Vegan Meal Prep: Tips and recipes for pre-cooking
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„Meal Prep“ has become quite a trend. And rightly so! Pre-cooking has many advantages. It saves time and money, you don’t need to cook every day, and a delicious meal, according to your own wishes, is always guaranteed. Especially if you want to eat vegan, you might often have a limited choice of dishes in restaurants, cafes, or canteens. But even regardless of this, pre-cooking is very helpful if you want to have a delicious meal prepared for stressful days.
In principle, almost all recipes are suitable for pre-cooking because most dishes still taste great the next day or can be frozen. However, we think the best meal prep dishes are those that can be prepared quickly as it makes it easier to cook several dishes in a row or at the same time. Therefore, in this article, you'll find a collection of recipes suitable for meal prepping and with a maximum preparation time of 45 minutes.
In addition, we have summarized our best tips and tricks for you to facilitate successful pre-cooking. How long do soups, salads, and other foods keep in the fridge? Which foods are particularly suitable for pre-cooking? We will answer these and other questions!
Tips for successful Meal Prepping
General tips for pre-cooking:
- Plan exactly what you want to cook and eat before going grocery shopping. In our experience, it really pays off to spend a few minutes thinking about it because without a plan, you' ll wander aimlessly through the supermarket, possibly forgetting something and ending up dissatisfied with your pre-cooked meals.
- It's best to reach for foods that can be used for several dishes, as it saves time. However, you should still have enough variety in your dishes to avoid losing your appetite for pre-cooked meals.
- To get more variation in your meals, it's worth experimenting with spices to add different flavors to dishes with similar ingredients. Furthermore, you get more variety through different toppings on soups, salads, etc.
- Some dishes can be changed well, which is nice if you want to avoid eating the same thing twice. Vegetable dishes, for example, can easily be transformed into soups or stews. But also legumes and various grains such as bulgur, pearl barley, millet, etc., do well in a soup or stew.
- Cook all dishes rather al dente, to prevent your food from becoming too mushy when reheated.
- Cook large portions so you can eat the leftovers the next day or freeze them and reheat them when needed.
- Remember to prepare a few snacks or buy them in the form of nuts and fruits, for example, if you pre-cook for many days. After all, the little hunger in between should not be forgotten.
- When cooked and well-sealed, most dishes will keep three to four days in the refrigerator. However, fresh, uncooked foods (such as salads) should be consumed within two days. Accordingly, it's reasonable first to eat all fresh and raw dishes, followed by cooked ones. In addition, nitrate-rich foods such as spinach, kale, chard, or beet shouldn't be reheated and should be eaten as quickly as possible. This is because, otherwise, more bacteria will occur, which can convert the contained nitrate into toxic nitrite.
- If you want to pre-cook for more than four days, you should freeze the dishes. With a few exceptions, almost anything can be frozen, even raw dough. However, the food should be sealed as airtight as possible. Containers with liquid foods should not be filled to the brim, though, as liquids expand when frozen. In contrast, containers with solid foods should be filled completely to prevent the food from drying out. Foods that are not suitable for freezing are fresh salads and potatoes.
- Fresh vegetables cut into small pieces will keep fresh longer if stored in a box or bowl with cold water in the refrigerator.
- Cut-up fruit will stay fresh if you soak it in lemon or salt water for a few minutes before transferring it to a can.
- Lettuce or spinach will keep longer if wrapped in a damp kitchen towel in the refrigerator after washing. Additionally, you can add a little lemon juice to the water when washing spinach or salad.
- Raw dough can easily be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours, allowing you to prepare it a day in advance. You can even freeze it and use it a few weeks later on.
- If possible, all individual components of a meal should be stored separately in the refrigerator and only mixed on the day of preparation. This way, the individual components retain their flavor best. Of course, this does not apply to selected dishes such as potato salad, which benefits from being left to infuse for longer. For leaf salads, on the other hand, the dressing should definitely just be added before eating the salad to prevent the leaves from wilting. Therefore, if you want to eat your salad on the go, you should take the dressing with you in a separate container.
The right containers:
- Some plastic and glass containers are particularly suitable for storing dishes. They can withstand high-temperature differences and thus can go directly from the freezer to the microwave or oven. In addition, these containers are usually very durable. Alternatively, if you don't want to invest a lot of money right away, you can use old screw top or preserving jars or store and freeze food in old ice cream containers.
- When transporting food, it’s important to have leak-proof containers to prevent unpleasant surprises in the bag.
