These 25 easy make-ahead 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.
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 hassle-free dinners that your family will love.
We hope these recipes will make your meal planning easier and your taste buds a little happier.
Chickpea salad is an excellent make-ahead 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.
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.
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 freezer-friendly container and freeze it for up to 6 months.
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.
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.
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.
This Italian-inspired 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our couscous salad is the perfect meal to make ahead as it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to three days.
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.
Like air fryer tofu, this protein-packed topping and snack takes 15 minutes to cook and stores for 3-4 days in the fridge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a healthy make-ahead 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Pre-chopping 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.
- Roasted vegetables (great for barley salad, farro salad, and Mediterranean bowl).
- Microwave sweet potatoes (use in gnocchi and sweet potato muffins).
- Air fryer zucchini or air fryer eggplant (use with pasta, grain bowls, and as healthy side dishes).
- Pre-chopped fresh vegetables stored in airtight containers (use them in orzo salad, quinoa salad, and pasta salad).
For many more dinner ideas, check out our mains category page.
For the salad
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas or 1½ cups of cooked 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
- 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).
- 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.
- Pour dressing over salad and toss well.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.