30 Healthy Freezer Meals to Make Ahead

On busy nights, these easy freezer meals will help you get a healthy dinner on the table without a lot of fuss. They include cozy soups, pastas, and more!

Freezer meals

When I want to get a quick, healthy dinner on the table, freezer meals are the first thing I turn to. These easy meals aren’t store-bought frozen dinners, but the soups, stews, and casseroles that I make ahead and freeze myself. Stored and reheated the right way, these freezer meals are just as flavorful as they were on the day they were made. When I have a stash of them on hand, making a delicious, healthy dinner is as simple as heating one up!

Below, you’ll find my favorite freezer meals to make ahead, along with my best tips for storing and reheating them. So pick a recipe, make a big batch of it, and save the leftovers for another day. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!

9×13 Freezer Meals

Baked pastas and enchiladas are some of my favorite make-ahead freezer meals. They’re comforting, satisfying, and guaranteed to please, whether I’m warming them for a crowd or just Jack and me.

To freeze these recipes, fully assemble them up to the point of baking. Tightly cover the baking dish and freeze for up to 3 months. When you want to serve them, bake, covered, at 350°F for one hour, or until heated through. Then, if the dish you’re making has a layer of cheese on top, uncover and bake until the cheese is browned and bubbling. So easy!

vegetarian lasagna

Best Vegetarian Lasagna
My philosophy on vegetarian lasagna? The more veggies, the merrier! Roasted mushrooms, fennel, onions, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, and leeks pack this recipe with exciting textures and flavors.

Vegetarian enchiladas

Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas
Roasted butternut squash, scallions, and black beans fill these comforting veggie enchiladas. Serve them with sliced avocado, cilantro, and a big squeeze of lime juice on top!

Easy baked ziti

Easy Baked Ziti
Dollops of lemony ricotta create a delicious creamy layer in the center of this spinach baked ziti.

Stuffed shells

Stuffed Shells
Heads up: the method I use for reheating these stuffed shells is a little different from the one I use for the other recipes in this section. I still fully assemble the shells before freezing, but instead of baking them from frozen, I transfer them to the fridge to thaw overnight, or for at least 10 hours, before I bake them. Then, I bake them, covered, for 30 minutes, or until they’re fully heated through. They come out perfect!

Chili and Bean Freezer Meals

These easy freezer meals are a staple in our house throughout the fall and winter. To freeze them, fully prepare the recipes and allow them to cool to room temperature. Then, transfer them to freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Place containers in the fridge to thaw overnight or defrost them in the microwave. Tip: I like to freeze individual portions so that I can reheat one for a quick and easy lunch!

Pot of vegetarian chili - best freezer meals

Easy Vegetarian Chili
On a cold night, this smoky, spicy chili will warm you up from the inside out. It’s fantastic with a side of homemade cornbread or jalapeño cornbread. They both freeze perfectly too!

Cannellini beans and greens - healthy freezer meals

Cannellini Beans and Greens
Served with a slice of crusty bread, these lemony white beans are a nourishing, warming, and satisfying meal.

Black bean chili - best make-ahead freezer meals

Black Bean Chili
This thick, hearty chili is great on its own…but it’s even better with all the fixings! Pile your bowl with Greek yogurt or vegan sour cream, pickled red onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and/or avocado to take it over the top.

Veggie Burger and Ball Freezer Meals

The next time you’re cooking veggie burgers or balls, double the recipe and freeze half for later! Stash the cooked, cooled patties or balls in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, bake them at 400°F for 10-20 minutes, or until fully thawed and heated through.

Easy black bean burger - healthy freezer meals

Easy Black Bean Burger
These easy bean burgers are SO simple to make! They come together in under 30 minutes.

Baked falafel wrap

Crispy Baked Falafel
When I find a stray bag of this crispy, herb-flecked falafel in my freezer, I feel like I’ve won the lottery. Serve it with pita, fresh veggies, and hummus or tahini sauce for a fresh, flavorful vegetarian meal.

Veggie burger with avocado, lettuce, and red onion - healthy freezer meals

Best Veggie Burger
Made with meaty mushrooms, walnuts, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce or tamari, these vegan veggie burgers have an amazing savory flavor.

Best vegan meatballs - make-ahead freezer meals

Best Vegan Meatballs
Serve them over pasta, or stuff them into subs with a handful of arugula and lots of marinara.

