These are the best healthy dinner ideas that our readers come back to again and again for delicious and nutritious recipes.
For years, we’ve been writing healthy dinner recipes here on A Couple Cooks. Because: if you’re going to the trouble of eating dinner, why not make both delicious and nourishing? This is the passion that fuels us week after week, creating recipes that you’ll love to make for your friends and family. Alex and I wanted to create a collection of some of the recipes that have gotten a standing ovation from our readers and followers for being not only delicious, but healthy dinner ideas too.
What’s our definition of healthy? Alex and I don’t follow any diet plan specifically. The way we eat generally follows Mediterranean diet: lots and lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil. Our idea of healthy is less about calorie counts and more about nutrients and variety of veggies. Did I mention lots of and lots of vegetables? Many of the recipes you’ll find here are vegetarian or vegan, but they taste so delicious you don’t feel like you’re making any sacrifices. We hope you’ll enjoy these healthy dinner recipes as much as we do!
Salmon is the ultimate in healthy dinner recipes, right? This nutrient packed fish is delicious and quick to make. Here, we’ve created a 10-minute baked salmon recipe and paired it with the perfect sauce for salmon: a bright green chimichurri sauce.
What’s chimichurri? Chimichurri is a parsley and garlic sauce that originates from Argentina and Uruguay. It comes out a beautiful neon green and it tastes garlicky and fresh. Best of all, it’s simple to make: just throw all the ingredients in a blender! Serve with our roasted potatoes (also included in the recipe) or a side of quinoa or brown rice.
Next in our healthy dinner recipes is a fan favorite: creamy wild rice soup! This soup is oh so comforting, featuring white beans, carrots, mushrooms and wild rice. And, it’s vegan! It’s naturally creamy using cashews blended with some of the soup to create a silky smooth texture. It makes for a filling and satisfying wild rice soup.
Next up in our healthy dinner recipes: TACOS! These cauliflower tacos are a huge hit and one of our top fan favorite recipes. The star is our Crispy Breaded Cauliflower, roasted in the oven and covered in a savory, salty, sweet and lightly spicy breading. It’s a bit of a play on breaded fish tacos.
Add to that some refried black beans, tart cabbage slaw, and cilantro, and cover it all in a delicious Yum Yum Sauce, and you’ve got dinner! Yum Yum Sauce is used in Japanese steakhouses and served with seafood, and it adds a richness to the tacos that’s incredible. To make it vegan, use our Cilantro sauce instead! And speaking of…
These Mexican loaded sweet potatoes are one of our healthy dinner ideas that we’ve been making for years! Loaded with veggies, the flavors are the perfect blend of savory against the lightly sweet and fluffy sweet potatoes. Spicy black bean pico de gallo and corn make a colorful confetti, and it’s dollop with our tangy creamy cilantro sauce. It’s a little bit of heaven: and tastes like a treat instead of a “healthy” compromise.
Rice and beans is one of the most humble of healthy dinner recipes, but the flavor of this one is stunning! To make our quick Cuban style black beans, it’s pretty simple. Just mince onion, green pepper, jalapeño, and garlic.
Saute them all up in a little butter (to mimic the richness of meat), add canned black beans, and cook it down for a while until it becomes thick and saucy. The flavor that results is super savory, silky, and addictingly good. Serve it up with some rice (brown has a bit more nutrients!), and it’s a humble meal that tastes like a million bucks.
Stir fry is common in healthy dinner recipes, but it wasn’t until recently that Alex and I found a recipe we loved. We hope you’ll agree that this one’s the best veggie stir fry out there! What makes it great is the easy homemade teriyaki sauce: it takes just 4 ingredients and 5 minutes. The teriyaki also has no refined sugar, instead relying on maple syrup!
Combine it with nutrient dense brocolli, bell peppers, and tempeh, and you’ve got a satisfying and protein-filled meal. It’s become a serious go-to in our house. Make it with any veggies or proteins of your choosing!
“This may be the best bowl of vegetables I’ve ever eaten.” That was Alex after eating this veggie burrito bowl, an ultra-delicious recipe that will have you immediately coming back for seconds! This one is almost all vegetables Whole 30 vegetarian friendly, and customizable for just about any diet.
What makes it one of our most popular healthy dinner ideas? There’s cauliflower rice, a fun veggie substitute for rice, fajita-style bell peppers and onions, and crispy roasted shredded sweet potato. But what people have gone crazy over is the chorizo eggs! They mimic meat in flavor, texture, and appearance, and come together in just 5 minutes with a few simple spices. The overall effect is a bowl of colors, flavors and textures that’s incredibly satisfying.
This chickpea bowls recipe is a common repeat in our healthy dinner recipes repertoire. Why? In just 25 minutes, you have a fresh bowl of delicious vegetables that’s smothered in a tangy lemon tahini sauce. If you’re just starting to eat plant based recipes or have been eating them for years, this one is a truly tasty way to eat your veggies.
Pro tip: we used couscous in this bowl because it’s so quick to cook: bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat for 5 minutes! For an even healthier spin, substitute a whole grain like quinoa or brown rice.
These Thai sweet potatoes get high marks from our readers as one of their favorite healthy dinner recipes because of the big flavor in this simple concept. If you have an Instant Pot, you can use it here to get perfectly cooked, moist sweet potatoes.
Otherwise, simply roast the sweet potatoes in the oven while you prepare the toppings: a fresh, crunchy Thai-style pepper and cabbage slaw and a creamy peanut sauce. We’ve heard from many readers and followers that this one is a family favorite!
Quinoa…as a taco filling? Yes, these tacos are a bit outside the box, but they’re a fan favorite of our satisfying healthy dinner ideas. The quinoa filling is toasted and mixed with taco spices and lime. Combine it with a bell pepper slaw, spicy sour cream (or cashew cream), and feta cheese, and you’ve got a new level of delicious. Oh and pickled red onions for color and crunch!
Can you get healthier than a bowl of green? These Go Green Bowls are one of our surprisingly filling and satisfying healthy dinner recipes, full of quinoa and green vegetables like brocolli, kale, and fresh leafy greens. If you can find it, broccolini is a fun addition with its elegant, long stems. But it’s not required for the bowl—you can use any green vegetables you’d like.
Then smother it in our delicious lemon yogurt sauce. It’s savory and creamy, perfect for roasted vegetables, salads, and grain bowls. (For a vegan option, use our Best Tahini Sauce.)
And to round out this list of healthy dinner recipes: our Italian gnocchi soup! It’s homey, comforting, and heart-meltingly good. And it only takes about 30 minutes to make! It’s chock full of nutritious veggies: spinach, chickpeas, green beans, tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Then add gnocchi, those tasty homemade pasta pillows! It’s full of tangy, herby flavor without too much effort.
Looking for more healthy dinner recipes?
Outside of these healthy dinner recipes, here are a few more collections of dinner recipes:
Generously sprinkle the salmon with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake the salmon for about 10 minutes until flaky and just cooked; test it with a fork to assess doneness. Watch the salmon to make sure not to overcook; the timing can vary based on the thickness of the salmon and variations between ovens.
Meanwhile, make the chimichurri: Slice off the tops of the green onions. In a blender, blend all ingredients until a smooth sauce forms, (if necessary, stop and mix the ingredients to allow them to fully blend).
To serve, drizzle the salmon with chimichurri, and serve with potatoes.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.