You’ve probably seen the meal prep trend online where dozens and dozens of meals are prepped in containers for the entire week? Holy moly. I can say that will probably never be me. I once tried an over-ambitious meal prep and not only did I end up with way too much food, but it took up most of my day.
On the flip side, I’ve realized that my veggie intake falls pretty flat when I don’t do any prep at all.
Soooo….there has to be a happy medium!?
This little dilemma is exactly why I came up with a simple plan that totally fits into my life these days. The recipe below (which is totally customizable!) takes less than 30 mins of active prep time, but makes enough food for several portions, increasing the odds that you’ll be a veggie powerhouse for the workweek. *arm flex* I love how I can quickly reheat a couple things and build a hearty, nutritious bowl in a matter of minutes!
My meal prep method has been going like this:
- Roast two huge sheets of veggies
- Cook a grain
- Chop a couple fresh veggies (sometimes I skip this if I’m tight on time)
- Have toppings on hand, ready-to-roll—things like avocado, nuts/seeds, beans, dressing, etc.
This method has dramatically changed my meals in recent weeks (specifically, lunches) and increased my veggie consumption a ton. All of the ingredients can be changed up so it never has to be repetitive and you can be flexible with using what you have in your fridge/pantry. It helps cut down waste because you can easily use up those “on the verge of dying” veggies in your crisper. Just throw ‘em in the oven and roast the heck out of ‘em! And if you get tired of bowls, throw the prepped food into delicious wraps or even soups/stews.
If you’re feeling extra-ambitious and want to prep even more food, I’d recommend adding one or more of the following tasty items:
- Homemade dressing (try my Lemon-Tahini Dressing, Shake-and-Go Balsamic Vinaigrette from Oh She Glows Every Day, p. 273, or Roasted Garlic and Red Wine Vinaigrette)
- Energy bites/balls (such as my Chocolate Hemp or Triple Almond Energy Balls)
- Chia pudding (lately I’ve been making a double-batch of my 2-Ingredient Chia Pudding found in the new “Blissed Out Breakfast Bowls” recipe in the app! Such a perfect snack.)
I’ve provided a detailed recipe below because it helps to have something to work from the first time, but like I said, feel free to run with it. If you simply commit to roasting 2 big sheets of veggies, cook a grain, and chop some fresh veggies….you’ll be well on your way to making easy throw-together power bowls all week long. My future hangry self has been thanking me a lot.
Meal Prep Week-Long Power Bowls
I love having prepped food in the fridge, but don’t love doing hours of meal prep each week. So I came up with this simple method that takes just 25 minutes of active prep time. The healthy food components can be enjoyed for several days in power bowls, wraps, and even stirred into soups! Power bowls are so fun for family meals because you can switch up the veggies and toppings to suit each palate, giving kids control to build their own bowls. This recipe is also a handy make-ahead option if you’re having friends over for a meal. Simply chop all the veggies the night before and refrigerate them in containers. Just before your guests arrive, pop the veggies into the oven, cook the quinoa, and prep the toppings. After cooking, you can all have fun assembling your own power bowls and everyone will be super impressed by the stunning rainbow-coloured meal!
For the roasted veggies:
- 3 small (680 g) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (4 cups)
- 4 cups (500 g) brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved*
- 1 medium (800 g) cauliflower, chopped into small florets (4 heaping cups)
- 1 medium (230 g) red onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 large (500 g) red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the quinoa:
- 2 cups (400 g) uncooked quinoa**
For the fresh veggies:
- 1 medium (370 g) English cucumber, chopped
- 1 medium (135 g) bunch green onions, chopped
- 2 cups (255 g) grape tomatoes (1 dry pint)
For the power bowl toppings:
- Chopped lettuce/greens (Romaine, Iceberg, kale, etc)
- Salad dressing***
- Ripe avocados
- Cooked beans or lentils
- Nuts and seeds (I use hemp hearts and roasted pepitas)
- Hummus or pesto
- Position two oven racks near the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line two extra-large (15- x 21-inches) rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. It’s important to use extra-large baking sheets so there’s enough room for all those healthy veggies.
- Divide the chopped, “to-be-roasted” veggies onto the baking sheets. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over top each sheet and toss the veggies until they’re fully coated in the oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast the veggies for 30 to 40 minutes (I find 35 minutes is perfect in my oven for lightly charred veggies) until fork tender and golden. There’s no need to rotate/move the pans or flip the veggies halfway through baking unless you’re particular about even cooking.
- While the veggies are roasting, add the quinoa to a large pot along with 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) water. Stir. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to low-medium, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove the lid and fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork.
- While the quinoa cooks, chop the cucumber and green onions. Rinse the tomatoes (I hold off slicing them until just before serving).
- Remove the roasted veggies from the oven. Once mostly cool, transfer all of the veggies and quinoa into containers, seal with airtight lids, and place into the fridge for up to 4 days.
- To make the power bowls: Add a couple generous handfuls of chopped lettuce/greens to the bottom of a large shallow bowl. Drizzle with a bit of dressing and toss the lettuce/greens until coated. Top with spoonfuls of your prepped food (quinoa, roasted and fresh veggies)—I always warm up the quinoa and roasted veggies first! Now, add diced avocado, more salad dressing, cooked beans or lentils, nuts and seeds, and hummus or pesto. Keep the power bowl flavours interesting by changing up the toppings each day!
* If your brussels sprouts are quite large, quarter them instead of halving.
