Do you know the real reason we resort to takeout and unhealthy foods during the week? It doesn’t have much to do with post-work fatigue. It’s simply the lack of an easy meal plan. Today, I’ll share with you an easy spicy one week vegan meal plan and my best vegan weight loss recipes.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all had magic wands we could wave after a long day, and a healthy dinner would instantly appear on the table? Instead, the closest thing we have to magic is Seamless… but that’s never the healthiest (or most cost-effective) choice.
When we don’t have a meal plan, we’re left to figure out meals at the last minute. But after dealing with the million other things we have to deal with daily, our brains can’t be trusted to make healthy choices.
Enter: meal planning.
The reason why dieticians and nutritionists swear by meal plans is because they take thinking out of the equation.
Without a meal plan, we are more likely to reach for unhealthy foods. The desire to eat whatever is in reach increases as the weekly tornado of meetings, appointments, errands and last-minute dinner plans gets more uncontrollable.
But what if instead of random snacks and leftover takeout, the food in reach was healthy and packed with skinny spices to keep your weight loss efforts on track? That’s how meal planning and prep helps keep your eating habits in check during the week when you’re too busy to think about your waistline.
Studies show that lifestyle changes like meal prepping make a big difference for weight loss. In one study, study participants were asked to prepare meals at home. They were divided into two groups and each group had their own diet to stick to. At the end of the study, both groups had lost an equal amount of weight. What was important for their results was the fact that they had access to healthy, home-made food.
Plus, if you prepare your meals beforehand, it’s easier to be mindful about your food. According to research, we make healthier food choices when our mindset is intent on the health benefits of food (as opposed to choosing your food with pleasure in mind).
Below is a weeknight dinner meal plan with an optional quick but satisfying breakfast that will help you feel organized on the days you’re too busy to even think about food.
Make 3 meals and 3 servings of each in your first week only: Here’s why
I recommend making three different dishes only and three servings of each meal at a time, also known as batch cooking. Unlike whipping up a quick dinner for one or two at the end of the day, cooking meals in bulk (making more servings than immediately needed) allows you to not cook the next day or have something to easily take to lunch, saving you lots of precious time before and after work!
Three is the magic number because that way, you’re likely to have leftovers you can realistically finish. We all know what happens when we make too much food — it sits in the back of the fridge until you finally take it out and dump it in the trash. Batch cooking three meals helps you save time and avoid food waste.
If you can’t stand eating leftovers, add other recipes that are quick, easy and clean.
The vegan weight loss recipes for these meals were adapted with permission from Workweek Lunch.
Easy Spicy Vegan One-Week Meal Plan
Optional Breakfast: Easy Overnight Cinnamon Oats
Monday Dinner: Hands-Off Turmeric Tofu With Roasted Veggies
Tuesday Dinner: One-Pot Moroccan Chickpeas
Wednesday Dinner: Easy Leftover Night
Thursday Dinner: Spicy Vegan Fajita Bowl
Friday Dinner: Revamped Fajita Bowls
This is what your week could look like using the recipes and planning/packing guides in this post.
Here is the link for the 5-min Detox Salad With No-Mix Dressing
Grocery list for the week
- Old fashioned oats
- Fruit of your choice for overnight oats
- Milk of your choice for overnight oats
- 1 package of extra firm tofu
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red onion
- 1 15 oz/425 g can of chickpeas
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 14 oz/386 can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 bunch/box of kale or spinach
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 1 15 oz/425 g of low sodium black beans
- Quinoa or brown rice
- Low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 lime
- 2 avocados
- 3 bell peppers (assorted colors)
- Tomato paste
- Cooking spray
- Cooking oil of your choice
In your skinny spice collection:
- Chili powder
- Curry powder
Optional breakfast: EASY OVERNIGHT CINNAMON OATS RECIPE (recipe is for 1 serving)
Have you heard of overnight oats? It’s probably the only hands-off breakfast that can shave off a precious ten minutes during your morning routine.
Overnight oats is an oatmeal breakfast that “cooks” in the fridge (the oats soak up all the liquid over a few hours) allowing you to just grab the container out of your fridge and go, instead of boiling water and spending time assembling your morning oatmeal. It’s basically magic — very tasty magic.
Think you won’t be able to eat cold oats? Try it once to see what you think. The addition of cinnamon in this meal helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps your insulin from spiking, which decreases excess fat storage. Oats are also a top breakfast choice as they contain more protein and fat than your average grain.
Make as many servings as you would like for the week. The recipe below for one serving, but you can easily prepare as many containers for the number of days you will eat it.
