40 Dinner Ideas That Don't Need a Recipe
When it comes down to it, it can be challenging to find the time to sit down, decide on a week's worth of recipes, write down all the necessary ingredients, hit up the supermarket, and then go through the tedious step-by-step process of making the meal. Thankfully, there's a better way: Ditch the recipes and seek out flavorful "freestyle" dinner ideas that don't need a recipe. (Yes, it's a thing!)
All of the healthy meals below are made with just a handful of ingredients—many of which you likely already have in your kitchen—and are self-explanatory to pull together. Better yet, they all go from the stove to the kitchen table in under an hour. Add them to your weekly lineup to rid the stress from your daily mealtime grind. And while you're at it, continue down a path of low-effort healthy eating by ordering one of these healthiest menu options from the most popular restaurant chains.
And for more, don't miss these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.
Chicken & Veggie Pan Roast
What You'll Need: Chicken breasts, dried herbs and spices (garlic powder, rosemary, ground pepper, oregano, etc), roasting veggies (we like onions, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes), and olive oil
We love sheet pan meals because all you need to do is put your meat and veggies on a pan, drizzle with a bit of EVOO, spice everything to taste, set it, and forget it. The best part? All of these ingredients can easily be paired with some lettuce and some rinsed chickpeas for the next day's lunch.
We recommend setting the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll have a well-rounded dinner ready to eat in 30 to 40 minutes.
Pesto Zoodles with Chicken, Tomatoes & Pine Nuts
What You'll Need: Zucchini, olive oil, jarred pesto, grilled or pan-cooked chicken, grape tomatoes (cut in half), and pine nuts
Love the taste of pasta dishes, but looking to cut back on calories? Zoodles, or zucchini noodles, are the perfect solution. After you create noodles with the vitamin C-rich veggie, toss 'em in a sauté pan with some olive oil and let them get a bit soft. Then, add in the pesto, chicken, and tomatoes. After you've plated your meal, top with pine nuts. Done and done.
No spiralizer? No problem. A veggie stripper can also create zoodle-like strands in seconds.
RELATED: For more simple weekday meals you're sure to love, check out these one-pot dinner recipes for weight loss.
Berry, Goat Cheese, & Quinoa Salad
What You'll Need: Berries (we like blueberries and raspberries), spinach, chopped almonds, goat cheese, your favorite vinaigrette dressing
As the quinoa is cooking on the stove, wash and chop your berries and nuts. After the quinoa has cooled a bit, add it to a bed of spinach, along with the nuts, fruit, goat cheese, and dressing.
We love this lazy dinner recipe because it's easy to pull together and serves up a host of antioxidants and a source of complete protein. Not to mention, it's 100% Instagram-worthy.
Chicken & Veggie Teriyaki Stir-Fry
What You'll Need: Cubed chicken breasts, dry Asian seasoning, low-sodium teriyaki sauce (we like Organicville Island Teriyaki), frozen Asian-style veggies, brown rice or black bean noodles (we like Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti)
After you put up a pot of water to boil for the spaghetti, place the chicken breasts in a lightly greased skillet and sprinkle it with some seasoning. Once it starts to cook a bit, dump in the vegetables and cover the skillet with a lid. After a few minutes, add some more seasoning to the vegetables and a bit of teriyaki sauce, to taste. Once the meat, veggies, and your starch of choice are fully cooked, it's time to plate your protein and veggie-filled meal.
Chicken Fajita Salad
What You'll Need: Cubed chicken breasts, Mexican seasoning (we like Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning Blend), sliced bell peppers, sliced onion, drained and dried black beans, chopped romaine lettuce, sliced avocado, low-sodium salsa (we like Newman's Own Mild)
See ya, Chipotle. Thanks to this quick and easy recipe, you won't need to waste your hard-earned cash on pre-made food again. Throw the chicken and veggies on a lightly greased skillet, sprinkle it with Mexican seasoning, and cover with a lid. Once the meat is cooked and the veggies are soft, remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Next, begin to construct your salad. Start with the greens and then pile on the avocado and salsa. Last, top it off with the chicken and veggie mixture.
