These pasta meal prep recipes are sure to become some of your favorite dishes to cook ahead and store for incredible lunches and dinners throughout the week.
They’re made with fresh ingredients, easy to whip up, and ones that my family has enjoyed for years.
And now, not only do I get to share them with you, but I also cover tips on storing and reheating plain cooked pasta and those fully prepared dishes so you can stay one step ahead and have an epic ready to be assembled or enjoyed.
Can You Meal Prep Pasta?
Pasta is a staple ingredient for a reason. Not only does it create some mouthwatering dishes, but it can be prepped ahead for the week, whether you want to prepare the entire recipe from start to finish or keep it plain and add the remaining ingredients another day.
Keep reading to see how to store cooked pasta and prepared pasta recipes, so both stay fresh and ready to be enjoyed when you need them. Craving recipes now? Click to skip to the recipes!
How Do You Store Cooked Pasta for Meal Prep
If you are preparing the pasta itself to be used later, you’ll want to keep it from drying out and sticking together. The best way to do this is to drizzle the cooled pasta with a tablespoon of olive oil and transfer it to an airtight container. Plain-cooked pasta will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
For fully prepared pasta dishes, you can store them in the vessel in which they are cooked (ie: a skillet or baking dish) or an airtight container. Most recipes will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. However, popping it in the freezer will extend the shelf life up to 2 months.
How to Reheat Pasta
Cooked pasta can be reheated in the microwave, boiling water, or oven. It depends on how much time you have and the type of pasta you wish to reheat. Is it plain or covered in sauce and cheese?
Below you’ll find three methods to reheat pasta and when to use them.
How to reheat pasta in the microwave
Place 1-2 tablespoons of water into the microwave-safe dish with the pasta. Stir and cover with the container lid or plastic wrap. Reheat in 1-minute increments until the pasta is heated through.
This method works best for plain pasta and single-serve portions. If packing pasta for lunch in a thermos, reheat it in a microwave-safe dish first, then pack it into the thermos.
How to reheat pasta on the stove-top
To reheat plain pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta to the water and remove the pot from the heat. Let the pasta reheat for 2 minutes before straining.
If reheating a prepared pasta dish, place the skillet of pasta over medium heat and stir in additional sauce or ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer before removing from heat and serving.
How to reheat pasta in the oven
This works best with baked pasta recipes. Preheat the oven to 350F and place the pasta in an oven-safe dish, if it’s not already. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.
Some people find it helpful to stir in additional pasta sauce or a little water, about ½ cup to prevent the pasta from drying out. *If this is a lasagna or layered pasta, pour the water between the edge of the pasta and surface of the baking dish.
To reheat frozen pasta
Defrost the pasta in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, reheat it using one of the three methods above.
Pasta Meal Prep Recipes
You’ll find all sorts of incredible pasta recipes to make ahead for dinner or lunches. Once they’re cooked, you can leave the recipe whole and reheat on the stove-top or in the oven or divide them into single-serve portions inside a meal prep container.
Each recipe below is shown plated (like they would look for dinner) or packed inside a lunch container.
Recipe: Cheesy Beef Goulash
Ground meat, cheese, tomato sauce, and pasta make this a super quick and incredible pasta to whip up in one skillet. I can almost guarantee your family will clean their plates.
Recipe: Mac and Cheese
Ditch the boxed mac and cheese for this stove-top recipe. It’s super creamy, cozy, and made with only 5 ingredients.
Recipe: No-Bake Lasagna
All the flavors and ingredients of lasagna but none of the hard work or baking involved. This one is super easy to prep ahead and into single-serve portions.
Recipe: Salsa Verde Chicken Pasta
Leftover salsa verde chicken from taco night gets turned into a smoky, cheesy pasta that your family will clean up!
Recipe: Chili Mac
Time to put your Instant Pot and those pantry staples to use. This chili is SUPER hearty with pasta, beans, canned tomatoes, and whatever ground meat you have in the freezer.
Recipe: Spinach Tortellini
Cheese-filled tortellini tossed in a creamy sauce with spinach and tomatoes. It’s simple, super tasty, and a winner with the kids. Plus, who would love tortellini for lunch?
Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
A delicious chicken pasta recipe with a flavor boost from sun-dried tomatoes. This recipe packs serious flavor and reheats great!
You’ll find these recipes and more ideas you can prepare ahead in my Meal Prep’d eBook.
Every recipe also includes tips on dividing and storing it into lunch containers for a homecooked lunch you can enjoy from the office, and the kids can pack to school.
Meal Prep’d eBook
In this book, I share 70+ recipes that can be cooked ahead, stored in single-serve portions or frozen, and save you time and effort in the kitchen.
Cook once and have ready-to-eat meals for an entire week. These nutritious and filling recipes can be enjoyed as dinner or packed for lunch.
Pasta Salad Meal Prep Recipes
Pasta salads are perfect for a meal prep lunch. They are meant to be made ahead and enjoyed later since the pasta has more time to absorb the flavors from the dressing and ingredients.
Most pasta salads will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but these are so tasty, you’ll probably eat them up before 3 days have passed.
Recipe: Cobb Pasta Salad
Everything you love in a Cobb salad but tossed with cooked pasta instead of lettuce. Avocado, deli cuts, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and bacon- this pasta salad is the epitome of picnic food that you can enjoy for dinner or lunch.
Recipe: Pizza Pasta Salad
The kids will adore this one. Add all of their favorite pizza ingredients to pasta, like pepperoni, black olives, and cheese then toss with a light dressing.
Pasta Meal prep Recipes
- 12 ounces cheese tortellini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 15- ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 ½ cups half and half
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Prepare the tortellini according to the package directions, then drain and rinse.
- Heat the oil in the bottom of the large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute, careful not to burn it.
- Stir in the tomatoes, spinach, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in half and half and Parmesan cheese, stir and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tortellini to the sauce and gently toss to combine.