" We're here to facilitate your plant-based journey "

PlantPlate.com is here to provide the recipes, information, and practical advice needed to follow a healthy plant-based diet. Whether you're interested in improving your health, losing weight, or eating more sustainably, a whole foods plant-based diet may be the perfect solution for you.

My name's Emma, and I started PlantPlate in 2013 with the help of my husband Scott, a web developer and fellow plantivore. I’m a certified Plant-Based Nutritionist who loves to cook, and I've followed a plant-based diet for over a decade. Having lived in various locations throughout the world - sometimes on a shoestring budget, and often with irregular and demanding work schedules - I’ve had to constantly adapt my diet in order to make it work. It’s taught me a lot, and it’s motivated me to show others just how accessible and enjoyable this way of eating can be.

The recipes featured on PlantPlate are based on minimally processed plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. They're free from all animal products, processed oils and refined carbohydrates, and are made with simple and affordable ingredients. Our articles are aimed at providing you with plant-based know-how when it comes to shopping, cooking, nutrition and day-to-day living. We have answers to common questions and share practical knowledge that we have acquired through experience. Finally, the resources section contains links to books, DVDs, and video presentations from some of the world's leading experts on plant-based nutrition. It is our hope that these resources will help you to fully understand and evaluate the health benefits of this wonderful way of eating.

Welcome to PlantPlate!  We hope you enjoy your visit. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email us at contact@plantplate.com.

The information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat health problems or illnesses without first consulting your doctor.

Guide to Plant-Based Batch Cooking

Want to save time, money, and take the stress out of planning and cooking on work days? Batch cooking is a fantastic way to take care of all three! Learn how to cook efficiently for the week ahead, with our comprehensive guide to batch cooking.

Recently, I have heard from many people who are trying to eat a whole foods plant-based diet, but don’t have a lot of time for cooking during the week. Others feel that the amount of time they are spending in the kitchen is getting exhausting, and is adding some stress to their daily lives. This is something I can definitely relate to! Whether you’re busy with work, kids, studying, or life in general, planning and cooking meals at the end of the long day can feel like an overwhelming task. One of the best ways to avoid having this happen, while ensuring you’ve always got healthy meals prepared, is to batch cook!

Batch cooking is a term that can apply to a few different preparation methods, such as doing all your cooking for the week on just one day (or two), cooking large batches of plant-based staples up at once (like rice, beans or potatoes), or simply making recipes in very large quantities so you have meals left over for later in the week. Whatever the process, batch cooking will ultimately help you save time - and money - and can help you stay on track with healthy eating when life gets a bit hectic.

 

Batch Cooking for the Whole Week

For those of you who are busy on most weekdays, setting aside one day per week to batch cook your meals can be extremely helpful. Though you will have a few hours of labour up front, you won’t have any planning, prepping cooking or cleaning up to do for the 5 or 6 days following your batch cook. You can just warm dinner up when you get in the door, and have your lunches ready to grab each morning too!

Whether you’re cooking for one person, two people, or a family, a weekly schedule of 3-5 recipes is a good way to go. Since you’ll be cooking them all on the same day, it’s a good idea to select one or two really simple recipes that don’t take long to prepare. You’ll also want to pick recipes that make at least 2-4 servings, and meals that will keep well after being refrigerated or frozen for a few days.

For an example of a weekly batch-cooking program, see the tables below:

 

Individuals & Couples

 Monday  Recipe 1   Recipe 3 
 Tuesday  Recipe 2   Recipe 3
 Wednesday   Recipe 1  Recipe 4
 Thursday  Recipe 2   Recipe 5
 Friday  Recipe 1  Recipe 4
 Saturday  Recipe 2  Recipe 5
 Sunday  Recipe 1  Recipe 4

 

* Take note: some recipes will need to be doubled or halved, depending on how many servings you need (i.e. for 1 or 2 people).

 

Families

(Dinner-only plans are ideal for family families, as kids and adults may have different needs when it comes to lunches.)