Grilled Steak with Roasted Asparagus & Brown Rice
What You'll Need: 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons honey, crushed red pepper, chopped scallions, sirloin tip side or top round steak, asparagus, olive oil, salt, pepper brown rice
In a shallow bowl, combine the first five ingredients and place the steak in the marinade. Let the flavors mingle in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. While the meat is tenderizing, snap off the ends of the asparagus and toss the top part into a bowl with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Oh, and don't forget to make the rice. Next, heat your grill to high and place the meat and asparagus on the slats and cook until slightly charred.
Caprese Entree Salad with Whole-Grain Pita
What You'll Need: Spinach, chopped tomatoes, cubed fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, ground pepper, shredded basil, toasted whole-grain pita
If you're a fan of Insalata Caprese apps from Italian restaurants, you'll be a fan of this entree-sized bed of greens, too. To make this stress-free recipe at home, toss spinach or your favorite green into a large bowl, and top with ingredients two through eight. Serve with a toasted whole-grain pita for a complete and filling meal.
Skeptical that this dish will be enough to sate your appetite? Add your favorite source of protein. Grilled chicken and steak both make for appetizing additions. And if you're looking to put a fun twist on this classic dish, add some sliced fresh peaches. It may seem like an odd combination, but we promise you that it tastes divine.
Chicken Israeli Salad Over Greens
What You'll Need: Cubed chicken breasts, chickpeas, diced onion, diced tomato, diced cucumber, diced red bell pepper, ground pepper, dry parsley, red wine vinegar, olive oil, your favorite salad green
This refreshing Middle Eastern salad is beyond tasty and takes less than 20 minutes to make. Start your culinary adventure by tossing the chicken on a hot skillet and seasoning it with your favorite spices. While it's cooking, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and combine them with the vegetables. Once the chicken is cooked and cooled, add it to the bean and vegetable mixture, and sprinkle everything with pepper, parsley, vinegar, and oil, and serve over a bed of your favorite greens.
Eat This! Tip:
Use the leftover mixture to make a pita for the next day's lunch.
Turkey Burgers, Sweet Potato Fries & Roasted Asparagus
What You'll Need: Pre-formed raw turkey burgers, dry rosemary, garlic powder, ground pepper, sliced sweet potatoes, paprika, asparagus, extra virgin olive oil, your favorite salad green, sliced tomato
To make this better-for-you "cookout," throw the turkey burgers on a grill pan and season with rosemary, garlic powder, and ground pepper—this should all be happening while your oven is pre-heating to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, chop the sweet potatoes and snap the ends off the asparagus. Lay each veggie on their own bake pan and drizzle both with some olive oil and pepper, and give the spuds a dusting of paprika.
Instead of serving your burger on a bun, enjoy it with some lettuce and tomato—you know, the stuff you typically find snuggled up with your burger in between the bread. Your body doesn't need the additional carbs when it's already getting a potent punch of the nutrient from the taters.
Veggie Frittata with Avocado Toast & Berries
What You'll Need: Eggs, cracked and whisked, your favorite chopped veggies, grated parmesan, salt, pepper, Ezekiel bread, avocado, your favorite fresh berries
Sometimes brinner is the only thing that will hit the spot. And for those nights, we suggest whipping up this simple—yet flavorful—meal. Here's how to make it: Grease a 9×9 baking dish and pour in the veggies and eggs. Add parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. In the meantime, wash the berries, toast the bread, and top each slice with some mashed avocado. And speaking of the creamy, delicious fruit, check out these avocado recipes for weight loss.
