These 25 easy makeahead meals are delicious, vegetarian, and excellent for busy families.

In this collection, we’ll explore a variety of healthy recipes that are quick and simple to cook and perfect for prepping ahead of time.

25 Make-ahead meals

If you’re looking to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, these recipes will become your go-to options for busy weeknights.

Say goodbye to last-minute meal planning and hello to delicious, healthy, and hasslefree dinners that your family will love.

We hope these recipes will make your meal planning easier and your taste buds a little happier.

1. Chickpea salad

Chickpea salad in a white bowl

Chickpea salad is an excellent makeahead recipe, as it lasts several days. We recommend it for meal prep, potlucks, lunchbox meals, and picnics.

Keep the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 – 4 days. Take it out of the refrigerator 15-30 minutes before serving, as it will taste better at room temperature.

2. Vegetable soup

Vegetable soup with tortellini

Here is a creamy vegetable soup to make ahead as it keeps well in the fridge for 3 – 4 days. The soup tastes even better on the second and third days, and it’s fantastic with pasta and tortellini.

You can even freeze this healthy soup, let it cool down at room temperature, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container, and freeze it for up to 3 months.

3. Sweet potato chili

sweet potato chili in a dutch oven

Sweet potato chili is a creamy and fulfilling dinner idea to make in advance. It keeps well in the fridge for days, and its flavor gets richer as the chili sits there.

Freezer tip: Let the chili cool down completely, then transfer it into a freezerfriendly container and freeze it for up to 6 months.

4. Lentil curry

Lentil curry with make ahead tips

This is our favorite lentil curry recipe because you can put it together for a delicious weeknight dinner with minimal effort.

It’s freezer-friendly and meal-prep-friendly too. We recommend thawing it in the refrigerator (it’ll take about half a day), in the microwave, or in a pot on the stovetop.

5. Pasta e Fagioli

pasta fagioli in a white pot

This Pasta a Fagioli recipe is excellent for families as it combines a creamy tomato sauce with pasta and tender beans

You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for four days. Warm up in a pot with a dash of water or vegetable broth or in the microwave for 2 minutes.

6. Black bean salad

black bean salad with cilantro lime dressing

This black bean salad with sweet potatoes is a great recipe to make ahead of time, store in the fridge, and serve as you need during the week.

It lasts about four days in an airtight container, and you can eat it cold straight out of the fridge.

TIP: We advise you to keep the avocado out until you are ready to serve it and add some extra dressing the next day, as the salad can dry up in the fridge.

7. Lentil Bolognese

Lentil Bolognese on a white plate with a fork

This Italianinspired lentil bolognese is the perfect recipe to make ahead of time, as its flavor improves as the sauce sits in the fridge.

You can make this vegetarian recipe up to 5 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge, ready to be spooned onto your everyday meals.

8. Falafel

Make ahead Falafel recipe

Falafel is excellent for meal planning, as you can make it ahead in two ways:

  • Once cooked in oil air in an air fryer, they keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days before losing most of their crunch.
  • Make the batter, and leave it in the fridge for up to 7 days. The batter is even tastier after a couple of days as the herbs and spices meld with the chickpeas.

9. Rice salad

Rice salad with fresh parsley

Rice salad is an excellent recipe to make ahead and use for meal prep, potlucks, and lunchbox meals. It’s best to make it one day ahead to allow the flavors to meld.

We recommend keeping it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 – 4 days, then take it out 15 – 30 minutes before serving to improve flavor.

10. Zucchini boats

fresh parsley and lemon added on top of the stuffed zucchini

Zucchini boats are excellent to make as they keep well for a few days and reheat well in the microwave.

TIP: You can assemble and freeze the zucchini boats before baking them. They keep for about three months in the freezer. Thaw them in the refrigerator for a few hours, then bake and serve with tzatziki or sour cream.

11. Split pea soup

Split peas soup with spinach and hand

Split pea soup is an easy one-pot dinner that you can make with protein-rich dried split peas and a few other simple ingredients.

Make it ahead, let the soup cool down completely, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

12. Hummus

Hummus stored in an airtight container

Hummus is a fantastic recipe for meal prep and making ahead. You can use dry or canned chickpeas and use a blender or a food processor to obtain a creamy result.

TIP: Hummus keeps well in the fridge, but we recommend a quick blend with a bit of water if it dries up too much after storing.

13. Couscous salad

couscous salad with fresh veggies

Our couscous salad is the perfect meal to make ahead as it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to three days.

The next day, the salad will taste even better as the flavors have time to meld. We highly recommend serving it with fresh lemon, tahini sauce, or this 5-minute yogurt tahini dressing.

14. Lentil vegetable soup

lentil vegetable soup with spinach

This easy lentil vegetable soup is an excellent recipe to make ahead, as you can refrigerate it for several days or freeze it for months.

Also, on the second and third days, the soup tastes better than when it’s freshly made because the flavors and spices have time to meld.

15. Fried tofu

Fried tofu with silver fork

Use these crispy tofu cubes for curries, salad, pasta, and grain bowls.

Like air fryer tofu, this proteinpacked topping and snack takes 15 minutes to cook and stores for 3-4 days in the fridge.

16. Red pepper pasta

Make ahead Red Pepper Pasta

You can make this creamy red pepper sauce in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a mason jar. It makes an excellent and healthy pasta sauce that will please the whole family.

Freezer tip: You can freeze the sauce for up to 3 months. We sometimes make a double batch and freeze half of it for busy weeknights.

