40+ Easy, Healthy Dinner Ideas
Slow-Cooker Chicken Stew with Pumpkin and Wild Rice
This savory fall stew is filled with tender cubes of pumpkin, shredded chicken, and nutty wild rice in a creamy sauce. When choosing a pumpkin, look for a sugar or cheese pumpkin. Field pumpkins, which are larger in size, have watery, stringy flesh and are best used for decoration. Or substitute a butternut squash.
Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw
These easy shrimp tacos are apt to become one of your favorite weeknight dinner go-to’s. They’re ridiculously fast, they’re easily adapted to suit picky palates, and wow, TACO bout flavor. A few pantry spices and about five minutes under the broiler are all it takes to transform raw shrimp into a dynamite taco filling. We add bright crunch with a fresh and zesty cabbage slaw, featuring lime and cilantro, and an element of richness with a simple avocado crema. Of course, feel free to top your shrimp tacos however you choose! You can skip the slaw and opt for shredded lettuce and radishes for a vibrant crispy bite. Or layer on sliced avocado in place of the crema. This is your taco night, after all—do what feels right. And yes, that means that both corn or flour tortillas will work perfectly well here; just be sure to warm them up a bit before layering on your shrimp and toppings.
Hearty Turkey Pot Pie with Spelt Biscuits
This comforting turkey pot pie recipe gives spelt flour the opportunity to impress in both the biscuit topping and the pot pie’s gravy. In both applications, spelt flour delivers brawny whole-grain sweetness that jives really well with the mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and turkey (though, you could definitely sub chicken too) in this soul-warming pot pie.
Chicken Cutlets with Spring Vegetable Salad and Herb Vinaigrette
Looking to showcase your farmers’ market haul in its finest glory? In that case—you, my friend, are looking for this awe-inspiring spring chicken dinner. Every component brings something special to the table in a salad like this: Your greens create a sweet, crunchy base with a peppery hit from arugula, radishes contribute a pleasant bitter-edged brightness, cucumbers offer a clean crunch, potatoes pack the buttery richness, and a tangy, herbaceous vinaigrette is everything you need to tie everything together. Served alongside a golden-crisp chicken cutlet this lively plate nails the perfect balance of fried and fresh. In other words, this recipe is sure route to dinnertime nirvana.
Instant Pot Dal Makhani
This warm hug from a bowl of lentils made our developer want to buy an Instant Pot in a way that no other recipe has. The stew is buttery and slightly spicy with a creamy texture that still has a little bite, thanks to the lentils. While the ghee is optional, it really does take this indulgent dish to a real over-the-top place that you definitely want to go. You can get a head start by chopping your onion, jalapeño, garlic, and ginger the night before. You can also make the toasted buttery spice mixture a day ahead and stir into the hot lentil mixture.
Crispy Sheet Pan Salmon with Lemony Asparagus and Carrots
This heart-healthy sheet pan dish features both minimal prep time and simple cleanup thanks to its setup. Flavor wise, tangy Dijon mustard and fresh dill perk up fresh, tender salmon, while panko adds a nice crunch. A fresh squeeze of lemon after the dish bakes adds just the right amount of tanginess. Ask your fish monger for 1 (11/2 pound) salmon fillet and then cut into individual servings
Creamy White Bean Fettuccine Alfredo
Pureed with flavorful aromatics, white beans shine as a dairy-free hero, delivering creamy, rich body to our vegan Alfredo sauce. Whether you follow a vegan diet, you’ve cut out dairy, or you’re simply looking for a delicious (low-fat) new pasta dish to add into your rotation, you’re going to love this flavorful white bean Alfredo. The nutritional yeast is a key ingredient of the sauce, as it provides a near-cheesy umami flavor, so it’s worth picking up even if it’s not already a staple in your pantry.
Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl
This is a Tex-Mex riff on the Korean rice dish bibimbap, in which various toppings are arranged over a bed of rice. Here, burrito bowl must-haves such as smoky black beans, fresh pico de gallo, and slaw top brown rice.
