegan Make Ahead Meals

  1. No matter how motivated you are when you go shopping, or even most of the day until around 4 or 5, when freedom comes, it’s hard to make yourself stand in the kitchen for an hour when all you want to do is RELAX. Whenever I make things ahead, I am always so proud of myself. If I could make myself do it all the time, life would be grand.

    • Me too! I usually try to plan things that are simple and don’t require too much prep work, although the quinoa salad I make is worth the extra time. Usually grocery shopping is a big enough chore as it is!

      • I did try the Blue Apron service for a week (where they deliver the food and ingredients in the perfect amounts), which did take a huge load off, but it’s a bit cost-prohibitive, I think. If someone would deliver my groceries, I would pay 10% extra. For sure.

      • That sounds amazing! I would love to try something like that but it’s definitely not in the budget right now. I tend to buy healthy ingredients, but don’t portion correctly. Need to work on that!

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