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50 healthy meals you can make in 20 minutes or less

Posted by
Alessia Armenise
Published

You want to make sure you have enough time to do everything in the day, yet still want a nutritional and balanced diet? As any busy working woman will attest, it’s no mean feat.

Which is why we’ve put together a whole host of delicious quick healthy meal ideas for when you’re hungry and don’t want to wait but still want to think about what you’re putting inside your body. 

Behold, 50 of the healthiest meals you can make in 20 minutes or under, from simple salads, noodles and rice dishes, as well as tacos and pizzas. Yes, we have found a healthy pizza.

  • Healthy Greek couscous salad

    Time: Less than 10 minutes

    A great combination of grains, feta and vegetables, this is a gluten free dinner option that's on the table in just 10 minutes.

    Read the full recipe on thebigmansworld.com

  • Coconut curry noodle soup

    Time: 15 minutes

    Didn't think you could whip up a Thai inspired dinner in just quarter of an hour? We present to you this tasty soup inspired by Thai red curry. The recipe uses chicken, but you could swap that for anything you like.

    Read the full recipe on thewoksoflife.com

  • Kale walnut pesto pasta

    Time: 15 minutes

    Incredibly quick to make and just as simple, this looks like an inventive way to add a new twist to quick dinners. Add some grilled chicken or fish to give it a protein boost.

    Read the full recipe on sayyes.com

  • Creamy chicken, vegetable and parmesan orzo

    Time: 15 minutes

    A bit like risotto but far quicker to make, this recipe uses just one pot and barley (orzo in Italian cooking) instead of rice or pasta. The creamy parmesan sauce is also made without using added cream to keep the calorie count down.

    Read the full recipe on recipetineats.com

  • Spinach pesto quinoa bowl

    Time: 15 minutes

    Teaming together some of the fastest cooking ingredients around, this dish is a satisfying combination of quinoa and wilted spinach leaves, all mixed up with some pesto and topped with parmesan cheese (optional).

    Read the full recipe on tablefortwoblog.com

  • Cauliflower fried rice

    Time: 20 minutes

    Grain free, low carb and super quick? Yes, this is a recipe that ticks a lot of boxes. Instead of rice the dish uses grated cauliflower, teamed with a medley of mixed veg. Add some meat if you want to up the protein value.

    Read the full recipe on iowagirleats.com

  • Mexican beef and rice skillet

    Time: 20 minutes

    This recipe uses lean ground beef, but feel free to swap it with turkey, chicken or any other protein substitute. Where you see cilantro use coriander, and if you can't get hold of a tin of Ro-Tel, add some chopped green chilli to a tin of diced tomatoes instead.

    Read the full recipe on dinnersdishesanddesserts.com

  • Korean beef and quinoa bowl

    Time: 15 minutes

    Given that this dish takes just 15 minutes to make you get a lot out of it - there'll be enough for leftovers which means tomorrow's lunch is sorted, it's full of protein so you'll be full for longer, and most of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen.

    Read the full recipe on smilesandwich.com

  • Chicken lazone

    Time: 15 minutes

    With chili powder and cayenne pepper this dish is spicier than it looks, but it's ideal for a healthy dinner that'll pack a good punch of flavour. The author suggests serving it on pasta or mashed potatoes.

    Read the full recipe on plainchicken.com

  • 15 minute lasagne

    Time: 15 minutes

    A clever twist on traditional lasgane, this recipe uses just one pan and is ready in less than 20 minutes. Add a salad garnish and you've got a hearty dinner in next to no time.

    Read the full recipe on kevinandamanda.com

  • Chicken posole

    Time: 20 minutes

    This is a chicken twist on the Mexican soup that's usually made with pork. Though chicken is the leaner option, feel free to swap it with another protein if you'd prefer, and if you can't track down any canned white hominy, use chickpeas instead.

    Read the full recipe on domesticate-me.com

  • Pizza quinoa

    Time: 20 minutes

    Healthy pizza? If you're trying to fight the carb cravings opt for this quinoa twist on the doughy classic. If you're not fussed on rocket (referred to here as arugula) swap it for spinach leaves instead.

    Read the full recipe on girlmakesfood.com

  • Balsamic chicken and veggies

    Time: 20 minutes

    Perfect if you need new ideas for adding more taste to your chicken, this recipe mixes balsamic vinegar with honey and salad dressing for a tasty sounding sauce. Swap the asparagus for green beans if it's out of season.

    Read the full recipe on cookingclassy.com

  • Easy tortellini bake

    Time: 20 minutes

    Team this delicious looking pasta bake with a fresh salad and you've got the makings of a quick dinner staple. The recipe serves six, so it's perfect if you're having friends around mid-week.

    Read the full recipe on thisgalcooks.com

  • Caribbean chicken tacos

    Time: Under 20 minutes

    Quick, easy and fun to eat, these Caribbean chicken tacos are perfect for sharing when nobody's in the mood to cook. Grill the chicken for the healthiest version of this recipe, and if you can't get hold of molasses swap it for honey.