Veggie Soup & Grilled Cheese
What You'll Need: Olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, chopped zucchini, canned crushed tomatoes, 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock, dried thyme, ground pepper, cannellini beans, Ezekiel bread, your favorite cheese, grass-fed butter
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until it starts to become fragrant. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, stock, thyme, and pepper, and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for up to 45 minutes, and toss in the beans right before you turn off the burner. Round out your meal with an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
Eat This! Tip:
You might have noticed we suggest using grass-fed butter over conventional varieties. That's because it's an excellent source of fatty acids that can support weight loss. One acid, conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is sold commercially as a fat-burning supplement.
Black Bean Quesadillas & Salad
What You'll Need: Can of black beans, can of corn kernels, 1/2 small minced red onion, 1 minced clove garlic, minced cilantro, shredded Mexican-style cheese, taco seasoning, corn tortillas, romaine lettuce, diced tomato, diced avocado, diced cucumber, lime dressing
To make this family-friendly Tex-Mex dish, drain the can of beans and the can of corn and rinse them lightly with water. Place the beans in a large bowl and mix in the onion, garlic, cilantro, cheese, and taco seasoning. Spoon the mixture on one side of each tortilla and fold over, sandwich style. Cook over a hot skillet until the tortilla has browned and the cheese has melted.
Eat This! Tip:
If you like a little heat, use pepper Jack cheese. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt for some added creaminess.
Whole-Grain Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Veggies
What You'll Need: Your favorite whole grain noodles, chicken sausage with the casing removed (we like Al Fresco's roasted garlic variety), chopped tomatoes, chopped bell pepper, chopped garlic, olive oil, dried rosemary, ground pepper
While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking on the stove, remove the casing from the sausage, cut it into medallions, and set the medallions aside. Next, chop up the veggies. Now, for the stovetop part. Pour some olive oil and the garlic into a skillet and heat over a medium flame. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add the veggies and spices and stir until they become soft. A minute before the veggies look ready to be eaten. Add the sausage to warm it up. Combine the pasta with the sauté pan mixture before eating.
Lemon Paprika Salmon with Roasted Veggies & Brown Rice
What You'll Need: Wild salmon, the juice from half a lemon, salt, pepper, and paprika, your favorite chopped roasting veggies, olive oil, garlic powder
This sheet pan supper is super simple—and better yet, it's a set it and forget it kind of dish, so you can sneak in some other chores while your oven does the work. Need to throw in a load of laundry? Go for it. Need to pick up your kid's playroom? After you pop the meal in the oven and pour the rice into the water, you've got about 15 minutes to get it done.
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and boiling a pot of water. Lay the salmon skin-side down on a lightly oiled tray alongside the veggies. Season the salmon with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and paprika, and top the veggies with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil. Next, place the tray in the oven and cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 16-18 minutes. Make the rice according to box instructions.
Balsamic Caprese Chicken & Roasted Summer Squash
What You'll Need: Thin chicken breasts, two chopped garlic cloves, chopped heirloom tomato, chopped basil, chopped fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, zucchini, yellow squash, garlic powder, salt, ground black pepper
While you may be inclined to pair Italian-style dishes with hearty pasta, this meal proves it's possible to opt for something lighter and nutrient-dense like squash, and still create a filling meal. To pull the two dishes together, start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and heating up a lightly greased grill pan. Grill the chicken on both sides until fully cooked and then top with cheese, tomato, balsamic, and olive oil. Remove from the heat once the cheese begins to melt.
While the chicken is cooking, chop the squash and place on a baking pan and top with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic powder, salt, ground black pepper. Pop the veggies in the oven for about 12 minutes, or until a bit brown.
Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs
What You'll Need: Spaghetti squash, low-sugar jarred tomato sauce (we like Ragu Light No Sugar Added Tomato & Basil), pre-made meatballs (we like Aidells Chicken Meatballs)
Ditch the inflammation-inducing white-flour pasta and make this healthified spaghetti squash dish a weekly staple instead. To make it, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cut the spaghetti squash in half. Next, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and then place it in an oven-safe baking dish, flesh side up, and pour about 2 tablespoons of water into each half. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 50 minutes, or until tender.