17. Sweet potato curry

sweet potato curry with white rice and yogurt

Sweet potato curry is a great meal prep recipe because the curry becomes more flavorful on the second and third days.

Reheat the curry in the microwave with a couple of tablespoons of water stirred in, and serve it with white rice and a dollop of yogurt.

18. Creamy pasta salad

Creamy pasta salad with mayo and olives

This creamy pasta salad with vegan mayonnaise is an excellent recipe to make ahead of time and bring to potlucks or for meal prep.

TIP: We would not recommend making it more than 24 to 36 hours ahead of time because the veggies release water, making your pasta salad soggy.

19. Black bean soup

Black bean soup with parsley and lime juice

Go ahead and make a big batch of black bean soup so you have it ready for the week.

It’s a healthy and tasty dinner to make ahead as it keeps well in the fridge for days, and its flavor improves on the second day.

TIP: Once reheated, serve the soup with fresh lime, cilantro, and tortilla chips for a Mexican-inspired meal.

20. Chickpea pasta salad

meal prep elements for chickpea pasta salad

Here is a healthy makeahead recipe that you can prepare in 15 minutes and store in the fridge.

Store the salad in an airtight container for 3-4 days, and take it out of the fridge 15 to 30 minutes before serving it. The veggies taste much better at room temperature!

21. Tofu soup

vegetables and tofu cubes in a Dutch oven

Store this Asian-inspired tofu soup in the refrigerator, ideally in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

You can warm it up on the stovetop or in the microwave, we recomment garnishing with fresh scallions and cilantro before serving.

22. Chickpea stew

Chickpea Stew with pita bread

This chickpea stew is a tasty and easy everyday dinner and make-ahead meal.

With a rich tomato base and sweet potatoes, you will enjoy a wholesome meal served with pita bread or rice.

NOTES: The recipe is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free, and stores for 4-5 days in the fridge.

23. Sweet potato gnocchi

Sweet potato gnocchi and storage tips

You can prepare these sweet potato gnocchi ahead of time and freeze them straight after you shape them.

Alternatively, you can store them uncooked in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

24. Zucchini soup

zucchini soup with cannellini beans

This creamy zucchini soup is an excellent appetizer and light dinner idea.

You can keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days, and reheat them in a saucepan on the stovetop or a bowl in the microwave.

TIP: Once reheated, serve the soup with croutons, crostini, or bruschetta for a fulfilling meal.

25. Eggplant curry

Eggplant curry with white rice

We finish this list with a Buttery-tender eggplant curry recipe that takes about 30 minutes to make.

You can easily make this recipe ahead and let it cool down to room temperature. We store it in the fridge for up to 3 – 4 days and reheat it in the microwave or a pot with some water.

More healthy make-ahead meals

Prechopping vegetables for make-ahead meals can save time and potentially extend the freshness of your ingredients.

If you bulk prepare chopped vegetables, you can streamline your cooking process and make it easier to eat healthier.

Meal prep with vegetables

For many more dinner ideas, check out our mains category page.

easy make ahead meals

Make-ahead Meals

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 1 vote
Chickpea salad combines humble chickpeas with fresh, colorful veggies and a tangy, flavor-packed mustard dressing.
You can make this recipe in 15 minutes with simple seasonal ingredients. It's tasty, wholesome, and b
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 – 6 people
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Side dish
Cuisine: American


For the salad

  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas or 1½ cups of cooked chickpeas, drained
  • cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • cups cucumber diced
  • ½ cup olives sliced
  • cup red onion chopped
  • ½ cup corn
  • cup parsley chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado optional, diced

For the dressing

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice sub apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard yellow or Dijon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup sub honey
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin optional


  • To a large bowl, add 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (drained), 1½ cups cherry tomatoes (halved), 1½ cups cucumber (diced), ½ cup olives (sliced), ⅓ cup red onion (chopped), ½ cup corn, ⅓ cup parsley (chopped), and 1 ripe avocado (diced).
    ingredients in a bowl
  • In a small bowl, whisk 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, ¾ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
    dressing in a bowl
  • Pour dressing over salad and toss well.
    Chickpea salad in a bowl with a fork


  • Pasta: boil ½ pound of pasta in plenty of salted water as per package instructions. Drain it, cool it down under running water, and add it to the chickpea salad.
    chickpea pasta salad in a bowl
  • Farro: rinse 1 cup of farro and cook it in vegetable broth as per package instructions. Let cool down then add it to the salad.
    mediterranean farro salad with chickpeas
  • Quinoa: rinse and boil 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of lightly salted water for 10-15 minutes. Let it cool down then add it to the salad.
    Quinoa chickpea salad with fork


Easy Chickpea Salad (lunch idea in 15 minutes)


Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 portion of chickpea salad out of 4, with avocado.
Make ahead: Chickpea salad is an excellent make-ahead recipe as it lasts several days. We recommend it for meal prep, potlucks, and picnics.
Refrigerator: Keep the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 – 4 days. Take it out of the refrigerator 15-30 minutes before serving, as it will taste better at room temperature.
Freezer: We don’t recommend freezing this recipe.


Calories: 379kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 732mg, Dietary Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 753IU, Vitamin B6: 0.3mg, Vitamin C: 30mg, Vitamin E: 4mg, Vitamin K: 68µg, Calcium: 75mg, Folate: 168µg, Iron: 3mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 68mg, Zinc: 2mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

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