You love cooking for your family but lately, you’ve been running out of healthy dinner ideas? Unfortunately, this happens more often than we would like to admit.
Many people are too tired in the evening to have any more energy to cook so they choose to eat junk food. But as the name says “junk food” or “fast food” has many negative effects on your health and on the way you look.
Despite what you may think there are tons of dishes that you can prepare that are nutritious and don’t require a lot of time and effort. To help you with this challenge we reached out to 25 food bloggers and asked them the following question:
What are your favorite easy healthy dinner ideas?
We received some amazing recipes that you can read in the post below. Enjoy!
Melissa Eboli – Via Melissa
As a nutritional chef, I have a lot of favorite easy and healthy dinner ideas. One that comes to mind is a basil-turkey stir fry. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, and then quickly and then it easily cooks on the stovetop in 15-20 minutes. It can be served over rice, quinoa or cooked with cauliflower rice for an even lighter version.
Another super easy dinner idea is salmon w/ asparagus. You can prep them in under 5 minutes, and then bake them simultaneously in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
One additional suggestion I will give is a plant-based dinner idea, jackfruit stew with chipotle aoli. This dish also takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and cooks on the stovetop in 15 minutes. The one great thing about all items I mentioned above is that you can always have the ingredients on hand to make them in your pantry or freezer.
If you’d like the recipe for these or very similar dishes, please check out my cookbook Let’s Dine In: Healthy Recipes & Tips To Minimize Your Shopping Trips on my website ViasKitchen.com or Amazon.
Jim Mumford – Jim Cooks Food Good
My favorite easy, healthy, and comforting dinner ideas must have these things to be as amazing as possible; minimal effort, maximum versatility and is interesting.
To me, an easy meal is one that doesn’t take a lot of effort or ingredients. Sure, chopping veggies or rolling out dough isn’t *hard*, but it can be taxing, especially if you’re trying to also parent! So, a recipe like my Pizza Soup, which uses the blender as a time-saver, is a great weeknight meal.
Versatility is also crucial to an easy healthy meal. We’ve all been there; an ingredient goes bad, you’re out of something, etc. Having a recipe that can give and take with ingredients is a must for weeknight success. Consider my Pork Bibimbap, which can accept a wide array of ingredients and toppings! This is also super important if you need to cook with dietary restrictions in mind!
Finally, your weeknight winning meal needs to taste amazing and be interesting! Fun, interesting meals keep you going back for more, and make dinner fun. A tip would be to mash up foods to make something new and exciting, like my General Tso’s Tacos!
So, in conclusion, my favorite weeknight meals are easy to make, versatile to meet all demands, and are fun and interesting to make!
Katy Malkin – Learner Vegan
My absolute favourite easy dinner is loaded with baked sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are so nutritious, packed with fibre, and easy on digestion too! Plus, did you know that they stabilise your blood sugar levels, and keep you full for longer?
I choose the biggest one I can find and bake it for around 30 mins. I often have it with chickpea ‘tuna’ for a real protein-packed meal. Simply put, that’s a tin of chickpeas drained and rinsed. You roughly mash them with the back of a fork and mix in garlic, nori, vinegar, and houmous. You could also add salt, mayo, or sweetcorn to taste.
After that, I just add a side salad or steamed veggies. Perfect!
The best thing about this meal is that you can switch it up so easily by changing the toppings. It never gets boring! I love a sweet potato with bean chili, tarka dahl, roasted chickpeas, and scrambled tofu. You can batch make all of these in advance, too.
Top tip: if health is your goal, switch out the butter in your jacket potato for a smear of houmous.
Niki Campbell – The Flourish Group
I often tell my clients to start with their family favorites and then look for ways to upgrade the health quotient.
For example, a favorite recipe might be a rigatoni casserole with ground beef sauce and lots of mozzarella cheese on top.
Take that recipe, upgrade to a high fiber noodle like whole wheat pasta or a high protein pasta like lentil or chickpea. Then, use a leaner ground beef or ground turkey, and cut the cheese in half. Still get the same flavors and comfort with less fat and more fiber.
