Vegetarian Batch Cooking for Fall: 1-Hour Prep, 6 Meals!

Vegetarian Batch-Cooking for Fall

In addition to planning my menus, I have been doing more and more batch cooking these past few months.

The idea of batch cooking is to block out time one day of the week to prep or cook a bunch of ingredients in advance, which you can draw from and combine for low-effort homemade meals the rest of the week.

It is the shortest path to feeling like a kitchen superhero, saving you brain juice and money along the way.

And today, I am offering you the vegetarian batch cooking plan for fall I’ve created and test-driven with great success: 1 hour of prep work for easy 6 meals on subsequent days.

  • Meal #1: Peanut Noodles with Kale and Mushrooms — the noodles of your choice in my deliciously peanutty “magic sauce”, with garlicky sautéed kale and tender mushrooms.
  • Meal #2: Fall Buddha Bowl — a plentiful bowl of flavor with bulgur, beet hummus, a raw kale salad, and crispy falafel, topped with roasted peanuts.
  • Meal #3: Warming Red Lentil Soup — a warming bowl of soup full of immune-boosting ingredients to keep colds at bay!
  • Meal #4: Lemony Bulgur Salad with Feta and Mushrooms — a filling salad of bulgur with tangy feta, marinated mushrooms, and raisins.
  • Meal #5: Toad-in-a-Hole Toast with Beet Hummus — a kid-friendly favorite served with beet hummus for dipping.
  • Meal #6: Roasted Cauliflower à la Mary Celeste — irresistibly roasted cauliflower in magic sauce! One of my absolute favorite things to eat, period.

Below you will find:
– A shopping list (of which you can get a free printable) — everything is available from the organic store or supermarket (they cost around 55€ ($65) in my Parisian organic store; your mileage may vary),
– Your instructions for the prep work — allow for 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours of prep time,
– Your instructions for each of the six meals — active time ranges from 10 to 15 minutes, time to table from 10 to 45 minutes,
– Suggestions of variations to adapt the plan to various dietary constraints.

If you’re new to batch cooking, this plan is an easy and lovely way to dip your toes in and see how deliciously freeing it is. If you’re an experienced batch-cook, I hope it provides some ideas to enrich your current practice. And please share your best tips with us!

Related: Vegetarian Batch Cooking for Summer

To make the process super smooth, I recommend these French-made glass containers for storing your preparations (I have two sets; they nest perfectly and take up very little room) and this dual kitchen timer to keep track of two preparations at the same time!

Without further ado, here’s your vegetarian batch cooking plan for fall!

Vegetarian Batch-Cooking for Fall

This is what you’ll make during the 1-hour prep time.

Your Batch-Cooking Shopping List

Get your free printable shopping list!

For 4 people:

PRODUCE

☐ 4 medium beets, cooked if available, raw otherwise
☐ 2 organic limes
☐ 4 organic lemons
☐ 300 grams (2/3 pound) kale, about 8 stalks
☐ 800 grams (1 3/4 pounds) brown mushrooms
☐ 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
☐ 2 medium onions
☐ 6 cloves garlic
☐ 1 thumb-sized piece ginger
☐ 1 large head cauliflower

GRAINS/LEGUMES/NUTS

☐ 380 grams (2 cups) bulgur wheat
☐ 200 grams (7 ounces) pink lentils
☐ 400 grams (14 ounces) dry noodles of your choice
☐ 80 grams (2/3 cup) toasted hazelnuts
☐ 200 grams (7 ounces) pre-made falafels (should contain 12)
☐ 4 slices sandwich bread of your choice
☐ 50 grams (1/3 cup) raisins
☐ 200 grams (7 ounces) firm tofu

BOTTLED/JARRED

☐ Sesame oil (will need 4 tablespoons)
☐ Soy sauce (will need 4 tablespoons)
☐ Tahini (will need 4 tablespoons)
☐ Peanut butter (will need 2 tablespoons)
☐ 400 grams (14 ounces) jarred whole tomatoes
☐ 1 liter (1 quart) vegetable stock

DAIRY/EGGS

☐ 4 large organic eggs
☐ 1 tablespoon butter
☐ 200 grams (7 ounces) sheep’s milk feta cheese or goat cheese

IN YOUR PANTRY

☐ Olive oil
☐ Strong Dijon mustard
☐ Ground cumin
☐ Cayenne pepper
☐ Black pepper
☐ Fine sea salt

Prep Work (1 to 1 1/4 hours)

☐ If the beets you purchased are raw, peel them, halve them, and steam them for 12 minutes, until very soft.
☐ Prepare a double batch of beet hummus; refrigerate in an airtight container.