Saucy, “Meaty” Freezer Meals

Have you tried cooking with green jackfruit? With its mild flavor and meaty texture, it’s a great plant-based substitute for pulled or shredded meat. I love to use it to make saucy BBQ sandwiches and spicy vegan tacos, and both fillings freeze perfectly. Transfer them to the fridge to thaw overnight and reheat them on the stove, or defrost them in the microwave. And don’t forget – hamburger buns and tortillas freeze well too. Keep some on hand, and you’ll be able to assemble these recipes in no time!

BBQ jackfruit sandwiches

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches
My plant-based version of a pulled pork sandwich. Top it with pickles and a quick cabbage slaw for a delicious crunch.

Vegan tacos with mango salsa - healthy freezer meals

Vegan Tacos
Love sweet and spicy flavors together? You HAVE to try this recipe! The easy mango salsa offers a refreshing contrast to the flavorful jerk-spiced taco meat.

Freezer-Friendly Soups

Soups are the healthy freezer meals I make most often. They’re soothing, warming, and perfect for lunch or dinner. To be honest, almost any soup recipe will freeze well, but to get you started, I’ve shared a few of my favorites below.

To freeze these recipes, allow them to cool completely after cooking. Then, transfer them to airtight containers and freeze. Keep in mind that soup will expand in the freezer, so don’t fill your containers completely. Allow frozen soup to thaw in the fridge before reheating it on the stove, or defrost it in the microwave, stirring every couple of minutes.

Best Lentil Soup

Best Lentil Soup
Coconut milk and curry spices fill this soup with rich, warming flavor.

Potato leek soup - easy freezer meals

Potato Leek Soup
Blended white beans add plant-based protein to this creamy, dairy-free soup.

Cabbage soup - healthy freezer meals

Cabbage Soup
An entire head of cabbage wilts down into this nourishing veggie soup.

Butternut Squash Soup
We have this fan-favorite recipe on repeat throughout the fall and winter. It’s smooth, creamy, and full of sweet, earthy flavor from the squash and fresh herbs.

Black bean soup - make-ahead freezer meals

Black Bean Soup
This 10-ingredient soup is thick and creamy, with a kick of heat from chipotles in adobo. Tame the spice with a dollop of Greek yogurt, vegan sour cream, and/or avocado.

Many-veggie vegetable soup

Many-Veggie Vegetable Soup
This flexible soup recipe is my favorite way to use up whatever veggie odds and ends I have in the fridge. Cauliflower, broccoli, butternut squash, potatoes, or greens… They’d all be delicious in this many-veggie soup.

Yellow split pea soup - best freezer meals

Yellow Split Pea Soup
Yellow split peas add plant-based protein to this vegan riff on corn chowder.

Creamy tomato soup - healthy freezer meals

Creamy Tomato Soup
This creamy tomato soup isn’t made with any cream. Instead, blended chickpeas create its smooth, velvety texture.

More Favorite Freezer Meals

A few more freezer meals to add to your rotation! Find freezing and thawing instructions in each recipe’s description below.

Homemade taquitos - best freezer meals

Homemade Taquitos
Freezer meals have never been more fun! Packed with meaty jackfruit, refried beans, and tangy green chiles, these crispy taquitos are a great addition to any well-stocked freezer. Reheat them from frozen in a 400°F oven for 25 minutes, or until crisp and warmed through.

Easy coconut curry - healthy freezer meals

Easy Coconut Curry
Packed with veggies like cauliflower, butternut squash, peas, and spinach, this aromatic coconut curry is one of our go-to healthy freezer meals. Serve it over cooked white or brown rice, which – heads up! – you can also make ahead and store in the freezer.

Butternut squash ravioli

Butternut Squash Ravioli
Making homemade ravioli is a bit of a project, so why not cook once and eat twice? Freeze uncooked ravioli in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet for two hours. Then, transfer them to an airtight freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, cook them in a large pot of salted boiling water until they float, for about 6 minutes.

Vegan freezer burritos

Vegan Breakfast Burrito
Forget their name – these yummy tofu and veggie burritos would make a great meal at any time of day. To freeze the burritos, fully assemble them and wrap them tightly in foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Transfer one to the fridge to thaw overnight before zapping it in the microwave to heat it through.

