November 2021

Diana Henry said that ‘autumn cooking is not about instant flavours and assemblies of startling contrasts, it’s about layering and waiting’. I love that idea, and I certainly find myself at this time of year turning away from the punchy salads and raw dishes of high summer towards slow-cooked batches, where robust stews and pulses gradually yield into comforting meals with the magic ingredient of time.

But if I am going to commit that time (at least in terms of cooking, not necessarily in terms of preparation), then I definitely want it to give more than one meal’s worth of pleasure. So here is a handy collection of my all-time favourite batch cooking & freezer meals. The very definition of culinary hunkering down.

You’ll find links to lots of free recipes available online, as well as references to relevant recipes in my books (with handy page numbers so no need to go searching).

On busy days, or days when I just can’t face cooking from scratch again, I almost always turn to my stockpile of freezer meals and leftovers to help me get a quick, wholesome and tasty meal on the table with minimal effort. There is no nutritional disadvantage of relying on leftovers a few times a week.

Stored and reheated appropriately, they’re just as delicious as they were when freshly made.

Deliciously healthy batch cooking recipes

Amelia Freer's Spicy roasted tomato and lentil soup
Photo by Emma Goodwin

Soups

I absolutely love making soup during the colder months and will often make a different one each day for lunch using up whatever I have in the cupboards and fridge. Here are some of my favourite recipes that you can make in big batches. They will keep in the fridge for a few days if covered but equally freeze well to ensure you have a ready supply of healthy, hearty lunches. Try serving with a handful of toasted seeds or some salsa verde (see Sauces and Seeds below).

Roasted red pepper & lentil soup

Spicy roasted tomato & lentil soup

Butternut squash soup

Carrot & turmeric soup

Mushroom & thyme soup

Green soup (don’t freeze the cashew cream)

in my books

Simply Good For You

Instant tomato & cannellini bean soup – pg. 82
Instant watercress & avocado soup – pg. 85
Soup for the soul – pg. 86
Vegetable minestrone – pg. 92

Nourish & Glow: The 10 Day Plan

Roasted vegetable & chicken soup (replace chicken stock with vegetable stock and omit the chicken topping to make this veggie) – pg. 206

Cook. Nourish. Glow

Beetroot Soup – pg. 116

High Speed Blender | Nutribullet

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Organic Chopped Tomatoes | Biona

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Stick blender

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Stews & Casseroles

Stews and casseroles are another autumn and winter staple of mine, and I always have a batch of one sort or another in the freezer. They are a great way to use up any vegetables that are left at the bottom of the fridge too so a useful way to minimise food waste. These are such versatile dishes and really you can add any ingredients that you like or have to hand but I have included some recipes for a little inspiration below.

Chicken, kale & bean stew

Slow-cooked Mexican beef

Puy lentil stew

Autumn Roasted Vegetable Stew

in my books

Simply Good For You

Fish provencale – pg 169
Slow-cooked fennel, lemon, chicken & cannellini bean stew – pg. 192
Slow-cooked lamb & aubergine tagine – pg. 203
Bottom of the fridge vegetable stew – pg. 214

Cook. Nourish. Glow

Duck with beans & greens – pg. 200
Winter oxtail stew with pumpkin & kale – pg. 204
Beef goulash – pg. 243
Puy lentil, mushroom & miso stew – pg. 274
Spiced winter stew with orange blossom water – pg. 309
Chicken & tarragon casserole on pg. 314

Slow Cooker | Morphy Richards

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Raw Organic Almond Butter | Vibrant Living

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Oval Casserole (27cm) | Le Creuset

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Photo by Jen Rich

Pies and Bakes

Whilst I don’t eat much pastry, I do enjoy a comforting cottage pie from time to time, especially when it is topped with sweet potato and of course, these dishes are perfect for feeding familes and they freeze brilliantly. I make double the quantity so even if it all gets eaten up, there is always one to pop in the freezer.

Veggie bake

Sweet potato cottage pie

Lamb moussaka

in my books

Simply Good For You

Cod, feta & leek bake – pg. 165
Za’tar chicken. aubergine & squash traybake – pg. 182
Moussaka – pg. 200

Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan

Cottage pie – pg. 281
Vegan cottage pie – pg. 283

Cook. Nourish. Glow.

Individual fish pies – pg. 227
Shepherd’s Pie recipe – pg. 244

Individual Enamel Pie Dishes | Falcon

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Reuseable Food Covers | Tabitha Eve

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Shallow Casserole Dish | Le Creuset

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Photo by Candida Boddington

Curries & Chilli

I find that often curries and chillis develop in flavour after a day or two in the fridge, so make plenty to ensure you have leftovers.  Try mixing up the side dishes – if you want them – to include brown rice, flatbreads, such as my simple to make yoghurt flatbreads on pg 109 of Simply Good For You, or just a spoonful of natural yogurt for a little extra protein.

Beef curry

Turkey & pumpkin chilli

Aubergine & chickpea curry

in my books

Simply Good For You

Turkey & vegetable chilli – pg. 188
Slow cooker summer chicken curry – pg. 197
Lazy Dahl – pg. 223

Nourish & Glow: The 10 Day Plan

Sweet potato & black bean chilli – pg. 262

Cook. Nourish. Glow

Vegetarian Chilli – pg 302

1kg Red Lentils | East End

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Garlic Press | OXO

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Organic Coconut Milk | Biona

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Photo: Jen Rich

Sauces & Sprinkles

It is always a good idea to have a selection of easily made sauces, toppings and dressings to hand. This will ensure you have a ready supply to add to pasta, vegetables, meats, salads and soups, they will not only add flavour but can be a boost of nutrition too. Try to incorporate some healthy fats such as olive oil and a range of seeds, nuts and herbs.

Kale & almond pesto

Salsa verde

Lentil & mushroom ragu

Golden tahini dressing

Pickled red onions

in my books

Simply Good For You

Loaded green houmous – pg. 125
Iron-rich ragu – pg. 199
Red pepper pasta sauce – pg. 240
Butternut, cashew & sage pasta sauce – pg. 243

Nourish & Glow: The 10 Day Plan

Beetroot houmous – pg. 136
Spiced seed sprinkle – pg. 140
Lime and ginger dressing on pg. 172
Tahini dressing – pg. 225

Cook. Nourish. Glow.

Sauce inspiration – pg. 62-63
Puy lentil houmous – pg. 73
Green houmous – pg. 73
Green harissa – pg. 74
Tapenade – pg. 74
Dressings – pg 79

Red Lentil Pasta | Seggiano

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Portobello Pasta Bowls | The White Company

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Bulk Cashews

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Photo by Jen Rich

Fruit and Sweet Things

We don’t eat many puddings at home, usually just a piece of seasonal fruit but when I have a glut of autumn apples, I will always make huge batches of stewed apple to keep in the freezer that I will use to top porridge or a bowl of natural yoghurt. It can, of course, also be used to make warming crumbles, topped with oats and nuts. Another tip to ensure you have some healthier sweet options available – rather than turning to unhealthier processed puddings – is to have some in the freezer.

Spiced apple sauce
Apple & plum crumble
Cherry compote

in my books

Simply Good For You

Coconut & almond pear crumble – pg. 254
Rhubarb & star anise crumble pot – pg. 271
Fruity lolly ideas – pg. 273

Nourish & Glow: The 10 Day Plan

Nutty banana nice cream – pg. 227

Cook. Nourish. Glow

Healthy Bites – pg. 156

BPA Lolly Moulds | Eddingtons

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Cinnamon Sticks | Thames Organic

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3 in 1 Apple Peeler, Corer & Slicer | Lakeland

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Photo by Jen Rich

Prep Ahead Breakfasts

These are not so much things to go in the freezer, but rather prepare-ahead breakfast options to keep in the cupboard or fridge for those really busy mornings.

Fruity breakfast crumble bars (these also freeze well)
Crunchy nut & seed granola
Crunchy amaranth granola
Creamy coconut strawberry chia breakfast porridge
Blackberry & lemon chia pudding
Apple crumble oats
Quinoa Porridge
Kale & mushroom muffins

in my books

Simply Good For You

Coconut muesli – pg. 39
Beauty bars – pg. 42
Berry jam – pg. 56
Butternut baked beans – pg. 61
Egg & vegetable traybake – pg. 62

Nourish and Glow: The 10 Day Plan

Overnight oat crumble – pg. 196

Cook. Nourish. Glow

Nut granola – pg. 141
Turmeric & mango spied chia pot – pg.148

Bulk chia seeds

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3kg bulk organic oats

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Bulk almonds

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Freezer Staples

Here is a selection of other things I like to batch cook and keep in the freezer. Although it may seem a little daunting and time consuming to start with, I promise you, batch cooking becomes easier and quicker once you get used to doing it and it really is one of the easiest ways to make sure that healthy and nutritious foods are available to you and yoru family rather than falling back onto quick, processed foods when you are tired or time is short.

Mini frittatas

Carrot & Caraway Bread

Herby green bread

Beetroot, rosemary & walnut soda bread

Veggie nuggets

in my books

Simply Good For You:

Banana bread – pg. 46
Veggie bread – pg. 48
Spinach & beetroot falafels – pg. 148
Fishcakes – pg. 162
Pea & chicken burgers – pg. 185
Almond scones – pg. 248

Nourish and Glow: The 10 Day Plan

Beetroot Houmous – pg. 136
Chicken Stock (freeze concentrated stock in ice cube trays) – pg. 156
Pea & Sweet potato fritters – pg. 239
Falafel burgers – pg. 248

Cook. Nourish. Glow:

Puy lentil houmous – pg. 73
Salmon balls (don’t freeze the dipping sauce) – pg. 198
Sun-dried tomato & harissa turkey burgers – pg. 294

Labels

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Reusable food storage bags

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BPA Free Ice Cube Trays with Lids | Oliver’s Kitchen

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Freezer Ingredients I Always Have To Hand

These are not recipes but a list of useful ingredients that I buy ready frozen or I prepare and freeze.

  • Peas
  • Baby broad beans / green beans / soy beans
  • Frozen avocado
  • Fish & shellfish – unsmoked mackerel, fish pie mix, prawns.
  • Chopped onions / garlic
  • Chopped herbs / frozen herbs in oil (see pg 82 Cook. Nourish. Glow)
  • Frozen berries
  • Ice cubes
  • Portions of cooked pulses
  • Smoothie packs
  • Chicken / other stock – I make stock from leftovers, really reducing it down so it’s thick and packed with flavour, and then freeze in ice cube trays. I can then pop one out as and when needed as my own stock concentrate.

Simply Good For You

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Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan

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Cook.Nourish.Glow

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