Your Mix-and-Match Meatless Monday Meal-Prep Plan

Lentine Alexis
by Lentine Alexis
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More of us are shifting to plant-based eating, and designating Monday as meatless is a great way to get your brain, body and kitchen into a plant-based mode. And, since we’re committed to meatless Mondays, it’s important to do some meal prep. The recipes below feature ingredients and components that can be made in advance — perhaps over the weekend — so you can compose your bowls and salads quickly.

The other good thing about these recipes is you can mix and match. Swap different proteins, grains or dressings for new takes on all of the salads and bowls to breeze through your Meatless Monday for months to come.

BREAKFAST

While not vegan, eggs are OK for most vegetarians, and these jammy-centered, soft-boiled eggs are a breeze. To prep ahead, multiply the quantity to suit your needs. Cook the eggs and chill them as directed, then transfer to an airtight container in the fridge without peeling (this keeps them freshest). Peel the eggs as directed just before eating and enjoy!

Breakfast Salad With Jammy Eggs Toasted Seeds

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large head red leaf romaine lettuce, washed and leaves trimmed
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup (40g) raw hazelnuts, chopped roughly
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Fresh pepper, to taste
  • Toast for serving, optional

Directions

In a small saucepan, bring 1.5 quarts of water to a boil over medium-high heat. While the water is coming to boil, prepare your salad ingredients.

In a medium-sized bowl, toss together the romaine and apple slices. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a crack of pepper. Set aside.

In a small skillet, combine the hazelnuts, sesame seeds and hemp seeds and warm the skillet to toast the nuts and seeds. The small seeds will burn easily, so don’t leave the skillet unattended. Shake the pan until the seeds become fragrant, and turn golden, about 2–3 minutes. When the seeds are golden, transfer the seeds immediately to the bowl with the romaine to stop them from cooking; they’ll crack and pop when they hit the cold greens.

When the water is boiling, use a slotted spoon to carefully lower eggs into water one at a time. Cook 6 1/2 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain a gentle boil. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and chill until just slightly warm, about 2 minutes.

Gently crack eggs all over and peel under a stream of cold water at the faucet, starting from the wider end, which contains the air pocket. Doing this under the faucet helps to release the shell, as water sneaks between the shell and the egg. Slice the egg.

Drizzle the olive oil dressing over the greens and toss all ingredients to combine. Divide the salad between two plates, top with 1/2 avocado each, and 1–2 sliced eggs per plate.

You can always make more eggs ahead of time. Leftover eggs can be stored, unpeeled, in the refrigerator for 2–3 days in an airtight container.

Serves: 2 | Serving size: 2 cups

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 220; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 123mg; Sodium: 52mg; Carbohydrate: 14g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 7g

LUNCH

With a made-ahead batch of grains, you have a base for just about anything you want to put on top of it, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. To prep ahead: Store cooked and cooled steamed quinoa in an airtight container for up to one week.

Do the same for the tofu and store pistou in an airtight container covered with a piece of plastic wrap touching the surface to prevent oxidation, and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Golden Tofu Grain Bowl With Herby Almond Pistou

Ingredients
For the tofu

  • 1 12-ounce (340g) block firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2-inch (3.81cm) piece ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the pistou

  • 1/2 cup (75g) almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6 cups (150g) mixed fresh herbs (about 3 bunches) basil, parsley, cilantro, mint
  • 3/4 cup (177ml) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the grain bowl

  • 1 cup (185g) cooked quinoa
  • 2 carrots, thinly shaved
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup (10g) radish sprouts
  • 2 cups (450g) baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon each poppy seeds, sesame seeds and hemp seeds

Directions

Drain tofu, then sandwich between several layers of kitchen towels to remove excess liquid; allow to sit for 10–20 minutes. Cut into 32 small cubes.

Whisk soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, crushed red pepper and ginger in a small bowl. Add the tofu and toss to coat. Then, sprinkle with cornstarch and toss to coat evenly.

Drain any liquid not absorbed by the tofu, then transfer the tofu to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 375°F (190ºC) oven for 20–30 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through, until golden brown, crispy and fragrant.

While the tofu is baking, make the pistou.

Lower the oven temp to 350°F (180ºC). Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once halfway through, until golden and fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and let cool. Add garlic and pulse until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add herbs and replace the top. With the motor running, add oil in a slow and steady stream until pistou is mostly smooth, with just a few flecks of green, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt.

To assemble the bowl, divide the grains, spinach, carrots, cucumbers and sprouts between two bowls. Divide the tofu between bowls, and top with a dollop of pesto. Sprinkle with mixed seeds and enjoy.

Do ahead: Pistou can be made a day ahead. Top with 1/2-inch oil to prevent browning. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface, and chill. The tofu can be made three days ahead. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Serves: 2 | Serving Size: 2 1/2 cups

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 463; Total Fat: 25g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 4mg; Sodium: 791mg; Carbohydrate: 45g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 17g

DINNER

By having pots of brown rice and lentils made ahead, you can pull together a hearty — but light and delicious — meal. Using an Instant Pot to prep the lentils makes it even easier. Lentils soaked in water with a pinch of salt overnight can be cooked in an Instant Pot on the pressure cook setting at high-power for 12–14 minutes. Simply store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Creamy tahini dressing is also perfect to pre-prep. Simply whisk the ingredients in a glass jar and store in the fridge. The brilliance of this recipe is it can be thinned easily with a bit of cold water to change the texture — add more water for a pourable dressing to use on salads and bowls, reduce the amount of water for a thicker consistency that’s great with crispy veggies, crackers or as a sandwich spread.

Summer Lentil Salad With Brown Rice + Creamy Tahini Dressing

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (900g) baby spinach or arugula
  • 1 cup (150g) sugar snap peas, sliced thinly
  • 1 peach, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 small purple radish, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup (30g) raw pumpkin seeds, toasted until golden
  • 1 cup (200g) black lentils, soaked overnight in water with 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup (250g) cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup (75g) tahini
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

Directions

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the soaked lentils and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are tender and most of the water has been absorbed. Check the lentils often, adding water if necessary — roughly 15–20 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, assemble your other ingredients.

In a large, broad bowl combine the arugula, peach, sugar snap peas, red onion, avocado and radish. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice and zest, mustard and maple syrup. A stout mixture forms. Slowly, and by the tablespoon, add cold water until the mixture loosens to form a pourable dressing.

In a small skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds gently over medium-high heat until they’re popping and just golden. Remove the seeds from the skillet and transfer to the salad immediately to stop cooking. The seeds continue to pop when they hit the cold vegetables.

When the lentils are done cooking, add them along with the cooked brown rice, to the bowl with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with the tahini dressing, toss to coat. Divide the salad between bowls and enjoy.

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 2 cups

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 334; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 47mg; Carbohydrate: 40g; Dietary Fiber: 14g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 15g

Discover hundreds of healthy recipes — from high protein to low carb — via “Recipe Discovery” in the MyFitnessPal app.

About the Author

Lentine Alexis
Lentine Alexis
Lentine is a curious, classically trained chef and former pro athlete. She uses her bicycle, raw life and travel experiences and organic ingredients to inspire athletes and everyone to explore, connect and expand their human experiences through food. She previously worked as a Chef/Recipe Developer/Content Creator and Culinary Director at Skratch Labs – a sports nutrition company dedicated to making real food alternatives to modern “energy foods.” Today, she writes, cooks, speaks and shares ideas for nourishing sport and life with whole, simple, delicious foods.

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