    Read the full recipe on realfoodbydad.com

  • Garlic chicken, courgette and corn

    Time: 20 minutes

    Inspired by the author's Ukrainian roots, this is a light yet satisfying dish that uses just seven simple ingredients. Once cooked, you can also eat it hot or cold, making it a perfect recipe to use for covering tomorrow's lunch too.

    Read the full recipe on ifoodreal.com

  • Spicy chickpea and tomato soup

    Time: 15 minutes

    A good source of vegan protein thanks to the chickpeas, this is a a warm and tasty soup that looks absolutely delicious. There's a spicy little kick too thanks to jalapenos, cumin and garam masala.

    Read the full recipe on thehealthyfamilyandhome.com

  • Turkey chilli

    Time: 20 minutes

    Aside from chopping up an onion and some garlic cloves, there's very little prep to be done for this dish. Turkey is used rather than beef as a leaner option, but you can swap it for whatever meat or protein source you prefer.

    Read the full recipe on notenoughcinnamon.com

  • Weeknight tikka masala

    Time: 20 minutes

    Sometimes, you just can't beat a curry. Especially when it's a healthier 20-minute make-it-yourself dish. This recipe uses Quorn chicken-style pieces, but you can swap that for whatever protein you prefer.

    Read the full recipe on amuse-your-bouche.com

  • Caprese style portobello mushrooms

    Time: 20 minutes

    If you love mushrooms, this recipe is going to be a winner. The creator suggests eating them alongside a salad, but also says the Capri-style stuffed portobellos would work equally as well with a grilled steak.

    Read the full recipe on prouditaliancook.com

  • Lemon, garlic and herb baked cod

    Time: 20 minutes

    Packed with flavour (garlic, paprika, basil, lemon), this is the perfect way to spice up some plain fish. The recipe suggests pairing with a fresh salad or some brown rice, to keep things healthy.

    Read the full recipe on bakerbynature.com

  • Skillet Chicken and Spinach Parmesan

    Time: 20 minutes

    This recipe has been created by a busy mother of two, and comes taste tested by the whole family. Using a jar of pre-made sauce slashes the prep time, while chicken and spinach make it a protein packed dish.

    Read the full recipe at momontimeout.com

  • Skinny honey lemon chicken

    Time: 20 minutes

    This sweet and sour recipe uses stir-fried chicken to cut calories and honey to naturally sweeten, so you can enjoy a hearty, warm dish without worrying about what's in the bowl.

    Read the full recipe on gimmesomeoven.com

  • Greek-style chicken gyros and Tzatziki sauce

    Time: 20 minutes

    Just five minutes to prep and 15 to cook, these Greek-style chicken pitta breads look incredibly tasty given the little effort needed. There's also a tip on how to make the source a bit thicker if you'd prefer.

    Read more on lecremedelacrumb.com

  • Green Goddess Glow Bowl

    Time: 20 minutes

    The name of this dish doesn't give too many of the ingredients away, so we'll give you a quick run-down: quinoa, kale, courgette (called zucchini in the recipe), edamame and a oil-free creamy tahini lemon dressing. Not only is it a quick and tasty veggie option, it's also gluten free and perfect for vegans, too.

    Read more on theglowingfridge.com

  • Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

    Time: 15 minutes

    This recipe serves eight, which is perfect if you're not just cooking for yourself, but also a great way of making sure you have enough for lunch the next day or leftovers to use up later in the week.

    Read the full recipe on thepioneerwoman.com

  • One-pan veggie fajita pasta

    Time: 20 minutes

    This recipe uses just veggies, but the creator suggests adding in grilled chicken or shrimp/prawns if you want to make it a little meatier. Everything is cooked in one pan to make it super simple, and it looks like the perfect treat when you're craving creamy carbs.

    Read the full recipe on bakerbynature.com

  • Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles For Two

    Time: Less than 20 minutes

    If you have a spiralizer, you'll love this. The recipe uses spiralized courgette (known as zucchini in America) rather than plain noodles to keep this meal under 300 calories, though you can use whichever you prefer. Halve the ingredients to make for just one person.

    Read the full recipe at skinnytaste.com

  • Lemon chicken with asparagus

    Time: 20 minutes

    Using just five key ingredients this quick dinner recipe is simple to whip up and low in fat too. There's even a tip on how to make the caramelised lemons a little less bitter, if you're not into the full zing.

    Get the full recipe on pinchofyum.com

  • One Pot Zucchini Mushroom Pasta

    Time: 20 minutes

    The ultimate fuss-free recipe, everything gets thrown into one pot after a little chopping - no pre-cooking, no sauteeing needed whatsoever - and it's done in 15 minutes. Even the uncooked pasta goes straight in.

    Get the recipe on damndelicious.net

  • Cauliflower and roasted chickpeas

    Time: 15-20 minutes

    Ideal for vegans, this dish makes use of cauliflower and chickpeas and turns it into something a bit more exotic. Not only do the colours look enticing, it's a new way to enjoy a salad.

    Get the full recipe from thefirstmess.com

  • Spicy sriracha ramen noodle soup

    Time: 20 minutes

    What better to eat when you're cold than some soup? And if you're feeling under the weather, this is even better as it'll pack a bit of a punch too. The noodles are easy to get hold of and boil very quickly. 