Reheating and thawing food:
When defrosting food, the rule of thumb is: Anything prepared in the oven goes back to the stove. Anything prepared in a pan is reheated in a pan. Everything else is welcome to go in the microwave.
Foods that are particularly suitable for pre-cooking:
- Rice, Mie noodles, oats, buckwheat, and couscous are especially quickly prepared because they don't need to be cooked. Instead, you just need to steep them in hot water, and they are ready to eat.
- Lentils, beans, and chickpeas from a can or jar can be eaten directly and are super delicious in bowls, for example.
- Frozen vegetables are great for pre-cooking because you don't need time for washing, peeling, and cutting them. Additionally, they keep for a long time in the freezer.
- When cooked, potatoes and pasta will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Buying pasta from the refrigerated section in the supermarket saves time because you don't have to prepare any dough yourself and can fully concentrate on the filling or the topping of your dish. Alternatively, you can prepare the dough needed one day in advance to save time the following day.
- Soups, curries, and stews are particularly good for freezing or eating the next day, as they often taste even better warmed up.
Foods that are rather unsuitable for pre-cooking:
Mushrooms and delicate salads or herbs are only suitable for pre-cooking to a limited extent, as they quickly lose their flavor or become wilted.
Recipe ideas for pre-cooking
1. Vegan breakfast recipes
Are you little morning grouches and want to stay in bed as long as possible? We can understand that very well! Nevertheless, it's important to start the day well strengthened. Therefore we have collected some vegan breakfast ideas for you, which can be wonderfully prepared in the evening or several days before and transported well.
7 vegan recipes for breakfast:
Get the recipe (Breakfast polenta with almond butter & figs)
Get the recipe (Tahin granola)
Get the recipe (Vegan Bircher Muesli with Vanilla & Berries)
Get the recipe (10 minutes: Oatmeal with Apple & Hazelnut)
Get the recipe (Vegan Strawberry Breakfast Muffins)
Get the recipe (Vegan Overnight Oats with Homemade Applesauce)
Get the recipe (Vegan Chai Porridge with Blueberries)
Get the recipe (Super easy, vegan Blueberry Granola)
Get the recipe (Vegan Buttermilk Pancakes with Cherry Compote)
Get the recipe (Vegan rice pudding with plum compote)
Get the recipe (Vegan Oat Waffles with Apple Pear Compote)
2. Vegan sandwiches, wraps and tacos
Whether as a hearty breakfast, lunch, or snack for in between - wraps, tacos and sandwiches taste great to go! Making sure your snacks are not getting boring, we have a whole collection of different vegan wrap and sandwich ideas for you.
Recipes for vegan sandwiches, wraps and tacos:
Get the recipe (Vegan Picnic Sandwich XXL à la Muffuletta)
Get the recipe (Vegan “Chicken“ Sandwich with Cucumber-Mint Salad)
Get the recipe (Vegan Peacamole Toast with Radish Salsa)
Get the recipe (Vegan Gatsby Sandwich)
Get the recipe (Vegan Katsu Sando)
Get the recipe (Tortilla Pinwheels with Black Beans & Plant-Based Mince)
Get the recipe (Wraps with Vegan Carrot Lox Spread)
Get the recipe (Vegan Fish Finger Tacos with Minty Mashed Peas)
Get the recipe (Vegan Meatball Sandwich)
Get the recipe (Vegan Croque Monsieur)
3. Vegan salads and bowls
For those who like eating "fresh" - salads and bowls are the right choices. In addition, they have the advantage that they don't need to be reheated before serving. Just make sure to keep your dressings separate and add them to your salad just before eating it, so the salad stays nice and crunchy.
Recipes for vegan salads and bowls:
Get the recipe (Pink glass noodle salad)
Get the recipe (Vegan chicken salad with Jackfruit)
Get the recipe (Fried rice with oyster mushrooms)
Get the recipe (Winter Salad with Couscous, Quinoa, Roasted Veggies and Turmeric Dressing)
Get the recipe (Salad Bowl with Tofu and Carrot Greens Dressing)
Get the recipe (Veggie Bowl with Quinoa, Lentils, Sesame Dressing, and Crispy Chickpeas)
Get the recipe (Vegan Couscous Bowl with Brussels Sprouts & Tahin Dressing)
Get the recipe (Vegan Pumpkin-Ravioli Salad with Grapes and Apple)
Get the recipe (Vegan Greek Salad with Almond-Cashew Feta)
Get the recipe (Vegan Spring Panzanella)
Get the recipe (Summer Chickpea Salad with vegan “Feta Cheese“)
Get the recipe (Vegan Asparagus Pasta Salad with Strawberries)
4. Vegan soups
Soups are ideal for meal prepping because they can be cooked in large portions so that there is enough for the next few days. In addition, they are usually easy and quick to prepare and are great to freeze. Before serving, you can pimp your soup with different toppings or add-ins and thus have a quick dish that always varies a bit.
