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These Easy, Weeknight Meals Are Loaded with Complex Carbs

By Carrie Havranek
January 28, 2021

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Generally speaking, the more complex the carb, the better it is for you. That’s because complex carbohydrates are typically higher in fiber and take longer for the body to digest. Translation: You don’t have that crash that you can get after eating simple carbs, which are often found in refined or processed foods.

These weeknight dinners feature the good kind of carbs — think along the lines of beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, fresh veggies and fruits — paired with clean proteins. You can pull them off without breaking a sweat and you’ll feel full, in a good way.

1. Green Lentil Dal Makhani from Happy Veggie Kitchen

This quicker version of your typical dal gets dinner on the table in a little over 30 minutes. It calls for a little bit of heavy cream; we see no reason why you can’t swap out coconut milk if that’s what you’d prefer.

Photo Credit: Jessica Gavin

2. 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 along with shrimp or chicken tacos, this quinoa dish is ready to serve as a side.

hummus bowl

Photo Credit: Pinch of Yum

3. 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 or skip the pita altogether and just plate it with tomatoes, parsley, and a soft boiled egg, and call it dinner.

complex carbs quesadillas

Photo Credit: Clean Food Dirty Girl

4. 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.

Kale mushroom tortilla

Photo Credit: Green Kitchen Stories

5. Kale, Mushroom and Potato Tortilla from Green Kitchen Stories

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

broccoli chickpea pasta

Photo Credit: Making Thyme for Health

6. 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 and complex carbs. Plus, lemon makes everything better, right?

black bean salad

Photo Credit: Averie Cooks

7. Chicken, Avocado and Black Bean Salad from Averie Cooks

This 20-minute dinner can take whatever green you might want to add to it, and is also 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.

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