☐ In a jar, prepare a double batch of magic sauce, using soy sauce instead of fish sauce. Put the jar in the fridge.

☐ In a jar, prepare a lemon vinaigrette by combining 1 tablespoon mustard, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 6 tablespoons olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Close the lid tightly and shake to emulsify.

☐ Cook the bulgur according to the package instructions (I use my rice cooker — 1 part bulgur to 2 parts water). Allow to cool and refrigerate in an airtight container.

☐ Wash and dry the parsley. Refrigerate, wrapped in a paper towel in an airtight container.

☐ Chop the hazelnuts roughly; keep in a covered bowl on the counter.

☐ Wash the kale, remove the center stem, and slice into thin ribbons.
☐ Place half of the kale in a glass container with a lid. Add half of the lemon vinaigrette and massage the kale for a couple of minutes with your clean hands. Cover tightly and refrigerate.
☐ Place the remaining half of the kale in a separate container for the noodles that night.

☐ Rinse the mushrooms, trim, and cut in halves, quarters, or slices, depending on size.
☐ Place half of the mushrooms in a glass container with a lid. Stir in the remaining lemon vinaigrette, cover and refrigerate.
☐ Place the remaining half of the mushrooms with the kale for the noodles. Cover and refrigerate.

☐ Rinse and cut the cauliflower into florets. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

☐ Slice the onions and the remaining 4 cloves of garlic (the first 2 went into the beet hummus) thinly. Refrigerate in two separate airtight containers.

☐ Measure 200 grams (7 ounces) of the pink lentils if your package contains more than that. Rinse, drain, and keep in a covered bowl at room temperature.

Meal #1: Peanut Noodles with Kale and Mushrooms

Active time: 15 minutes
Time-to-table: 15 minutes

☐ Stir 2 tablespoons peanut butter into half of the magic sauce (reserve remaining magic sauce). Stir in a little water as needed to get a pourable sauce.
☐ Cook the noodles according to package instructions, and drain when cooked.
☐ In the meantime, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the kale and mushrooms and 1/4 of the minced garlic, and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until softened.
☐ Add the vegetables and peanut sauce to the noodles, toss to combine, and serve.

Peanut Noodles with Kale and Mushrooms

Meal #2: Fall Buddha Bowl

Active time: 10 minutes
Time-to-table: 10 minutes

☐ Reheat falafel in a skillet.
☐ In each of four bowls, scoop 3/4 cup of bulgur, 1/4 of the raw kale, and 1/2 cup of the beet hummus.
☐ Add the falafels, sprinkle with hazelnuts, and serve.

Fall Buddha Bowl

Meal #3: Warming Red Lentil Soup

Active time: 15 minutes
Time-to-table: 45 minutes

☐ Grate the ginger finely.
☐ Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a soup pot.
☐ Add the sliced onions, remaining garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened.
☐ Add the ginger, 1 tablespoon cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, stir, and cook for 2 minutes more, until fragrant.
☐ Add the jarred tomatoes, and crush them with your spatula. Add the lentils, vegetable stock, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir well.
☐ Cut four thin slices from the middle of 1 lemon and add them in. Bring to a simmer and cook on low for 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
☐ Add a good squeeze of lemon juice from the ends of the lemon, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
☐ Serve in bowls, top with a sprig or two of parsley, sprinkle with black pepper, and serve.

Red Lentil Soup

Meal #4: Lemony Bulgur Salad with Feta and Mushrooms

Active time: 10 minutes
Time-to-table: 10 minutes

☐ Dice the feta.
☐ Chop half of the remaining parsley.
☐ In a salad bowl, combine the remaining bulgur with the marinated mushrooms (including the marinade), diced feta, chopped parsley, and raisins.
☐ Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.
☐ You’ll have leftovers; eat them with Meal #5.

