There are numerous strategies to prep meals ahead of time and save yourself tons of time during the week to prepare meals. I hear so often that you all struggle with finding the time and energy to prepare healthy meals each and every day. I get that!!
In this post, I am sharing some of my favorite vegetarian meal prep ideas and recipes. It’s a collection I’ve created of various posts by a of several other food bloggers that are out there!! I continue to be amazed at the creativity out there and the many different ways to approach the problem of not having enough time to cook.
Using special equipment
At the top of my list of vegetarian meal prep ideas is using various tools and technology to help save you time in the kitchen. Of course, they often come with a price tag but I find that often they are worth it in the long run.
Here are my all time favorite kitchen tool timesavers:
- Food processor
- Slow Cooker or Instant Pot
The instant pot seems to be all the rage these days which may be why 3 out of the 4 recipes here include using it to cook various dishes. I’ve used all these at one point or another except for the instant pot. But after reading these recipes and seeing how quickly you can throw together a meal, it’s at the top of MY Kitchen Wish List.
What is your favorite timesaving kitchen tool? What’s at the top of YOUR Kitchen Wish List? Tell me in the comments below!
This recipe is comfort food in a flash!! Who doesn’t love creamy delicious macaroni and cheese?? Plus, you get the added bonus of a healthy boost from the spinach and artichokes!!!
And even better than being so yummy and nutritious…it’s ultra quick and easy to get this meal on the table!!!
If you are looking to change up your meal prep routine try this dish!!! Delicious vegetarian Indian dal made with yellow split peas flavored with ginger, cumin and turmeric. Perfect served with brown rice or Naan bread and your yogurt sauce. Thanks to the Instant Pot this dish is ready to go in less than 15 minutes!!
Another tool that works super well to speed up the cooking process is a vegetable spiralizer. This tool makes noodles from veggies which take substantially less time that pasta to cook. This recipe uses the spiralizer to create zucchini noodles and a blender to make the avocado cream. This entire dish can be ready to serve in 10 minutes!! Top it with beans or grilled fish or shrimp which are also healthy quick options to prepare to make a whole meal.
My favorite short cut equipment is the food processor and blender. I look for every opportunity to use them and save me some time. In this recipe, Peruvian pesto sauce is easily blended using the food processor or blender to create a lovely green pesto with basil, spinach and garlic. Serve it up with your favorite vegetarian toppings and whole wheat noodles.
Quick and easy recipes
Some recipes are just simply quick and easy to make without the use of any special equipment. Choosing ingredients that cook quickly along with a recipe that is super simple while still delivering on flavor, is the key in this vegetarian meal prep idea.
Another vegetarian meal prep idea is to stock your pantry with some of these quick cooking ingredients. My favorite time saving ingredients:
- Black, Brown and Green Lentils (30 minutes)
- Red Lentils (20 minutes)
- Canned Beans
- Pre-cut Veggies
- Whole Wheat Pasta
- Brown Rice
Get a delicious veggie packed meal with only 7 ingredients in less than 30 minutes!! A play on pizza using portobello mushroom caps in place of the pizza crust. So yummy and good for you!! Combine it with a quick salad and voila…dinner is served!! I’d recommend throwing in some quinoa or legume on your salad for a little bit of a protein boost which will improve your satiety and satisfaction.
Sometimes it’s the choice of ingredients that make an recipe quick and easy. In this recipe, using canned beans turns this dish into a basic quick saute of the greens and a heat up of the beans. It needs to cook just long enough to allow the flavors to meld and the ingredients to heat. The recipe is perfect for an entrée when served over whole wheat pasta or brown rice or use it as a side dish for your meal.
This recipe is made with red lentils which are the fastest variety of lentils you can prepare. The red lentils are paired with canned chickpeas, sweet potatoes and lots of seasonings. Dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes. Serve it with brown rice for a complete meal.
A healthy and delicious fried rice. I like the addition of the kimchi for a bit of a different flavor and it provides you with some probiotics!! Cook the rice in advance and chill to save yourself some time on the night you plan to serve this dish.
Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse and so easy to make in a rush. They generally cook faster than regular potatoes. This recipe does take a little longer to prepare but most of it is hands-off since it’s just the potatoes cooking in the oven. This fact makes it a quick and easy recipe as well!!
All the flavor and comfort food goodness of traditional lasagna but way easier to prepare. This skillet lasagna is ready to eat in just 35 minutes!! The recipe makes use of a few time saving ingredients such as prepared marinara sauce and oven ready lasagna noodles to speed up the process. In addition, the recipe eliminates the whole layering and lengthy process of a more traditional lasagna recipe.
Simplify dinner by cooking the veggies together on one pan. This meal goes together quickly and easily, and works perfect as a quick weeknight dinner or a take to work lunch. Veggies and chickpeas are flavored with fresh herbs and garlic and then drizzled with Eggplant Tahini Sauce.
Make ahead/soups or casseroles
Stocking up your freezer on the weekend or when you have some free time is an excellent way to save time during the week. There are many types of foods that work well for this method but, I find the best foods to prepare ahead are soups and casseroles. This method also works for preparing meals to take on the go. Simply transfer the soup or casserole into smaller containers and freeze leaving you with meals to take with you to work as you need them.
Casseroles can sometimes require a bit more time to prepare but soups are often hands-off meaning that while they may need an hour to cook, they don’t require you to be present at the stove during the entire process.
A fun spin on the traditional lasagna by adding in some SPICE!!! Use store bought pasta sauce and add some taco seasoning to change up the flavor. Then layer it up with lasagna noodles, black beans and other veggies. Make it ahead and simply reheat when you are ready to serve.
This recipe isn’t a soup or casserole and is a bit time consuming, but still works well as a make ahead recipe!! The whole recipe makes 3 dozen tamales so you get enough for quite a few meals. Plus a large part of the time to in the recipe is hands-off simply cook time. Make a batch and throw them in the freezer in individual servings to pull out quickly on the go. Pair them with a salad or cooked vegetable for a complete meal.
This recipe takes less than an hour to make and is packed full of spicy Thai flavors!! I like the idea of making a batch on the weekend and freezing it to take along for a satisfying lunch meal during the week. One recipe makes up 6 meals to freeze and use as options during the week!!
Another Peruvian classic!! This soup is super easy to make and besides being a beautiful bright green it also tastes great. The flavor and color both come from the cilantro, lime and spicy peppers used in the soup. Full of legumes and fresh veggies, it’s packed full of nutrition.
Take on the go/transports easily
Let’s face it, somethings are just easier to take to eat on the go making them crucial as vegetarian meal prep ideas. I think of salads, sandwiches and hand-foods (those foods you can with your hands) as being the best choices for to take to work. These options are also often great because they don’t require a method to reheat either. You can simply eat them room temperature or cold.
I am a sucker for most Latin food and this recipe was a new food for me. I think that they are super easy to make either for a breakfast or light lunch on the go. They are small compact and are tasty hot or cold.
Asian flavors explode in this super quick noodle salad. Plus the colors are just fabulous from all the veggies packed in it!!
This super tasty salad is ready in less than 30 minutes and you can definitely pack it up to go. I’d recommend either taking it as a side dish or topping it with some chickpeas to add some protein and make it a bit heartier for an entire meal.
I wouldn’t usually think of transporting tacos…just too complicated. But this blog post shows you exactly how to pack them up and take them with you. So whip up a batch to take for the next Taco Tuesday!! Keep the rest to eat up another day!!
These salads are perfect for a take to work meal!! I like to use a jar to pack it up to take along but any type of packaging works. You can even make them up a keep them for 2-3 days before eating them. And they have lots of flavor thanks to the sauce options!!
Other vegetarian meal prep ideas
I am sure there are LOTS of other ways to meal prep. What works for you? What tools and equipment do you just LOVE to help you save time in the kitchen? I want to hear about your ideas and strategies so be sure to leave me a comment below!!
Here are some of my other recipe posts and timesaving techniques that you may find interesting…