The Best Base Recipes to Make For Meal Prep
Shredded Chicken Master Recipe
This easy slow-cooker method preps chicken for a multitude of recipes. Bonus: Rich-tasting chicken stock to keep on hand in your freezer as well.
Colorful Roasted Sheet-Pan Veggies
These easy roasted vegetables will give your plate a pop of color. Give the cubes of butternut squash a head start for 10 minutes to soften in the oven before adding in the other veggies. The broccoli, peppers and onion are naturally more tender than the butternut squash and cook more quickly. That way everything ends up finishing at the same time.
Easy Brown Rice
Here's the only recipe you need to make perfect brown rice every time! This healthy whole grain is great on its own as a side dish, or use it in your favorite recipes calling for cooked brown rice.
Soy-Lime Roasted Tofu
Here we marinate tofu cubes in soy sauce and lime juice with a touch of toasted sesame oil, then roast them--perfect tofu every time.
Drizzle this basil salad dressing over sliced tomatoes or cooked green beans. Or toss it into a grain salad for a pop of fresh summertime flavor. Refrigerate for up to 5 days. The vinaigrette will discolor, but will remain flavorful.
This classic hummus recipe couldn't be easier--just toss a few ingredients in the food processor and whir away! Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) makes this healthy dip extra smooth and creamy. Serve with veggie chips, pita chips or crudités.
Muffin-Tin Quiches with Smoked Cheddar & Potato
Potatoes, cheese and greens make this mini quiche recipe delicious and satisfying. Bake up a batch over the weekend and you'll have breakfast available in a hurry for the rest of the week.
Purple Fruit Salad
Serve this refreshing fruit salad featuring juicy plums, grapes and berries on its own or with other colorblock fruit salads (like red, green and orange) for a fun, crowd-pleasing rainbow side dish.
This vibrant green hummus recipe couldn't be easier--just toss a few ingredients in the food processor and whir away! Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) and avocado make this healthy dip extra smooth and creamy. Serve with veggie chips, pita chips or crudités.
Roasted Buffalo Chickpeas
Soaking chickpeas in vinegary hot sauce gives them a mouthwatering tang before they crisp up in the oven. The result? An addictively crunchy snack that's actually good for you.
Seeded Whole-Grain Quick Bread
Bake this healthy, seedy loaf on Sunday and you can enjoy it all week--if it doesn't disappear first. This quick bread recipe is the perfect vehicle for both sweet and savory toppings, so try it as avocado toast one day and with honey the next. Store it tightly wrapped, as all the seeds make it a little more apt to dry out than typical whole-wheat breads.
Here is a great, all-purpose salad dressing. The pleasing pungency of Dijon mustard makes it a good match for slightly bitter greens, such as escarole, chicory, radicchio or Belgian endive. It also makes an irresistible dipping sauce for crunchy vegetables (especially fennel) and crusty whole-wheat bread.
Cherry-Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Skip the granola bar options at the grocery store--they're easy to make at home! You can vary the add-ins to your taste, swapping 2 cups of any combination of small (or chopped) dried fruit, nuts and/or seeds for the chocolate, cherries and coconut in this version. We tested several sticky sweeteners, including maple syrup and honey, but found brown rice syrup held the bars together the best.
Sheet-Pan Roasted Root Vegetables
One pan is all you need for a heaping pile of nutritious, tender and colorful root vegetables. Whip up this large-batch recipe at the beginning of the week to use in easy, healthy dinners all week long.
In this easy roast chicken recipe, two whole birds cook side-by-side on one pan, which means you only have to heat the oven once but you'll have enough leftover chicken for days. Rotating the chickens on the pan during roasting ensures all sides are evenly cooked and golden brown.
This foolproof recipe for perfectly cooked quinoa is fast and easy! Use cooked quinoa as a simple healthy side dish, in a salad or as a base for a delicious main dish.
Chicken Sausage and Peppers
Colorful peppers and tomatoes and sweet onion make this sausage dinner pop with fresh flavor. Roasting instead of sautéing makes this even easier for a busy weeknight.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
This vibrant orange hummus recipe couldn't be easier--just toss a few ingredients in the food processor and whir away! Roasted red peppers make this healthy dip extra flavorful. Serve with veggie chips, pita chips or crudités.
Creamy Blueberry-Pecan Overnight Oatmeal
In this no-cook overnight oatmeal recipe, just quickly reheat the oats in the morning and top with berries, maple syrup and pecans for an easy, on-the-go breakfast.
Green Fruit Salad
Serve this refreshing fruit salad featuring juicy melon, grapes and kiwi on its own or with other colorblock fruit salads (like red, purple and orange) for a fun crowd-pleasing rainbow side dish.
Homemade Trail Mix
Try this with portable mix with any combination of dried fruits and nuts.
Chickpeas roasted in the oven become a tasty, healthy snack in this easy recipe. If making a double batch, be sure to use two rimmed baking sheets so the chickpeas have enough room to crisp up.
This versatile citrus salad dressing gets a touch of natural sweetness from orange juice, which balances the acidity of the lemon juice. Use it in coleslaw for a mayo-free dressing, or drizzle it over winter greens with dried fruit and nuts.
