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

Vegetarian Batch Cooking for Summer

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 summer I’ve created and test-driven with great success: 1 hour of prep work for easy 6 meals on subsequent days.

  • Meal #1: Ratatouille and Rice Bowl — the beauty and simplicity of an in-season roasted ratatouille, served over rice to mop up the juices.
  • Meal #2: Bell Pepper and Chickpea Green Salad — a simple stir-fry of bell peppers, onions, and chickpeas over simply dressed greens drizzled with tahini sauce.
  • Meal #3: Ratatouille Wraps with Eggs and Tahini — inspired by a delicious sandwich from Miznon in Paris!
  • Meal #4: Zucchini Pasta with Olive and Almonds — super easy pasta dish ready in the time it takes to cook the zucchini.
  • Meal #5: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Olives and Almonds — the same topping brings zest to roasted sweet potatoes.
  • Meal #6: Everything Salad with Avocado and Eggs — turning bits and bobs from the previous meals into a lovely salad so the process is entirely waste-free!

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 30€ ($34) in my store; your mileage may vary),
– Your instructions for the prep work — allow for about 1 hour of active time, and 1 1/2 hour in total,
– Your instructions for each of the six meals — active time ranges from 5 to 15 minutes, time to table from 10 to 30 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!

And if you find this first plan helpful and useful, I will offer you a new one at the start of each new season; let me know how that sounds.

In passing 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 summer!

Vegetarian Batch Cooking for Summer

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 eggplants
☐ 4 medium tomatoes
☐ 6 medium zucchini
☐ 3 red bell pepper
☐ 3 medium onions
☐ 2 cloves garlic
☐ 1 small shallot
☐ 1 large head lettuce or 6 cups mixed salad leaves
☐ 1 kg (2 pounds) sweet potatoes
☐ 2 organic lemons (or 1 lemon, 1 lime)
☐ 2 avocados
☐ 1 small bunch cilantro or flat-leaf parsley

GRAINS/LEGUMES/NUTS

☐ 360 grams (2 cups) rice of your choice
☐ 1 400-gram (15-ounce) jar of chickpeas (or 100 grams or 1/2 cup dried chickpeas)
☐ 350 grams (12 ounces) dried pasta of your choice (short shapes)
☐ 70 grams (1/2 cup) roasted almonds
☐ 90 grams (1/2 cup) black or green pitted olives
☐ 100 grams (1/3 cup) tahini
☐ 4 wheat tortillas or wraps or ready-made buckwheat pancakes

DAIRY/EGGS

☐ 8 large eggs
☐ A block of Parmesan or nutritional yeast

IN YOUR PANTRY

☐ Olive oil
☐ Mixed dried herbs such as herbes de Provence (thyme, rosemary, basil…)
☐ Ground cumin
☐ Sea salt

Prep Work (1 to 1 1/4 hours)

Note: The active prep work should take you 1 to 1 1/4 hours, but the ratatouille will need another 30 to 45 minutes’ roasting beyond that.

First:
☐ Wash: the eggplant, the zucchini, the tomatoes, the bell peppers.
☐ And peel: the onions, the shallot, the garlic.

Make the roasted ratatouille:
☐ Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
☐ Cut the eggplant, the tomatoes, and 2 of the zucchini in 2-3-cm (1-inch) cubes.
☐ Put the remaining zucchini in the fridge.
☐ Slice 2 bell peppers into strips (reserve the 1 remaining bell pepper).
☐ Slice 2 of the onions thinly (reserve the 1 remaining onion).
☐ Put the cubed eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini; sliced bell peppers and onions; and the garlic on a rimmed baking sheet.
☐ Drizzle with 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon dried herbs and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt.
☐ Toss to coat, cover loosely with foil, and put into the oven.
☐ This will roast for 45 minutes covered, then you will uncover, stir, and roast for another 30 minutes.

While the ratatouille is roasting, you will:
☐ Hard-boil the eggs (this is my method).
☐ Cook the chickpeas if using dried.
☐ Dice the remaining bell pepper and onion finely, and put them in a container with a lid. Combine with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon ground cumin, cover, and put away in the fridge.
☐ Make a simple tahini sauce: simply thin the tahini with the juice of 1/2 the lemon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and just enough water to make a pourable sauce. Put away in the fridge in a tightly covered container or jar.
☐ Wash the lettuce (or salad leaves) and the herbs, spin them dry, and wrap them up in a clean dishcloth. This you will put in a plastic bag and put away in the fridge.
☐ Scrub the sweet potatoes, let them dry, and put them away somewhere cool and dark.
☐ Chop the almonds roughly and keep in a jar at room temperature.
☐ Chop the shallot finely and the olives roughly, and combine them in a jar or container with the zest of 1 lemon and juice of the remaining half lemon, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Note: If you don’t want to use your oven in the summer, you can also cook the ratatouille as a stew in a Dutch oven or slow cooker.

