Now that you know the idea behind batch cooking and meal prep, keep reading to see how you can put it all together and what exactly you can put together. After this post, you will have the sweet skills to create your weekly meals with less time and more finesse!
If you want to check out part 1 of this series, click here. It explains batch cooking and why you want this in your life!
What To Use & How To Use It
Cooked grains are great sprinkled over salads and cooked veggies, and they are a great addition to a recipe you have prepared to help stretch it out over the week. These are a great way to create sustained energy.
Lentils can be cooked beforehand as well, but because they are quick to cook, there is no need for the slow cooker.
Beans and lentils can be added to any dish for added protein and carbohydrates, plus they are a great texture and keep you feeling full longer.
These are great in any dish to add protein, texture, and nutrients and will help add bulk to your meals so you stay full longer.
Cooked veggies will give you valuable nutrients and carbohydrates to add to your dishes. I like to really load up on veggies when I am preparing a meal.
You can also try parboiling veggies to have them almost finished when you add them to a dish later. This is when you briefly boil veggies in water to soften them. They can then be cooked with another method later in the week. It decreases their cooking time, so you can bake, grill, saute them quicker during the week.
- fill pot with enough water for your veggie of choice,
- place on element and heat,
- chop veggies into equal sized pieces,
- create an ice bath for the veggies – half water and half ice,
- add cut veggies to boiling water,
- test for doneness as food is cooking. They are done when they are almost al dente – they offer some resistance, but can be mashed with a fork,
- when at this stage, strain, and toss into ice bath,
- when totally cooled, strain, let dry, and store in the fridge until you are ready for them.
Cut up carrots, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms… any veggies that will last for the week in the fridge. Some get soggy fast and are better cutting up fresh like tomatoes and cucumber.
You can also prepare greens for the week by washing them and storing them for later use. Storing them in a container with something to soak up excess moisture, like a tea towel, keeps them fresher longer.
These are also a good source of great plant nutrients and a necessary part of the diet every day.
Salad dressing, hummus, bean dip, pate, peanut sauce are just some examples to get you going. These add much needed flavour to meals and snacks.
Making your own dressings, sauces, and dips may seem like a pain, but once you have the basic ingredients, you can really put anything together and make it delicious. A mini blender is great for this purpose!
Soup, stew, sandwich filling like a ‘tuna’ salad, bean dish…the list is never ending. Having a prepared meal in the fridge or freezer means that you don’t have to add anything to it. You can leave it as is, or you can add different ingredients each time you eat it.
- nuts – raw or home roasted almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.
- seeds – sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, etc.
- gomashio – a delicious mixture of sesame seeds and salt used in Japanese cooking
- hearts of palm
- nutritional yeast
- herbs and spices
- coconut bacon
These are just some ideas. Pick and choose different items each week so you always have varied meals and never get bored. Well that’s the idea anyway!
Putting It All Together
I usually have the same formula that I follow-ish:
- Start with a bed of greens – lettuce; steamed, raw, or massaged kale; steamed collards or Swiss chard, etc.
- Add a carb like a whole grain or starchy veg like potato
- Load on the veggies
- Add the protein – beans, tofu, tempeh, crumbled veggie burger
- Throw on some fun toppings – seeds, nuts, nutritional yeast
- Drizzle on the sauce
That is basically the idea. Each day can be a little different, and every day will be delicious.
When you have a recipe or two prepared for the week (main meal or entrée), you can also add items to stretch it out. Here is a similar formula, but for recipes:
- Start with a bed of greens
- Add a carb if there is none in the recipe
- Sprinkle on some veggies – bell pepper, tomato, cucumber
- Add protein if there is none in the recipe
- Throw on fun toppings
- Drizzle on the sauce if the recipe doesn’t have much flavour
Eating fresh, whole foods is the best thing we can do for our bodies and our health, but it isn’t always easy. I shared this information because it has helped me so much. I eat way better when I have great food ready and waiting for me.
If you missed Batch Cooking – part 1, click here to check it out.
Are you feeling like sharing your experience? Then you need to join my Facebook group – Vivacious Vegan Women – and tell me all about it! I would love to have you as a part of our growing tribe of compassionate women. Click the link to be swept away!
Yours in plant love,