Another one is sheet pan recipes. These are protein and veggie-focused with some starch mixed in. Start with a healthy protein and surround it with your choice of potato or starchy veg like carrots and then add something green that roasts well – Brussels, broccoli, asparagus.
Luke Jones – Hero Movement
I like eating and I enjoy cooking, but like most people, I’m not always a fan of spending hours in the kitchen prepping meals or deliberating over what I’m going to have for dinner. So if in doubt, I typically refer back to a tried and tested formula:
Half a plateful of veggies: typically some roasted veg, greens, salad, or a mixture of all the above.
A few handfuls of a protein-dense food: tofu or tempeh is our go-to, but we’ll also sometimes include good quality fish and occasional meat.
A carb-dense food: often buckwheat, quinoa, rice or potatoes – typically a cupped handful if I’ve not been super active, but 2-3 if I’ve been training.
A fat-dense food: olive oil, nuts, seeds, or avocado, varying from 1-3 thumb-sized portions depending on activity levels.
Condiments and sauces: hot sauce and light mayo are the go-to if we’re after something quick, or we’ll make a homemade curry, stir-fry or traybake if we have more time on our hands.
My latest creation and obsession recipe is this Truffle Pasta:
- 1 package of ground Beyond Meat
- 1 package of gluten-free fresh pasta by Taste Republic (or try Mung Bean pasta by 365 Brand for extra protein)
- 1 bag of mushrooms medley from Trader Joes
- Follow Your Heart Provolone dairy-free cheese
- Follow Your Heart Parmesan dairy-free cheese
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sabatino Truffle Zest
Saute ground Beyond Meat beef in a pan while cooking the pasta (this fresh kind only takes 2-3 mins), then add mushrooms and let them defrost and heat up in a pan. Cover with Provolone, then add cooked pasta and truffle zest. Mix all together.
Serve in a bowl sprinkled with parmesan and olive oil. It’s sooo good!
3 MINUTE Chili ✨
1 Bag of Beyond Meat beefy crumbles
1 12-Ounce jar your favorite salsa
1 10-Ounce box of unflavored kidney beans 1/2 Cup Daiya cheddar cheese
Combine beans, salsa and beefy crumbles together in pan and sauté for 3 minutes.
Drizzle with Daiya cheese, cover for 1 minute to melt the cheese, then serve.
Alex Johnson – Med Munch
Curries are perfect healthy dinners you can whip up quickly when you’re struggling for time. They allow so much variety, allowing you can easily get your veggies into your diet or add some lean meat in for extra protein.
Some of my favorite types of curry include veggie chickpea curries for when I’m on a health drive and sweet potato and lentil curries, which are perfect for those lazy evenings when you want to throw in some extra carbs without overindulging.
Chicken curries are excellent for when you need to lose weight, keeping protein levels high and calories low without making you feel dissatisfied after.
Eggplant or aubergine is also a great alternative to base your curries around. No matter what you go with, you can often cook them within 30 minutes.
Simply serve with a healthy carb like whole grain rice and you’ve got yourself an easy evening dinner you don’t need to feel guilty about.
Gita Kshatriya – Warrior In The Kitchen
My idea of easy and healthy dinner ideas consists of including plant-forward ingredients that are packed with flavors and can be made in minimal time and with minimal mess!
I typically make a batch of quinoa and/or brown rice that I can use throughout the week. I pair that with vegetables and seasonings to create flavors from various cuisines around the world.
To make an Indian meal, you can combine the batch-cooked quinoa or brown rice with vegetables like broccoli, onions, and zucchini in tempered oil with whole spices like whole cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and whole dry chili peppers and ground spices like turmeric, ground cumin, and red chili powder.
To make a Mediterranean meal, you can combine the batch-cooked quinoa or brown rice with sauteed vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, and eggplant. You can add a simple lemon juice, salt, and black pepper dressing, and top with olives, red onions, and feta cheese.
Those are just a couple of examples of how you can take batch-cooked quinoa and brown rice to a whole new level with each weeknight meal you prepare. Batch-cooked quinoa and brown rice provide simplicity, versatility, and variety when creating healthy weeknight meals.
