Whether you’re meal prepping today for a week of healthy lunches or you’re making dinner tonight and want leftovers for lunch tomorrow, this information is for you.
How long can I save spiralized vegetables in the refrigerator? Can they be frozen?
For your easy access, I’ve created a list of all common spiralizable vegetables. On this list, I’ve included how to prepare each vegetable, how to cook it, what its best uses are, which blade works best and most importantly, best practices for storage. To access this list, click here.
FYI: zucchini and cucumber noodles do not freeze well.
Which spiralized vegetables work best for prepared lunches?
All vegetables work best for prepared lunches. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind with certain vegetables:
- Zucchini & Cucumbers: if using these vegetables, make sure that the noodles are separate from any sauce or dressing. By separating, you avoid excess moisture building up and making a soggy mess. If you really want to use zucchini noodles, try adding elements that will soak up that moisture (such as leafy greens – ie kale, cheese, etc)
- Apples & Pears: fruits brown quickly and lose their crispness, so unless you’re planning on eating the meal that day or you don’t mind a little browning and soft fruit noodles, avoid spiralizing these in advance.
- Kohlrabi, Jicama, Daikon Radishes: if you’re using these raw and fitting them into a container, beware: they’ll snap easily when packed tightly.
- Beets: Beets are messy raw and less messy when cooked, so when packing in advance – keep this in mind and plan accordingly (wouldn’t want to ruin those slacks or that crisp white blouse at your desk, would you?)
- Butternut Squash: If you haven’t noticed yet, butternut squashes tend to over-soften quickly when cooked – they break up easily and aren’t the sturdiest (but are dang delicious!) Keep this in mind, in case you had your heart set on a full pasta-like experience for lunch.
- Zucchini (separated from sauce/dressing)
- Cucumber (separated from sauce/dressing)
- Potatoes (all kind)
- Daikon Radish
- Broccoli stem
Which types of spiralized meals work best for prepared lunches?
If you’ve got access to a kitchen at your office or wherever you are at lunchtime, I suggest spiralizing the vegetables and cooking them in advance, and keeping the noodles separate from the sauce/dressing. When it’s time to eat, just reheat the sauce and add to the pre-cooked noodles (the sauce will heat up the noodles)!
If you’d like to make the complete meal in advance, these types of meals save the best:
- “Raw”/cold dishes: If the dish requires no cooking or is better served chilled, it’s a win-win!
- Spiralized rice: since rice dishes tend to not be made with vegetables that release excess moisture, they’re perfect for prepping completely in advance and reheating.
- Non-zucchini noodle dishes with ragu-type sauces: If you’re making a bolognese over sweet potato noodles, this can easily be reheated and enjoyed. However, if you’re making a zucchini noodle dish with a bolognese, the water content in the zucchini noodles will thin out the bolognese and take away from its originally delicious flavor.
- Example: Lamb Ragu over Celeriac Noodles
- Non-zucchini noodle dishes with sauces: Similar to the ragu-type sauces tip above, any type of sauce can be used with spiralized vegetables and can be reheated for lunch.
- Dishes with no sauce: If your recipe doesn’t call for a heavy sauce, that’s perfect – it will reheat well. Bonus points for recipes with cheese – the heated cheese will melt nicely into the noodles. This works with zucchini noodles!
- Example: Zucchini Pasta Primavera
- Example: One Pot Basque Chicken with Red Potato Noodles
- Pesto pastas: Pesto sauces work well with all vegetables and reheat well. Actually, the olive oil in the pesto works to our advantage with zucchini noodles. Throw in some kale, spinach or another vegetable that will absorb excess moisture, and you’ve got a pesto pasta, fit for lunch!
- Example: Beet Noodles and Kale with Pesto
- Noodle dishes or soups that don’t call for zucchini noodles: If you make a big batch of a spiralized noodle bowl or soup, you can definitely reheat it for lunch – unless it uses zucchini noodles. I don’t recommend this, since zucchini noodles will again thin out the soup and make it less flavorful altogether. However, it’s total personal preference, at the end of the day.
- Wraps and sandwiches: any noodle, any ingredient – collard green wraps (or any type of sandwich wraps) work brilliantly! Just wrap tightly in tinfoil or paper and secure with tape when packing for lunch.
- Spiralized salads: As long as there aren’t any fruit noodles in there, spiralized salads generally work well if they’re pre-made, as long as they don’t include zucchini or cucumber noodles (which can cause a soggy salad!)
- Casseroles: If you eat hearty lunches, then you’re in luck: non-zucchini noodle casseroles work fabulously when reheated.
What are the best containers for saving prepared spiralized lunches?
The container that keeps your prepped spiralized veggies, meals and sauces/dressing should be air-tight! I buy a pack of containers that come in various sizes so that I have options, depending on the type of meal I’m making. This Rubbermaid set has all types of sizes, perfect for packaging spiralized veggies, dressings, and sauces.
Lunch Recipe Roundup
If you’re still stumped, I’ve created a Pinterest board full of all of my recipes that can be cooked in advance and reheated for lunch (or dinner!) Click the image below to access the Pinterest board: