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Healthy Dinner Ideas You'll Love

Healthy Dinner Ideas You'll Love

By California.com
January 30, 2021

Wondering how to incorporate easy healthy meals into your week without compromising on taste? We’ve got you covered with eight healthy dinner recipes that only taste like guilty pleasures. Whether you’re looking to get on top of your 2021 resolutions or nudge your family to eat a little healthier here and there, having a few healthy dinner ideas on hand is a step in the right direction. Luckily, we have our favorite California bloggers to rely on for recipes that are simple, nutritious, and indulgently good—you’ll be able to whip these up in no time. 

Easy and healthy dinner recipes to try now

In need of a quick, healthy meal for dinner? Look no further than this honey- and ginger-infused chicken. Photo courtesy of A Thoughtful Place.

Instant Pot Honey and Ginger Chicken

The mastermind behind this easy healthy dinner idea is Courtney of the SoCal-based blog A Thoughtful Place. The zesty honey and ginger chicken packs all of the flavor you expect and none of the post-indulgence guilt.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Servings:

Ingredients

  • cup honey
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 jar fresh ginger


Directions

  1. Combine the honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oregano, ginger, and garlic in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Set your instant pot to the saute setting. Add olive oil and heat for two to three minutes.
  3. Add chicken breasts to the pot, and brown for three minutes per side.
  4. Add sauce to the pot, cover with a lid, and cook for seven minutes on pressure-cook mode. Allow pressure to release naturally once cooked; this helps lock in the juices.
  5. Remove chicken breasts and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Turn the pot back to saute mode, add cornstarch to the sauce in the pot, and stir until the sauce boils and thickens.
  7. Place the chicken pieces back into the pot, and spoon the sauce over them.
  8. Serve over rice, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, and fresh ginger on the side.
Ditch takeout and make your own shrimp stir fry in less than 30 minutes. Photo courtesy of Entertaining with Beth.

Easy Shrimp Stir Fry

This recipe from Entertaining With Beth proves healthy dinner ideas that taste good are, in fact, not a thing of legends. Only requiring 20 minutes to make in total, this healthy weeknight dinner is immune to all our usual excuses to order takeout. 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white onion, sliced in half-moons
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 2 cups broccoli florets


Directions

  1. Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper flakes, and garlic in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft.
  3. Add shrimp and cook until pink on both sides.
  4. Add broccoli, cover pan, and cook for five minutes, until broccoli is bright green and tender.
  5. Pour sauce over the stir fry, and cook for an additional minute (or until well combined). Serve immediately.

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Healthy dinner ideas for vegetarians

Get your daily dose of vegetables while savoring a delicious plate of peanut noodles. Photo courtesy of Detoxinista.

Easy Peanut Noodles

This creamy peanut noodle recipe from Detoxinista is about to be your go-to vegetarian healthy dinner recipe. Ever-so-slightly sweet and salty—with a slight spicy kick—this simple healthy meal mostly consists of vegetables, but you’d never know it.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces linguine noodles of your choice (chickpea, egg, rice, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped


For the sauce

  • ¼ cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic


Directions

  1. Prepare the noodles according to the package directions. While the noodles are cooking, heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add cabbage, bell pepper, red onion, and salt, then cook for about eight minutes (until soft). Add water as needed to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Make the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to reach a pourable consistency.
  4. Drain noodles and add them to the skillet of sauteed vegetables. Add carrots, cilantro, and peanut sauce. Toss together until well combined.
  5. Garnish noodles with chopped green onions and serve warm.
For your next dinner at home, try a unique and healthy take on a classic Filipino dish. Photo courtesy of Kitchen Confidante.

Filipino Crispy Tofu and Mushroom Adobo

Bay Area-based Kitchen Confidante is the author of this flavorful Filipino classic. Like any good traditional adobo, this healthy meal for dinner goes great with rice. Bon appetit!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Resting time: 20 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 (11.5-ounce) box firm tofu
  • cup soy sauce
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1½ cups mushroom, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf


Directions

  1. Wrap tofu in paper towels, and place a heavy object on top to press it down. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes until the excess water is drained. Remove the paper towels, and cut the tofu into cubes or 1-inch slices.
  2. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and pepper in a bowl. Add tofu, making sure it is coated on all sides.
  3. Remove tofu, and place in another bowl with the cornstarch, gently tossing until fully coated. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. While the tofu is resting, marinate the mushrooms in the sauce.
  5. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, non-stick skillet. Add tofu and cook for about three minutes on each side (until browned and crispy), then remove.
  6. Add mushrooms, sauce, and bay leaf to the pan, then bring to a bubble. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about five minutes (until mushrooms are tender).
  7. Pour mushrooms and sauce over the tofu, and serve as is or with rice.


