10 delicious recipes offer a nutritious spin on dinner

April 10, 2017
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After a long and busy day, there’s something extremely satisfying about having a scrumptious, nutritious meal come dinnertime. Whether you are cooking for one or for a full table of family and friends, having some healthy go-to recipes helps make home cooking less of a chore and more a reason to celebrate.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your health and diet is to plan ahead. By planning your meals with recipes and ingredients on hand for nutritious dishes, you can create a healthy home-cooked dinner every day of the week. You’ll relieve the stress of scrambling to figure out what to cook and you’ll avoid making last-minute dinner decisions that might not be the healthiest.

Love pasta, chili, meat and potatoes? Many traditional dinner dishes can be modified with a few simple substitutions that are just as delicious but much more nutritious. An easy starting point is to select recipes that satisfy your taste buds but are made with lighter, healthier ingredients. Have fun trying out new options and don’t be afraid to get creative! 

To help you get a healthy handle on your dinner menu without compromising flavor, here are 10 healthy dinner recipes that get the nod from nutrition advocates. 

1.    Zucchini Noodles with Leek-Tomato Sauce

How to prepare: Slice zucchini into ribbons or spiral noodles with a spiralizer. Prepare and pour the leek marinara sauce over the zucchini, store in your fridge until ready to heat and enjoy. (See the link to the full instructions, below.)

Ingredients:
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup tomato purée
  • Herbs for garnish
For full instructions, see here

2. Turkey and Veggie Chili

How to prepare: Cook the ground turkey, add in veggies, season and simmer over the stove. Serve over spaghetti squash or serve by itself. (See the link to the full instructions, below.)

Ingredients:
  • 3.5 ounces ground turkey breast 
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into coins 
  • 3.5 ounces sliced portobello mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup frozen pearl onions 
  • 3/4 cup frozen okra 
  • 1 cup no-salt crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt Mexican seasoning OR 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder and 1/2 tablespoon cumin (add more or less seasoning depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup water (or low-sodium chicken broth)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
For full instructions, see here.

3. Chickpea Curry with Cauliflower Rice 

How to prepare: Prepare the chickpea curry by sautéing onions, garlic, ginger and spices, adding in chickpeas, diced tomatoes and coconut milk. Prepare cauliflower in a food processor. Combine the curry and cauliflower and serve. (See the link to the full instructions, below.)

Ingredients:
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon curry paste
  • 1/2-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 3 cans (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
For full instructions, see here.

4. Paleo Mongolian Beef

How to prepare: Sear the beef, season and serve with rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice. Serve and enjoy for a high-protein dinner. (See the link to the full instructions, below.)

Ingredients:
  • 1.5 pounds beef flank steak, cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces against the grain
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot
  • 4 tablespoons butter, ghee or avocado oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 whole dried chili peppers, crush for more spice
  • 2 cups (16.9 fluid ounces) coconut aminos
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut into 1.5-inch long pieces on a diagonal
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
For full instructions, see here.

5. Broccoli, Beef and Potato Hotdish

How to prepare: Roast the broccoli, cook the ground beef mixture and prepare the cheese sauce. Layer in a baking dish. Top with hash browns, bake and serve warm. (See the link to the full instructions, below.)
Ingredients:
  • 1.5 pounds broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets (about 6 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1.5 pounds 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 4 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 cups frozen hash browns or precooked shredded potatoes 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Canola or olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika, preferably hot
For full instructions, see here.

6. Vegan Chipotle Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

How to prepare: Make the chipotle sauce while the sweet potatoes bake in the oven. Top sweet potatoes with beans, avocado, scallions, cilantro and sauce. Eat fresh or store in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven to eat. (See the link to the full instructions, below.)
Ingredients: 
  • 4 medium to large sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can)
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 to 2 chipotle chilies plus 1 to 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
For full instructions, see here.

7. Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Coconut Bacon 

How to prepare: Toast pecans and make coconut bacon. Slice and sauté Brussels sprouts, toss together with sauce and serve cold. (See the link to the full instructions, below.)

Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • optional: 1/2 cup coconut bacon, plus more for serving*
  • 1.5 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive, avocado or coconut oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Freshly chopped parsley
For full instructions, see here. *Link includes recipe for coconut bacon.

8. Ultimate Green Taco Wraps

How to prepare: Top lettuce wraps with cooked lentils, toasted walnuts and veggies. Serve cold, adding avocados and cashew sauce as the final step. (See the link to the full instructions, below.)
Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup uncooked French green lentils 
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Cashew sour cream
  • Diced tomatoes or salsa
  • Green onion
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Lettuce wraps (large romaine, iceberg or butter lettuce leaves)
For full instructions, see here

9. Healthy Bison Chili

How to prepare: Brown the bison, prepare the sauce and combine all, adding the beans and cooking until thickened. Serve warm and top with cheese or chives for an extra kick. (See the link to the full instructions, below.)
Ingredients:
  • 3 poblano peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground bison
  • 6 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 14.5-ounce can whole fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • One 15.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 15.5-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 15.5-ounce can white hominy, drained and rinsed
For full instructions, see here.

10. Greek Chicken and Vegetable Ragout

How to prepare: Arrange veggies and chicken in a slow cooker. Add the prepared sauce. Cook in the slow cooker, adding artichoke hearts near the end. Prepare egg-and-lemon sauce and pour over cooked chicken. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to two days and reheat for leftovers. (See the link to the full instructions, below.)
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1 1/4-inch pieces, or 3 cups baby carrots
  • 1 pound (3-4 medium) yellow-fleshed potatoes
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

For full instructions, see here.

Learning about your health and diet can be rewarding but also overwhelming, at first. If you want to set some food goals for yourself or if you need help achieving those goals, or if you’re just looking for a few great new recipes, Swedish licensed and registered dietitians can help. Click here to get started. 
Topics: Nutrition