Depending on what kind of planner you are in life, meal prepping is either your favorite hobby or something you totally dread. When thinking of meal prep, it’s hard to not picture three long hours of chopping, mincing, and slow-cooking meats and veggies. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve rounded up meal-prep lunch recipes that’ll only take you 15 minutes to cook up, tops.
That means your Sundays can still be reserved for you time and you don’t have to be depressed about spending $15/day on a soggy desk salad or lackluster sandwich. From healthy quinoa burrito bowls to Bolognese with zucchini noodles, these fast meal-prep recipes are where it’s at.
1. Roasted Brussels Sprout Polenta Bowls
We take back every single time we thought Brussels sprouts weren’t that fun. This recipe reinvents the veggie by dousing it in balsamic and putting it over polenta. Both are then accompanied by caramelized onions, kale, and harissa sauce, making this the most ideal (and exciting) lunch your desk has ever seen.
2. Curry Shrimp Bowls
It’s time to retire your olive oil and vinegar dressing. This Indian-inspired shrimp is the only topping you’ll be needing to get your greens (or cauliflower rice) extra robust in flavor. Think: red curry powder, turmeric, smoked paprika, and marsala.
3. Vegetarian Quinoa Burrito Bowls
Quinoa has been on the scene for a while now. But, instead of overspending at your take-out salad spot to get your grain bowl fix, whip one up at home for cheaper. And bonus, you’ll know exactly what’s going into it. You can churn this protein-rich recipe out in no time that’s made up of quinoa, black beans, corn, cilantro, spices, lime juice, and avocado.
4. Chili Lime Mango Quinoa With Tofu
With only 15 minutes needed on the clock to cook up the tangy and protein-rich tofu over quinoa, this recipe takes the cake for those with minimal weekend time to spare on food prepping. Expect sweet mango, a bit of spice from the chili powder, and a refreshing crunch from the cucumber and fresh cilantro. You will thank yourself again and again Monday at noon when you have two minutes between meetings to gulp down something healthy.
5. Spicy Cilantro Chicken
If you have an Instant Pot, consider it your golden ticket to fast meal-prepping. You can whip up this meal in only seven minutes with the gadget. But, if you don’t own one don’t fret either. This recipe is just as perfect on the stovetop. Make your rice according to package directions, then add the tomatoes and beans. Sear your chicken (covered in spices of course!) at the same time on any frying pan.
6. Arugula Pesto Pasta
Don’t be afraid of pasta because it’s a carb. Moderation is the name of the game, and this recipe won’t feel like your cheating on your healthy eating goals. You’ll be satisfied longer thanks to the fiber (which means less afternoon snacking). Plus, you’re getting in your greens with the addition of arugula, broccoli, peas, and zucchini. If you’re a gluten-free eater or just want a different base, swap in a chickpea alternative and you’ll be adding plenty of protein to your lunch too.
7. Bolognese With Zucchini Noodles
If you haven’t eaten zucchini noodles yet in your life, this is your year to zoodle it up. We love the spiralized veggie because it fills you up just as much as regular pasta (praise be for all that water content) but they’re not empty carbs. When you pile turkey Bolognese on top, you’re going to forget there’s a veggie underneath all of that goodness.