Make-Ahead Components

To me, some of the best freezer “meals” aren’t meals at all. Instead, they’re freezer-friendly components that give you a head start on making a full meal later. Take pasta sauce, pizza dough, and cooked grains. Once you have them on hand, you can easily make a healthy, home-cooked dinner without a lot of fuss.

Basil pesto - best freezer meals

Basil Pesto
Or vegan pesto or kale pesto! Freeze them in ice cube trays so that you can thaw as much or as little as you’d like at a time.

Marinara sauce - healthy freezer meals

Marinara Sauce
Keep marinara handy in your freezer, and you’ll never have to buy the store-bought kind again! To freeze it, allow it to cool completely, transfer it to an airtight container, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Homemade pizza dough

Homemade Pizza Dough
The next time you make homemade pizza, double the dough! Once it rises, freeze half in an airtight container for another night. To use it, allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before you stretch it.

Bowl of cooked rice for freezer meal prep

Rice
One of my favorite ways to meal prep is to batch-cook and freeze grains like rice, quinoa, and farro. That way, whenever I need a wholesome side dish or a base for a grain bowl, I just have to pop one in the microwave to thaw. To freeze cooked grains, spread them in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze for two hours. After that, you can transfer them to a freezer bag or container without them clumping together.

Cooked black beans in blue pot - healthy freezer meals

Black Beans or Instant Pot Black Beans
Or any home-cooked beans. They all freeze perfectly! They’re more flavorful than their canned counterparts, and once you have them in your freezer, they’re equally convenient. Add them to chilis, salads, or soups, or serve them as a side dish.

Freezer Meals: Freezer-Friendly Veggie Soup

rate this recipe:
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves 4
This healthy veggie soup is one of our favorite freezer meals to make ahead!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced
  • ¼ cup dry white wine, optional
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • cups chopped kale

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the carrot and sweet potato, stir and cook 2 more minutes.
  • Add the wine, if using, and cook for about 30 seconds to reduce by half, then add the canned tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the cherry tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, chickpeas, and cover and cook 10 to 15 more minutes, until the green beans are tender.
  • Stir in the vinegar, kale, an additional ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste), and more pepper. Let cool, then transfer to glass storage containers.

Notes

12 comments

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  1. Rose
    05.24.2022

    5 stars
    Awesome..!! Amazing and creative post.

  2. Sarah Diggdon
    03.29.2022

    5 stars
    This is awesome!!!
    Here’s a thought, the Tulsa Food Bank is proud of it’s make and freeze meals for people needing meals, it would be great to convince them to use these recipes with fresh food and move away from the idea that people in need deserve meals made with old, less nutritious food and maybe attach a how to compost for that spectrum of the food life cycle.

  3. Sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    02.01.2022

    5 stars
    thank you for all of these, especially the chilis, they are more or less the set of ingredients that best match my diet and easy, and to freeze ahead even easier, especially during the week!

  4. 5 stars
    I love your recipes. You are my go-to for all recipe ideas. I love the photography and your recipes are easy to read and follow. So clean and visually very pleasing. I made this soup and it was awesome. I use garlic better than bouillion. I love it for all soups. Thank you for inspiring me.

  5. Great recipe
    07.28.2021

    5 stars
    nice and creative post along with recipe

  6. Jenny Rohr
    09.30.2020

    How long do the frozen meals keep? Prepping for my first baby, thanks !

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.06.2020

      Hi Jenny, I generally keep things for up to 2 months in the freezer.

  7. Yrsa
    08.09.2020

    I freeze my soups in glass jars, that are leftover. Just don´t fill them to the rim, that way they are easy to carry to work and is like 1 portion. Thanks for your blog, really useful.

  8. lucie
    02.18.2020

    Thank you for this, very very helpful!

  9. next full moon
    02.17.2020

    5 stars
    I tried a sweet potato at thanksgiving and the kitchen aid spiralizer wouldn’t work. Which size did you use?
    Looks delicious !

  10. Nausheen from tastedrecipes.com
    02.17.2020

    This post is very helpful. And can I store food in a plastic bag or anything else?

  11. Trish
    02.16.2020

    This post is everything. I have both of your books. And this is super helpful in terms of motivating me to do some batch cooking. I just got some two cup and one cup silicone freezer trays and now the inspiration to fill them!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.