While I don’t do a lot of vegan food prep, the time I do invest on the weekends makes a world of difference during the week.

So, what’s the point of food prep? Why not just wing it and make food as you go?

Well, you definitely can do it that way, especially if  you’re an experienced plant-based eater and don’t mind cooking on a nightly basis. I don’t do food prep every week but I much prefer it when I do. Life is just so much easier when meals are ready to go! If I’m not doing food prep, at very least I have a meal plan and shop for all the ingredients I need.

Bowl of cabbage, rice, tofu, carrot, edamame. Topped with creamy peanut sauce.
Try prepping the rice, tofu and dressing in advance to make these tofu edamame bowls.

If you’re ready to get on board with vegan food prep, the following are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy.

Benefits of Vegan Food Prep

  1. Save time: investing some time on the weekend, saves a ton of time during the week. Prep once, clean up once, less dishes, less time in the kitchen, dinners can be ready in minutes during the week.
  2. Save money: by only purchasing what you need, you’ll save money and reduce food waste.
  3. Minimize clean up: cook once, clean up once. Aside from a few dinner dishes, prepping ingredients ahead of time makes weeknight clean up a breeze.
  4. Reduce stress: sometimes things come up and after a long day, the last thing you want to do is cook something heathy to eat. By preparing ingredients or meals ahead of time it takes out of the stress of “what to make for dinner which can often lead to making poor choices.
  5. Create healthy eating habits: healthy eating is all about being prepared, if you have good food ready to go ahead home you’ll be more likely to consistently make good food choices.
  6. Enjoy a balanced vegan diet: By preparing food at home, it’s easy to eat a healthy, balanced, whole food vegan diet. When we rely on processed convenience foods in our diet, not only do we miss out on important micronutrients but we it also makes it difficult to eat a healthy balance of macronutrients.
  7. If you don’t mind cooking on a nightly basis, vegan cooking is still fairly quick and easy even without food prep. Regardless of what I’m cooking, my meals usually take 30 minutes or less from start to finish. However, when I do have ingredients prepped and ready to go, dinner is typically ready in less than 10 minutes with minimal clean up afterwards.

Vegan Food Prep Methods

There are two different methods I use to do vegan food prep. Typically, I use the “ingredient prep” method during warmer months when I eat a lot of salads and I use the “meal prep” method during the colder months when I eat more soups, stews, curries and other hot dishes. If I have a particularly busy week ahead, I sometimes use the meal prep method during warm weather seasons as well.

1. The “Ingredient Prep” Method

Prepare various ingredients in advance to create vegan meals all week. This creates a buffet of ingredients you can mix and match from.

2. The “Meal Prep” Method

Prepare larger batches of complete entrees to enjoy all week.

Today we’re going to talk about the ingredient prep method.

Vegan food prep ideas

Here’s a list of my basic vegan food prep staples. Once I have all these ingredients on hand in the fridge, I’m ready to for quick meals all week. I don’t prep every single one of these items every week and ingredients vary from week to week but you should be able to get the idea. Basically, wash and chop a variety of vegetables, bake some starchy vegetables, prep some protein sources like lentils and tofu and if desired, cook some grains.

  1. Grate a large container each of carrots and beets.
  2. Bake a spaghetti squash. Learn how.
  3. Roast some sweet potato, yam or butternut squash.
  4. Prep containers with dry ingredients for overnight oats.
  5. Chop up celery and carrot sticks.
  6. Dice a container of bell peppers.
  7. Rice 1-2 heads of cauliflower. Learn how.
  8. Make a batch of zucchini noodles.
  9. Cook a batch of chickpeas. (If you don’t cook your own, have canned on hand.)
  10. Cook a batch of lentils.
  11. Bake a package of extra-firm tofu.
  12. Cook a batch of shelled edamame.
  13. Cook a batch of a grains such as quinoa or rice.
  14. Prepare a batch of tahini dressing.

Once you’ve got some of the ingredients above prepared, you can easily prepare some of these meal prep favourites:

Tofu, tomatoes, green beans and tomatoes in a glass storage container.
This balsamic tofu makes a great side dish or light meal.

All Set for Healthy Meals

So, you’ve got a fridge full of healthy ingredients ready to go. Now what? Well, I simply use these ingredients to throw together quick and healthy salad bowls! If you have a well stocked vegan pantry, you’ll be ready to create sauces and dressings to complete your meals.

For tips on creating healthy vegan meals, read these posts:

Bowl of chickpeas, mango, rice, bell pepper, cucumber and sauce.
Try this peanut chickpea bowl for an easy meal prep option.

Tips for Prepping Vegan Snacks

  1. Buy fresh fruit for snacks on-the-go. My favourites are apples, banana, pears, berries and grapes.
  2. Make 1 or 2 healthy energy or protein bar recipes. Try No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Bites, Chia Seed Granola Bars or Nut-Free Granola Bars.
  3. Stock up on nuts. My favourite nuts for snacking are almonds and cashews but anything goes!
  4. Keep packaged snacks as back up. I like Simply Protein Bars.
  5. Have some whole food vegan protein powder on hand. Vega Performance Protein is a lifesaver!

More ideas for snacks:

Stack of 4 energy bars on a small plate.

I hope this post inspired you incorporate vegan food prep into your weekly routine. I find I create my delicious and creative meals when I’m throwing together the above ingredients in various combinations and then topping with a yummy dressing or sauce. Which in all honestly, is usually tahini and hot sauce. It’s my absolute favourite. Pretty much anything tastes good with tahini, buffalo hot sauce, sea salt, lemon and black pepper.

Now, when I do actual meal prep it’s a slightly different story. When I’m prepping recipes ahead of time I stick to hardier dishes like soup, stew, curry, grain-based or starchy vegetable-based salads and other dishes that keep well in the fridge. We’ll talk about that another day though! I hope this helps, guys!

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