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a tray with veggies prepared to be roasted

There’s a reason why meal prep has taken off over the last ­decade: It’s a convenient way for many folks to plan and execute recipes. With just one day of cooking, you can have a whole week’s worth of nourishing, ready-to-reheat dishes at arm’s reach.

But this method isn’t without its drawbacks. Though plenty of people love the ease of cooking only once a week, just as many battle boredom from eating the same meals day in and day out, especially because preprepped dishes tend to lose their freshness and vibrancy over time.

Fortunately, there’s a solution for all the home cooks out there who want to take a more minimalist approach to meal prep: component cooking, which is the practice of preparing separate ingredients in advance so they’re at the ready in your fridge or freezer. It’s like having a handful of shortcuts to a variety of flavorful dishes — a real boon for healthy eating when hunger closes in, explains Michelle Tam, best-selling author of Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go!

Like meal prep, this approach can help you stick to your grocery budget, reduce food waste, and cut back on your time in the kitchen. Component cooking still involves planning, but it’s not as rigid as meal prep and offers more flexibility across different lifestyles and taste preferences.

Tips for Using Roasted Veggies

The smoky flavor of roasted veggies instantly brings a new dimension to a recipe; having a selection available in your fridge can be a real timesaver.

“I love roasting heartier veggies, like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kabocha squash, and fingerling potatoes,” says Michelle Tam, best-selling author of Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! “I normally toss them in olive oil or avocado oil and sprinkle on my favorite seasoning salt before roasting them on a sheet pan in a hot oven. I really love having ready-to-eat veggies available in the fridge.”

Most vegetables take well to roasting. Once cooled, they can be stored in the fridge for three to four days. Add them to grain bowls, pasta, quiches, and more — or use your favorite roasted veggies as a shortcut for our Creamy Vegetable Soup.

More Tips on Component Cooking

Component cooking is a clever approach to meal prep that will help you save time and money while allowing you to whip together flavorful and healthy meals during the busy week. Learn how to prep, store, and use several various components at “Easy Meal Prep: How to Start Component Cooking,” the source of this article excerpt.

Camille Berry

Camille Berry is a wine and food writer based in San Francisco.

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