Mushroom Bolognese over Spaghetti Squash
Go low-carb with hearty spaghetti squash in place of pasta. Cook an extra squash, and store the flesh in ziplock bags for a quick side during the week.
Lemony-Herb Chicken with Grilled Garlic Scapes Salad
This grilled scape salad is crisp, light, and refreshing—in other words, it tastes like summertime. Tomatoes, corn, cucumber, and other summer veggies covered in lemon-parsley dressing and fresh mint perfectly combine with a charred, juicy chicken thigh. Garlic scapes are in season in late spring and early summer. If you can’t find them at your local farmers’ market or produce stand, try an international grocery. Round everything out with a crusty loaf of bread and a glass of white wine.
Speedy Coconut-Curry Shrimp Skillet
These skillet shrimp noodles are super easy to make at home, but their flavor rivals something you’d get at a restaurant. It’s slightly sweet from the coconut, with a mild degree of spice, and has plenty of toppings to keep things interesting, especially with the combination of flavors—but by all means, if you want to go harder with toppings, go for it. Buy the freshest, highest quality shrimp you can source, preferably from a seafood market. They’re the star of this dish, so quality matters. If you’re peeling and deveining them yourself, pat them dry as best as you can before adding them to the skillet. Wet shrimp will add steam, while dry shrimp will get a nice sear, yielding a better appearance and taste.
Foolproof Chuck Steak with Smoky Chimichurri
Thought chuck steak was just a meh budget cut of beef? It’s inexpensive for sure, but it’s a far cry from the stew meat you think it is. In fact, chuck steak—unbeknownst to many—boasts rich, meaty flavor akin to a ribeye, and can be just as tender. This easy recipe uses a technique known as a “reverse sear” to deliver perfectly cooked, tender chuck steak every time. The reverse sear is a great, approachable cooking method for those who want a deliciously salt-crusted, medium-rare steak, but don’t have a ton of experience preparing beef. Rather than searing the steak in a screaming-hot skillet on the stovetop and basting until you think it’s done and ready to rest, this hands-off trick entails cooking the steak in the oven until it reaches your desired degree of doneness (a meat thermometer is really helpful here) and then finishing it off with a quick sear just to get a nice, brown crust on the surface. This gentle cooking method not only removes guesswork for a less-experienced home cook, but also involves less intimidating popping and hissing skillet action. Served with a flavor packed chimichurri, this easy chuck steak is just begging to be layered onto charred corn tortillas for steak tacos.
Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup
Simple flavors and a rustic touch will make this soup an instant home-cooked favorite, especially on chilly, wintry days. Inexpensive dried lentils make up the bulk of the soup, helping fill in your fiber gaps and keep you full longer. Chickpeas are the secret ingredient to achieve supreme creaminess, which become delightfully smooth when blended, and sneak in an extra 3g fiber per serving.
Fall Farro Bowl with Green Tahini Sauce
With bold but balanced flavors and a vibrant variety of textures, this healthy grain bowl checks all the boxes. We love the colorful, nutrient-dense combo of roasted beets, butternut squash, red onion, and delicate haricot verts, but feel free to include whatever veggies you love the most. You can also add leftover shredded chicken or sliced steak to bump up the protein. Prep the flavor-packed components of this grain bowl in advance for delicious lunches you’ll actually look forward to all week long.
Instant Pot Peruvian Chicken
It’s recipes like this one—which requires only 20 minutes of hands-on cooking to create an incredible (seriously, our test kitchen staff was blown away by the flavor this easy chicken dinner delivered) whole-bird main course—that remind us exactly why we love the Instant Pot.
Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Arugula Pesto
Wake up your grill from winter hibernation with flavorful skewers (chicken, sweet onion, and zucchini) paired with a zippy arugula pesto on the side. Serve with plenty of crusty bread to mop up the pesto.
Thai Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato
This healthy dinner for one is loaded with big flavor and couldn’t be easier to throw together. Bonus: It’s made entirely in the microwave.
Charred Okra-And-Tomato Masala
This fun take on okra and tomatoes is super hearty and comes together in a snap, making it a perfect weeknight meal. Plus, the rice is foolproof. If you’d like a little more protein, serve it with chicken thighs braised in the same spices and a little white wine. If you can’t find brown mustard seeds, you can use yellow ones instead.
Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes
One pan, a handful of ingredients, and 30 minutes are all you need to put this impressive pork chop skillet dinner on the table. This flavor-packed, single-skillet supper is an easy dinner for two that feels like something special. It’s also an ideal recipe for one, as the leftover chop and veggies reheat well for a next-day lunch worth looking forward to.
Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi
Spaghetti squash is a favorite ingredient for those seeking a lower-carb, gluten-free alternative to pasta. If you’ve cooked it before, you’ve likely cut it in half lengthwise to form two “boats.” And while that method works just fine, it disregards the way the strands grow inside the squash—in circles around the width of the squash. When you cut the squash lengthwise, you cut each strand in half, which makes for shorter, and often soggy, “spaghetti.” Try this instead: Cut the squash into rings to preserve the length of the strands. See our step-by-step guide below.
Orange-Almond Chicken-and-Cabbage Bowls
Make these low-calorie, no-cook bowls ahead for an easy lunch or dinner when time is tight. Change up the fruit, nut, or protein for whatever you have on hand.
Oscar Wilde famously espoused “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” That is the spirit of this recipe. It isn’t attempting to make chili super low-calorie. It is attempting to mitigate the calories while retaining full pleasure. And it takes advantage of the texture and mild flavor of the current darling of the pantry, riced cauliflower. Readily available in pretty much any produce section of your local grocery store, or easily made by pulsing cauliflower florets in your food processor, this vegetable adds bulk to a chili while cutting the calories from meat literally in half.
Vietnamese Steak and Sugar Snap Salad
The secret to this steak dish is the fish sauce in the marinade of the steak and in the vinaigrette for the salad, which gives the whole dish a salty, umami punch that'll have you going back for bite after bite. The flavors are based around the classic Vietnamese dipping sauce nuoc cham, which combines fish sauce with sugar and lime juice. The herb-packed salad gives a nice counterbalance to the richness of the meat, and the lime juice in both the marinade and vinaigrette gives a hit of acid to round everything else out.
Instant Pot Kichidi
This comforting dish is nutty, earthy, and slightly lemony. It’s often given to people who are sick and is packed with nutrients thanks to the lentils, turmeric, and ginger. For optimal flavor, use cumin seeds rather than ground cumin, and temper them in ghee or oil. In a pinch, split yellow peas also make a good base.
Caribbean Sweet Potato Soup
Blend everyone’s favorite low-carb spud with floral lemongrass, fresh ginger, and creamy coconut milk for a Caribbean dish to warm even your coldest winter nights. Ladle into dark bowls for a bold contrast to the sunset-orange color (thanks, turmeric!), then give it a Pollock-like drizzle of coconut cream.
Slow-Cooker Spanish-Style Chickpeas
Sheet Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs with Green Beans and Potatoes
Looking for a sheet pan meal that’s just as delicious as it is seamless? These tender, juicy sheet pan chicken thighs have just enough bbq sauce glaze to make them super tasty and beautiful. The potatoes get cooked until they’re tender in the middle, but crispy on the outside, and the green beans cook while the glaze achieves perfection. Everything comes together in an hour, and cleanup is a breeze. Be sure to section off the sheet pan and make enough room for each ingredient so you won’t have to waste time or oven heat.
Summer Chickpea Ragout
This healthy, hearty dinner makes the most of the season's produce. Cut vegetables as you cook to get dinner on the table quickly.