Recipes for vegan soups:
Get the recipe (Vegan potato soup with smoked tofu)
Get the recipe (Vegan Pumpkin Soup with Turmeric)
Get the recipe (Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup with Roasted Chickpeas)
Get the recipe (Vegan Miso Ramen with Smoked Tofu)
Get the recipe (Vegan Toshikoshi Soba)
Get the recipe (Cauliflower Apple Soup with Cinnamon Nuts)
Zget the recipe (Vegan Tortellini Soup)
Get the recipe (Vegan Thai Coconut Soup with “Chicken“)
Get the recipe (Golden Coconut Soup with Rice Noodles)
Get the recipe (Vegan Creamy Leek Soup with Soy Meat)
Get the recipe (Smoked lentil soup with vegan sausages)
5. Vegan dips
The next party is coming up and because of all the stress, you don't know which preparations to start with first? Or do you have a picnic or dinner date with friends or family? No matter what it's about - salt sticks, crackers, raw vegetables etc. - homemade dips are always a good hostess gift and can easily be prepared in advance. Usually, they taste even better after some hours or days. In addition, you have the advantage that by preparing your own dips, you automatically ensure that vegan dips will be present at your upcoming event.
Get the recipe (Tomato and Mango Salsas with Tortilla Chips)
Get the recipe (Vegan Basic Recipe for Hummus)
Get the recipe (3 recipes for your hummus party)
Get the recipe (Vegan onion dip)
Get the recipe (Vegan Queso Dip)
Get the recipe (Vegan remoulade sauce)
Get the recipe (Vegan Bavarian Cheese “Obazda“)
Get the recipe (Crispy Baked Smashed Potatoes with Vegan Dips)
Get the recipe (Vegan Summer Rolls with 2 Dips)
Get the recipe (Vegan Winter Rolls with Quince Dip)
Get the recipe (Homemade Vegan Herb Spread and Dip)
Get the recipe (Vegan Tzatziki)
Get the recipe (Mango Mustard, Strawberry Ketchup & creamy Onion Dip)
6. for the little hunger in between
Especially on long and exhausting days, snacks in between are essential. At least for those people who get "hangry" at some point without eating regularly. That's why we always have something lying around in the office to snack on and regularly take care of supplies. But snacks are also great for excursions. Don't worry - If you can't or don't want to eat everything in one day, the recipes listed below will keep for a few days in an airtight container.
Vegan snack recipes:
Get the recipe (Tahini amaranth bars)
Get the recipe (Energy balls with amaranth & turmeric)
Get the recipe (No Bake Hazelnut Chocolate Bars)
Get the recipe (Vegan White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies)
Get the recipe (Vegan Almond Millionaire Bars)
Get the recipe (Vegan Frozen Strawberry Bars)
Get the recipe (Vegan Florentine Biscuits)
Get the recipe (Candied Almonds (and Many More Nuts))
Get the recipe (Vegan Spinach Quesadillas)
Get the recipe (Vegan Pigs in a Blanket)
Get the rceipe (Vegan Pizza Rolls)
7. vegan desserts from the day before
Especially if you have little time or expect visitors and have to prepare and cook a lot for them anyway, it can be very convenient to prepare the dessert the day before. Therefore, we have a few delicious dessert recipes that still taste wonderful or even better the next day!
Vegan dessert recipes:
Get the recipe (Vegan Dark & White Chocolate Mousse (only 3 ingredients))
Get the recipe (Vegan Gingerbread Mousse with Caramelized Oranges)
Get the recipe (Vegan Vanilla Pudding with Mango & Chia)
get the recipe (Vegan strawberry cheesecake in a jar)
Get the recipe (Vegan Coconut Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce)
Get the recipe (Vegan No Bake Hazelnut Cheesecake Bites)
Getthe recipe (Vegan Madeleines)
Get the recipe (Vegan Viennetta (Vanilla Icebox Cake with Chocolate))
Get the recipe (Vegan No-Bake Raspberry Yogurt Cakes)
Get the recipe (4 Popsicles you shouldn't miss this Summer)
Get the recipe (Simple Vegan Crème Brûlée)