Think you don’t have enough time to make a healthy dinner? Think again. These healthy dinner ideas are ready in just 20 minutes, so you can get a flavorful dish on the table on even the busiest of days. From Easy Pea & Spinach Carbonara to One-Skillet Bourbon Chicken, these recipes are satisfying and quick to make.
1. Chhole (Chickpea Curry)
Made with convenient canned beans, this quick and healthy Indian recipe is an authentic chickpea curry that you can make in minutes. If you want an additional vegetable, stir in some roasted cauliflower florets. Serve with brown basmati rice or warm naan.
1 medium serrano pepper, cut into thirds
4 large cloves garlic
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1-inch)
6 tablespoons canola oil or grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 ¼ cups no-salt-added canned diced tomatoes with their juice (from a 28-ounce can)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed
2 teaspoons garam masala
Fresh cilantro for garnish
Pulse serrano, garlic and ginger in a food processor until minced. Scrape down the sides and pulse again. Add onion; pulse until finely chopped, but not watery.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add coriander, cumin and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Pulse tomatoes in the food processor until finely chopped. Add to the pan along with salt. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add chickpeas and garam masala, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more. Serve topped with cilantro, if desired.
Serving Size: about 1 cup
Per Serving: 278 calories; protein 5.8g; carbohydrates 30.3g; dietary fiber 6.3g; sugars 3.1g; fat 15.5g; saturated fat 1.2g; vitamin a iu 260.1IU; vitamin c 17.8mg; folate 75.4mcg; calcium 65.3mg; iron 2.1mg; magnesium 34.2mg; potassium 355.7mg; sodium 354.2mg.
2. Classic Sesame Noodles with Chicken
Sesame noodles become a satisfying meal with lean chicken and tons of veggies in this quick, healthy noodle recipe. Be sure to rinse the spaghetti until it’s cold, then give it a good shake in the colander until it’s well drained. Are you a spiralizing pro? Swap 5 cups of raw zucchini, carrot or other veggie “noodles” for the cooked pasta.
8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
3 tablespoons toasted (dark) sesame oil
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
8 ounces cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded
1 cup julienned carrots
1 cup sliced snap peas
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Cook spaghetti in a pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain, rinse and transfer to a large bowl.
Combine sesame oil, scallions, garlic, ginger and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until starting to sizzle. Cook for 15 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and ketchup. Add to the noodles along with chicken, carrots, snap peas and sesame seeds; gently toss to combine.
Serving Size: 1 3/4 cups
Per Serving: 460 calories; protein 28.6g; carbohydrates 53.2g; dietary fiber 9g; sugars 7g; fat 16.5g; saturated fat 2.7g; cholesterol 48.2mg; vitamin a iu 3609.8IU; vitamin c 15.9mg; folate 59.2mcg; calcium 125.5mg; iron 4.5mg; magnesium 135.1mg; potassium 477.5mg; sodium 407.3mg; thiamin 0.4mg; added sugar 2g.
3. One-Skillet Bourbon Chicken
Bourbon chicken gets coated in a slightly sweet-spicy sauce for a flavorful dinner that comes together quickly, making it perfect for busy weeknights.
¼ cup lower-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup bourbon
¼ cup unsweetened apple juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus 1 teaspoon, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons water
3 cups cooked brown rice
Sliced scallions for garnish
Combine soy sauce, bourbon, apple juice, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.
Toss together chicken and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a large bowl. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the soy-bourbon mixture; stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency and the chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
Combine water and the remaining 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a small bowl; stir to mix well. Add to the pan; cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and coats the chicken, 1 to 2 minutes.
Divide rice among 4 plates; top with the chicken and sauce. Garnish with scallions, if desired.
Serving Size: about 4 oz. chicken & 3/4 cup rice
Per Serving: 521 calories; fat 15g; cholesterol 136mg; sodium 732mg; carbohydrates 48g; dietary fiber 3g; protein 40g; sugars 5g; niacin equivalents 4mg; saturated fat 2g; vitamin a iu 47IU; potassium 226mg.
4. White Bean and Tuna Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
4. White Bean & Sun-Dried Tomato Gnocchi
Sun-dried tomatoes are the star of this recipe— providing texture and umami. Combined with the spinach, they make this dish a great source of vitamins C and K.
½ cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes plus 2 tablespoons oil from the jar, divided
1 (16 ounce) package shelf-stable gnocchi
1 (15 ounce) can low-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed
1 (5 ounce) package baby spinach
1 large shallot, minced
⅓ cup low-sodium no-chicken broth or chicken broth
⅓ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add beans and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add sun-dried tomatoes and shallot; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Increase heat to high and add broth. Cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and stir in cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Return the gnocchi mixture to the pan and stir to coat with the sauce. Serve topped with basil.
Serving Size: 1 cup
Per Serving: 437 calories; fat 13g; cholesterol 23mg; sodium 651mg; carbohydrates 69g; dietary fiber 8g; protein 14g; sugars 4g; niacin equivalents 1mg; saturated fat 5g; vitamin a iu 2995IU; potassium 481mg.
5. Breakfast Naan Pizza
Give your morning eggs a tasty spin by building an easy individual pizza on a prepared naan.
1 whole-wheat naan
2 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon low-sodium marinara or pesto
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh basil and ground pepper for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Place naan on the prepared pan. Mix ricotta, marinara (or pesto) and lemon zest in a small bowl. Spread the mixture onto the naan, creating a well in the center. Carefully crack egg into the well. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until the naan is golden, the egg white is set and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes. Garnish with basil and pepper, if desired.
Serving Size: 1 pizza
Per Serving: 458 calories; fat 17g; cholesterol 202mg; sodium 758mg; carbohydrates 52g; dietary fiber 5g; protein 24g; sugars 5g; niacin equivalents 4mg; saturated fat 7g; vitamin a iu 421IU; potassium 305mg.