Grilled Tofu with Peanut Sauce
This grilled tofu is super tasty and would satisfy vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Grilling tofu gives the exterior a nice char without altering the taste, while the sauce boasts some seriously good flavor. Dusting on a little brown sugar gives the perfect amount of sweetness. The peanut sauce can be made ahead of time and keeps in the fridge for a week.
Easy Roasted Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes and White Beans
This simple baked chicken packs a ton of flavor atop a nice, toasty mixture of beans, tomatoes, and herbs. Since the chicken cooks on top of the vegetables, its juice add to the sauciness of the burst, roasted tomatoes, the buttery olives, and the tender creamy beans. A little bit of lemon zest makes a lovely finish. The entire combination is just as satisfying as it is visually pleasing, especially faro or another grain. This dinner is easy but has a grown-up feel, and the combined ingredients are meant to be together. If you like, you can add in or substitute other olives or vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and onions—whatever fits your palate.
Sheet Pan Thai Red Curry Mussels
Easy weeknight dinners don’t get any more impressive than these sheet pan mussels. Bold aromatics come together with curry paste and rich coconut milk for an incredible broth that goes right on the sheet pan to steam the mussels and infuse them with flavor. We keep the prep time low on this restaurant-quality dish by opting for prepared ginger, garlic, and lemongrass paste; however, feel free to substitute fresh, whole ingredients. In fact, if you have some time to spare, you could even try your hand at making your own curry paste.
Coriander Chicken Thighs with Spring Vegetables, Gnocchi, and Lemon-Butter Sauce
Succulent, crispy-skinned thighs, vibrant veggies, and pillowy potato dumplings, all dressed in a luscious lemon-butter pan sauce—really, what more could you ask for? Treat yourself to a chicken dinner that’s 100% as impressive as it sounds. It’s not one of those “ready-in-15-minutes” meals, but it is a plate you’ll be happy you pulled together after a weekend trip to the farmers’ market.
Instant Pot Chana Dal
For the ideal bowl of soul-warming comfort, look no further than chana dal. Hearty and tender split chickpeas absorb the toasty goodness of an aromatic, deeply flavorful broth, which is complimented by a bright yogurt topper. One taste is all it takes to become enamored with the way toasted cumin seed and curry powder, balanced with a handful of other spices and aromatics like turmeric and fresh ginger, infuse chana dal with dynamic flavor and a gloriously golden color. The Instant Pot makes easy work of preparing this classic Indian dish, making it a perfect vegetarian recipe to add into your meal-prep rotation. Dried split chickpeas can be found at specialty Mediterranean markets as well as online.
Sweet Chile Roasted Salmon
For your next holiday meal, we highly recommend giving the ham a break and picking up a side of salmon instead. Whether you’re serving it for a special occasion or a casual weeknight meal, this perfectly tender roasted salmon is impressive in every possible way. In fact, this recipe is standing proof of how easy it can be to achieve a wow-worthy main course without much effort. The big flavor of this Thai-inspired salmon comes from a spicy (but not too spicy)-sweet glaze featuring sambal oelek, honey, and lemongrass. If you have trouble finding fresh lemongrass, you can substitute a bit of lemongrass paste or simply omit it.
Harissa Grilled Chicken Skewers
These skewers get a nice, long marinating time due to the low amount of lemon juice. If your marinade is loaded with vinegar or citrus, go for 30 minutes to an hour at most to ensure the best texture.
Tuna-and-Watermelon Poke Bowls
This poke bowl is super delicious and flavorful, complete with umami-soy saltiness and citrus notes. Poke should only be made with sushi-grade tuna, which you can find at specialty stores like Whole Foods or your local fishmonger. If you can’t find yellow watermelon, use cantaloupe—that ingredient’s more about color contrast. Letting the fish and fruit “marinate” really allows the flavors to meld. Make sure the sauce gets nicely pureed so it’s super smooth—in a regular blender, that means at least a minute or two. The fruit can last overnight, but the fish shouldn’t go for more than a few hours. Serve with all the accoutrements, and customize to your heart’s content.