In the meantime, pour some marinara sauce into a small saucepan along with the meatballs. Cover the pan and warm over a low flame. Once the squash is done, pour out the water and use a fork to scrape long, spaghetti-like strands from the flesh onto your plate. Top with the sauce and meatballs.
Eat This! Tip:
Got a house full of ravenous eaters? Bulk up this meal a bit with a big, vegetable-filled salad and some fresh-cut fruit.
Farro, Hazelnuts & Cauliflower Salad
What You'll Need: Farro, chopped hazelnuts, chopped cauliflower, olive oil, fresh ground pepper, your favorite salad green, your favorite vinaigrette dressing
Never tried farro before? It's about time you did. The ancient wheat grain "tastes like brown rice, but with a pleasant chewier texture and nuttier flavor," says registered dietitian Toby Amidor. "One cup contains 220 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein. It's also chock full of antioxidant vitamins A and E and minerals like magnesium and iron." To make this filling salad, prepare the farro according to box instructions, roast the cauliflower in a 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven with some olive oil and ground pepper, and then let both dishes cool off for a while. To plate the dish, layer the farro, hazelnuts, and cauliflower on top of a bed of greens and toss with a bit of dressing.
Rosemary Pan Chicken with Roasted Butternut Squash & Broccoli
What You'll Need: Thin chicken breasts, olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary, ground black pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt, cubed butternut squash, chopped broccoli
To make this scrumptious meal, start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil with the rosemary and black pepper and rub over the chicken. Cover and let chill while you chop the veggies. Place the vegetables on a baking pan and top with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other dried herbs your taste buds desire. Pop the veggies in the oven until they're tender, and cook the chicken in a skillet over a medium-high flame until cooked through.
Shrimp & Broccoli Stir Fry
What You'll Need: Olive oil, frozen Asian-style vegetables, thinly sliced scallions, low-sodium teriyaki sauce (we like Organicville Island Teriyaki), medium shrimp (peeled and deveined), sesame seeds
Shrimp is a great source of lean, low-cal protein that can help boost metabolism and suppress appetite. It's also brimming with iodine, a building block of your metabolism-running thyroid hormones. Better yet, though, it cooks really quickly, making it a great option for hectic weeknight evenings. To make this simple yet nutritious meal, toss some frozen Asian-style veggies into a saucepan with some olive oil and cover with a lid. Once they've started to defrost a bit, add the teriyaki sauce and scallions. After another few minutes, add the shrimp and continuously stir the mixture to ensure everything gets evenly cooked. Top with sesame seeds before serving.
Mustard-Citrus Pork with Brown Rice & Asparagus
What You'll Need: Pork tenderloins, olive oil, salt, ground pepper, grainy mustard, orange zest and juice, minced garlic, asparagus, brown rice
While it may raise some eyebrows to see a pork recipe on a health food site, pork has been coming around as a healthier alternative of late, with pork tenderloin being among the healthiest cuts.
To make this dish, season the meat with salt and pepper and place into a hot, oiled ovenproof skillet. Sear each side for a few minutes until the meat turns brown. Meanwhile, mix the mustard, orange zest, and juice, and chopped garlic and spoon the mixture over the meat. Then, transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 12-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Pair with olive oil- and ground pepper-topped asparagus. Both dishes can be baked simultaneously at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chicken and White Bean Salad
What You'll Need: Chopped cooked chicken, cannellini beans, sugar snap peas (cut in half), shredded purple cabbage, sectioned oranges, roasted sliced almonds, baby spinach, citrus vinaigrette
By combining all of the ingredients listed above, you'll create a meal that's packed with equal parts, fiber, protein, nutrition, and yum. And thanks to the almonds, the salad also serves up a major fat-burning punch.
