Back in December when I took a poll on Instagram asking what y’all wanted to see on the blog the overwhelming answer was a simple, adaptable meal prep guide. Apparently about 60% of the people who read this blog meal prep and I had no idea! So I was very excited to put together this Adaptable Winter Meal Prep Guide for you all. Hopefully it’s an exciting new way to look at meal prepping for all of you who already do this a lot, as well as being a good basic guide for those just starting out.
What makes this meal prep guide adaptable?
The base of this guide is both vegan and gluten free. However, I’ve also given options for those who are vegetarian and pescatarian/carnivorous. Therefore you can adapt this guide to fit nearly any diet. (Don’t worry – if you like this guide I’ll work on paleo/keto versions too.)
The second thing that makes this adaptable is that instead of making specific dishes all week, like making a chili that lasts you 5 days, you are instead prepping basic ingredients that can then be used in 3 different meal set ups. This gives you the ability to have more variety within the week.
For instance, I’ve given you an overnight oats recipe for breakfast, a snack option, and then three different “main course” meals. These can be used for lunch or dinner, and prepped ahead of time or right before you eat them – you choose!
How many people does this guide feed?
This is a guide for 1 for a week. However, it’s a very simple guide to multiply if need be.
What is the prep schedule like?
There are two ways to structure this guide…
- You make all of “The Basics” (see below) as well as overnight oats on Sunday, and then throw together your “main courses” just before eating or every morning before heading to work. This can allow for your food to be served hot, if cooking at home, and may allow for more flexibility in your meal planning. (No meal will take more than 5-10 minutes with this method.)
- You make all of “The Basics” on Sunday, and then turn those basics into your main course meals on the same day. With this method you can simply reheat in the microwave before serving or eat cold. This is a better grab-and-go plan, and more like a traditional meal prep schedule if you prefer that.
How much will my groceries cost?
I have stocked this guide full of ingredients that are seasonal, simple, and cost effective. Because I believe that meal prepping should be all of those things. So let’s break down what this guide will cost you.
- 1 can chickpeas – $0.79
- 1 cup dry wild rice – $1.62
- 1 head cauliflower – $3.99
- 4 small (or 2 large) sweet potatoes – $2.00
- 5 apples – $3.78
- 5 oz baby spinach – $3.49
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats – $2.99
- 1 can black beans – $0.79
- 3 cans coconut milk – $5.97
- 1 cup walnuts – $5.75
- 1 jar nut butter – $6.99
- 1 bunch cilantro – $0.99
- corn tortillas – $2.39
- 3 limes – $1.50
- salsa – $2.69
- harissa sauce – $5.99
- *1/2 dozen eggs – $2.89
- *1 lb raw white shrimp – $9.99
TOTAL: $51.72 (w/0 optional items) / $64.60 (w/optional items)
$3.45/$4.29 per meal
What are The Basics?
The Basics is your Sunday meal prep to-do list. It includes roasting the chickpeas, cauliflower, carrots, and sweet potato, as well as cooking your wild rice. If you want to add in the optional animal protein, this is where you will prep that as well.
Everything is seasoned to taste with olive oil, salt and pepper. This makes everything a simple base with which you can adapt the flavors to our Moroccan, curry, and Mexican “main courses. It also means that if you under season or under salt, you may need to add some salt to your “main course” dishes.
Adaptable Winter Meal Prep Guide Basics
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (sub 2 large sweet potatoes)
- 6 large carrots, cut into 1/2" thick rounds
- 15 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup dry wild rice
- 2 cups water (sub vegetable broth for added flavor)
- olive oil, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 large eggs
- 1 lb raw white shrimp, peeled
Preheat oven to 375.
Wild Rice Prep
Add wild rice and water (or vegetable broth) to a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. (If using water, season with salt.) Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 40 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool completely before transferring to a storage container to be refrigerated.
Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Lay flat on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, toss, then bake for a final 5 minutes. Let cool completely before transferring to a storage container to be refrigerated.
Sweet Potato Prep
Peel potatoes, and cut into 1/2" cubes. Lay flat on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, toss, then bake for a final 10 minutes. Let cool completely before transferring to a storage container to be refrigerated.
Wash and cut carrots into 1/2" thick rounds. Lay flat on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, toss, then bake for a final 5 minutes. Let cool completely before transferring to a storage container to be refrigerated.
Drain and rinse chickpeas. Gently dry off with a towel. Lay flat on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Drizzle with 1/2-1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, toss, then bake for a final 5 minutes. Let cool completely before transferring to a storage container to be refrigerated.
7 Minute Egg Prep
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling add eggs. Set a timer for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, remove eggs from heat and transfer immediately to an ice bath. Let cool completely before transferring to a storage container to be refrigerated.
Peel, wash and pat dry shrimp. Heat a pan or skillet over medium low heat. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan. Once hot, add shrimp, season with salt and pepper. Toss constantly for about 4-5 minutes, making sure each shrimp is pink and fully cooked before taking off heat. Let cool completely before transferring to a storage container to be refrigerated.