Crazy Herb Spice Mix
Make a big batch of this super-herbed spice mix to have on hand when you need to whip up a quick vegetable dip or flavorful, easy salad dressing. The spice mix is also perfect to give as a hostess gift along with a recipe card for turning it into a dip or vinaigrette (see Tips, below). For the freshest, most economical spices, head to a store that has a large, well-stocked bulk spice department.
Fruit & Nuts Snack Mix
Whip up a big batch of this sweet and salty mix for on-the-go fuel or to have on hand for after-school snacks.
In this balsamic vinaigrette recipe, the addition of Italian seasoning adds an extra layer of flavor and spice. Use as a quick and easy balsamic vinegar salad dressing or as a balsamic marinade for chicken that's delicious and moist.
Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup
Make a big batch of low-calorie veggie-packed soup with ease in this load-and-go crock pot recipe. After simmering away in the slow cooker, portion it into individual serving containers and store in the fridge or freezer for fast, healthy lunches or an easy, satisfying snack. This weight-loss vegetable soup fills you up without a lot of calories, plus it's an easy way to eat more vegetables.
Vegan Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Having a stash of flavorful bean burritos in your freezer means you'll always have a satisfying plant-based meal ready for a grab-and-go breakfast on a busy morning. Our vegan breakfast filling—made with tofu and prepared to mimic scrambled eggs—is tossed with beans, veggies and salsa for a delicious and ultra-satisfying meal.
Slow-Cooker Pasta e Fagioli Soup Freezer Pack
Your favorite restaurant soup just got easier and healthier with this freezer-to-crock-pot recipe. If you keep a special bottle of olive oil on hand for stand-out dishes, this is the recipe to pull it out for. The headiness of the fruity olive oil truly elevates the flavors in this Italian meal-prep slow-cooker soup.
Sautéed Peppers & Onions
This simple technique of cooking onions and peppers is a useful way to get your veggie servings in. They're quite versatile--use these peppers and onions on a burger or sausage sandwich, stuff them into quesadillas or layer them into casseroles.
Roasted Tomato & Almond Pesto
The delightful richness of Ellie Krieger's sundried tomato and almond pesto is a perfect partner for nutty whole-wheat pasta. It's also delicious spread on grilled chicken.
One-Pot Greek Pasta
A little bit of Sunday meal prep goes a long way in this one-dish Mediterranean pasta recipe. The pasta is cooked ahead of time and stored in the fridge to use for meals all week, but any leftover cooked pasta you have on hand will do. Chicken sausage with feta is especially good in this recipe.
Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes
Two of our favorite comfort-food sandwiches join forces in these family-friendly dinner sandwiches. We found that softer buns make this easier to eat, and it's all the better when wrapped takeout-style in a sheet of foil.
Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Casseroles make perfect meal-prep dinners--this enchilada version is so easy to prep ahead. The whole casserole can be built and left to hang out in the refrigerator for up to three days. Then all you have to do is bake it off on a busy night and you have a healthy dinner on the table in a jiff. The quick homemade enchilada sauce in this recipe is great when you don't have any of the canned sauce on hand--just season crushed tomatoes with spices and salt for an instant enchilada sauce.
Cheese Quesadillas with Peppers & Onions
These 15-minute quesadillas are a notch above basic with the addition of sautéed peppers and onions. Let the kiddos load them up with the toppings at the table.
Cumin Lime Vinaigrette
Try this zippy healthy homemade salad dressing on a steak salad with corn and tomatoes. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. If the oil solidifies, let dressing stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before using.
Basic Herb Pesto
Use any herbs you have on hand (or surplus herbs growing in your garden) in this easy and flavorful pesto recipe. While pestos made from single herbs can be wonderful all on their own, it is also fun to play around with combinations of two or more. Some of our favorites are tarragon, chervil and parsley or mint and cilantro.
Cinnamon Roll Overnight Oats
It takes just minutes to assemble this healthy no-cook breakfast and you'll have meal-prepped grab-and-go breakfasts on hand for the rest of the week. Top these delicious vegan oats—inspired by classic cinnamon bun flavors—with fresh or frozen fruit and your favorite nuts and seeds.
Easy Whole-Wheat Couscous
Feel free to double this simple recipe for whole-wheat couscous to suit your needs. To add more flavor, swap reduced-sodium broth in for the water. After cooking, cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Oatmeal Raisin Granola Bars
These bars, packed with the sweet flavors of raisins and cinnamon, are inspired by oatmeal raisin cookies—but they're completely nut-free so they're school-friendly. We tested several sticky sweeteners, including maple syrup and honey, but found brown rice syrup held the bars together the best. Individually wrap the bars airtight and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette with Shallots
This healthy homemade salad dressing has just the right amount of sweetness without being cloying. Try it on a salad with fresh strawberries and spinach or arugula. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. If the oil solidifies, let dressing stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before using.
Chicken Freezer Burritos
Transform leftover chicken into a hearty burrito filling! You will be thrilled to have a stash of frozen burritos on hand that you can microwave for an instant healthy lunch or on-the-go dinner for a busy night.