This One Prep Hack Will Have You Eating More Veggies Guaranteed

You're so busy especially when the fall school routine rolls around, right?

I'm homeschooling my daughter, and with fall harvests and wanting to be outside as much as possible, I'm always looking for ways to keep the kitchen time to a minimum. If that's you, too, I'm here to help!

There is a prep hack that has been a game changer for me in terms of saving time, so I want to share it with you in case you're looking to do the same and haven't yet discovered it.

It's easy! And doesn't cost money.  And it works year-round.  Because, frankly, we've all got stuff going all the time!  :)


The most revolutionary and simple veggie prep hack: What is it?

Pre-prepare your raw veggie ingredients into a “veggie box” ahead of cooking time!

Okay it's that simple. But here's what I mean. So don't jump ship yet! :)


Pre-prepped salad on the left and pre-prepped stir-fry on the right. 

This is how loads of veggies are consumed at my house.


The most revolutionary and simple veggie prep hack: How to do it?

Here's the steps:

  1. Take out a container like a bowl/container that you can put a lid on or even just plastic wrap.
  2. Go through your fridge to see what you have and what you want to make (more on that below).
  3. Chop your veggies according to your plan.
  4. Put veggies into container and put into fridge until ready to cook them.
  5. Pull container out of fridge and commence cooking.

Congratulations! You just saved all that prep time!  Less time in the kitchen = happy cook!


The most revolutionary and simple veggie prep hack: Why do it?

Why, you ask?

Because you can do the prep work ahead of time.

You can do it at night before the next day or in the early morning before lunch or dinner. Or during the few minutes that the kids or grandkids are happily playing and don't need you.

You can just GO and get it done without needing to cook it. You can get a WHOLE ton of veggies prepared that you wouldn't have otherwise served.

At least once per day at our house this makes the difference between serving veggies and not serving veggies.  That adds up!


The most revolutionary and simple veggie prep hack: What can you prep?

This the best part! So many things can be prepared this way:

  • Lettuce for salad!
    Or any and all salad greens. In fact this single tip helps many people eat more lettuce including our family because it is all washed, spun and ready to go! Pair it with a homemade salad dressing you made ahead (see my tutorial on how to make your own here) and boom, all home cooked and all prep-prepared and you can walk in from whatever and put it on the table. 

    And yes, you can pre-prepare other veggies for your salad, except tomatoes.  Do those right before serving.
  • Soup/stew ingredients!
    Pick your soup idea and pre-prep the veggies for it. I like to do this ALL the time. And my soups range from a mixed veggie chili (a summer version of the family favorite recipe found here) where I prep literally just whatever I have in the fridge to get ready for the chili to creamy veggie soups (tutorial + delicious squash soup recipe found here).

    Veggies that can be used here are exhaustive: summer soups could include summer squash, scallions, tomatoes, new potatoes, green beans, peppers, etc. Fall/winter soups could include onions, garlic, potatoes, winter squash, kale, Swiss chard, carrots, beets, celery. Pull out your box and saute what needs to be sauteed (maybe put those in separate container) and then dump in the rest, add broth, spices and simmer until done. Yum!
  • Roasting/Sheet Pan meals!
    Cube your veggies or cut them up according to good roasting size. Put all into one box if they're likely to be the same speed of cooking or separate according to speed of cooking. Then when the time comes to cook, preheat oven and then dump your per-prepared ingredients on your baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and spices and roast until tender. You can literally do this when you walk in the door.

    Summer roasting could include green beans, peppers, cherry tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant, baby carrots, etc. Fall/winter roasting mixes could include potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, squash, beets, and many other delicious root veggies!  See my new go-to sheet pan sauce recipe below... It's worth it!
  • Stir-fries!
    Cut up your veggies for your stir-fry and put them in your box and into the fridge for when you walk in the door. Stir-fries are rather quick to make so if you can pre-prepare the veggies you save the chopping time on the spot. Which is significant. To cook, preheat your skillet or wok on medium-high and add your veggies. Stir until desired tenderness and add spices (I like garlic, cumin, corriander, and a pinch of cayenne), soy sauce, or whatever you fancy.

    Summer stir-fry ideas include scallions, summer squash, green beans, bok choy, garlic scapes, summer cabbage, peppers, etc.  Fall/Winter stir-fries are great with cabbage, onions, grated carrots, winter radishes/daikon radish, garlic, and greens like Asian greens and kale.
  • Slaws!
    You can pre-prepare your veggie slaws ahead, too. These you can even pour on the dressing ahead of time or if you don't want to, simply do the chopping ahead and put them in your lidded container of choice, and pour the dressing (ideally homemade and pre-prepared, too, but store bought is fine) when you get home. I have several slaw recipes on our website, including my favorite (Lemony Coleslaw), but also the one I made recently that's extra delicious is the Red Coleslaw with Grapes.  These and more can be found here.


Bonus Recipe: My favorite Sheet Pan Meal Dressing

After finally biting the bullet and learning a new "trick" this summer, aka trying the trendy sheet pan meal, I'm hooked. 

I've been fiendishly making them for my family, once a week for the past couple months.  And I think that the reason I like them so much and that they go over so well with the family is this sauce.  AND the reason I am able to make such a deliciously veggie heavy meal is by using the pre-preparing method I just detailed.  So for just about any combination of veggies use this sauce:

  • Equal parts lemon juice and olive oil 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic, minced, to taste
  • dried thyme, to taste
  • dried oregano, to taste

Whisk together ingredients and keep in fridge until it's time to roast your sheet pan meal.  40 mins before meal time, turn your oven on to 375 degrees.  Dump your pre-prepared veggies onto the sheet pans.  Drizzle the above dressing on top and mix with your hands to coat.  Roast 20 mins.  Meanwhile marinate your choice cut of meat (lamb chops, steak, etc.) with same dressing and a big squirt of Dijon mustard.  Add meat + dressing to sheet pans at the 20 min mark and roast another 15-20 min until desired doneness is reached.  Y-U-M!


What do you pre-prepare to save time in the kitchen?  Please reply and let me know!  I love to learn and I love to hear what things you find success with.


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