Meal #1: Ratatouille And Rice Bowl

Active time: 5 minutes.
Time-to-table: 15 minutes.

☐ Reheat two-thirds of the ratatouille (reserve one third), cook the rice, chop half of the herbs (reserve the other half).
☐ Serve the ratatouille over the rice and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Oven-Roasted Ratatouille

Meal #2: Bell Pepper And Chickpea Green Salad

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

☐ In a skillet, sauté the chopped bell pepper and onions mix with 1 teaspoon salt, until soft, 4 minutes.
☐ Add the drained chickpeas and cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring so everything comes together. If you have leftover rice, add it in as well.
☐ Cut about one third of the salad leaves into ribbons, divide among 4 bowls, and top with warm bell pepper and chickpea mix.
☐ Drizzle with half the tahini sauce (reserve the other half) and serve.

Bell Pepper and Chickpea Green Salad

Meal #3: Ratatouille Wraps With Eggs And Tahini

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

☐ Reheat the remaining third of the ratatouille and heat the wraps.
☐ Shell 4 of the eggs and roughly chop.
☐ Assemble ratatouille wraps with ratatouille, chopped eggs, and drizzle with tahini sauce.

Ratatouille and Egg Sandwich at Miznon

The Ratatouille and Egg Sandwich from Miznon in Paris that inspired this wrap idea.

Meal #4: Zucchini Pasta With Olive And Almonds

Active time: 10 minutes.
Time-to-table: 15 minutes.

☐ Put salted water to boil in a large saucepan.
☐ Slice the zucchini into thin half-moons.
☐ Put the pasta in the boiling water, boil according to package instructions, and add the zucchini in the last 2 minutes of cooking.
☐ While the pasta is boiling, chop half the remaining herbs and combine them with half the almonds and half the chopped olive mixture.
☐ Grate Parmesan to yield about 1/3 cup of it (or measure the same volume of nutritional yeast).
☐ Drain the pasta and zucchini, return to the pot, drizzle generously with olive oil, and stir.
☐ Divide among 4 bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan and the topping.

Zucchini Pasta with Almonds and Lemon Zest

Meal #5: Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Olives And Almonds

Active time: 15 minutes.
Time-to-table: 30 minutes.

☐ Preheat the oven to 200°C (alternatively you can grill the sweet potatoes if you have an outdoor grill).
☐ Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise into long wedges of even thickness (4 to 6 per potato depending on size).
☐ Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat.
☐ Put into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through and golden.
☐ While the sweet potatoes are roasting, chop the remaining herbs and combine them with the remaining almonds and remaining chopped olive mixture.
☐ Cut another third of the salad leaves into ribbons, and dress lightly with olive oil, a drizzle of lemon juice, and salt.
☐ Divide the sweet potatoes among four plates, sprinkle with the almond and olive topping, and serve with the salad.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Black Olives and Almonds

Meal #6: Everything Salad with Avocado and Eggs

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

☐ Cut the remaining salad leaves into ribbons, and dress lightly with olive oil, a drizzle of lemon juice, and salt.
☐ Take out any leftover bits and pieces from the days before and toss them into the salad: sweet potatoes (dice these first), ratatouille, chickpea mix, olive condiment, cold pasta, tahini sauce, herbs…
☐ Halve the avocados. Shell the remaining eggs and cut them in half.
☐ Divide the salad among plates, and serve with a half-avocado and two half-eggs.

Variations for Different Diets

Vegan:

Meal #3 and 6: Replace the eggs with tofu or tempeh.
Meal #4: Use nutritional yeast, not Parmesan.

Gluten-free:

Meal #3: Choose gluten-free wraps (buckwheat crêpes are gluten-free).
Meal #4: Choose gluten-free pasta.

Dairy-free:

Meal #4: Use nutritional yeast, not Parmesan.

Paleo:

Meal #1: Use cauliflower “rice” in place of the rice.
Meal #2: Use cashews instead of the chickpeas.
Meal #3: To assemble the ratatouille wraps, use collard leaves or other large green leaves (see Gena’s tutorial on green wraps). You can also make one-egg omelets and use those as wraps; hold the hard-boiled eggs then.
Meal #4: Replace the pasta with kelp noodles or other paleo-friendly noodle, or use a spiralizer to make vegetable noodles such as with carrots, daikon radish, jicama…

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

  • Katrin Rentzsch

    That is amazing – thank you! I would love more of these…

  • Kim W

    This is…something I could very easily do. I’ve been taking a “picnic” approach to lunches at work, stocking my fridge with grab-and-go things that I can just assemble in the morning (cheeses, fruits, a couple salads, I even tried making rillettes for the first time), and the idea was that I could also dip into them for dinner, but that hasn’t happened, since I want something “different”. I think I may adopt this for dinners.