Lisa Goodwin – 2 Share My Joy
You can save so much time and money while also eating much healthier if you choose to cook your own dinner at home. The best way I stay motivated to cook my own dinners is by choosing recipes that take 20 minutes or less and have easy ingredients.
One of my go-to dinner meals is this 20-Minute Black Bean Quinoa Chili. It is also oil-free, gluten-free, and vegan. One serving contains 450 calories and over 22 g of protein. The beans and the quinoa give this meal a high protein and fiber content which keeps you full for a long time. I love to top this meal with avocado as it adds a source of healthy fat.
During the summer, I enjoy making Italian Asparagus Spinach Gnocchi that also takes only 20 minutes to prepare. This light meal is packed with healthy greens like asparagus, spinach, and peas. I add chickpeas as my lean protein source
Another great way to add more vitamins to a meal is by blending your vegetables into a sauce. In this One Pot Creamy Coconut Potato Curry I blend bell peppers with coconut milk to make a creamy stew. This meal also contains potatoes, chickpeas, and spinach.
You can make it in an instant pot for a super quick and healthy dinner. One serving contains more than your daily need in vitamin C, which makes it a great immunity booster.
Jenny Zhang – Organically Blissful
When I have limited time to spare but want to whip up a delicious and healthy meal for my family, I like to turn Vitamix, Instant Pot, or air fryer for help. With a Vitamix, you can whip up a delicious meal in minutes.
Some of my favorite recipe to make from Vitamix includes hummus, squash soup, and even curry. With an instant pot, you can put your favorite ingredients in, and within an hour, you will have a delicious and healthy meal that is ready to be served while it feels like you spend hours on making it.
Some of my favorite meals to make in an instant pot includes chicken noodle soup, risotto, and fajita.
And lastly, with an air fryer, you can make your favorite comfort fried food healthier. Creating crispy food through circulating hot air, you can save fewer calories and contains less fat—all without sacrificing the taste.
Some of my favorite air fryer meals include chicken tenders, falafel, and salmon.
Sarah Cull – Life In Full Flavour
Whenever I’m feeling that I need a boost of energy or vitamins, I’ll aim for a nutrient-rich salad with a healthy protein. If I’m having meat or fish – chicken, salmon, and squid are my main choices – I’ll marinate it for 24 hours before cooking. It’s a great way to add flavours with herbs, spices, and seasonings that taste delicious but don’t add on too many extra calories.
For the salad, the more colourful the better. Beetroot, red cabbage, olives, mixed leaves, carrot, and peppers are some of my favourites. I’ll try not to dress the salad if possible, adding seeds instead to boost the flavour and add extra bite.
If I’m short on time or know I’ll be running late to get dinner started, I’ll buy a pre-made salad as a base and then add extras to bulk it up. Supermarket salads are convenient but can often lack a bit of inspiration, but as a base, they can be really helpful and a great time-saver.
Lisa Mitchell – Sacred & Delicious
Like most working folks, I’m interested in cooking easy meals Monday through Friday because I often work until 6 or 6:30 p.m. Simplicity and ease are my watchwords during the work week. Vegetarian and gluten-free are essential for my health.
Most meals in our household are vegan, although I do still cook with ghee (clarified butter). According to Ayurveda, the ancient medical and wellness system of India, ghee is considered the healthiest fat for its medicinal qualities.
Here are some of my favorite American-style weeknight meals:
1. Red lentil soup with vegetables. I usually make a homemade soup stock over the weekend, and then it’s ready for this soup. Sauté an onion in the soup pot or better yet, leeks, which are faster. Then cook the lentils for about 20 minutes with vegetables and seasonings in homemade stock, when available.
For an Italian flavored soup, try carrots, zucchini, and spinach with lots of fresh basil and a little bit of oregano. Sundried tomatoes are another tasty addition. You can make the dish Indian-style with cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and a hint of curry powder, it you like. All done in about 30 minutes.