Lemony Bulgur Salad with Feta and Mushrooms

Meal #5: Toad-in-a-Hole Toast with Beet Hummus

Active time: 10 minutes
Time-to-table: 10 minutes

☐ Using a cookie cutter or the rim of a small glass, cut out a round (about 6 cm or 2 1/2 inches) in the middle of each slice of sandwich bread.
☐ Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the bread in, with the cut rounds. Cook for 2 minutes, until golden.
☐ Flip the slices and rounds of bread, and break an egg in the “hole” of each bread slice.
☐ Cover, lower the heat slightly, and cook until the whites of the eggs are just set, about 4 minutes.
☐ Serve with beet hummus for dipping, and leftover bulgur salad.

Toad-in-a-hole Toast with Beet Hummus

Meal #6: Roasted Cauliflower à la Mary Celeste

Active time: 10 minutes
Time-to-table: 40 minutes

☐ Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
☐ Chop the remaining parsley.
☐ Dice the tofu.
☐ Arrange the cauliflower florets on an oil-greased rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
☐ Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until tender and dark brown at the edges.
☐ Twenty minutes in, scatter the diced tofu across the baking sheet.
☐ Divide among 4 bowls. Drizzle the remaining magic sauce on top, add the remaining hazelnuts and parsley, and serve.

Roasted Cauliflower à la Mary Celeste

Variations for Different Diets

Vegan:

Meal #4: Hold the feta or replace it with tofu or tempeh.
Meal #5: Top the bread with a tofu scramble.

Gluten-free:

Meal #1: Choose gluten-free noodles such as rice noodles.
Meals #2 and 4: Choose gluten-free bulgur, or substitute rice or buckwheat.
Meal #5: Use gluten-free bread.

Dairy-free:

Meal #4: Hold the feta or replace it with tofu or tempeh.
Meal #5: Cook the toast and egg in oil.

Paleo:

Meal #1: Use vegetable noodles (such as with zucchini, carrots, daikon radish, jicama…) in place of grain-based noodles. Use tahini in place of peanut butter. Use coconut aminos or fish sauce (if not vegetarian) in place of soy sauce in the magic sauce.
Meal #2: Use cauliflower “rice” instead of the bulgur. Use meatballs instead of falafel (if not vegetarian) or vegan paleo veggie balls such as these or these.
Meal #3: Replace the lentils with diced sweet potatoes.
Meal #4: Hold the cheese. Use cauliflower “rice” instead of the bulgur.
Meal #5: Serve simple fried eggs with beet hummus.
Meal #6: Hold the tofu. Use coconut aminos or fish sauce (if not vegetarian) in place of soy sauce in the magic sauce.

Don’t forget to grab your free printable shopping list!

  • I really want to try this! I have to look at my calendar and pick a week when I’ll be eating at home most nights. Thanks!

    • Also, the link to the beet hummus recipe isn’t working for me. I get the error page.

      • Thank you Lacey! I’ve fixed it now — I just migrated the site over to a new URL and there are still a few glitches. :S

    • I hope you enjoy the plan! You can also have friends over some nights ;)

  • Lucy Kempton

    All looks good; the noodle dish has already turned me on to the possibilities of peanut sauces. Out here in the Breton wilds, peanut butter is an occasional luxury and not usually readily obtainable, but we have just moved near to a small town with the pleasant surprise of an African épicerie! Suddenly, good quality, reasonably priced peanut butter, butter beans (Soissons or Judion type, Lima to Americans), and ginger beer are on the menu again, as well as more exotic ingredients.

    However, I must take issue with what you call toad-in-the hole! We British may not have added much of distinction to the world’s cuisine, but Yorkshire pudding and its finest, budget, variant are one thing we have. Toad-in-the-hole is sausages, baked in Yorkshire pudding batter (the nearest in French perhaps is saucisse en brioche, or perhaps for the eating experience, Breton galette saucisse), served preferably with onion gravy, apple sauce is good, and your choice of vegetables.

    • Thank you Lucy!

