How to Create a Vegan Meal Plan (Plus, Plant-Based Recipe Inspiration)

Let’s be honest, when your stomach is rumbling after a long day, it’s easy to go to your phone and browse Deliveroo, Postmates or UberEats. That way, you don’t have to light the stove, do any prep, or even leave the couch. Convenience is one reason that the food delivery app industry is booming. (By 2029, it’s predicted to hit more than $320 billion in value.)

But another way to make mealtime easier—and prevent the daily struggle of figuring out what to eat and how to make it—is to plan your own meals ahead of time. Doing this, and reducing takeout, is also good for our health and helps us get more variety in our diet. And it has some environmental benefits too. Here’s more on why, and how, to create a vegan meal plan. Plus, we’ve included the all-important recipe inspiration.

Why create a vegetarian meal plan?

Without a meal plan, it’s easy to fall into the habit of eating the same thing all the time. Of course, there is nothing wrong with eating favorite foods. But when we feel we lack inspiration in the kitchen, it can lead us to choose convenience foods or takeout, which aren’t always the best for our health.

In 2017, a study was published International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Participants who ate home-cooked meals more than five times a week consumed more fruits and vegetables than those who cooked at home three times a week. And another 2014 study by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future concluded that people who cook at home often eat healthier meals and consume fewer calories than those who don’t.

Of course, cooking nutritious meals isn’t always accessible to everyone, especially those who may have unpredictable shifts or work late nights, or those who live in food deserts. The latter refers to areas where fresh, healthy, affordable food is limited. In the United States, it is estimated that more than 23 million people live in food deserts. You can read more about creating healthy, plant-based options in underserved communities here.

VegNews.Cooking.Unsplash.JasonBriscoeJason Briscoe/Unsplash

Benefits of a vegetarian meal plan

For those with the means and access, meal planning can provide many benefits. And they’re not just about nutrition. For one, planning what you’re going to eat in advance and adding up how much each essential item will cost before shopping can help you stick to a budget, especially when money is tight. For example, ingredients like canned beans are often inexpensive, but they are versatile, meaning you can use them in a variety of recipes.

But another key benefit of meal planning is its impact on the environment. If you stick to your plan, you won’t throw away as many ingredients, which means you’ll reduce the amount of food you waste.

Research suggests that each year, the average person in the United States throws away more than 200 pounds of food. Not only is it a waste of time, energy and resources, but when it sits in landfills, food waste emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Shopping for a vegetarian meal plan

The best way to shop for your vegetarian meal plan is to look at what you will eat first and then go to the grocery store. With so many options on offer, trying to shop and create a meal plan at the same time can be a bit overwhelming. That way, you can also determine how much you want to spend on each meal and research the right products in advance to help you stick to your personal budget. Prices for items such as vegan meat can vary significantly (For example, plant-based sausage can range from about $4 to about $8 per pack.)


Sample vegetarian meal plan

Sometimes the biggest problem with creating a meal plan is lack of motivation. It can be difficult to think of different things to make that are both tasty and nutritious. But don’t worry! Because this is where we come from. Here, we’ve put together a sample meal plan for a day, and after that, we’ve compiled a variety of vegan recipes that you can try.

For ongoing inspiration, you can sign up for our Ultimate Vegan Meal Planner, which gives you your own customized plan based on a lifestyle quiz. Next, you’ll also get access to automated shopping lists

Oatmeal wclgPatty Brittman

Breakfast: Cinnamon Nut Oatmeal

Starting a winter morning with a hearty, steaming bowl of oatmeal is a no-brainer, especially if it’s topped with cinnamon, fruit, and nuts. It’s full of goodness, it’ll warm your insides, and it’s quick to make.
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VegNews.Thai Carrots Soup With Tamari Roasted Almonds.2Oh that gloss

Lunch: Vegan Thai Carrot Soup

Soups are a great lunch option because they help you feel full and satisfied throughout the afternoon without needing to prepare a large meal. Plus, since they’re often loaded with veggies (say, carrots, onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes), they’re also good for boosting your immune system.
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Dinner: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

There’s no rule that says pie always has to be sweet, and it doesn’t always have to involve pastry. This British classic features a comforting, creamy mash potato top alongside a mix of veggie burger crumbles, peas, gravy and herbs. Again, this is perfect for the winter months.
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VegNews.StrawberryOatBitesSarah Bond

Snack: Strawberry Chia Oat Bites

There’s no harm in factoring snacks into your meal plan. And, if you have the time and energy earlier in the week, whip up a batch of delicious oat bites to tide you over until Friday.
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More recipes for your vegetarian meal plan

Screen Shot 2023-01-22 11.02.34 PMVegNews

1 Spicy Southwestern Breakfast Scramble

When breakfast or brunch rolls around, scramble (in this case made with tofu, or just eggs) is always a quick, nutritious, satisfying option. To bring the vegetarian classic to life, this recipe calls for red peppers, jalapenos, and black beans, as well as bell peppers and red onions.
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Screen shot 2023-01-22 at 11.03.00 PMVegNews

2 Breakfast Parfait

Yogurt is an easy breakfast food, but it’s not always the most exciting food. However, it’s easy to upgrade yogurt by adding ingredients like seeds, granola, and fresh fruit, just as this recipe shows.
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VegNews.HashSam Turnbull

3 Breakfast hash

It is called breakfast Hash, but you can enjoy this delicious recipe, which features russet potatoes, onions, beans, and spicy salsa, any time of day, whether it’s brunch, lunch, or even dinner. It’s quick, easy and super-satisfying.
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VegNews.ChickpeaSandwichAndrea Bloomfield

4 Chickpea Tuna Salad Sandwich

If you need to eat lunch throughout the week, sandwiches are always a quick and easy option to prepare. All this recipe really needs, for example, is canned chickpeas and mayonnaise. Rest of the ingredients depend on your preference.
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VegNews.SesameBrocoliNoodlesAshley McLaughlin

5 Ginger Broccoli Noodles

This versatile, nutritious recipe can make for a quick and easy lunch or dinner, depending on the time of day. For added protein, add tofu, tempeh, or your favorite vegan meat product.
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VegNews.  MinestroneRicha Hingle

6 Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

Nothing says comfort food like minestrone soup. Add to your favorite beans, veggies, pasta, and your go-to vegan cheese brand for a super hearty lunch or dinner. Can’t go wrong with a side of crusty bread!
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VegNews.AppleChickpeaKale SaladCaryn Jean Carruthers

7 Apple-chickpea salad

Can’t decide on a hot or cold lunch? Do both! This delicious salad combines warm chickpeas, zucchini and onion with cold kale, apple and red onion. Serve with a tangy dill dressing for an extra boost of flavor.
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Vegan linguineBrianna Claxton

8 Linguine with Vegan White Clam Sauce

Being vegetarian doesn’t mean missing out on your favorite creamy, fishy dishes. This delicious linguine recipe uses jackfruit as a sub for clams, but hearts of palm will work just as well.
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VegNews.AdoboReina Montenegro

9 Adobo with tangy soy curls and potatoes

Traditionally, Filipinx adobo usually involves meat or seafood, but neither is necessary. Instead, this recipe calls for soy curls and potatoes, which are cooked in broth, soy sauce, pepper, and brown sugar. The result is a hearty, warming stew ideal for the colder months of the year (or hot! No rules).
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VegNews.Sliderstook the test

10 BBQ Pulled Mushroom Sliders

This recipe is all about maximizing flavor for minimal effort as it involves a few basic ingredients and an Instant Pot, which does most of the flavor building work.
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For more recipe inspiration, read:

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