Meal-Prep Vegetarian Beans and Grains


Keep this whole grain base recipe on hand for easy meals on busy days. Use our suggested recipes for a grain bowl or veggie burgers. You can also toss it in a salad or wrap for an even quicker meal option.

bean and grain bowl with fresh vegetables
Photo: Carson Downing
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
12 cups (six 2-cup portions)


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 cup chopped onions

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 32 ounce carton vegetable broth

  • 1 ¼ cup brown or yellow lentils, rinsed and drained

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or Italian seasoning, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 ½ cup tricolor quinoa, rinsed and drained

  • 2 15 ounce cans cannellini (white kidney) or navy beans, rinsed and drained


  1. In a 4- to 5-qt. Dutch oven heat oil over medium. Add onions and garlic; cook 6 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in next seven ingredients (through pepper).

  2. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Stir in quinoa. Simmer, covered, 15 to 20 minutes more or until lentils and quinoa are tender. Drain off any liquid. Stir in beans.

  3. Divide mixture among six airtight containers or resealable plastic freezer bags, using 2 cups for each container. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

  4. If frozen, thaw in refrigerator overnight. Use to prepare Mediterranean Grain Bowls and Vegetarian Burgers.

Mediterranean Grain Bowls

For cucumber sauce, remove 2 tsp. zest and squeeze 3 Tbsp. juice from one lemon. In a small bowl combine lemon zest and juice; 1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt; 1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber; 2 cloves garlic, minced; and 1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper.
Bring two portions Vegetarian Beans and Grains Master Recipe to room temperature or microwave until heated through. Divide among bowls. Top with halved cherry tomatoes; chopped cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives, and, if desired, fresh mint; and crumbled feta cheese. Serve with cucumber sauce, lemon wedges, and, if desired, pita bread and hummus. Makes 4 servings (1 bowl each).Nutrition analysis per serving: 392 calories, 18 g protein, 51 g carbohydrate, 14 g total fat (6 g sat. fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 9 g fiber, 7 g total sugar, 11% Vitamin A, 30% Vitamin C, 1180 mg sodium, 14% calcium, 20% iron

Vegetarian Burgers

Place one portion Vegetarian Beans and Grains Master Recipe in a food processor. Cover and pulse until mixture comes together. Transfer to a medium bowl. (Or place mixture in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until it comes together.) Stir in 1 lightly beaten egg, 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs, 1/4 cup each finely chopped onion and red bell pepper, 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper. Shape into six 1/2-inch-thick patties. Dip patties into 1/4 cup additional bread crumbs, turning to coat.
In a 12-inch skillet heat 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil over medium. Add patties; cook 6 minutes or until browned and heated through, turning once. Serve in butterhead (Boston or bibb) lettuce cups or toasted buns. Top with sliced avocado and tomato. Makes 6 servings (1 burger each).Nutrition analysis per serving: 221 calories, 8 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 10 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 31 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 3 g total sugar, 20% Vitamin A, 15% Vitamin C, 293 mg sodium, 4% calcium, 12% iron

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

240 Calories
4g Fat
42g Carbs
12g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 240
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 503mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 3.7mg 19%
Calcium 57mg 4%
Iron 3.1mg 17%
Potassium 436mg 9%
Folate, total 110mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.2mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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