2. A black bean soup is a winner during this cold weather. It can cook all day in a slow cooker with a bay leaf and an onion. Or cook it with a pressure cooker or Instant pot and add seasonings later. Be sure to soak the beans overnight or they will never get tender. Serve over a little basmati rice. Make plenty of that black-bean soup and strain the leftovers.
3. Next day, bake some sweet potatoes and top them with warmed up black beans, avocado, and or guacamole. Maybe a little fresh salsa, too. Yum!
4. With some leftover stock, enjoy a carrot soup with fresh ginger and basil, made creamy with a little almond milk—another 30-minute dish. When the weather warms up, I switch up the seasoning to cilantro and mint with cooling coconut milk. Serve it with some grilled tofu and some sautéed greens or a salad in the summer.
5. Try a gluten-free pasta or pasta of your choice! While the pasta is cooking, sauté one or two quick-cooking vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, or red pepper, in olive oil, liquid aminos, and garlic. Place the cooked and rinsed pasta on a bed of fresh arugula or spinach.
Add the veggies and toss with lots of fresh basil and salt. Sprinkle with nuts of choice. A delicious 30- or 40-minute meal!
Elizabeth Girouard – Pure Simple Wellness
The best way to make easy healthy dinners is to use whole food ingredients, prepared simply. Frozen veggies are great to have on hand for easy dinners. They are flash-frozen when picked, so often they have more nutrients than fresh ones.
Shortcuts can save time and energy, like purchasing pre-cut vegetables or mini-versions, like baby carrots or baby potatoes. Sheet pan meals, where all the ingredients are cooked together on one sheet pan, make clean-up easier too.
A client favorite is organic chicken thighs with roasted baby potatoes and baby carrots. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, drizzle some olive oil, and cook at 400 F for 30 minutes.
Another no-cook option is an organic rotisserie chicken over a precut salad, with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper and garlic. The dressings in the prepacked oils usually have less healthy oils, so it’s best to avoid them. Or, a bag of steamed frozen vegetables, with rotisserie chicken, drizzled with olive oil and hot sauce.
Here are a few other favorite simple, healthy dinner ideas:
Organic Chicken Sausage with onions and peppers
- sauté onion and pepper strips in avocado or olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper for 3-5 minutes; add cut up pre-cooked sausage and cook until heated through
- sauté chopped peppers, onions, zucchini, green beans, carrots (fresh or frozen) olive oil; add gluten-free Tamari sauce or coconut aminos, and serve over cauliflower rice or brown rice
Ground beef and mushrooms over zoodles
- sauté grass-fed ground beef, once meat is cooked through, add thinly sliced mushrooms and organic tomato sauce until mushrooms are cooked through. Add zucchini noodles for 2 minutes at the end to heat.
Candice Walker – Proportional Plate
If I’m trying to keep dinner under 30 minutes but still keep it healthy and packed with flavor, one of my go-to recipes is a salmon dish, Citrus Thyme Salmon with Pesto Pasta. Salmon is most people’s go-to fish because it’s healthy, delicious, and extremely versatile.
It takes no time at all to cook in the oven, and I serve with simple pesto pasta and steamed veggies. The key to making a healthy, easy meal is combining elements that you can cook all at the same time – for example steaming veggies while the salmon cooks.
Another quick dinner I love is Ginger Scallion Noodles with Broccoli & Carrots – it’s an amazing substitute for takeout when you’re craving it. It helps to have an easy recipe on hand if you want to resist the temptation of ordering in.
Then, if I need something quick and warm, I always make Vegetarian Egg Drop Soup with Mixed Veggies – I use arrowroot powder to thicken it so it’s just the right texture.
It’s a hearty, simple soup that works with frozen veggies like corn and peas, and I use homemade vegetable stock to make sure it’s not loaded with salt and other additives.
Jessica Braider – The Scramble
One of my favorite easy healthy dinners is build-a-bowl nights because they are so easy, flexible, and fun.
Start with a grain base such as rice, quinoa, or couscous, and then you can add any proteins, vegetables, and condiments you like to make the flavor fit your mood.
For example, you could go a southwestern route with black beans, roasted vegetables, shredded Cheddar cheese, and salsa.
