Planning a meatless menu for the week has its pluses and minuses. On one hand, you don’t need to worry about using up chicken breast or ground beef before it gets wonky on you. On the other, it can be dangerously easy to buy way more produce than you can finish in five days, skimp on protein, or find yourself in a recipe rut when you’re trying to stick to affordable, veggie-based meals.

Not anymore, friends. With this meat-free meal-prep plan that calls for just eight ingredients and some weekend prep, we'll show you how to get inexpensive and well-balanced meals from Sunday through Thursday without getting bored with what's on your plate.

STEP 1:

Head to the grocery store.

Take, oh, about 45 seconds to write down your list—or simply screenshot this list to bring with you to the supermarket (because we know you never forget your phone).

Storage Containers:

  • 4 airtight containers (1 for cooked brown rice, 1 for cooked spaghetti squash, 1 for roasted broccoli, 1 for chickpeas)
  • Plastic wrap for the avocado (or an avocado saver)

STEP 2:

Prep everything in 30 minutes.

Devoting a bit of extra time on Sunday will make for effortless eats all week.

1. Cook brown rice.
If you’ve got a rice cooker, simply follow the instructions. For the stovetop method, combine rinsed rice with about 3/4 cup water and a pinch of sea salt in a pot, then bring to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat, place a lid on the pot, and let it hang out for about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, cool, and then store the rice in an airtight container.
2. Cook the spaghetti squash.
Check out our foolproof, step-by-step guide to get it justttt right. Store in an airtight container once cooled.
3. Roast the broccoli.
If your oven is big enough, you can save some time and roast your broccoli alongside the squash. Break off florets from the head; place on a baking sheet; and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Roast in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until you see the tops getting slightly brown. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. Fast alternative: Broil the broccoli on high for 10 minutes for extra crispy florets.
4. Rinse chickpeas.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas from the can and store them in an airtight container.
5. Spinach, avocado, and feta can stay as is until you need them. Bagged spinach is usually pre-rinsed, so you’re all set there. Cut into the avocado and open the box of crumbled feta only right before you use them. Rub a dab of olive oil on the avocado flesh you're not using and wrap in plastic to prevent it from going brown on ya.
6. Store tahini.
Tahini can last up to six months, so even though you only need three tablespoons this week, you can look forward to using this flavorful sesame seed butter for as long as it will last (which we don't predict will be very long since you'll want to just stick a spoon in it). Check the instructions on the bottle to see if it needs to be refrigerated.

STEP 3:

Celebrate the fact that 5 vegetarian dinners are ready for the week.

Enjoy the delicious rewards of your Sunday labor with easy dinners through Thursday night (and then get a well-deserved night out on Friday).

Satisfying Sunday

  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup roasted broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon tahini

How to eat: Nuke the rice to get it warm (drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of water to keep it from going dry in the microwave), then stir in the chopped spinach and feta. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve with broccoli on the side, drizzled with tahini for extra flavor.

Meatless Monday

  • 1/2 spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas

How to eat: Reheat the spaghetti squash on the stove or in the microwave with a drizzle of olive oil. Toss avocado and chickpeas with salt and pepper, and add to the bed of spaghetti squash.

Tahini Grain-Bowl Tuesday

  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup roasted broccoli
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons tahini

How to eat: Combine brown rice, broccoli, and chickpeas in a bowl; season with salt and pepper; and drizzle with (a ton of) tahini.

White Wine Wednesday

  • 1/2 spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 cup feta
  • 1 cup spinach

How to eat: This recipe needs about a minute on the stove as you heat up your spaghetti squash in some olive oil; throw in the spinach for the last 30 seconds to get it wilted. Take it off the stove and stir in the feta. Season with pepper to taste. And then pour yourself a glass of white wine, since you're halfway done the work week.

Throw-It-All-In Thursday

  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup roasted broccoli
  • 1/4 cup feta

How to eat: Top a bed of spinach with the rest of the ingredients, then drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. It’s filling enough to hold you over during happy hour, but light enough so that you can still partake in midnight munchies (if that's your thing).

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