      The toad-in-a-hole debate is all over the Internet, it’s a UK vs North America thing.
      This is not to take anything away from the Brits. :)

      • Lucy Kempton

        Heheh, so then I had to look it up of course, I’d not heard of the American usage, which does look fun. However, most of the references by far that came up, including one from Martha Stewart, did confirm the sausage-in-Yorkshire definition. In fact, while I’m not a great textured veg protein fan, it can also be quite a good way to make vegetarian sausages more palatable.

        An American friend once remarked on how the British have a plethora of either grotesque or impenetrable names for dishes – toad-in-the-hole, bubble-and-squeak, pigs-in-blankets, spotted dick, or that we can make something delicious like sorbet sound unappetising by calling it water ice. Perhaps it says something about our attitude towards food, we can’t allow it to sound too attractive! (Though IMO most of the funny sounding dishes above are really rather good, in a rather heavy, comfort foody sort of way!)

  • Lucy Kempton

    (Sorry, added instead of replying, please delete).

  • rachelsloan79

    Clotilde, you are a lifesaver – October and November are always the craziest months of the year for me, work-wise (a perfect storm created by the combination of academic and art world calendars) and my cooking tends to suffer as a result. No more, though! As I’m a household of one with a small fridge and minuscule freezer, I will probably streamline – drop meals 2 and 5, and sauté the extra kale from the first as a side to one of the others. Does that sound workable?

  • Chère Clotilde, with what kind of nuts can I substitute the peanuts (am allergic)? I love all nuts….
    Many thank et gros bisous, Kiki

    • I would use tahini instead of the peanut butter!

      • Merci beaucoup Clotilde – great idea!

  • Anne MChapman

    Bonjour Clotilde,
    Quelle chance vous avez d’avoir une famille qui apprécie vos plats végétariens et variés. Mon mari et mes deux garcons me regardent dégoutés quand je cuisine des légumes ou du quinoa… Aussi, je prends votre planning pour préparer mes repas de midi (je travaille à domicile) et votre recette de nouilles chinoises, kale et champignons est parfaite pour moi (kale que je cultive dans mon minuscule jardin anglais). En fait, tous les plats proposes me font envie et font déjà partie plus ou moins modifies de mon repertoire. Votre podcast sur les emotions m’est aussi très utile pour mieux accepter que le mari et fistons n’ont pas la même philosophie que moi en ce qui concerne l’environnement, le gaspillage, la nourriture saine et équilibrée etc. etc. …snif snif. Merci à vous et bon week-end en famille

    • Excuse-moi, Anne, que je me ‘mêle’ là dedans – ton commentaire m’a fait mal et me fait penser à la même situation dans ma famille, cela fait 20ans+ en arrière… Je compatis à tes soucis et je te dis tout simplément que tout va passer finalement. Je sais qu’on ne peut pas changer une attitude des personnes qui ne sont pas d’accord à au moins discuter ces choses. Faut se dire que ‘tout se passe dans la tête’ et si la tête ne veut pas, tu peux parler en langue d’ange et ça ne passe quand-même pas….
      Continue ton chemin tranquilement et en sérénité. Je te souhaite du courage, l’endurance et une très bonne santé. :)

  • georgie

    Hi Clotilde,
    I just want to say thank you so much for this, it is wonderful! Meals are quick and easy and a pleasure to make. No more last minute slap-dash meals :-)
    You’ve done all the planning for me, which I know I should do but never quite manage (in my defense i do have a 1 and 3 year old.).
    And what a great life lesson – the power of a little bit of planning and preparation makes me so much more efficient and productive. Thanks a million!
    ps. and all the meals are delicious of course

  • Lindsey Alt

    what a wonderful post – I would pay you to do these every week Clotilde!! So easy, so tasty, so healthy. Please keep up these posts as they are lifesavers. Thank you!

  • Wow Clotilde! What a batch of healthy recipes you have here! Also simple enough to be able to cook 6 recipes in just an hour. I am a health-junkie and I find it truly amazing how you were able to make these 6 meals in an hour or so. I also love the variations you placed at the end for people on different types of diets. But I just might try mixing in the feta and tofu for the Lemony Bulgur Salad with Feta and Mushrooms recipe since I love both. *grin*

  • Cbrown

    Wow, this looks amazing! Any suggestions for a kale alternative? Spinach?

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