Or, you could go middle eastern with chickpeas, chopped raw vegetables, crumbled feta, and hummus.
The possibilities are endless and if you make the base grain and some proteins or vegetables ahead of time, dinner can be ready in mere minutes!
Stephanie Mantilla – Plant Prosperous
My favorite healthy meal is lentil chili.
You can dump the lentils, salsa, spices, and vegetables all into one pot and let them cook.
This even works in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
The lentils provide a good amount of protein and you can add whatever veggies you have on hand.
You can serve the chili over a bed of rice, quinoa, or greens for a healthy meal your entire family will like.
My favourite easy healthy dinner ideas are tasty, quick, and easy. I am inspired by the seasons and like to eat real food.
In Winter, my favourite dinner ideas are delicious, warming, and nourishing. They include thick hearty winter soups (made from home-made broths), Asian stir fry’s, and spicy curries served with Basmati rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa.
In Summer, as the weather gets warmer and the days are longer, my meals change also.
They are generally lighter using fresh salad greens, herbs, and microgreens. To serve interesting salads, presentation is key. Choose colourful ingredients, served on a long white ceramic plate.
Top the plate with interesting salad leaves. Then, add generous amounts of fresh vegetables (such as sliced avocado, grated carrot, grated beetroot, pomegranate seeds, walnuts etc or roast vegetables) and fresh parsley, basil, and mint, cracked black pepper, and sea salt. In Summer months, I also like miso, sushi, sashimi fish, and Vietnamese spring rolls (fresh).
Antonia Korcheva – Escape Waste
I love making zucchini boats. They are easy to prepare and the filling options are endless. This is a personal original recipe! Here are the steps:
- You’ll need one or two zucchinis per person for one serving.
- Cut the zucchini crosswise.
- Carve each half with a spoon to create the boats.
- Drizzle the boats with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Bake them for 10 minutes on medium heat.
- In the meantime, prepare the filling.
- Put the filling in the boats and cook for 20 more minutes.
- Mushrooms with onion and herbs;
- Sauteed seasonal vegetables;
Additional tip: Use the leftover carvings for the filling of the boats or prepare other meals such as salads, zucchini balls, or even cakes.
Cheryl McColgan – Heal Nourish Grow
People love to overcomplicate dinner time, especially when they’re trying to switch to a new, healthy way of eating. One of the first things to determine is what is really a healthy meal…which is not so easy nowadays with the pervasive old ways of thinking still dominating nutrition. Eating healthy can be simple.
After hundreds of hours of research, I’ve determined that a low carb diet free of processed food and added sugar is the healthiest option.
Based on this paradigm, my favorite easy and healthy dinner ideas basically include two ingredients. Combine your favorite protein (bonus points if it’s grass-fed or pastured) with a low starch vegetable. Add some healthy fat or sauce and you’re done!
If you’re really pressed for time or creativity, you can even skip the vegetable, GASP! This would be unheard of in the past but you can make a good case that vegetables aren’t necessary to a healthy diet.
Some specific examples of this type of meal are a perfectly cooked grass-fed ribeye with some asparagus roasted in olive oil. Another great choice would be a one-pan meal of pastured chicken thighs and brussels sprouts cooked in butter. Particularly if you’re trying to lose weight, this dinner method will keep you on track and simplify healthy eating.
Youmna Rab – Sustainably Yours
My favourite, easy healthy dinner ideas are ones that can be made in less than 20 minutes and create very few dirty dishes. When it comes to cooking, having to wash tons of dirty dishes automatically makes an easy dinner much harder. Dishes that can be made in one pan are the best way to go.
The easiest one-pan dinner I make is pesto ravioli. All you have to do is heat up frozen ravioli, cut some veggies and mix it all together on the stove with pesto! Most frozen food isn’t considered healthy, but ravioli can be if you add pesto and lots of vegetables.
Another great easy vegan option is a barbecue chickpea wrap. All you have to do is heat up canned chickpeas in barbeque sauce and wrap it in a tortilla with your favourite vegetables. Lettuce, tomatoes, and onions are great options that pair deliciously with chickpeas. Spread some hummus on the tortilla as well to add some more flavour.