    Get the full recipe on bakerbynature.com

  • Paleo carbonara

    Time: 20 minutes

    Instead of getting out the carb-heavy pasta, why not try this healthier alternative with courgette spaghetti instead? Not only is it tasty, you'll also feel less of the bloat.

    Get the full recipe on sweetcsdesigns.com

  • Prawn and sausage paleo meal

    Time: 20 minutes

    This one is a sort of healthy version of surf and turf. But it's also great as it's packed full of veggies too. Apparently, it takes longer to prep than it does to cook. That's what we like to hear!

    Get the full recipe at paleonewbie.com

  • Rosemary and citrus prawn tacos

    Time: 15 minutes 

    The colours in this picture are enough to make us want to go out and buy everything this meal requires. A great dish for when you're trying to impress a friends but want to put in minimal effort.

    Here's how to make the full recipe here melaniemakes.com

  • One Pan Baked Salmon and Vegetables

    Time: 20 minutes

    This healthy and delicious meal really doesn't take long to prepare or cook. You have essential omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and vitamins from the vegetables. The best bit is you just put everything in one pot, put the oven on and you're ready to go. 

    See the full recipe on momendeavors.com

  • Apricot salsa quesadillas

    Time: 15 minutes

    A twist on a classic Mexican dish, this one calls for apricots to make the salsa but it looks absolutely delicious. One to make by yourself and eat by yourself.

    Get the whole recipe here topwithcinnamon.com

  • Teriyaki chicken and broccoli

    Time: 20 minutes

    While it might seem daunting making you're own homemade teriyaki sauce but this recipe makes it seem very easy. 

    Get the full recipe here on tablefortwoblog.com

  • Chicken and broccoli lunch bowl

    Time: 10 minutes

    This is great if you're using up leftovers, particularly from a Sunday's Chicken roast perhaps. Plus it's lean meat and veggies, so you know you're getting what you need nutritionally. No calorie counting required.

    Go to anediblemosaic.com for the full recipe

  • Chicken enchilada and quinoa bake

    Time: 15 minutes (prep)

    OK, this one's a bit of a cheat but it's so tasty we couldn't leave it out. While the prep time take 15 minutes, the cooking does take a little longer but that's OK as all you're doing is placing it in the oven. 

    Get the full recipe here at tablespoon.com

  • Spinach pesto and quinoa bowl

    Time: 15 minutes

    The beauty of this dish is that both quinoa and spinach cook extremely fast. Oh and it tastes good and it's also extremely healthy. 

    Get the full recipe on tablefortwoblog.com

  • Bacon and avocado grill pizzas

    Time: 20 mins

    A healthy and quick pizza recipe? Yes, we know it's hard to believe. Even better, this is good for those who are on a dairy free diet, as it contains no cheese. 

    Get the full recipe on reluctantentertainer.com

  • Tom Yum noodle soup

    Time: 15 minutes

    If you're really pressed for time but want something healthy and warming, then you really can't go wrong with this Thai classic. The only thing is you need to make sure you've got the Thai cooking staples in your cupboard (lemongrass, Nam Prik Pao, fish sauce and lime juice), so that you can make this without any fuss.

    Get the full recipe on rasamalaysia.com

  • Seared Scallops With Radicchio, Roasted Potatoes, and Snap Peas

    Time: 20 minutes

    This one is a bit more of a fancy meal (scallops always mean fancy to us) but that doesn't mean it's going to take any longer. For when you're trying to impress on a week night but don't want to spend hours in the kitchen.

    Get the full recipe here at realsimple.com

     

  • Steak tacos

    Time: 20 minutes

    These might not look like much, but we know these are incredibly delicious and come recommended owing to the many comments underneath the recipe. 

    You can learn how to make them here bonappetit.com

  • Sweet potato pasta with lemon sage and butter

    Time: 10 minutes

    This simple dish requires sweet potato pasta (which you can buy from places such as Amazon and Sous Chef), but once you've got that bit figured out all you need to do to make this gluten free dish is add lemon juice, sage and cheese. 

    Get the recipe here lemonstolemonade.net

  • Black bean quesadillas

    Time: 10 minutes

    It's advised to make the filling a little ahead of time, so that when you do get round to making this dish, you're well prepared and can eat in a flash. 

    Get the full recipe on dashingdish.com

  • Italian baked eggs

    Time: 10 minutes

    This requires minimal ingredients (just five, excluding seasoning) and are ideal for either a hearty breakfast or a supper snack. 

    Get the full recipe on damndelicious.net

  • Courgette and black bean burgers

    Time: 10 minutes

    There are many brilliant things about this dish that doesn't include the time. Not only is it healthy, it's great for anyone who's gluten free. They're also about 100 calories each. 

    Learn how to make them here girlmakesfood.com

  • Sweet potato, kale and quinoa fritters

    Time: 15-20 minutes depending on whether you're baking or frying

    A combination of three healthy foods, these fritters look like they'd be ideal for a quick supper as well as great for work lunches. The author and cook also tells you the difference taste-wise between baking and frying the fritters, so you can make your own mind up about them. 

    Get the recipe on yes-moreplease.com