Vegetarian Teriyaki Quinoa Bowl
What You'll Need: Quinoa, low-sodium teriyaki sauce, chopped red onion, chopped red bell peppers, chopped broccoli florets, chopped sugar snap peas
We're not quite sure why, but it seems that everything tastes better when you eat it out of a bowl—that's likely why everything from smoothies to tacos is being deconstructed and housed inside of them. For this Chinese-inspired dish, we cooked quinoa and mixed it with fresh veggies sautéed in a bottled teriyaki sauce. Why'd we pick quinoa over rice? Because this meal doesn't serve up any meat, we wanted to ensure you'd get a solid hit of complete protein—and quinoa provides just that. Rice, however, does not. For more vegetarian sources of protein, check out these best vegetarian sources of protein.
Stovetop Cheesy Chicken & Vegetables
What You'll Need: 2 cloves minced garlic, Italian dressing, Italian-style frozen vegetable blend, skinless chicken breasts, shredded parmesan cheese
To make this cheesy one-pot wonder, heat garlic and dressing in a large frying pan over medium heat for one minute, and then add the chicken. Once the chicken is nearly cooked through, add the vegetable blend and cover the pan with a lid, stirring occasionally. Before taking it off the stove to eat it, sprinkle it with cheese. The resulting dish is one that's packed with muscle-building protein, bone-strengthening calcium, and loads of antioxidants.
Salmon Caesar Salad with Whole-Grain Roll
What You'll Need: Wild salmon, olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped romaine lettuce, shredded parmesan cheese, organic Caesar dressing (we like Annie's), whole-grain roll (we like Alexia's artisan whole-grain rolls)
To make this light yet filling salad, flip on the oven and set it to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the fish (which is brimming with heart-healthy omega-3s) with salt and pepper and place it skin side down on a foil-covered baking sheet for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until it easily flakes with a fork. Serve over a bed of lightly dressed romaine and pair with a whole grain roll for some energizing carbohydrates.
One-Pot Cajun Chicken & Rice
What You'll Need: Chicken breasts, Cajun seasoning (we like Perfect Pinch Cajun Seasoning), brown rice, low-sodium chicken broth, chopped bell pepper, roughly chopped cilantro
This flavorful, one-pot wonder comes together in just 30 minutes. After you season the chicken, cook it in an olive oil-greased skillet until it begins to brown. Take it off the heat and set it aside. In the same pan, combine the rice, peppers, additional seasoning, and broth. Stir the mixture and then add the chicken back into the skillet. Allow the mixture to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the liquid cooks down. Top with the cilantro and serve.
Watermelon, Feta, and Chicken Salad
What You'll Need: Cubed watermelon, sliced grilled chicken, crumbled feta, greens, balsamic vinegar, olive oil
If you've been looking for an easy salad that comes together in less than five minutes, this is it. To make it, toss some spinach or baby kale onto a dinner plate and top it with the melon, chicken, and feta. Drizzle everything with a bit of EVOO and balsamic, and voila—dinner is done. Concerned this meal will leave your tummy rumbling? Add a sprinkling of crushed almonds or pepitas to your plate.
What You'll Need: Your favorite store-bought hummus, whole wheat or Ezekiel Tortilla pita bread, sliced veggies, sliced grilled chicken
Sometimes after a long day, the thought of cooking anything is exhausting. And on those evenings, I typically throw some sliced veggies and chicken onto a plate and pair it with some toasted pita bread and hummus. It may sound like a glorified snack, and admittedly, it kind of is, but so long as you really fill up your plate with fibrous veggies, your hunger is sure to be quelled.
Green Lentil Veggie Lasagna
What You'll Need: Explore Cuisine Green Lentil Lasagne, sliced vegetables, low-sugar jarred tomato sauce, Italian cheeses
We love this lentil flour-based, gluten-free lasagna because you don't have to boil it in water to cook it before layering it in the baking dish. Just take it out of the box as is, and layer it with your favorite sliced vegetables (we like peppers, eggplant, and zucchini) along with sauce and cheese.