These two healthy dishes are favorites that can be made in less than 20 minutes. To spend less time in the kitchen, cut up vegetables while everything else cooks.
Stephanie Harris-Uyidi – Posh Pescatarian
Soups, Chowders, and Stews
I love turning to soups, chowders, and stews as quick and healthy dinner options. This way, you can easily combine a medley of veggies, legumes, and spices to create a healthy but flavorful meal.
Soups, stews, and chowders provide home cooks the opportunity to experiment with flavor combinations. From a Mireproix mix (sauteed celery, carrots, and onions) to coconut milk to kale to lentils to lemons, the options are endless!
Some of my favorite recipes include Cauliflower, Coconut & Orange Lentil Soup, Wild Salmon & Tuscan Kale Chowder, and One Pot North African Fish & Chickpea Pescatarian Stew.
Salads are another great healthy dinner option, and it doesn’t have to be limited to Caesar! You can add veggies, fruits, protein, cheese, and nuts to your dish for added flavor and variety.
I love going back to many of my recipes that are now staples in my diet, including Elote Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad, Salmon Bacon Salad, Spicy Yucatan Fruit Salad, and Wild Tuna Salad.
When putting together quick and healthy dinners, I like to use a basic template to make sure my family gets the nutrition they need while also keeping it simple: every dinner has a protein (usually meat), a vegetable and a whole grain or root vegetable. Fill in these blanks with whatever is on hand and you are on your way to a healthy dinner.
For example, some of my favorite nutrient-rich and delicious dinners are: tacos with ground beef and beans on corn or whole wheat tortillas with plenty of veggie toppings; Thai laab, a dish of ground pork, seasonings and vegetables served in lettuce wraps, with brown rice; curry or stir fry with whatever meat and vegetables need to be used up in the fridge, on a bed of sweet potatoes or brown rice.
Finally, breakfast-for-dinner, the ultimate dinner-saver–I will typically make a cheese and veggie frittata or omelette and serve with whole grain sourdough bread when we are really short on time to throw dinner together.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try to do as much meal planning as you can ahead of time so your healthy dinners come together quickly and easily.
Shruthi Baskaran – Urban Farmie
My favorite healthy dinners are plant-forward, vegan or vegetarian versions of simple African stews.
Say, for instance, Efo Riro, a hearty Nigerian spinach stew cooked using a red pepper and tomato puree, as well as umami-rich elements like mushrooms and tahini.
Or a warm bowl of Ethiopian Atakilt Wat, a cabbage stew made with pantry staples like potatoes and carrots, and oil infused with simple spices.
These dinners are hearty, comforting and nutritious, and easy to make at home even when I’m busy!
Jenna Passaro – Sip Bite Go
As a parent, I know how important it can be to throw a quick and easy dinner together. Make a delicious 30 minute or less chicken dinner with inspiration from this recipe.
Here these perfectly cooked chicken breasts are served with an easy avocado and vegetable salad. You can make a simple chicken dinner like a restaurant would make – right at home.
Need a vegetarian option? These easy baked buffalo cauliflower bites are an addictive meatless buffalo wings alternative. This vegetarian chicken wing alternative is a favorite in my house for game day and using up leftover cauliflower.
If you’ve heard of cauliflower buffalo bites, you’ll find this recipe is a little different. The addition of red onion makes these buffalo cauliflower bites taste more gourmet. Find the recipe here.
Marissa Schaumloffel – Over The Spoon For
My favorite easy and healthy dinners are any options that I can use whatever I have on hand.
I either turn leftover vegetables and potatoes into a baked frittata or create a Buddha Bowl with a rice or quinoa base.
These allow me to fill up on protein, fiber, and healthy fats and use what I already have rather than going to the store after work.
I cook rice or quinoa in the rice cooker in about 20 minutes while I cut up any vegetables.
I love to add different sauces to make the meals different and flavorful.
Thank you so much to all the experts that have contributed to this expert roundup! If you want to help more people improve their health and their diet then please share this post with your friends and followers so we can spread these healthy dinner ideas.
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