8 Make-Ahead Meals For Busy Weeknights

Let’s chat make-ahead meals for busy weeknights! You know, for those days that are completely crazy and you are scatterbrained and can’t be bothered to think about dinner.

A collage of four photos of make-ahead meals.

And let’s be completely honest here. I was having one of those days yesterday. Which is what tends to happen when you get home from a trip and then spend the entire weekend doing laundry and other assorted errands to get everything all back to normal.

And then you wake up on Monday morning, pull up your website and proceed to have a minor freak-out because that post you planned on make-ahead meals isn’t there.

Only to realize about two minutes later that you never actually wrote said post and completely spaced on it all weekend long. Ompf. I guess that laundry was distracting.

Which brings us to today. I finally wrote the post! Hip, hip hooray!

I thought it would be useful to put together a list of my favorite recipes that can be either completely or partially made ahead of time. These are recipes that I turn to when I know I am going to have one of those sort of weeks.

So let’s do this! {PS I also included tips for how I prep the recipes down below!}


#1: Summer Garden Veggie Flatbreads

A Summer Garden Veggie Flatbread cut in half on a piece of parchment paper.

I know. It’s not summer. Like at all. But these flatbreads are a staple at our house all year long. I just use different veggies based on what I can find at the store / am in the mood for. Pretty much anything goes here.

Buy some naan. Buy (or make) some hummus. And then chop up all your veggies / herbs in advance. Then all you need to do is bake and assemble during the week. Super simple and super fresh. Total win.


#2: Cajun Quinoa with Sausage and Kale

Two white plates filled with Cajun Quinoa with Sausage and Kale.

Crazy flavorful quinoa that is just so pretty! Plus, this is one of the husband’s favorites.

I make the entire dish in advance. It stores great in the fridge for a few days. Just reheat when ready to enjoy!


#3: Our Favorite Vegetable Fried Rice

A purple bowl and a white dish filled with Vegetable Fried Rice.

Ahhhh fried rice. How I love you.

Two options here. The whole dish can be made in advance. Or you can chop all the veggies and cook the rice (which needs to be cold anyway) ahead of time. With everything ready to go, the meal comes together pretty darn fast!


#4: Mediterranean Chickpea and Lentil Salad

A white bowl filled with Mediterranean Chickpea and Lentil Salad.

This is another dish that I love to make entirely in advance.

And it’s perfect for both lunch and dinner! You can either reheat or just serve at room temp (which is always a plus for packed lunches).


#5: Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili with Farro

Two white bowls filled with Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili with Farro.

And yet another one that I make completely ahead of time. This chili keeps well in the fridge for several days and it also freezes quite nicely. So take your pick.

Then all you have to do is get a few toppings ready on a weeknight. Which is something I can totally handle.


#6: Thai Vegetable Quesadillas with Cilantro Pesto

Several Thai Vegetable Quesadillas on a piece of parchment with a bowl of cilantro pesto.

Gosh I just love quesadillas. So tasty!

So, make the pesto. Make and assemble the quesadillas as directed (but let the filling cool to room temp first). Then wrap each individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. When ready to eat, just cook in the skillet until crisp and hot!


#7: Kale and Eggplant Baked Ziti

A white baking dish filled with Kale and Eggplant Baked Ziti.

Of course I had to include a cheesy baked pasta dish!

Two options for this one. You can assemble the dish in advance and then bake off the night of (either letting it come to room temp first or adding extra time in the oven to get it to warm through). Or you can just bake the dish off right after assembling and then reheat individual servings when needed in the microwave.


#8: Turkey, Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffed Peppers

A blue baking dish filled with Turkey, Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffed Peppers.

I like to make these entirely in advance on the weekend (they take some time to cook in the oven).

They keep well in the fridge for a few days or you can freeze them for another time!


And that about does it! My go-to meals for busy weeks!

So tell me, what are your favorite make-ahead meals. Inquiring minds need to know. Hit me up with links!! Share share. We’re all friends here. Friends who like to eat loads of delicious food.