Component Cooking

Component Cooking

Donna Hayek, RD


Component cooking is sort of like meal prep, but BETTER! With meal prep, meals are prepared on the weekends for the work week ahead. Some people tend to get tired of the same meals every single day and sometimes there is often a decline in the quality of the meal by the end of the week. For example, vegetables can become soggy and grilled meats don’t taste the same. 

Two main advantages of component cooking are that it is creative and convenient. It involves preparing the different recipe elements, which can be combined in a variety of ways. This will boost the flavor of the dish and decreases cooking time. Component cooking is used by chefs, food bloggers, and registered dietitians. For example, chefs use component cooking in their restaurants to get your meal out to you faster. 

First, you want to make sure you have each food group included so the meals are balanced and keep you full.  This can be 2-3 proteins, 1-2 whole grains and 3-4 vegetables. For each meal, one from each of the above groups are represented. Then add a fat source; like a sauce or an avocado. Some examples are listed below:

Sauces (pesto, tomato, peanut)

  •  salad dressing
  •  warm pasta
  •  cold pasta salad
  •  sandwiches
  • roasted vegetables
  • yogurt
  • dip



  • grain bowl
  • vegetables



  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • brussels sprouts


Hard-Boiled Eggs

  • egg salad
  • deviled eggs
  • omelet
  • add to green salads



  • add to salads
  • add to wraps
  • mix with rice
  • soups
  • fritters
  • bites



  • omelets
  • sandwich
  • add to vegetables and rice
  • add to salads
  • wraps
  • pasta