Meal Prep Tips for Cooking with Spiralized Vegetable Noodles

Meal Prep and Spiralized Vegetable Noodles

Storing Spiralized Vegetables

Great news! I’ve reformatted my “How To” page. The more and more traction the spiralizer gains, the more and more my readership grows. With this, comes technique questions. Therefore, I’ve turned my “How To” page into a FAQ of sorts, so make sure to check it out.

In the meantime, the most popular question that I receive? How can I prepare one of your recipes in advance and save for the week (or for lunch the next day)?

It’s a tricky question. When I first started this blog, I did a actually did a related post on spiralized lunches.

From that post:

Instead of leftovers, take a Sunday to make the preparations for a week of zucchini pasta joySpiralizea few zucchinis, place in a container and do the same with a protein such as chicken, quinoa, or beans. Cook some vegetables. The night before your workday,combine everything in tupperware (get creative – throw on raisins, nuts, sunflower seeds, olives, avocado, canned artichokes, anything!)  and pour your sauce/vinaigrette into a smaller container. Throw in a bag and you’re all set! It may take an hour for all of the preparations on a Sunday night, but the satisfaction all week will prevail. Your friends coming back from the salad bar will be envious.

That’s still pretty much the gist of it.

But, say you aren’t preparing a meal just for lunch and you want to save leftovers OR you simply want to prepare noodles for the week. Here are some helpful tips, from yours truly.

Meal Prep and Spiralized Vegetable Noodles

1. Learn How to Properly Store Your Raw Spiralized Noodles

Take a look at this post that explains how to prepare and store butternut squash, zucchini, cucumber and sweet potato noodles in advance.

2. Meal Plan and Spiralize To Prep For the Week

On Sunday, plan your spiralized meals for the week (check out this post for more tips) and then prepare your noodles accordingly. Keep them in plastic bags or containers and put them in the refrigerator. Portion them out for individual meals and label them with a marker.

For example, if you’re making my Bacon Shrimp Scampi, spiralize enough zucchinis, place them in a bag and write “Shrimp Scampi” on it, so you can easily grab your noodles when cooking.

3. Cook The Noodles To Prep

If a recipe calls for cooked noodles, you can cook them in advance and then reheat them when you’re ready to make the recipe. This will save cooking time. However, if you’d like to do this, you can do so with all noodles EXCEPT zucchini and cucumbers. This includes butternut squash, carrots, potatoes and beets.

For example, if you want to make yesterday’s Tomato Sweet Potato Noodles with Chicken & Artichokes, you can pan fry the sweet potato noodles first and put them in the refrigerator for later. Again, make sure to label the plastic bag with the cooked noodles. When you go to make the recipe, you can add the noodles into the sauce at the end, just to reheat.

Meal Prep Tips for Spiralized Veggies

Now that you’re all prepped and ready to go, let’s talk about creating meals in advance (not just prepping the noodles).

Unfortunately, it’s somewhat difficult to make a zucchini noodle dish in advance, due to the vegetable’s high water content. This applies for cucumbers as well. However, most other spiralized veggie dishes can be saved as leftovers.

If you’re saving leftovers from a spiralized dish that includes zucchini noodles, here are some tips:

1. Reserve Some Extra Sauce While Cooking

The best way to make a recipe and save leftovers for the next day is by portioning out some of the sauce, placing it in Tupperware and putting in the fridge to save. Then, if you’d like to make this for lunch or dinner the next day, just heat up the reserved sauce and add in the zucchini noodles.

For example, you could make a big batch of my Fire Roasted Meatballs and Zucchini Spaghetti, while reserving a half cup of the tomato sauce (and some of the meatballs, of course) and then reheat the sauce on the stovetop (or in the microwave) and pour over the zucchini noodles and top with the meatballs.

2. Invest In Tupperware or Compartmentalized Lunchboxes

When you have the proper kitchen ware, it’s easier to bring your lunch to work, on a picnic, in the car or just simply stored in your fridge. Invest in different sized Tupperware containers: one for storing the noodles and one for the sauce.

I like simple Rubbermaid containers, in various sizes, like these.

3. Make Dishes Without Heavy Sauces or Broths

If you just want to make a dish for dinner and save it for lunch the next day and don’t have much time or the facilities to reheat it a stovetop, try recipes that don’t have thick sauces (ie tomato sauces, broths, soups). Avoid soups, especially.

For example, my Chicken and Kale Zucchini Pasta doesn’t require a heavy sauce and would be great to reheat or eat cold the next day for lunch.

4. Make Raw Zucchini Noodles

I have many recipes for yummy meals that don’t require cooking of noodles. These can be saved in the refrigerator for later and don’t require reheating and therefore, the noodles won’t release too much water.

Some examples of recipes for that are my Sundried Tomato Pesto with Spinach & Beans, Spiralized Tahini Veggie Bowl or my Pesto Zucchini Pasta with Green Beans and Potatoes.

Were these tips helpful? What questions would you like answered on my upcoming new How To page?

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13 comments

Love these tips! I've been meal planning since college. I'm a little OCD like that.... :)
Lynn says:
I love the tips but even more all the great ideas and recipes using the spiralizer! Thank you and please, please keep them coming!
JJ says:
This was so helpful. I've only done zucchini in my new spiralizer so far. I would like to see a chart of veggies (and fruits!) that work, including which blades and if they should be cooked or raw.
What a great suggestion - I will definitely work on that.
JJ says:
Thanks for doing the chart! You rock.
Daniel says:
Thank you for taking the enormous amount of time and great effort to inspire us to better utilize this great technique ... thank you again ... this is a great wealth of knowledge (second to none) that has been a wonderful resource to help us get into spiralizing and don't let me forget ... I love your recipes ... Thanks Great Big
amanda says:
How long will spiralized zucchini noodles last if stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator? does this work as well as Tupperware ?
There is some information on this on my How To page !
Susan says:
Is it possible to spiralize lemons?
Laura C says:
Hello! I was just wondering if you think it is best to keep spiralized zucchini noodles (raw) separate from my sauce (a lentil Bolognese) if I'm meal prepping lunch for the week? I know salt can draw the liquid out of the zucchini so I just don't want to open my lunch to a soggy mess. Thanks!

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