We’ve all been there: you get home from a busy day, and the LAST thing you have energy for is making an elaborate dinner, let alone coming up with a fresh healthy dinner idea. On nights like these, I find it immensely helpful to have a few go-to easy weeknight dinners that take around 15 minutes or less to whip up. Below are a few of the healthy dinner recipes on rotation in my home. I hope they become fast favorites for you, too!
1. Lentil Pesto Pasta
This is an all-time favorite weeknight meal of my fiancé (soon to be hubby next week 😍). All you do is cook a box of lentil pasta (this is a clean-ingredient one) then stir in a jar of pesto (this one is a little spendy but vegan + dairy-free if you’re lactose intolerant). While nothing compares to real pasta once in a while, when you’re feeling like something lighter, lentil pasta is an excellent swap. It’s chock full of fiber and protein, and is literally like eating a bowl of beans! Yet it tastes delicious and gives you that satisfying pasta feel. I also love pesto because it’s rich, creamy, and full of more healthy fats from olive oil and nuts. You can stir in any other protein or veggies you wish, but if you want to keep it simple… lentil pasta + pesto is where it’s at. 🙂
2. Healthy Nachos
Another crowd favorite, especially for families. I’m always looking for little ways I can take the processed parts of a meal and upgrade them to a version that tastes delicious AND makes me feel amazing. So I love to purchase a bag of almond-flour tortilla chips, lay them out on a cookie sheet, then top them with a mix of black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, diced tomatoes, green onions, jalapeños, sliced black olives, and cilantro. More veggies the better! If you’re a cheese or sour cream lover, by all means, add some cheese, or to try a plant-based cashew cream or cheese to sneak even MORE plants into this satisfying meal. (Just check the ingredients for mystery words, as just because something SAYS vegan doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthier if it’s also packed with a ton of chemical additives.) Bake in the oven at 350 until melted.
3. Lettuce-wrap Burger
Lately, I’ve been craving burgers left and right. For times like these, I keep a box of grass-fed beef burger patties in my freezer. Then, all you have to do is heat up a patty on the stove-top. When cooked through, layer the patty on a romaine lettuce leaf, add a slice tomato, white onion, avocado, cheese, ketchup, and any other toppings of choice. Good to go, in 10 minutes or less.
4. Cauliflower Rice
This is one of MY personal weeknight favorites. I always keep a few bags of riced cauliflower and mixed veggies (like peas and carrots) in my freezer. To make this meal, simply heat one skillet of cauliflower and veggies. In a second skillet, scramble half a dozen eggs. When everything is heated through, add the veggies and scrambled eggs together, toss with coconut aminos (a soy-free, gluten-free version of soy sauce) and you instantly have the hottest, saltiest, most satisfying bowl of healthy fried rice.
5. Beef and Broccoli
This is another one of my two-skillet meals, where you simultaneously heat up two skillets of food and then combine for the ultimate power meal. In this scenario, I heat one skillet of grass-fed beef sliced into strips or chunks. In another skillet, I sauté a head of broccoli florets in a little olive oil. When everything is cooked through, I combine the beef and broccoli, then drizzle with coconut aminos. This meal tastes like a satisfying dish from your local Chinese restaurant, but without the added MSG or sodium.
6. Breakfast Burritos
Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?! For this easy healthy dinner recipe, simply scramble a few eggs per person in a skillet. If you like bacon, do the same with bacon in a second skillet. If not, swap bacon for avocado instead. When everything is cooked through, layer on top of two almond-flour tortillas. Top with hot sauce, ketchup, sea salt, and pepper. Then roll up and enjoy. 🙂
7. Taco Bowls
Tacos make an excellent dish that you can sneak a ton of veggies into. Simply heat ground turkey or grass-fed ground beef in a skillet with a packet of taco seasoning. While the meat cooks, assemble a bowl with chopped romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado. Top the salad with the cooked meat, plus any other toppings you desire, like beans, green onions, cilantro, or salsa. If you’re more of a straight-up taco gal, you can also shuttle your salad into corn or almond-flour taco shells. (Or burritos!)
8. Salmon Tray Bake
Few easy weeknight dinners are simpler than a tray bake. All you have to do is cover a cookie sheet with foil, then put protein on one side and diced veggies on the other. I live in the Northwest, so I love wild salmon for my tray bakes. I put a one-pound filet of wild salmon on one side of the cookie sheet, and broccoli florets or asparagus spears on the other side. I drizzle everything with olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit, and you’ve got a warm, nourishing, heart-healthy dinner ready to go.
9. Easy Chili
Especially on these cold winter nights, it’s nice to have a soup recipe that doesn’t take a ton of time. I’ve always loved chili for how filling it is — full of protein, fiber, and veggies. But on nights when you don’t have time to soak beans or make a pot from scratch, there’s a beyond-easy alternative. Simply add one can of mixed beans and one can of diced tomatoes to a saucepot and heat on the stovetop. While heating, dice two bell peppers and one red onion, then sauté in olive oil in a skillet. When the veggies are heated through and tender, add to the pot of beans. Stir everything together, then season to taste with sea salt and pepper. (Or any other spices you like.) Viola!
Fajitas are another easy weeknight dinner, and the best part is, they only require one main dish to clean up. Simply slice one green bell pepper, one red bell pepper, one red or white onion, and one filet of grass-fed steak into thin strips. Add everything to a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, and cook through. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. You can eat your fajitas as is, or scoop into almond-flour or corn tortillas. Feel free to customize with any additional toppings, such as cilantro or guacamole. Yum!
So… which of these easy weeknight dinners are you going to try first?!
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