Meal Prep Can Change Your Life with Robin Asbell

chocolate cupcakes

My long time friend and colleague Robin Asbell has taken time from her always busy schedule to honor us with a guest blog post and a recipe from the newest of her new (that makes 11!) books Vegan Meal Prep.

Vegan Meal Prep book coverRobin Asbell

We met virtually first, more years ago than either of us remember,  when Robin interviewed me for an article in VegNews Magazine. A few years later, we met in person at an IACP Conference and thereafter, Robin stayed in my New York City apartment when she taught at Natural Gourmet Institute and Institute of Culinary Education. I remember being horrified that she didn’t have what I consider to be real snow boots on when she walked through Central Park to my home in very cold temperatures. Robin who is, after all, from Minneapolis, shrugged it off. We’ve kept in touch, although it’s been a long time since we’ve been together in person. I hope that is remedied sooner rather than later, as  I am a great admirer of Robin, the person, and of her work.

Enjoy her post and recipe, and scroll to the bottom of the post for a chance to win a copy of her latest book.

soup bowl
Photo from istock

Vegan Meal Prep

As a culinary instructor and private chef, I meet people every day who want to change the way they are eating. “Oh, I should really try going plant-based. It’s just so hard.” I’ve heard over and over again.

So, I wrote a book to make it easy. Now, when someone tells me that going vegan is just too hard, I have the answer. Vegan Meal Prep: A 5-Week Plan with 125 Ready-to-Go Recipes is all you need to overcome the barriers that stand in the way.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Everyone is busy. But, in the healthy life we all aspire to, eating right is a priority.  Putting good food in your body is too important to leave to chance. Without a plan, you end up at the vending machine or picking up fast food.

chocolate mousse
Photo from istock

Don’t leave it to chance.

With a meal prep plan, it just takes one quick kitchen session, and you are setting yourself up with plant-based prep, to eat for a week. Really. Including treats, because life’s too short to skip the treats!

When you enter a restaurant and sit down at the table to order, you don’t have to think about how that sizzling hot food gets assembled. As a former chef, I can tell you, you are reaping the benefits of meal prepping. Squads of prep cooks have been working all day to prepare all the sauces, cut and par-cook the vegetables, cook the grains, bake the breads, and everything else that needs to be done. That way, you can order your food, and a line cook can assemble all that prep into a stunning meal in minutes.

Meal prepping at home is taking a page from the restaurant world. You can’t walk into the kitchen and make everything from scratch, everyday, any more than a restaurant chef can.

What this book provides is all the lists, menus, and recipes, so you don’t have to wrangle the details. You’ll know how many storage containers to buy to get started. You’ll have a weekly shopping list. You’ll have a game plan for prep day, so you can hit the ground running, get your prep done, and get on with the weekend. With simple, fast recipes, all your prep will easily transform into great breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

So, the next time you come home from work, hungry and tired, take a long look into that empty refrigerator. If you were meal prepping, you’d be eating by now.

chocolate cupcakes

chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Frosting

Robin Asbell
Cupcakes are a busy person’s friend. This recipe lets you stir up a simple banana-laced batter and bake it in far less time than it would take to make a big cake. Once your chocolate cupcakes are cooled, you can stir up an easy frosting to give them a glossy, decadent finish without a smidge of butter.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes



  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) unsweetened plain soy milk
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) ground flax seeds (flaxseed meal)
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) packed light brown sugar
  • 3⁄4 tsp (3 mL) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) melted coconut oil (see tip, page 176)
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) mashed bananas (about 11⁄2 medium)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) confectioners’ (icing) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) unsweetened plain soy milk
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. 
  • In a cup, stir together milk and flax seeds; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk cocoa and coconut oil until blended. Whisk in bananas and vanilla. Whisk in milk mixture until smooth. Gently stir cocoa mixture into flour mixture just until evenly moistened.
  • Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (using rounded 1⁄4-cup/60 mL portions).
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool completely.
  • Frosting: In a small bowl or a measuring cup, combine sugar and cocoa. Stir in milk and vanilla.
  • Spread a heaping tablespoon (15 mL) of frosting on each cupcake. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Tip: You don’t need butter for a thick frosting. Stirring in just enough soy milk for a spreadable texture is easy and lower in fat.
Variation: Mexican Chocolate cupcakes: Add 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon with the salt.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Meal Prep by Robin Asbell with permission. 
Keyword chocolate cupcakes, vegan cupcakes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Robin has a copy of Vegan Meal Prep for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. Contest ends a midnight on April 17th. U.S. residents only, please. Good luck!

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Robin Asbell

About Robin

Robin Asbell is a chef, educator, and author who is dedicated to whole, plant-based foods, and has a talent for making healthy food delicious. She is the author of 11 cookbooks, most recently Plant Based Meats; Hearty, High Protein Recipes for Vegans, Flexitarians and Curious Carnivores (Countryman Press) and Vegan Meal Prep;  A 5-Week Plan with 125 Ready-to-Go Recipes (Robert Rose).

Asbell teaches popular classes and speaks to groups around the US and in Mexico. She brings many years of professional cooking experience and her abiding love of satisfying flavors to all her cooking classes, garnished with a sense of humor and fun.

Her blog The Real Food Journal ( focuses on great plant based food as well as food issues, and her website lists her classes and upcoming public appearances, as well as an extensive recipe archive.

You can check out her latest luscious food and other photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at the handle robinasbell.


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