For best results, you'll want to start and end this process with plenty of sauce, as it helps to infuse moisture into the lasagne strips.
Herbed Halibut with Roasted Veggies
What You'll Need: Atlantic or Pacific halibut, grass-fed butter, lemon juice, minced garlic clove, black pepper, thyme, dried parsley, whole grain breadcrumbs, green beans, cauliflower, olive oil, salt
After you preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and toss all the ingredients onto a baking pan, you're work is done, making this meal perfect for time-strapped healthy foodies. Here's how to pull it all together: First, line two baking sheets with foil. Then, toss the veggies onto one pan, and put the fish, skin side down onto the other. Top the fish with some butter, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, thyme, parsley, and breadcrumbs to taste. And drizzle the vegetables with EVOO, salt, and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven until beans are slightly shriveled and the fish can be easily flaked—about 20 to 25 minutes.
Zucchini, Bean & Bulgur Salad
What You'll Need: Olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, ground pepper, sliced zucchini, kidney beans, sliced shallot, chopped almonds, bulgur (cooked according to box instructions), crumbled goat cheese, baby kale.
Not only is this dish super simple to pull together, but it's also extremely versatile. After you eat it once for dinner, the leftovers can easily be incorporated into a variety of other meals throughout the week. To start, combine the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper into a bowl, to taste. Next, mix with zucchini, beans, shallots, and almonds. Allows the flavors to mingle, until the zucchini begins to soften. Then, add in the bulgur and mix in the cheese. Serve over a bed of baby kale.
What You'll Need: Rolled oatmeal (cooked according to box instructions), andouille sausage (we like Aidells), red peppers, chopped onion, chopped celery, olive oil, minced garlic, Cajun seasoning to taste
Oatmeal is just another grain, like rice or grits, so it's no surprise that it fares well as a Jambalaya-style dish. To create this savory brinner bowl at home, combine oats with andouille sausage, red peppers (one of the Best Veggies for Weight Loss), onions, celery, olive oil, garlic, and Cajun seasoning. For even more easy oatmeal recipes that will make your mouth water, check out our best overnight oats recipes.
Low-Carb Hamburger Salad
What You'll Need: Grass-fed ground beef, your favorite herbs and spices, romaine lettuce, chopped onion, sliced avocado, tomato, and cucumber, your favorite dressing
This salad combines all of the best parts of a burger (the meat, spices, and veggies) and leaves out everything your body doesn't need, mainly the sad, soggy bun. To get it from fridge to plate, season the ground meat with your favorite spices, form it into patties, and cook 'em up. Then, toss your burger over the bed of veggies and top with your favorite dressing. Easy, peasy.
Eat This! Tip:
Want a leaner burger that's still delicious and juicy? Buy grass-fed beef. Sure, it's more expensive than conventional beef, but it naturally carries fewer calories (conventional strip steak = 55 calories/oz. vs. grass-fed = 29 calories/oz.), and it carries more conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that reduces heart disease and cancer risk.
Balsamic Roast Beef Salad with Goat Cheese
What You'll Need: Your favorite salad green, sliced roast beef, sliced tomatoes and onion, goat cheese, your favorite dressing
To make this filling yet simple salad, simply toss all of the ingredients into a bowl and drizzle with dressing. To round out the meal, pair with some fresh berries or fruit and one of these easy dessert recipes.
Chicken & Veggie Tacos
What You'll Need: Sliced grilled chicken, soft corn tortillas, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped peppers, black beans, your favorite taco toppings
If you haven't already made Taco Tuesday part of your weekly meal routine, now's a great time to jump on board. Throw all of the above ingredients in serving bowls, set the table, and dinner is served. Your family will love piecing together their own customized tacos.