Ingredients for each container:
- ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½-1 cup of fruit (berries, banana, strawberries, apples, peaches, mango etc)
- 1 cup of milk of your choice or water
- Seeds & nuts
- Peanut butter
- Greek yogurt
- Protein powder
- Sweetener of your choice
- Lay out as many containers as you need, depending on how many overnight oats you want to make.
- Add oats, fruit and liquid to the containers
- Add optional ingredients, if any
- Stir and seal with the container lid, then place in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
The oats will “cook” overnight. No heat is required, but you can heat these up on the stove or in the microwave for a few minutes if desired. If you add nuts, they will get soft overnight. So if you like the crunch, add nuts right before eating. Also note that almond milk, coconut milk and other milk replacements tend to yield better results than normal milk.
Monday night of Easy Spicy Vegan Meal Plan: HANDS-OFF TURMERIC TOFU WITH ROASTED VEGGIES (makes 3 servings)
I’m a huge fan of roasting veggies in the oven because it’s an easy (and lazy) way of packing your meals with nutrients and vitamins.
Roasting vegetables, especially when you add bloat-beating spices like cumin, is an ideal way to bring out natural flavors. A bonus? They reheat well too.
If you’re not a fan of tofu, replace it with another lean protein like chicken, fish or tempeh.
The cumin in this meal can help you jumpstart weight-loss. Cumin is one of my favorite spices to add to almost any meal because not only can it turn a boring vegetable into a party for my taste buds, it has been proven to help reduce BMI and waist circumference in medical studies. Talk about a win-win!
This recipe will definitely give you some tasty leftovers or extra servings for anyone else who joins you for a home cooked meal.
For this tofu meal, the vegetables need to be popped in the oven while you pan fry the tofu on the stove. Then, the tofu goes in the oven after cooking to make it crispy. It’s just five whole ingredients and two steps to healthy, spicy meals.
- 1 package of firm tofu, drained
- 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
- 1-2 cups of cherry tomatoes, chopped or whole (up to you)
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 1 bunch of asparagus, ends chopped off
- 4 tablespoon Coconut oil (or an oil of your choice) (divided)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger (or use powdered)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C and line 2 baking sheets with foil.
- To drain tofu: place the whole block on a plate lined with a paper towel. Place another paper towel on top, then something heavy like a cookbook to weigh it down and squeeze the water out. Set aside for 15 mins.
- While the tofu drains, prepare your baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the cherry tomatoes, red onion and asparagus. Then add the cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Toss with a wooden spoon or your hands so the vegetables are evenly covered. Place the baking sheet(s) in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Prepare another baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the sweet potatoes, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. Toss with your hands or a wooden spoon to cover evenly and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Flip halfway if desired.
- Cut tofu into cubes on a clean cutting board. Place the cubed tofu into a bowl and add the turmeric, chili powder, curry powder and salt and pepper to taste. Carefully toss with a wooden spoon (sometimes the tofu can break because it’s soft!).
- On the stove, heat 2 tablespoon coconut oil in a deep, heavy bottom pan on medium heat. After a minute, add the tofu to the pan. Add half of the garlic and ginger to the pan. Let it cook for 3 minutes, then flip with a spatula. It’s ok if some of the tofu sticks to the pan when you’re trying to flip it!
- After cooking the tofu, transfer it to the oven in a dish or on a baking sheet and let bake for 5-10 minutes depending on how crispy you want it.
- When the veggies and tofu are done, serve immediately or place in plastic or glass containers (you’ll need 2-3 of them) and let cool completely before placing in the fridge. These meals will be good in the fridge for up to four days and reheat well in the microwave, oven or on the stove.
- ***Half of the sweet potatoes are for Tuesday’s meal. Set aside.
If this Turmeric tofu recipe looks delicious, check out my Curried Turmeric Garbanzo Beans, a recipe that helped me lose my first 10 pounds (includes a cooking video!)
Tuesday of Easy Spicy Vegan Meal Plan: One-Pot Moroccan Chickpea Bowl (makes 2-3 servings)
Even after a long day at work, this easy one-pot dish will still feel like the easiest thing you’ve done all day. This bowl is vegan, comforting and full of spice.
If you have any leftover vegetables in your fridge that you need to use up (especially greens) throw them in this dish too.
When you’re not cooking this for anyone else in your family or house, this meal is freezer friendly too. Get a free e-book of this Easy Spicy Vegan One-Week Meal Plan here.
