The secret to a successful meal prep includes a few steps. First, take some time to plan out quick, yummy recipes beforehand that call for a few of the same ingredients, or look for ingredients you know will keep well as leftovers. This way, you'll keep kitchen time to a minimum. Then, strive to make only one trip to the grocery store, to stock up on fresh produce and proteins that can be used in several different meals throughout the week.
To get started, refer to our roundup of recipe suggestions below. We included a few vegetarian and vegan options, as well as easy chicken and salmon-based dishes. These 15 recipes will help you plan for a week of balanced, quick, and delicious eating.
Keep scrolling for our favorite recipes that couldn't be easier to meal prep.
Easy Vegan Fried Rice
Aromatics and vegetables stud a batch of brown rice that's easy enough to portion out throughout the week. To make Pickled Plum's easy vegan fried rice, pan fry garlic, oil, and veggies like diced carrots, mushrooms, and spinach in a wok.
Pro Tip: Omit cashews for meal prep; instead of stirring them in, add the nuts just before serving.
This easy, sweet, and tangy recipe from Pickled Plum only calls for seven ingredients and takes 15 minutes of cook time. For tender, succulent balsamic chicken, marinate chicken breast in a balsamic rice vinegar blend, dijon mustard, olive oil, honey, and garlic.
Pro Tip: Pickled Plum recommends pairing this dish with a dry white or sparkling wine to "make this already very tasty balsamic chicken pop even more!"
Veggie Sheet Pan Pizza
You can have all the comforting, cheesy goodness of a pizza while also squeezing in some veggies thanks to this recipe from Sugar Salted. Choose your favorite vegetables—any will work as long as they're thinly sliced. This sheet pizza in particular features corn, bell peppers, and zucchini, which we included in several of the other recipes on our list so you can use them in more ways throughout the week.
Pro Tip: Try Sugar Salted's easy pizza-dough recipe if you want to make everything from scratch or simply use a store-bought option.
One-Pan Chicken Casserole
One-pan dishes are a huge time-saver in the cooking and cleaning departments. But they can also taste (and look) fancier than they sound. Case in point? This chicken and zucchini casserole recipe from Half Baked Harvest. It only takes about 45 minutes to make, and it's packed with all your major food groups, so you don't have to worry about serving it with a side dish or add-ons. Pack leftovers for lunch the following day. If there's extra extra, stick it in the freezer.
Pro Tip: Instead of crushed cornflakes, writes Half Baked Harvest, you can sub with potato chips, Ritz Crackers, "Or even use a mix of all three."
Sweet Potato Cauliflower Curry
This flavorful plant-based recipe is brought to us by Minimalist Baker and only takes 30 minutes to make. You'll need sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower, coconut milk, and seasonings including curry paste, ginger, shallots, garlic, and lemon juice.
Pro Tip: Serve it with your favorite grain or a slice of naan.
Chicken Satay Bowl
This recipe from Food Faith Fitness was designed with meal prep in mind, so it's super practical. This perfect combination of light and hearty, with a savory sauce made from nut butter, lime, agave, and rice vinegar will hit the spot for a desk-side lunch at work, or family meal. The best part is that it only takes 25 minutes to make, including that delicious satay sauce.
Pro Tip: If you make enough chicken during this cooking session, you can repurpose it throughout the week in other recipes, rather than having to start from scratch with raw meat during a time-strapped evening.
Veggie Wrap With Cilantro-Lime Chutney
This wrap recipe from Salt & Wind is refreshing, light, and incredibly healthy. During the workweek, it's also really easy to eat on-the-go between meetings. It's also complete with split peas, cucumbers, carrots, avocado, and kale to meet your nutritional needs; Greek yogurt and a cilantro-mint chutney for a dose of saucy texture; and scallions, onions, and garlic for some oomph all wrapped up in lavash.
Pro Tip: "Split pea dip can be made up to 4 days ahead of time. Stir briefly (adding water as needed to make it spreadable) before using," while chutney can be made 3 days ahead.
Chili-Lime Salmon Salad
Do you prefer salmon to chicken? Or maybe you just want to switch things up mid-week? This chili-lime broiled salmon salad recipe from Hola Jalapeño is the perfect midday meal to enjoy at your desk (or to send to school with your kids). It's also healthy, thanks to an abundance of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Pro Tip: If you make enough, save the extra salmon fillet for dinner, and switch things up by serving it with cauliflower rice or a bowl of noodles for a heartier finish to the day.
Easy 3-Cup Chicken
If you're on the lookout for a healthy alternative to your go-to Chinese takeout order, this is it. From Half Baked Harvest, this three-cup zucchini chicken recipe is super easy to make, and it promises all the comfort you'd expect out of this classic dish. It takes a total of 30 minutes to make, and you'll need seasonings like ginger, vinegar, and sesame oil.
Pro Tip: This recipe yields four servings, so enjoy it throughout the week with different side dishes to switch things up, or double the recipe to feed a family with room for leftovers the next day.
Sweat Pea Farro Risotto
For a light and fresh vegetarian option, opt for this fiber-rich farro recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon. It's packed with greens like peas and ribbons of zucchini (hello again, vegetable hero of the week), as well as sweet corn. It's the perfect thing to bring to work for a quick, light lunch, or pair this farro risotto with some leftover chicken.
Pro Tip: When deglazing pan with wine, allow it to almost completely evaporate.
Wrapping spinach, beans, and hummus into an easy, hand-held lunch will only take you 10 minutes to prepare and zero cook time with this recipe from A Couple Cooks. You'll also need chili and garlic powder, cumin, and shredded cheese as an option.
Pro Tip: Make several wraps ahead of time for a week's worth of quick and filling lunches.
Buddha Bowls, like Love & Lemons's recipe template, allows for a lot of mixing and matching. All you'll need are roasted and steamed veggies, the grain of your choice, a pickled vegetable, and your choice of protein (whether that be roasted chicken, lentils, or tofu). Top with a creamy sauce, like a turmeric tahini sauce Love & Lemons provides the recipe for as well.
Pro Tip: Top each bowl with optional microgreens, sesame, or hemp seeds.
Spicy Chicken With Rice and Beans
Pinch of Yum uses an Instapot to quickly prepare a chicken and rice recipe for four. Besides chicken, rice, black beans, and fresh salsa, have spices like cumin, chili and garlic powder on-hand. Garnish with cilantro.
Pro Tip: Opt to top chicken with Pinch of Yum's recipe for 5-minute sunshine sauce.
Honey Ginger Tofu Stir-Fry
For a vegetarian meal that you can stretch across a few days, make Pickled Plum's recipe for honey ginger tofu stir-fry. Tofu, green beans, and red bell pepper get their flavor from garlic, honey, ginger, and soy sauce.
Pro Tip: You could double or triple the sauce recipe and store extras in the fridge for up to a few weeks.
Sesame-Sweet Potato Falafel Bowls
Components to Yes to Yolks' sweet potato falafel bowls can be prepped ahead to enjoy all week. Make falafel from sweet potato, chickpeas, garlic, coriander, paprika, chili paste, and sesame oil; then roll in sesame seeds before baking. Serve over greens and veggies like tomato, cucumber, and pickled onions.
Pro Tip: Create a sauce from Greek yogurt, lime juice, tahini, and water to thin out sauce to your preference, writes Yes to Yolks.