At the core of the Clean & Colorful Kitchen is a passion deeply rooted in improving human health by providing access to higher quality food. So whether you order your meals from us or prepare for yourself, this post will help make vegetarian meal prep easier for you!
Perks of Eating by Color
Shifting your eating philosophy from restricting carbs or calories to adding more color to your diet can be a simple and life changing strategy. Gone are the days of thinking about what you CAN’T eat and welcome the days of wondering through the produce aisle thinking “how can I cook this beautiful veggie?”
Not only is a freeing mentality, it can break you out of a dietary rut and encourage you to try new foods. And potentially the best perk of eating by color is that these plants aren’t just pretty — colorful fruits and veggies are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and potent phytochemicals that help you build and preserve a strong, healthy body.
Barriers to Vegetarian Meal Prep
Meal prepping is the best way to set yourself up for success. When you eliminate the guesswork and have a plan in place, it’s much more difficult to stray the course. But meal prepping tons of veggies is more difficult than the standard 6oz portion of animal protein, 3oz cooked starch and then a side of a single veggie. Good vegetarian Meal Prep involves:
- Access to a wide variety of vegetables
- Knowledge of how to cook them properly
- Experience flavoring, seasoning and cooking to make sure they are delicous
- Time to shop, wash, peel, chop and cook … and clean.
Simply stated, vegetarian meal prep can be more difficult than traditional, but that does not have to be the reason why you don’t do it!
The rest of this post gives you the quick 411 on some good veggies to look for, simple roasting instructions and creative ways to add them to your diet to add variety, nutrition, flavor and of course COLOR!
The Best Veggies to Roast
When roasting veggies, you want to think not only of the color, but the density. Root vegetables tend to be harder, hence they will take longer to cook. The smaller you cut them up, the quicker they will cook. Naturally softer veggies don’t take quite as long, but that does not mean you can’t include them in the same process.
Harder, slower cooking veggies:
- Red: Red potatoes
- Orange: Sweet potatoes, Golden beets, Butternut Squash, Carrots
- Yellow: Parsnips, Cauliflower, Garlic
- Green: Brussles Sprouts, Broccoli
- Indigo: Turnip, Beets
Softer, quicker cooking veggies:
- Red: Red peppers, Tomatoes
- Orange: Orange Peppers
- Yellow: Yellow Peppers, Summer Squash, Onions, Mushrooms
- Green: Zucchini
- Indigo: Eggplant, Red Onion
How to Roast Veggies for Vegetarian Meal Prep
The trickiest part of roasting veggies is finding the time. The rest is really quite simple…
- Pick your veggies from the list above or whatever you can find at the market. Shoot for 3-4 different varieties (colors).
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Chop up your selected veggies into 1/2-1″ pieces. Remember, the smaller they are, the faster they will cook.
- Toss them in olive or avocado oil (about 1 tsp to 1 cup veggies), salt and pepper and any other herbs or spices you like. (pro-tip: Garlic salt is always a winner!)
- Pop the harder veggies in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes. Add any softer veggies and cook for an additional 10-15. It will depend mostly on the size of your veggies and your and how crunchy you like them.
- Now, voila. You are a colorful, vegetarian meal prep expert!
Best Ways to Use Your Roasted Veggies
You don’t just have to have them solo! You can wrap them up, mix them up, dress then up, or have them for breakfast. You’ll be amazed at how versatile veggies can be! Here are a few of our favorite ways to incorporate simple roasted veggies to mix up your vegetarian meal prep plan.
1. Make them the MAIN dish!
Veggies like cauliflower and mushrooms pack as much or more protein per calorie than chicken! Use the list in this Vegan Meal Prep post for a list of the plants with the most protein.
2. Swap out processed pasta with roasted squash!
You can cut carbs like a ninja and eliminate refined grains and add phytochemical power all at the same time. Top with a primavera sauce or in our kitchen, we make a mean organic ground turkey version (yup, we do more than vegetarian meal prep in our kitchen — we do use high quality animal protein responsibly.)
3. Make the Salad of the Century.
Salads don’t need to be raw! You can top a bed of greens with a collection of roasted veggies for more flavor and a different texture! This is a great way to create a tasty and satisfying meal.
4. Make a Bad A** Vegan Bowl!
Just toss your 3-4 roasted veggies with a high quality grain like quinoa or farrow and top with a delicious sauce and you’ve got yourself a winner of a meal!
5. Have them for breakfast!
Roasted veggies don’t need to be saved for the afternoon or evening, toss them with eggs in the morning and make an amazing scramble in minutes. Or make them in bulk in advance in muffin cups. Bake a dozen at once and have healthy breakfast on hand all week long!
Pssst: I just pulled all these images from our Instagram account, yes, we are vegetarian meal prep experts!!
We hope you found this post valuable and inspirational! Remember, we’re always here to help you with your vegetarian meal prep needs (and more!) when you’ve run out of time, or just don’t feel like cooking. Our vegetarian entrees start as low as $8!