** If you don't think you'll eat this much quinoa in 4 to 5 days, feel free to halve this amount (use 1 cup uncooked quinoa + 1.75 cups water).
*** Looking for a delicious homemade dressing? Try my Lemon-Tahini Dressing, Shake-and-Go Balsamic Vinaigrette (Oh She Glows Every Day, p. 273), or Roasted Garlic and Red Wine Vinaigrette. I always keep Maison Orphee Italian on hand when I don't have homemade dressing prepped.
Feel free to roast a head of garlic along with the veggies. The roasted cloves are especially delicious thrown into my Roasted Garlic and Red Wine Vinaigrette found in my Warm + Roasted Winter Salad Bowl recipe.
Make it nut-free: Top your bowl with seeds (such as roasted pepita seeds and hemp hearts) instead of nuts and make sure your dressing is nut-free.
THANK YOU for telling about your app! I just got it!! :-)
Thank you for this page alone! Newly diagnosed with fairly serious heart disease at the age of 61, even after eating VERY healthy for 25 years, i.e. GF, DF, sugar free, no fried food or fast food. (It’s all hereditary.) So now I’m going vegan with only books and the internet to guide me. I’m hungry all the time and don’t know what to eat! This page is brilliant and gives me a great start. Thanks again.
Betsy, I hope your heart is doing great on a vegan diet. There’s a great book by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn on preventing and reversing heart disease. Another great resource is the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) course; see chiphealth.com. I have friends that have reversed their heart disease by going vegan. Somehow those beans and greens are so much healthier than chicken and fish!
although you keep telling me that I’m already subscribed to Oh She Glows, I’m not getting anything sent to my e-mail. Elaine
Great ideas Angela! I don’t have loads of energy, and your examples are ideal for maximum prep with minimum energy and time expenditure. And it all looks wonderful! Thank you!
This is a great recipe and idea! I work 40 plus hours so to preplan and have lunch or dinner ready to go is such a good idea. I even took some to work and shared with a friend. Thanks
This is super great! Are you able to make this available to save on Pinterest?
Thank you! I have been looking for healthy, healthy, vegan lunch/dinner options and this is it.
I love you.
Today I was doing googling and then subsequently I found your website on google about recipes. Thank you so much for providing that that recipe it helps me a lot.
Hey Angel!! Im excited to try this meal prep this week! My mouth is watering!! One question though … I want to make the roasted garlic red wine dressing but I dont see how much roasted garlic to add to the dressing. Thank you!!
what is the name/brand of the knife that is pictured here? i have never seen a knife with the holes like this one. What brand do you like using? I am also chopping a lot of vegetables and have not found a perfect knife yet.
I am doing this for the first time, my goals are to eat healthier and I’ve discovered losing weight is easy with vegetarian food. My problem was so much food prepping is eating the same thing day after day – I am going to cook the variety and have a week of diverse meals, especially if I add different salads. Salads is what I have been good at, now I am going to the next level. Thank you.
How super. I always love to put a whole onion in half. Then I pick and add oil and seasoning to taste. It is wonderful !!!
I love your recipes, but I love inventing some details.
I also can’t get to your 25 minute preparation time.
So delicious. I found the recipe last week and have made it twice already.
Is it really that good?
Thanks a lot for the article. it is quite inspirational. Here is a great book I found on Clean Eating and Whole Food For Weight Loss And Health. I sincerely hope that it will help others: https://cutt.ly/HhBFiWI
Which beans or lentils you are adding?
So many tasty options here! Can’t wait to make them!
How do we keep it fresh for a week..separated from veggies in fridge, in bowls?
Hi, is this recipe in one of your books?
so i’m late to the OSG game but so i glad i’ve joined! just purchased the OSG inaugural cookbook and am just going through the pantry section. can’t wait to get onto the recipes! i was especially thrilled to realize you’re a local CDN girl! thanks in advance for all the yummy & healthy things to try! : )
Just today I made a “Buddha Bowl” starting with Lettuce (spring greens & baby spinach), topping that with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives, radishes, and topping that with rice, and topping that with beans, and topping that with hemp seeds and a salad dressing made of olive oil, tamari sauce, Italian seasoning, onion powder, and garlic powder, plus a teaspoon of lemon juice. It was delicious and satisfying. Your bowl recipe sounds delicious and I plan to try it. Roasted veggies would make it tasty I’m sure. I found your website through a friend sharing her “Oh She Glows” cookbook with me. Glad I found you.
I don’t know what happened, but when I click on the link to read more of your story, I go no where. Being a UX copywriter, I wondered if you had noticed that.
This turned out amazing! I added a Organic Peanut Satay Sauce and it can out perfect.
Wow. Where have I been not to find you???? Great and super healthy and fast meal prep idea ! I’m hooked !
This is super helpful! I’m trying to learn a new power bowl recipe each week this year.
Roasted veggies are just delicious and an all-time favorite of mine when it comes to meal prepping. I always like to prep my meals for the next two to three days in advance, because I usually have zero time to cook during the week. I love veggie bowls so much, I usually get inspired by my nutrition app – my favorite is a Mexican or a broccoli-chickpea bowl (https://www.yazio.com/en/foods/dishes-meals). How do you get inspired for new recipes or new meal preps to try out? Next time, I have to try your Lemon-Tahini Dressing, sounds very yummy.
this sounds great but… I’m not understanding what type of beans we are talking about?
Can you share some storage ideas? My fridge gets totally overrun with containers and I lose track of what I have and things go bad. Just looking for some easy storage solutions and inspiration. My fridge is starting to freak out.