Whether you're a new parent, a full-time student, or a busy professional who doesn't always have time to cook, meal prepping a few vegetarian freezer meals makes life SO much easier later on.
Batch cooking and freezing meals ahead of time is also a great strategy if you're new to meal prep. Once you have a few dishes in your freezer stash, you won't have to cook from scratch every week. Just thaw and reheat!
Freezing meals is pretty simple, but there are a few handy tricks that will help you maintain the best taste and quality. Here are my favorite freezer tips and freezer-friendly recipes!
Benefits of Vegetarian Freezer Meals
Why should you store prepared meals in the freezer? There's no better way to save time and money while supporting your health.
- Batch cooking and freezing meals is more convenient than cooking from scratch every single day.
- You can freeze homemade meals to get more beneficial nutrients than many packaged convenience foods.
- You'll save money by pulling a homemade dinner out of the freezer instead of eating out.
- There's less food waste when you freeze your leftovers and other foods that are about to go bad.
- On busy days, you can save time in the kitchen by thawing an already-cooked dish.
How Long Can You Store Food in the Freezer?
According to the USDA, you can safely eat frozen cooked food almost indefinitely.
The quality of frozen meals (that is, their taste and texture) may suffer after about 3 months. You can reference their freezer storage chart for specific foods on the USDA website.
Meals That Don't Freeze Well
You can safely freeze almost any food, except eggs in the shell and canned foods. (Remove the egg from the shell/food from the can first if you want to freeze it.)
For taste and quality reasons, there are some foods you may want to skip freezing.
- Delicate lettuces and most salads and slaws
- Recipes with cream or mayonnaise as the primary ingredient
- Hard-boiled eggs
Meals That Freeze Well
Some dishes maintain their quality especially well in the freezer.
- Sauce-based dishes, like soups, stews, and curries
- Fully cooked grains and pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils, and dry peas)
- Prepared foods such as oatmeal, veggie/bean burgers, burritos, and breakfast sandwiches
- Muffins, waffles, cookies, and other baked goods.
Tips for Freezing Food
- Spread cooked food out on sheet pans or break it into smaller portions to cool more quickly before freezing (adding large amounts of hot food directly to the freezer can increase the temperature to an unsafe level).
- To prevent fruits and vegetables from sticking together once frozen, spread them on quarter sheet-pans and freeze for one hour. Then transfer to airtight bags and store in the freezer.
- Leave pasta and other starchy ingredients slightly undercooked when you freeze them so they don't get mushy and overcooked once reheated.
- Store food in airtight containers to prevent freezer burn. I like Stasher reusable silicone storage bags but the regular plastic freezer bags also work. (Be sure to squeeze out all of the extra air before you close the bag.)
- Store food in individual portions so you don't have to thaw the entire batch for a single meal.
- Always label bags with the name of the food and the date.
Tips for Thawing Frozen Food
- Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave
- Plan ahead if you're thawing in the refrigerator (this is my preferred method). Smaller items can thaw overnight, but larger portions can take up to two days. Cook the thawed food within three days.
- Immerse a frozen bag of food in cold water for faster thawing. Close the bag tightly and change the water out every 30 minutes.
- Microwaving is the fastest way to thaw frozen foods. Plan to eat microwaved foods immediately after thawing since they might get hot and cook during the defrosting process.
- Refreeze unused portions within 3-4 days.
For more tips, check out my ebook, Easy Vegetarian Meal Prep.
Vegetarian Freezer Meals
Looking for freezer-friendly recipe inspiration? Here are my favorite vegetarian freezer meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For more make-ahead recipe links, download my FREE guide, 100+ Vegetarian Meal Prep Ideas.
Freezer-Friendly Breakfast Recipes
Kickstart your days with energizing and balanced vegetarian freezer meals. You'll find lots of sweet and savory options below!
This make-ahead vegan breakfast has fresh, fruity flavors from strawberries and bananas. Portion the baked oatmeal into squares, wrap or bag up individually, and freeze for up to six months. (sponsored recipe)
A quick and easy hot breakfast with sweet and tart flavors from Meyer lemons. Add toasted nuts and coconut flakes for extra texture. Add the toppings right before serving. (sponsored recipe)
A healthy, on-the-go breakfast made with natural ingredients and cozy, fall spices. Enjoy them right out of the freezer!
Whole grain muffins have more fiber, so your blood sugars (and energy levels) stay more balanced. Individually wrap or store in separate airtight bags and freeze for up to three months.
These gluten-free muffins are easy to bake and packed with spicy, Indian-inspired flavors like turmeric and cinnamon. Individually wrap or store in separate airtight bags and freeze for up to three months. (sponsored recipe)
Hearty Banana Pecan Oat Muffins are easy to make, perfect for meal prep, and packed with fiber from whole grains and fruit. Individually wrap or store in separate airtight bags and freeze for up to three months.