 

 Monday  Recipe 1
 Tuesday  Recipe 2
 Wednesday  Recipe 3
 Thursday  Recipe 4 
 Friday  Recipe 2 
 Saturday   Recipe 3
 Sunday  Recipe 4

 

 

Once you have your menu and recipes planned, make a list of all the ingredients that you need. Don’t forget to include additional items, such as wholemeal bread, whole grains, and extra vegetables to accompany meals, if needed. Shop from the list, then set aside a morning or afternoon (3-4 hours) to get all your meals prepped and cooked. Start with the recipe that has the longest cooking time, and work backwards from there. Try to get ingredients for the next recipe prepped while the previous one cooks or simmers, as this will help you save time. When the meals are cooked, portion individual or 2-person servings out into containers, pop 2-3 days' worth in the fridge, and freeze the rest. Then, simply defrost and warm your meals as needed- it’s that easy!

There's also more to batch cooking than saving time. Cooking in bulk, repeating meals, and grocery shopping with a specific list of items are all things that can help you reduce your food budget. If you really want to keep it inexpensive, select recipes with several overlapping ingredients, and focus on making meals that use inexpensive items such as lentils, rice, and frozen vegetables.

 

Batch Cooking Staples

If you don’t want to follow a really structured plan, but want to have healthy items on hand to prepare your meals with, you can batch cook a bunch of plant-based ‘staples’ instead. This could include:

  • Soaking and cooking a big batch of chickpeas or beans, then portioning the cooked legumes out into 1-2 cup measures for use in soups, salads, or chillies (check out our guide to cooking legumes here.)

  • Cooking one or two big batches of whole grains - such as brown rice, barley, millet, or quinoa - to accompany meals during the week (check out our guide to cooking whole grains here.)

  • Roasting large trays of potatoes, sweet potatoes and / or winter squash (pumpkin) for using in meals, or enjoying as between-meal snacks.

  • Preparing batches of dips, spreads or sauces that will help you pull together meals in minutes, such as:

 

Below is an example of how to do a staple batch-cook:

Task 1: Soak 1-2 cups of dry beans or chickpeas (or both) overnight.
Task 2: Drain & rinse the legumes, then put them on to cook (refer to our legume-cooking guide here, if needed).
Task 3: Pop 2-3 cups of brown rice / quinoa / buckwheat / millet / etc. on to cook (refer to our grain-cooking guide here, if needed). Rice cookers are very handy for this task as they don’t require your attention!
Task 4: While the legumes and grains cook, wash a bunch of potatoes and / or sweet potatoes. Pop them on a lined baking tray, and roast in a 210°C oven until tender. (Don’t cook more than you are likely to eat within 3 days.)
Task 5: Prepare a double batch of Oil-Free Hummus, Spiced Carrot & White Bean Dip, or Tun-a-way Salad while the potatoes are cooking. Transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate.
Task 6: Allow the grains, legumes and potatoes to cool for 20-30 minutes after cooking. Transfer items to separate containers, refrigerate 3-4 days' worth, and then freeze any excess grains and legumes.

 

This whole process should only take a couple of hours, and will provide you with enough base ingredients for several days' worth of lunches and dinners (at least!) To create meals quickly and easily using these staples, you should keep a variety of vegetables on hand, as well as seasonings and condiments. Frozen vegetable mixes are very useful- they require no prepping or washing, and cook in next to no time. You can throw them into soups, stews and curries, or steam them as a side dish. Lettuces, salad mixes, baby spinach, rocket (arugula), cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, radishes and carrots are good to have on hand so you can throw a salad together in a pinch. You can also use raw veggies to make a snack plate, with dip to accompany. Dress your salads with a simple combination of citrus juices and vinegar, or prepare one of our oil-free dressings in advance, and keep it in the fridge.

 

Batch Cooking Individual Meals

Another easy way to ensure that you always have healthy plant-based meals on hand? Double recipe quantities when you are cooking, then freeze the leftovers. There may come a time when you get home too late to cook a proper meal, or have to grab a meal on the go- and in these moments, your stash of healthy freezer meals will prove to be invaluable! Just make sure that the recipe you’re cooking is suitable for freezing. Soups, stews, curries and chillies are all great freezer-friendly choices.

As we always say, preparation is key when it comes to healthy eating!

 

Need more meal ideas for your batch cook? Check out our 'Freezer-Friendly' recipe section!

 

Would you like to learn more? Check out these related articles: