These Healthful, Delicious Dinner Recipes Take Just 20 Minutes or Less
Published on January 21, 2022
By Summer Rylander
For most of us, the beginning of a new year is a busy time. We’re getting back into the swing of things following the holidays, and we probably have a handful of resolutions and fitness goals bulking up our to-do lists.
Fortunately, whether mindful eating is a new focus or a continued pursuit for you, dinner prep doesn’t have to be an added timesuck. To help kick off your 2022 with delicious efficiency, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite healthy dinner recipes that can be on the table in 20 minutes or less. Fuel up with these quick, nutritious meals that will help keep you on top of your game with plenty of time to spare.
Fish is an obvious choice when it comes to quick, wholesome dinners, and we love this recipe for its versatility. You can choose to bake, grill, pan-sear, or air fry your salmon — while it’s cooking, just grab a ripe avocado and make this super-easy salsa to toss on top. If you’re not in too much of a rush, throw together a small plate of chopped romaine and sliced bell pepper drizzled with some lime juice and olive oil for a crunchy, flavor-matched side salad.
2. Pork Larb
Larb is a great meal for when you want something light, fast, and super-satisfying. This Laotian dish is full of fresh herbs and tangy flavors thanks to lime juice and fish sauce — it hits all those craveable salt-sweet-spicy-sour notes. You can easily sub the rice out for cauliflower rice if you’re avoiding refined carbs, and ground pork can easily be swapped for chicken, turkey, beef, or crumbed tofu. Serve with lettuce leaves and enjoy this way-more-than-a-salad salad!
If you’re someone who typically has no less than seven varieties of mustard on hand at any given time, this dish is for you — and you don’t even need to buy a new honey mustard. In fact, by adding just a small dollop of your favorite honey to a whole grain or spicy mustard, you can control the sweetness to suit your tastes and dietary preferences. This honey mustard chicken recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which is among our favorite cuts, but you can use breasts, too (just give them a few quick smacks with the back of your knife to help them cook evenly). Serve with a simple spinach salad, and dinner is a done deal.
This is one of those dishes with layers of flavor: the kind that tastes like it’s been simmering away for hours. Luckily for us, this chickpea curry comes together in just about 20 minutes, and you’ll probably even have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. Chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber, and since they’re already so satisfying, it’s no problem if you want to skip the rice and naan in favor of a bowl and a big spoon (or serve over top of a quick garlic-and-basil pan-fried cauliflower rice).
Reach for your favorite flaky white fish tonight — think cod, halibut, tilapia — and enjoy it pan-seared with pomegranate salsa. If you don’t like cilantro, either flat-leaf parsley or fresh mint would make an excellent stand-in and would also pair well with the juicy pomegranate seeds. To bump up the nutritional value of this already healthy dinner, serve with a kale salad (the garlicky kale noted at the end of this recipe is an excellent choice!) or a few spears of fresh asparagus.
Don’t feel daunted by the ingredient list for this tofu stir-fry — it’s loaded with vegetables and honestly comes together in a snap. Tofu is so versatile that it’s a great ingredient to keep on hand at all times, and a firm or extra-firm variety is perfect for this recipe since crumbling in the tofu by hand further speeds up the cooking process. No cauliflower rice on hand? Use leftover quinoa, farro, or another prepared whole grain of your choice to round out this delicious and wholesome 20-minute dinner.
If you’re looking for a low-carb, high-protein, 20-minutes-or-less dinner recipe, ground beef and cabbage is your one-stop shop. We like to punch up this dish with lots of chili flakes and fresh ginger, along with sliced green onions for added flavor and a pop of color. You can easily exchange the beef for ground chicken, turkey, or crumbled firm tofu, too. Oh, and feel free to throw in any wilting greens languishing in your fridge; they’ll incorporate nicely with the cabbage.
Eggs are honestly perfect for any time of the day; an omelette is a time-saving, healthy option that works just as well for dinner as for weekend brunch. This recipe helps you establish the basics of omelette prep and offers several ideas for fillings, but the moral of the story being that you can take whatever vegetables, herbs, cheeses, or meats that need to be used up and repurpose them into healthy, egg-wrapped glory. We usually swap out the butter for olive oil.