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When you’re in college, it might be the first time you have to cook for yourself consistently. Eating sufficiently and nourishing your body can be difficult when you plan your day around college classes, extracurricular activities, jobs, and other obligations.
If you do get a chance to eat on campus or elsewhere, the vegetarian options can be slim. Meal prepping is a solution for college students who want a satisfying vegetarian meal that is ready when they want it. Try these five ideas for vegetarian meal prep for college students.
1. Greek-style Lentil Soup
One of the go-to dishes you can rely on when meal prepping is soup. One of the best things about soup is its versatility. You can easily change it to be vegan, vegetarian, or following any dietary preference.
For a nutritious soup, try this Greek-style lentil soup that’s great for meal prep. The lentils are the star of the show with their soft taste that’s rich in protein and fiber. A significant benefit of this soup is it requires no cooking on a stove, oven, or microwave.
All you need is a slow cooker. Just pour all the ingredients in and let them cook for about five hours on low heat. Divide the soup into containers, and you’ll have multiple meals prepared for the rest of the week.
2. Vegetarian Chili
When school starts in the fall, the cool air of autumn isn’t far behind. Those chilly October and November nights call for comfort food like chili. Though chili traditionally has meat like beef or sausage, it can easily be vegetarian and great for meal prep.
This vegetarian chili is easy to make and only takes about an hour. Start by sauteeing onions, peppers, and carrots in a pot and then add garlic and jalapeños if you don’t mind the spice. From there, add tomato paste, tomatoes, beans, vegetable broth, and your desired seasonings like chili powder.
Let it sit in the pot for about 30 minutes to let the flavors come together. When serving, top with cheese, scallions, sour cream, and anything else you like. It makes between six and eight servings, so you can share with your roommates and friends in addition to your meal prep.
3. Sticky Sesame Tofu
Vegetarianism is a great diet and lifestyle, but finding high-protein options can be challenging. That’s why many vegetarians turn to tofu for a meat substitute that still tastes great. This sticky sesame tofu recipe is a terrific dish for dinner one night and meal prep for the rest of the week.
Start by draining your firm tofu, patting it dry and then dicing it into cubes. Season with salt and pepper, then toss the cubes with soy sauce and corn flour. From there, you can cook the tofu in a pan with your preferred oil.
One of the best parts of this recipe is the sesame sauce, which contains agave syrup, soy sauce, garlic, and sweet chili sauce for a sweet flavor. Once the corn flour thickens the sauce, add it to the tofu and serve it over rice with green onions. Add broccoli and other vegetables to make it stretch longer.
4. Overnight Oats
Early-morning classes can be difficult for college students. If you have an 8 a.m. class, you probably want to roll out of bed and get to class on time. A nutritious vegetarian meal prep you can do the night before your early class is overnight oats.
In a mason jar, overnight oats look like a dessert from an ice cream shop, but they’re nutritious and taste delicious. Start by pouring half a cup of rolled oats into a jar with chia seeds, Greek yogurt, and a cup of your favorite plant-based milk. You can add whatever you like, such as fruits, nut butter, sweeteners and more.
Once you’ve added the ingredients, close the lid and stick the jar in the fridge overnight. It’ll be ready by the next morning, so you can grab it and go. This meal is an inexpensive way for college students to make a meal when they don’t have access to any cookware.
5. Mason Jar Salads
Mason jars are convenient for meal prep, and you can use them for more than just breakfast. Mason jar salads have become increasingly popular because of how easy and portable they are. And, they’re easily customizable to be a vegetarian’s delight.
For mason jar salads, start with your preferred dressing on the bottom to avoid making other ingredients soggy. Then you can add a protein like chickpeas, black beans, and others. Afterward, add your favorite vegetables, like shredded carrots, broccoli, and cucumber. Save the greens like lettuce and spinach for last. Close the lid and store the salad in the fridge. Try to eat the salad within three or four days because the vegetables can start to spoil.
Vegetarian Meal Prep Made Easy for College Students
Finding meals can be difficult for college students, especially for those who live off campus and don’t have regular access to the dining hall. Even dorm students may struggle to find enough time for meals between classes and work. Being a vegetarian can increase the difficulty of finding nutritious meals, so prepping your meals ahead of time can be a lifesaver. Try these five ideas for vegetarian meal prep for college students.