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The brilliant (and healthy!) 15-minute dinner recipes you’ll want to make every night


Photo: Half Baked Harvest
Photo: Half Baked Harvest
1/11

You prepped your overnight oats and packed your lunch the night before, but if your stomach is growling by the time you get home from work (or a super sweaty boot camp sesh), a quick and easy dinner will be your evening saving grace.

These 10 recipes minimize cooking time and maximize health benefits—packed with veggies, good-for-you protein, and healthy fats, they’re all as balanced as they are simple.  So whether you follow a plant-based diet or avoid gluten, cooking nutritious and delicious doesn’t have to be time consuming.

Keep reading for 10 recipes that are ready in 15 minutes—or less!

Get Started
2/11

Photo: Real Food Whole Life
Photo: Real Food Whole Life

1. Chicken Bruschetta Zoodles

PALEO

Zoodles (aka spiralized zucchini noodles) are a genius pasta swap—not to mention serious time-saver. And in the case of this recipe, the sauce is easy to prepare, too. “The chicken just gets a quick sauté in the pan, then a little garlic goes in with some olive oil and vinegar, and finally the zoodles go in to warm through and soften just a bit,” explains Robyn of Real Food Whole Life.  And since the recipe only requires one pan, it’ll be as quick to clean up afterwards as it was to prepare.

3/11

Photo: The Iron You
Photo: The Iron You

2. Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken

PALEO

The Iron You‘s Mike loves this recipe after a hard workout because it’s ready before major bouts of hanger kick in. Plus, the chicken is flavorful without requiring timely marinating. Want to make a meal out of it? Try a side of quickly steamed veggies for an extra nutritious boost.

4/11

Photo: Amuse Your Bouche
Photo: Amuse Your Bouche

3. Chickpea Tacos with Avocado Cream

VEGETARIAN

This no-cook recipe starts out with a simple, but flavorful, mashed chickpea filling, but the star just might be the avocado cream. “It’s a mild and creamy avocado sauce made with Greek yogurt to amp up the creaminess even more,” gushes Becca of Amuse Your Bouche. It may not be an avocado rose, but the end result is just as Instagrammable—promise.

5/11

Photo: Half Baked Harvest
Photo: Half Baked Harvest

4. Zucchini Pasta with Poached Eggs and Quick Heirloom Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce

VEGETARIAN

Summer marks produce-so-fresh-it-doesn’t-need-much-cooking season—which, for you, also means time-saving season. Fresh heirloom tomatoes mixed with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, lemon, and garlic makes for a fast and tasty pasta topping. Don’t forget to put an egg on it: “The poached eggs create another layer of flavor and coats the pasta. Thus creating a creamy, cream-less, no-cook sauce,” writes Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. Yes, prepare for some serious #yolkporn with this easy recipe.

6/11

Photo: The Healthy Maven
Photo: The Healthy Maven

5. Asian Chopped Kale Salad

GLUTEN-FREE

This superfood-packed salad takes minimal effort but is full of body-boosting ingredients. The most timely step, after all, is massaging the kale in lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. (Alas, the kale massager is still a figment of our imagination, so consider the prep your arm workout for the day.) After that, just chop up some carrots, green onions, and mandarin oranges, and toss in almonds and edamame for an extra crunch, and you’ve got a not-at-all-sad salad ready in less time than it takes to find a recipe you like on Pinterest.

7/11
Photo: My New Roots
Photo: My New Roots

6. Sexy Spring Rolls

GLUTEN-FREE

“I like making these rolls a lot because they are a great way to use up whatever vegetables I have hanging around in the fridge—even leftover salad!” dishes My New Root‘s Sarah. As in, no need to run to the grocery store if you don’t have the exact veggies that she fills her spring rolls with. Beta-carotene-rich carrots and sweet potatoes are the star of Sarah’s rolls, which she highly recommends dipping in her drool-worthy almond butter sauce. In other words, it’s a simple, seasonal recipe that’ll have you tossing the takeout menu—after all, now you can make it faster.

8/11

Photo: Healthy Happy Life
Photo: Healthy Happy Life

7. Summer Sloppy Joes

VEGAN

This vegan take on the summer camp staple uses lentils instead of ground beef. “Packed with protein, fiber, and flavor, you can have these sassy sandwiches on your dinner table in just 15 minutes,” writes Kathy of Happy Healthy Life. Corn, collards, and the aforementioned pulses make for an easy veggie burger alternative that’s ready just as quickly (no grill required).

9/11

Photo: The Edgy Veg
Photo: The Edgy Veg

8. Thai Soba Noodles

VEGAN

Soba noodles cook in under five minutes, which means less time standing in front of the hot stove. While you wait for the water to boil, cook up your favorite greens and any veggies you have on hand—Candice of The Edgy Veg recommends tomatoes and bean sprouts, although just about any produce in your fridge would taste equally delicious.

10/11

Photo: A Saucy Kitchen
Photo: A Saucy Kitchen

9. Almond & Herb Crusted Baked Salmon and Asparagus

PESCATARIAN

One-pan dishes are a total timesaver, and this quick dinner option is no exception. Not only are you cutting down on post-meal clean-up time, but baking the salmon and asparagus simultaneously means less to think about while cooking. Just make sure to follow Sarah of A Saucy Kitchen‘s advice, and cut your asparagus stalks in half lengthwise if they’re thicker than your average pencil, to ensure that everything will be done in under 15 minutes. 

11/11

Photo: Joyful Healthy Eats
Photo: Joyful Healthy Eats

10. Cajun Mahi Mahi with Mango Pineapple Salsa

PESCATARIAN

The thought of preparing dinner after a long day might make you feel like you need a vacation—but at least this quick-and-easy dinner tastes like vacation. “The mango pineapple salsa is slightly sweet from the fruit with a hint of tang from the lime juice, [and] combined with the spicy Mahi Mahi the flavors are out-of-this-world good,” writes Krista of Joyful Healthy Eats. Yes, this recipe definitely calls for an avocado margarita.

Not sure what to do with all the extra time you now have? How about a 5-minute mood boosting workout, or a meditation for better sex?