This breakfast situation can be made in one large container on Sunday, and then scooped into a bowl or smaller mason jar each morning and then topped with your toppings. Or you can make each in individual containers with the toppings already in each jar or bowl. This is totally up to you!
You can also feel free to play with flavors and fruits here. If you don’t wanna use apple – choose a different fruit. If you want to sweeten your oats, add some maple syrup. If you want to throw in some fun spices like pumpkin spice or something, do that.
This is just a basic recipe to get you going, but you can have fun with this. I do think the coconut milk adds an amazing creaminess and sweetness to the overnight oats and helps to make them slightly more unique than a regular ‘ole overnight oats. You can use a regular milk or another kind of non dairy milk, but the coconut version comes highly recommended.
Coconut Apple Overnight Oats
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 2 1/2 cups canned coconut milk (1 3/4 cans)
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 10 tbsp nut butter
- 2 1/2 apples, chopped into small cubes
- 10 tbsp walnuts
In a large container, combine rolled oats, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Stir until well combined. Let refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
Once refrigerated, evenly divide between 5 containers, and top each container with 2 tbsp nut butter, 1/2 apple cubed, and 2 tbsp walnuts.
I call this Moroccan bowl “Lunch” although you can feel free to eat it for dinner at any point! I’ve just categorized it as such, because it is a really great cold meal, which makes it perfect for on-the-go lunches or office lunches. However, you can feel free to pop it in the microwave or heat it up (minus the spinach) on the stovetop quickly before eating.
If you want animal protein on this meal, I recommend serving this lunch with one of your 7 minute eggs. If not, leave it vegan!
Moroccan Veggie Bowl
- 1 large handful baby spinach
- 1/2 cup cooked wild rice
- 1/3 cup roasted cauliflower florets
- 1/4 cup roasted carrots
- 1 tbsp roasted chickpeas
- 1 tbsp harissa sauce (sub 1 tbsp sriracha, mixed with 1 tsp maple syrup)
- 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
- 1/2 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 7 minute egg (optional)
In a small bowl, toss your cauliflower florets, carrots and chickpeas with harissa sauce.
Add to a container with spinach, wild rice, chopped walnuts and cilantro. Add 7 minute egg if desired.
This is a very basic snack for you to have on hand in case hunger strikes around 3 or 4pm. (For me it always does.) If you want to use a different kind of fruit than an apple, or a different kind of nut than walnuts – feel free. This just makes your grocery list both simple and cost effective.
For your snack you’ll need…
- 1/2 apple, sliced (I use the second half of the apple that I didn’t use on my overnight oats)
- 1-2 tbsp nut butter
- 1-2 tbsp walnuts
- 7 minute egg (optional)
These Mexican Fiesta Tacos are a fun way to break up the flavor profile of your week! I suggest heating up all of the ingredients in a skillet just before serving, but they also work to pop them in the microwave just before eating. So while this is categorized as a “dinner” it could easily be an office lunch!
Mexican Fiesta Tacos
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup cooked wild rice
- 1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup roasted sweet potato
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 3 corn tortillas
- 1 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
- 9 cooked shrimp (optional)
Heat a small pan or skillet over medium heat. Add corn tortillas to the pan and heat on each side just until warm. Set aside on a plate.
Add olive oil to the pan. Once hot add rice, black beans, sweet potato and shrimp (optional). Season with cumin, paprika, garlic powder and lime juice.
Toss constantly just until heated, about 2-3 minutes.
Scoop the filling evenly into corn tortillas and top with cilantro and salsa.
The final “main course” meal is a soup, which is a fun surprise and usually a welcomed change in texture. This soup is made by blending together your roasted carrots, sweet potato, and cauliflower with coconut milk, curry powder, and lime. It’s so easy and you won’t even believe how much flavor it has! From there you can top it with your roasted chickpeas, or cooked shrimp (or both.)
Obviously this soup is best served hot, and you can do that either in the microwave or on the stovetop after blending. So even if you want to bring this for lunch, you still can – just pop it in the microwave and it’s ready for ya.
Creamy Coconut Curry Soup
- 1/2 cup roasted sweet potato
- 1/3 cup roasted cauliflower
- 1/4 cup roasted carrots
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1-2 tbsp roasted chickpeas
- 3-5 cooked shrimp (optional)
- 1/2 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
Add sweet potato, cauliflower, carrots, coconut milk, curry powder and lime juice to a blender and blend on high until smooth. (You could also use an immersion blender for this.)
Transfer soup to a small pot and heat over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until warm, stirring often.
If desired, heat chickpeas and/or shrimp on a small pan for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until warm.
Serve soup warm with chickpeas and/or shrimp on top. Garnish with cilantro.
So that’s it’ you’ve got your meal plan for the next week and I’m so excited to hear how it goes for you. Hopefully this helps make meal planning feel both more doable and exciting. You don’t have to eat the same freaking meal all week long.
Let me know if you like this post and I’ll do a series of them (once a month? once a quarter?) IDK you tell me! xo.