    • Please report back when you do! Happy to integrate any comment or suggestion in the next plan I offer.

  • dr_bombay

    i love this idea, and since i’m still learning how to plan a whole week of meals at one time, this would be a good exercise. one thing, though: can the hardboiled eggs be left out entirely, or can they be replaced with something else? i have never enjoyed them : [

    • You could scramble the eggs if you prefer! Or replace them with tofu or tempeh or a grilled chicken breast, sliced (not vegetarian, obv.).

      • dr_bombay

        ok, thanks! i was wondering if tofu/tempeh would work. i like scrambled eggs just fine, but tofu or tempeh also sounds good in these. thanks, Clotilde!

  • Tonya Lambert

    I know it’s blasphemous, but I can’t stand olives. What would you recommend as a replacement?

    • Ha ha, it is your God-given right. :)

      You could substitute capers or anchovies (not vegetarian) or chopped pickles. How does that sound?

  • Anna Kravtsova

    This is a wonderful compilation of batch recipes! Looking forward to next season!!

  • June

    Thanks so much. You absolutely need to expand the collection and publish them as a cookbook! You would have many takers.

  • Maree Anne Pierrehumbert

    Parfait

  • NotJoking

    Thanks. I’ve been pounding my brain trying to come up with some new vegetable ideas. These look exactly like what I need.

  • Annabel Smyth

    Great batch! I do wish it wasn’t too hot to even think about cooking just now, especially as I shall have to in a few hours….

  • clau

    Thanks, this is great! I want to cook the ratatouille as a stew in my Dutch oven, will it take the same time?, do I cook everything together?

    • For simplicity’s sake, yes, everything together! (Not the proper, traditional way, my grandmother would have wanted me to note. :) Make sure you stir regularly so everything cooks evenly. Over medium heat, it should be done in about an hour.

  • hoshi

    This is fantastic! I’d love to see more of these in future. Thanks so much, Clotilde.

  • Those recipes are perfect for summer time. We live in a time when how we eat and where we eat is very important. I’m happy to see that people are interested in eating a healthy and tasty meal!

  • The Oily Rose

    This is great. I love the batch cooking idea. I have a blog link for batch cooking 25 pounds of zucchini. Check it out…you will never turn down another zucchini again!
    http://theoilyrose.com/a-zucchini-challenge/

  • Erin Freeman

    My family of 4 followed this plan last week, and it was so great! I loved every meal, and having more time in the evenings without having to blast the oven and scrub a ton of dishes was delightful. I look forward to your next batch cooking plan!

  • Thatburquebelle

    I just did this plan for the entire week. Saturday afternoon was full of delightful, soothing food prep. Our first dinner was on Saturday evening with the rice/ratatouille bowls. My husband, who can be a picky eater, said that this was by far the best ratatouille we’d made at home. The ratatouille wraps were also a hit! I made a second wrap for my husband to take to work that involved a yogurt sauce instead of the tahini, since he doesn’t love tahini like I do. He said both versions were good.

    The chickpea-pepper salad and the zucchini pasta weren’t quite as popular in our house, but good nonetheless. The sweet potato dish was suprisingly delicious, especially since I grilled the sweet potatoes. The everything salad was lovely, filling, and did a great job of taking care of all the leftover bits from the week.

    A couple of things to note:
    1. For the Americans, whose produce is obscenely oversized, could we get weights on how much produce to buy? I know that an eggplant here is easily two in France (and somehow never even half as tasty). I feel like I definitely overbought on the eggplant and zucchini. Now I’m going to make a veggie vindaloo with hardboiled eggs to use it up! :)

    2. My husband in particular felt like the meals weren’t sufficiently filling. I think adding additional protein sources to some of the more protein-light dishes (zucchini pasta and the salads in particular) would help a lot. Most days, it was fine, but I found myself quite hungry by 4 PM after eating lunch as late as 1:30.

    3. If you’re a tahini fiend like I am, go ahead and double the tahini sauce. I ended up making more just because I liked it so much! ]

    4. Since the Everything Salad comes at the end of the week (and it’s summer), you could likely wait to buy the avocados. If you buy them at the beginning of the week, store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. I knew if I held on to the avocados at room temperature for 6 days that I’d be greeted by brown, moldy mush. I refrigerated them the instant they felt sufficiently ripe, and they were perfect for last night’s salad!

    This is a fantastic series of recipes that are healthy and very tasty. Thank you, Clotilde!

    • I loved and enjoyed your thorough and thoughtful feedback. Thank you so much for taking the time to report back with such detail. It will be very helpful to me and others.

  • NotJoking

    Finally did this. I am so impressed. As always, I tweaked here and there for personal preferences but nothing major. Please do more of these, we need to incorporate more veg and fruit into our diet and this was a painless way of doing it. Absolutely delicious, too.

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