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 14 oz/396 g can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups of chopped kale
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- Crushed red pepper to taste
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- Cooking oil of your choice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sweet potatoes you cooked from the previous meal (if you didn’t, follow the instructions in the above recipe for the sweet potatoes, and only cook one!)
- In a large skillet, on medium heat add oil and the chopped onion. Cook until translucent (about 5 mins).
- Then add garlic, chickpeas, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, cumin and a dash of crushed pepper. Stir and bring to a slight boil. Then, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the kale and stir. The kale should get soft in about 3 minutes.
- Assemble the meals: divide the chickpea/tomato mixture into three portions, add sweet potato on top. Then add chopped cilantro.
- Serve immediately or place in containers (you’ll need 2-3 of them, glass is preferred) and let cool completely before placing in the fridge. This bowl is good in the fridge for up to four days.
Wednesday of Easy Spicy Vegan Meal Plan: Leftover night
The beauty of batch cooking and meal planning is that you can have some nights off, as long as you plan ahead!
Planning leftovers allows you to get out of your kitchen for a night (or two). There are three ways to reheat leftovers that will leave them tasting freshly made.
My rule of thumb is to reheat meals where you originally cooked them. So the tofu meal should be reheated in the oven, and the chickpea bowl should be reheated in a pan on the stove.
If you want to use a microwave for the roasted veggies and tofu, add a separate small glass of water to the microwave (in a safe glass, of course!) next to your food container – this helps your veggies stay firm instead of getting soggy. I recommend using a glass container to reheat food in the microwave if possible.
The chickpea bowl will microwave just fine and actually tastes more flavorful as leftovers. In general, any meal you cook with lots of spice will taste more flavorful the next day, after they have had a chance to marinate the food even further.
Eating healthy leftovers in the middle of the week, the time when you’ll need a break the most, will feel like a treat!
If the idea of eating leftovers isn’t ideal to you, freshen up these meals by adding more cooked or raw vegetables to your plate or topping the meals with a fresh avocado. That usually does the trick.
Thursday of Easy Spicy Vegan Meal Plan: Spicy Vegan Fajita Bowls (makes 2-3 servings)
By the end of the week, errands, projects and random priorities tend to pile up, leaving us wanting to do nothing more than just order takeout and call it a day. But if you’re serious about your health goals and staying consistent, you’ll be happy to cook one last meal to get you through the end of the week.
Lucky for you, this meal is one of the easiest to make — even easier than the one-pot Moroccan chickpeas.
Fajita bowl are very versatile. You can remove or add vegetables to your preferences, but make sure to include the protein and carbs to maintain a healthy balance of macronutrients.
- 1 15 oz/425 g can of low sodium black beans
- 1 medium onion (white or yellow, your preference)
- 3 peppers of assorted colors
- ¾ C dry quinoa or brown rice
- 1 ¼ C low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 lime, sliced (optional for garnish)
- 1 avocado, chopped (optional for garnish)
- Cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon oil of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C
- Cook the rice or quinoa according to the package, but add the broth instead of water
- Combine the cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
- Prepare a large baking sheet or dish with cooking spray. Add the veggie to the pan, followed by the oil and spice mixture. Toss with a wooden spoon or your hands to coat. Then place on a rack in the middle of the oven for 15-20 mins. Flip halfway if desired.
- Rinse and drain the black beans. **If you don’t like the taste or texture of uncooked beans, saute them in a pan with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin for five minutes, stirring frequently.
When the quinoa/rice, veggies, and black beans are done, serve immediately or place in containers (you’ll need 2-3 of them, glass is prefered) and let cool completely before placing in the fridge. The fajita bowl is good in the fridge for up to four days.
Friday of Easy Spicy Vegan Meal Plan: Repurpose your fajita bowls
Another thing I love about these bowls is that they can easily be turned into different meals. You can repurpose your fajita bowl leftovers a few ways:
- Put them on top of whole grain tortilla chips, heat in the oven and top with vegan/regular cheese to make nachos!
- Bundle them up in a whole wheat wrap with lot of avocado to make burritos.
- Use the leftovers as a filling for quesadillas and bake in the oven or grill on the stove.
For most women, meal prep is the missing piece to consistent healthy eating.
When I started on my weight-loss journey, having a plan to follow (instead of making it up as I went along) was integral to my success.
I’ve taken the hard work out of finding the perfect, spicy spicy vegan weight loss recipes for you and put them in a strategic order, and now all you have to do is cook and eat!
If you’re new to meal prep, this may seem like a lot. If you’ve never done it before, I recommend starting with the first two meals to see what happens and how prepping food ahead fits into your lifestyle. Some experimentation is a necessary part of the journey.