30 Make-Ahead Dinners for Quick Weeknight Meals

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When I think of wintertime, I imagine months of cozy, cooked-from-scratch meals enjoyed by the fireside, and soups and homemade vegetable broth simmering on the stove alongside homemade teas.

But, let’s get real. Despite what Pinterest or Instagram leads us to believe, that’s not a reality for most people.

Many people (myself included) are often looking for quick meals to whip up for dinner and ready-to-go leftovers for lunch. So we’ve compiled some great make-ahead dinners for those weekdays when you don’t have time to simmer and stir and stoke the fire, but instead find yourself needing to quickly refuel after a long day.

All of these dinners can be made ahead of time, and kept in the fridge for a few days, or frozen for future use. Freezer-friendly foods are a life-saver when it comes to extra busy weeks and nights where you just don’t feel like cooking. My favorite freezer meals are hummus (yep, you can freeze hummus!), bean and lentil stews, and any creamy vegetable based soups, along with other helpful foods like homemade veggie burgers and fritters.

Always make sure to let foods cool completely before freezing, and store in airtight containers to keep the food fresh. You can freeze in solid Pyrex containers, in small glass jars (quart sized mason jars are not for freezing), or even in resealable (zippered) bags. Be sure to label your foods so that you don’t forget, and if you’re planning on really stocking up, adding a date can be helpful too. Most freezer foods should be eaten within six months for best flavor.

Bean and Lentil Based Stews for Your Fridge and Freezer

edamame stew

Hearty Edamame Stew

1. Squashy Black Bean Stew

2. Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew

3. Butternut Squash and Heirloom Bean Chili

4. Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

5. Lentil Chili

6. Egyptian Edamame Stew

7. Moroccan Black Bean Stew Recipe

8. Hearty 4-Bean Stew Recipe


Vegetable-Based Soups to Last You all Week

winter squash soup

Creamy Winter Squash soup to keep you warm.

9. Curried Squash Soup

10. Winter Squash & Pear Soup with Sage

11. Colorful Kale and Autumn Vegetable Stew

12. Roasted Red Pepper Soup

13. Pesto Minestrone Soup

14. Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup

15. Vegetarian Irish Stew

16. Creamy Carrot Soup

17. Hearty Tomato Lentil Soup

18. Tomato Coconut Kaniwa Stew


Freezer-Friendly Snacks & Meals

black bean burgers

black bean burgers to stock your freezer!

19. Beet and Carrot Veggie Burgers

20. Vegan Black Bean Burgers with Cream Sauce

21. Green Lentil Burgers

22. Chickpea Burgers with Tahini

23. Savory Corn Fitter

24. Marrakesh-Spiced Squash Fritters Recipe

25. Freezer-Friendly Hummus


Make Ahead Meals (Not So Freezer-Friendly)

tofu scramble vibrant wellness

sausage and tofu scramble: make today, eat breakfast burritos all week!

26. Caramelized Onion, Lentil & Rice Stew

27. Curried Lentil Salad With Capers & Currants

28. Stewed Mushroom Tacos 

29. Vegan Frittata

30. Sausage & Tofu Scramble



Complete Guide to Cooking Beans
7 Warming Bean Soups for Winter
Homemade Chai Tea Recipe

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