Even better than zucchini bread, these whole wheat zucchini waffles are quick-and-easy breakfast perfection. Reheat and top with butter and maple syrup just before serving.
Pancakes get an upgrade for fall with pureed pumpkin, oat flour, maple syrup and warming spices. Separate into individual portions and wrap or store in airtight freezer bags for up to three months.
Whether it's for breakfast or breakfast-for-dinner, you can't go wrong with this veggie frittata, which is freezer-friendly for up to three months. Slice into wedges and wrap in plastic or store in freezer-safe bags.
Make this Mediterranean-inspired breakfast casserole dish with eggs and leftover sourdough bread. Slice into wedges and wrap or store in airtight bags in the freezer for up to three months. (sponsored recipe)
Freezer-Friendly Soups and Stews
Soups and stews are classic vegetarian freezer meals for good reason. The liquid base makes these dishes taste freshly cooked after thawing and reheating.
This easy Carrot and Lentil Soup features a cozy blend of warming spices (lots of garlic and ginger!), along with rich and creamy coconut milk for added texture. Bolstered by protein and fiber-rich red lentils, this naturally vegan bowl is hearty (and nutritious) enough to serve as a complete meal all on its own.
This make-ahead taco soup has two types of protein-packed beans. To store, portion and freeze the soup in airtight containers for up to three months. For the best texture, leave off the toppings until you're ready to serve.
Comforting Vegan Potato Soup made with white beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh herbs. To store, freeze the soup in an airtight container and keep the croutons in a cool, dry place.
Simmer mushrooms and protein-rich yellow split peas in a spicy, Indian-inspired broth to make this freezer-friendly soup, which you can store for up to three months.
Protein-rich lentils bump up the nutrition in this Vegan Turmeric Soup. Prep it in one pot and store in the freezer for up to six months.
Cook dry beans, sweet potatoes, and spicy chipotle peppers in your Instant Pot to make this hearty Black Bean Soup. For the best texture, store the crispy tortilla strips in an airtight container in a cool, dry place until you're ready to serve the thawed soup.
Blend creamy oat milk with sweet corn and three types of peppers to make this crave-able vegan corn chowder soup. Freezer-friendly for up to three months. (sponsored recipe)
Bean chili gets a spicy, garlicky upgrade with the addition of harissa chili pepper paste. This simple, plant-based lunch or dinner recipe is freezer-friendly for up to three months.
Plant-based stew made extra cozy with root vegetables and split peas. Make it for St. Patrick's Day or anytime you're craving some plant-based comfort food.
Vegetarian Freezer Dinners
Casseroles, curries, bowls, and cooked pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils, and dry peas) are the MVPs of make-ahead dinner recipes. Prep and freeze these dishes ahead of time for a convenient weeknight meal.
A totally plant-based version of the Indian-inspired dish with yogurt-marinated tofu cooked in a rich and creamy (and spicy!) coconut-tomato sauce. Make it in a skillet or the Instant Pot and freeze for up to three months.
Is there anything cozier than butternut squash curry with hearty Brussels sprouts and protein-packed lentils? Freeze it with a serving of brown basmati rice for a complete meal.
Layer up these vegan Tofu Skewers with cubed tofu and a rainbow of fresh vegetables and slather with a garlicky and herbaceous chimichurri sauce for a protein-rich plant-based meal. Remove the tofu and vegetables from the skewers and store in an airtight bag in the freezer for up to three months.
Beans and greens make a classic pantry meal with a healthy mix of nutrients for a satisfying lunch or dinner. Portion and freeze for up to six months.
A hearty vegan bowl with sweet potatoes, kale, and an easy, homemade maple-turmeric sauce for fall. Store each portion in an airtight bag in the freezer for up to three months.
This vegan burrito has it all: crumbled tofu simmered in a spicy adobo sauce, cilantro-lime quinoa, corn, and mashed avocado. Wrap burritos in aluminum foil and freeze in an airtight bag for up to three months.
Load up roasted sweet potatoes with sweet and spicy BBQ tempeh and vegetables for a simple, 7-ingredient lunch or dinner. Wrap each loaded sweet potato in plastic or store in individual airtight bags in the freezer for up to three months.
Stuff spicy poblano peppers with black beans and corn, bake them in the oven, and top them off with a tangy cilantro-lime avocado sauce. Freezer friendly for up to three months.
Creamy coconut curry makes these stuffed peppers perfect for freezing in advance. Wrap each pepper in plastic or store in individual airtight bags in the freezer for up to three months. (sponsored recipe)
Layers of seasonal vegetables, tortillas, and melty pepper jack cheese make a Mexican-inspired casserole that you slice into individual portions and freeze for up to three months.
Enchiladas are one of the best freezer meals! This vegetarian version has spinach, mushrooms, and crunchy walnuts. To serve, reheat the enchiladas and add the toppings.
Save these vegetarian freezer meals on Pinterest.