Eat This! Tip:
If you're a vegetarian, swap in sliced and sautéed sweet potatoes for the chicken. Season 'em up with olive oil, cayenne pepper, and sea salt for an addictively delicious taste.
Spaghetti Squash Bowl
What You'll Need: Spaghetti squash (an uber low-calorie veggie that's filled with noodle-like strands), olive oil, spinach, jarred pesto, cubed feta cheese
Not only is this meal a no-brainer to pull together, but it also has next to no cleanup—it doesn't get much better than that. Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush it with olive oil and bake it, face down on a baking sheet for 45 minutes. Once the squash is done, use a fork to scrape long, spaghetti-like strands from the flesh onto your plate. Add the vegetables, pesto, and cheese into the squash cavity and mix so the cheese melts a bit.
For even more low-carb recipes you need to try, check out these low-carb recipes you'll love.
Mini Veggie Pizzas with Side Salad
What You'll Need: Ezekiel English muffins, low-sugar jarred tomato sauce (we like Classico Riserva), chopped veggies, mozzarella cheese, salad greens, your favorite dressing (or make your own using these tips to make healthy salad dressings)
The only thing better than pizza night? One that doesn't leave you guilty for overdoing it. We love Ezekiel English muffins because they're made with sprouted wheat, barley, millet, and a host of other super-grains that boost health and aid weight loss. Top them with sauce, veggies, and cheese and pop in the oven. While they're baking, use the leftover veggies, salad greens, and dressing to make a filling and nutritious side salad to complement your mini pizzas.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Once warm, bake the pizzas for 10 minutes.
Maple-Dijon Mustard Chicken Dinner
What You'll Need: Skinless chicken breasts, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, red wine vinegar, salt, ground pepper, olive oil, sliced brussels sprouts, sliced carrots
After you've preheated the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, combine 1/2 cup of mustard, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar in a bowl. Place the protein-filled chicken on a foil-lined baking pan, season with salt, pepper, and top with the savory-sweet mixture. On a separate baking sheet, drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper on top of the veggies. Plan to keep both trays in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
Cold Quinoa Salad
What You'll Need: Quinoa (cooked according to box instructions), black beans, chopped bell peppers, black beans, your favorite dressing, arugula
Overflowing with vegan foods that will fill you up without filling you out, this easy-to-make quinoa salad is about to become your new favorite meal. After you've cooked the quinoa, let it cool and mix in the bell pepper and black beans. Serve the combination over a bed of peppery arugula and top it off with your favorite dressing.
Eat This! Tip:
Use the leftovers to make more salads throughout the week, or heat it up and enjoy with grilled chicken or fish.
Zoodles with Turkey-Mushroom Meatballs
What You'll Need: Zucchini, olive oil, ground turkey, bread crumbs, chopped mushrooms, a beaten egg, onion powder, and garlic powder
After you create the zoodles, toss 'em in a sauté pan with some olive oil and let them get a bit soft. Meanwhile start making the meatballs by combining the turkey, bread crumbs, mushrooms, egg, and spices together in a bowl. Put them on a baking tray and cook them at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until browned. Serve with tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese for a well-rounded dinner.
Chicken Verde Tortilla Pie
What You'll Need: Shredded rotisserie chicken, salsa verde, Greek yogurt, 10-inch corn tortillas, shredded Mexican style cheese, black beans
If you're looking for a dish that tastes indulgent—but is healthy—this is it. To make this tortilla pie a reality, start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While it's warming up, lay one tortilla in the bottom of a greased pie dish and mix the chicken, yogurt (a protein-filled alternative to sour cream), and salsa in a separate bowl. Once everything is combined, add half of the mixture on top of the tortilla and cover it with a second tortilla. Add the rest of the chicken mixture and top off the pie with a third tortilla. Top it all off with more salsa and cheese and bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes.
For more, check out these 108 most popular sodas ranked by how toxic they are.