10 Weeknight Meals with Complex Carbs

Complex carbs

August 5, 2020

By Carrie Havranek

Not all carbohydrates are created equally. The more complex the carbohydrate, the better it is for you, generally speaking. They are typically higher in fiber and take longer for the body to digest, which means you don’t have that crash that you can get after eating simple carbs, which are often found in refined or processed foods and cause a quick spike rather than a slow build. If you want some dinner that’s going to satisfy you and your family, think along the lines of beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, fresh veggies and fruits. And good clean proteins will help with satiety, too. These weeknight dinners are ones you can totally pull off.

Green Lentil Dal Makhani from Happy Veggie Kitchen

A dal usually takes longer, but sometimes you have to get dinner on the table and you’re ok with sacrificing a bit of flavor depth. This one is ready in a little over 30 minutes, and requires a little bit of heavy cream; we see no reason why you can’t swap out coconut milk in this situation if that’s what you’d prefer.

Mexican-Spiced Vegetable Quinoa from Jessica Gavin

If you are following a vegetarian diet, this is a satisfying main course with peppers, corn, and tomatoes. If you want to eat this as a side dish along with shrimp or chicken tacos, this quinoa dish is ready to serve as a side.

Roasted Cauliflower Hummus Bowls from Pinch of Yum

Between the hummus and the roasted cauliflower you’ve got some good complex carbs right away. Use whole wheat pita and that keeps things in range. Or skip the pita altogether and just plate it with tomatoes, parsley and a soft boiled egg, and call it dinner.

Garlicky White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas from Clean Food Dirty Girl

Yes, this is a recipe for quesadillas that does not have cheese. It is still a quesadilla. Find your favorite low-carb or whole wheat tortillas and you’re all set. Some great flavor comes from yellow miso, along with garlic and green onion.

Tomato Zucchini Tart with Olive Oil Crust from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

This one looks like it will be endlessly customizable but here blogger Katie Morford uses tomatoes, corn and zucchini—the holy trinity of summer veggies—on a whole wheat crust with olive oil binding it. You press it in the pan, add a thin layer of goat cheese, and then the veggies and bake. This one isn’t as fast as the others, but sometimes you have a week with a little more time to pull off a showstopper, right?

Carrot White Bean Soup with Herbs from Naturally Ella

Carrots are an all year round food and for some of us, so is soup. This one benefits from the umami addition of miso, along with white beans and fresh herbs. And it’s soup, so you know it’s fast, and it’s good.

Kale, Mushroom and Potato Tortilla from Green Kitchen Stories

This Spanish tortilla is loaded with potatoes, veggies, and eggs—think of it as akin to a frittata but with more potatoes. It’s especially handy if you’ve got leftover potatoes in the fridge.

Roasted Broccoli and Chickpea Lemon Pasta from Making Thyme for Health

Roast the broccoli. Boil the water. Add the whole grain elbows and chickpeas for fiber, complex carbs and tons of vitamins from the broccoli. Plus, lemon makes everything better, right?

Chicken, Avocado and Black Bean Salad from Averie Cooks

It’s a salad without lettuce, but this adaptable dinner can take whatever green you might want to add to it, and is adaptable in terms of the veggies you use. (Hint: corn would be great). The whole thing is brought together with a dressing of apple cider vinegar, cilantro, lime, honey, and extra virgin olive oil, this is a clean, quick dinner salad that’s ready in 20 minutes.