Healthy family meals everyone will enjoy

Dig into this rosemary and feta lamb burger that tastes so good you wouldn't believe it was healthy. Photo courtesy of Food Between Friends.

Rosemary and Feta Lamb Burgers

Who said burgers can’t be healthy? This healthy dinner idea from Food Between Friends is hard to say no to, and luckily, you don’t have to—it’s a healthy feast.

Prep time: 30–40 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 40–50 minutes

Servings: 10

Ingredients

For the Tabbouleh

  • 2 bunches parsley
  • 1 cup packed mint leaves + ½ cup whole mint leaves
  • 3 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ serrano pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 handfuls of mixed green lettuce


For the yogurt sauce

  • 6 ounces Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


For the burgers

  • 3 pounds lean ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

 

Directions

For the Tabbouleh

  1. Pulse parsley, 1 cup of mint, scallions, garlic, and serrano pepper in a food processor until finely chopped. 
  2. Pour into a bowl and add tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well. 
  3. Arrange the mixed greens and whole mint leaves on a serving platter, then add the tabbouleh on top.


For the Yogurt

  1. Whisk together Greek yogurt, lemon juice, mint, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator while you make the burgers.


For the Burgers

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place ground lamb, rosemary, lemon zest, feta cheese, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl and mix with your hands. Form the mixture into 10 equally sized patties.
  3. Add olive oil to a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the patties for around three to four minutes on one side, or until golden brown. Flip the patties and place inside the oven for another three to four minutes for medium-rare burgers.
  4. Serve immediately with the yogurt and tabbouleh (either as a part of the burger or as sides).
Looking for a healthy weeknight dinner option? Indulge in a childhood favorite with a healthier twist. Photo courtesy of Happy Healthy Life.

White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

A mac and cheese recipe that is healthy, vegan, and dairy-free? Sign us up. This nutrient-packed soul food recipe from Healthy Happy Life is a perfectly healthy dinner idea for the family; even the pickiest of eaters love mac and cheese!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups macaroni pasta
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup green peas
  • ¾ cup soy milk
  • 1½ cups cashews
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 white potato, boiled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 clove garlic (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese


Directions

  1. Cook the pasta like you normally would. About three minutes before it is ready, add broccoli and peas to the pot. After it’s done, drain the pasta and veggies, making sure to reserve 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to a blender, and blend on high for three to four minutes, until it is a smooth puree. Add pasta water to reach your desired consistency.
  3. Mix together the pasta and desired amount of sauce, and serve immediately.
  4. Optional step: Pour mixture into a casserole dish, cover with foil, and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. This will lock in the flavors and give you a crispy top layer.


Healthy dinner ideas for two  

Enjoy comfort food without any of the guilt by making these mini pizzas with a crunchy cauliflower crust. Photo courtesy of Damn Delicious.

Mini Cauliflower Pizzas

Nothing says “I love you” like making your partner a pizza dish they can indulge in with no second thoughts. This healthy dinner idea from Damn Delicious would be a perfect addition to the stay-at-home date night you’re planning for February 14.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Servings:

Ingredients

  • cup marinara sauce
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded 
  • ¼ cup pepperoni minis (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped


For the crust

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • cup mozzarella cheese, shredded 
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Add cauliflower to a food processor and blend until finely ground. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave until soft (about four to five minutes).
  3. After letting it cool, use a cheesecloth or clean dish towel to drain the cauliflower completely. 
  4. Transfer the drained cauliflower to a large bowl. Add egg, mozzarella, Parmesan, dried basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  5. Spoon cauliflower mixture onto the baking sheet, creating a small circle for each pizza. Bake until golden, for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Top each mini pizza with marinara sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni minis, and any other toppings you’d like. Bake for three to four minutes. Serve warm.

 

Zucchini-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

To be honest, we’d propose to anyone who prepares us this healthy dinner idea for two from the White on Rice Couple. Juicy, filling, and nutritious—this healthy weeknight dinner is a thing of dreams.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ medium onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups zucchini, coarsely grated
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • cup Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, onion, and garlic. Cook for about one minute, until onions have softened.
  3. Add zucchini, parsley, and paprika, then cook for two to three minutes (until zucchini is soft).
  4. Pour mixture into a bowl, and stir in the Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
  5. While you let the mixture cool, slice the center of each chicken breast lengthwisedeep enough to fill with zucchini mixture.
  6. Fill each breast equally with the zucchini mixture. Generously season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  7. Coat the previously used ovenproof skillet with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and place over medium-high heat.
  8. Sear each side of the chicken breast for two to three minutes, until lightly browned.
  9. Add cherry tomatoes to the same skillet, lightly drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven, and cook for about 12 minutes. Thicker chicken breasts might take longer to cook. Serve warm with a side of rice or salad.

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