With warmer weather around the corner, the idea of having a hot meal isn’t as appetizing, is it?
Personally, I prefer hot meals over cold ones. I’ve never worked in an office that doesn’t have a microwave, but I can imagine how hard it might be to find meals that taste good without heating them up!
For the record… most of my recipes can be eaten cold.
I used to eat my salmon and sweet potatoes meal and buddha bowls cold because I would be so busy at work, I just didn’t have time to wait to use the microwave!
Yup. I used to eat a meal like this one ^ cold.
In this post, you’ll find 20 links to meal prep ideas that you won’t need to heat up before eating.
Before we dive in, a couple of safety things you should know:
- Even though you don’t have to reheat them, these meals still need to be stored in a fridge after you’re done making them.
- It’s perfectly safe to eat fully cooked food that was stored in the fridge for up to four days without reheating it.
- But also note that heat kills off some bacteria. So if you’re not able to reheat something that is questionable, you’re not able to kill off unwanted bacteria.
Cool? Cool. Here are my picks for no-reheat meal prep recipes:
1. Chickpeas + avocados = endless possibilities
Okay, maybe not *endless.* I created three ways to use chickpeas, avocado and fresh veggies to make no-cook meals to be eaten cold. These are super basic and you don’t even need a kitchen to make them!
What I love about this formula is that with the same ingredients you get a ton of variety.
2. Chicken salad meals
I’m not a huge fan of mayo, so I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a chicken salad. BUT I know chicken salad would be an excellent protein addition to a cold meal prep dish.
After researching these recipes for you, I’ll probably end up trying a version below with avocado and greek yogurt in place of mayo.
3. Pasta salad meals
Pasta salad is a solid choice for a meal prep you don’t have to reheat.
It’s easy to change up with different types of pasta, sauces, veggies, spices and proteins. And what’s more comforting than a big bowl of pasta and veggies at work?
4. Grain bowls and salads
One of my go-to meals, when I want something I don’t have to reheat, is definitely a grain bowl.
Pick a grain, any grain, and mix it up with your favorite veggies and proteins. I prefer quinoa, but farro, couscous, wild rice and millet make excellent choices too.
I’ve had great success with meal prepping tacos. You don’t have to heat up anything in the microwave before eating them!
The key to meal prepping tacos: put your filling in your meal prep containers and pack two or three tortillas to assemble them at work. Boom!
6. Mason jar salads
This is another type of meal I have yet to try out (I’m just not a salad person!) but these babies would make AWESOME cold meal preps.
The combinations are endless, but the key is to put the ingredients in the jar in the right order to avoid sogginess.
At work, all you need is your favorite salad dressing and a plate or bowl to dump out the jar onto and you’re ready to rock!
7. Cold noodles
If you’re anything like me, you constantly crave Asian-inspired food. Especially at work.
Cold noodles will absolutely fit the bill if you’re someone who doesn’t have access to a microwave but wants their Asian food fix (without having to resort to takeout). It helps that the combinations here are also endless! With a cold noodle base you can easily prep omnivore, vegetarian and vegan meals. I’m almost positive there are GF varieties of cold noodles too.
8. Pita pockets
I loooove stuffing pitas with fresh or cooked veggies. It’s the perfect lunch, easy to pack and you don’t have to heat it up!
The trick is to prep your filling and keep the pita separate (don’t pack lunches with the filling in the pita in advance because then you’ll have one soggy pita).
Here are some recipes I’ve used in the past:
9. Cold proteins: canned tuna and hard-boiled eggs
These are both proteins I can’t stand personally, so I don’t cook with them.
That being said, they make good high-protein choices if you don’t feel confident cooking with meat, don’t have access to a full kitchen or just need animal proteins in your cold meals!
Canned tuna is a popular ingredient in easy tuna patties, but I found a salad that looked better for a no-reheat meal.
Hard boiled eggs are most often found in breakfast meal preps like the one I shared below, or in a cobb salad meal prep.
10. Sandwiches and wraps
I know what you’re thinking. Won’t they get soggy?
Not if you assemble them correctly!
A trick for sandwiches that I like: toast the bread lightly before assembling. This helps combat sogginess.
Note that any sandwich you have to cook (like grilled cheese) is not a good option for a no-reheat mal prep.
Also, you can use a bento box to store ingredients separately and assemble the sandwich right before eating. That way, nothing has a chance to get soggy!
I hope this post helped you get some more inspiration and navigate the world of no-reheat meal preps.
Got any favorite no-reheat ideas of your own? Drop them below.
If you want to take your meal prep up a notch, click here to sign up and get a free meal prep for busy people guide that I created.