1. Bruschetta Pasta
Turn a popular appetizer into your main meal with this super easy pasta. You don’t even need a pan to make it! Simply combine the ingredients in a bowl once the linguine and tomatoes have boiled. With so few components, the key is to make sure each item—whether it’s the olive oil or the Parmesan cheese—is high quality. Bonus: Using raw extra virgin olive oil maximizes antioxidant intake.
2. Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese
It’s the ultimate comfort food and extremely convenient, but let’s be honest: The stuff from that iconic blue and yellow box isn’t doing you any nutritional favors. If it’s easy and cheesy you’re after, look no further than this homemade dish. Some of the cheddar gets replaced by Greek yogurt, keeping the protein count up, and it boasts spinach for added color and fiber. Did we mention it takes just 10 minutes to throw together?
3. Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
You don’t have to only enjoy pumpkin only around Halloween or Thanksgiving. Packed with eyesight-aiding beta-carotene and fiber, it’s a healthy choice any time of year. Canned pumpkin makes this pasta sauce a cinch to whip together. Seasoned with just a few pantry staple spices and poured on top of your favorite pasta, it’s the lower-cholesterol (not to mention super affordable) answer to Alfredo.
4. One-Pot Pasta Primavera
Whether you’re a total novice or simply a lazy cook, this recipe is your ticket to a low-maintenance meal. Most of the ingredients (there are less than 10!), including the uncooked spaghetti, get dumped into a skillet to simmer until the liquids evaporate. A handful of peas and spinach are stirred in to pump the dish with iron. How’s that for minimal effort and maximum flavor?
5. Fresh and Easy Avocado Pasta
You don’t need a food processor to purée the avocados into silky smoothness. In this recipe, a fork is a more-than-adequate alternative. Use one to roughly mash the seasoned avocado, then toss the heart-healthy green flesh with the pasta so it clings to each noodle—no butter, oil, or cream needed!
6. Garlic Roasted Vegetable Pasta
The only real work you have to do here is stick a pan of produce in the oven and boil some pasta—easy enough, right? Plus, the roasted sweetness from the veggies, coupled with the flavors of 12 whopping cloves of garlic (talk about getting in your antioxidants!), is enough to make this spaghetti totally slurp-worthy without the need for a separate sauce.
7. Pasta Arrabiata
Arrabiata translates to “angry,” a nod to the liberal dusting of fiery chili flakes in this recipe. But we think you’ll be more relieved than riled up with one look at the ridiculously short ingredient list and easy instructions. Cherry tomatoes, which actually have more vision-promoting lutein than regular tomatoes, sautéed in garlic and olive oil are all you need for the sauce. It’ll be ready by the time your pasta cooks!
8. Chickpea and Vegetable Stir-Fry
Not a usual sighting in Asian-inspired stir-fries, chickpeas get some much-need attention in this colorful blend. Soaking up the sweet and savory soy-based sauce, the legumes give the dish some vegetarian protein—without resorting to the usual tofu—along with some complex gluten-free carbohydrates. Whether you choose to eat it over rice or on its own, you’ll be perfectly satisfied either way.
9. Sweet and Spicy Shrimp and Zucchini Stir-Fry
With one main vegetable, one protein, and just two types of seasoning other than salt and pepper, this is as straightforward as stir-fries get. That’s not to say it’s boring, though! Zucchini and shrimp make a unique pair, providing potassium and iodine, respectively. Add as much or as little chili sauce as you want, and you’ve got dinner that looks, tastes, and is better for you than any takeout dish.
10. Sweet Sriracha Easy Chicken Stir-Fry
A note for beginner cooks: Butter has taken a backseat, and now it’s Sriracha that makes everything better (including sinus problems and blood pressure). A tablespoon of everyone’s favorite chili sauce goes a long way to spice up this quick stir-fry—and we really mean quick! Once the chicken is cooked, the greens barely need to touch the pan to soften without getting soggy, meaning it takes minutes, if not seconds, to come together.
11. Easy Weeknight Vegetable Stir-Fry
While many stir-fries are served on top of plain rice, this recipe puts the unrefined brown kind (for more fiber) right into the pan, so it can absorb all the savory flavors from the soy sauce. Other than that, the hardest part of this recipe is chopping the veggies—so really, not hard at all!
12. Italian Style Stir-Fry
ake a break from Asian seasonings and try out this Italian take on the stir-fry. It’s the perfect introduction to healthy cooking, showing how easy it is to “eat the rainbow” and reap the nutritional benefits of the mantra. Whether it’s the vitamin C from the bright bell peppers or immunity-protecting compounds of the green broccoli, both your eyes and belly will appreciate the dish. Mangia!
13. Chicken Soba Noodle Stir-Fry
Ready in less than five minutes, soba isn’t just one of the fastest-cooking noodles out there. Comprised mostly of the cholesterol-lowering whole grain buckwheat, it’s also a great source of fiber. Try it out in this super easy stir-fry, where it joins chicken, broccoli, and a few pantry essentials you probably already have on hand for a one-pan wonder that will be ready to devour in less than half an hour.
14. Rainbow Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry
Chop veggies, whisk sauce, boil noodles, and mix them all together—that’s all you need to do to make this addictive bowl. Just a tablespoon of peanut butter (choose an all-natural kind to avoid those hydrogenated oils) gives the dish more depth of flavor than just using regular soy sauce, proving that even a simple addition can make a world of difference when it comes to easy, flavorful cooking
15. 30-Minute Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup
Creamy soups are decadent and wonderful, but there’s something to be said for the comfort of a brothy bowl brimming with chopped vegetables. This superfood-filled version features sweet potatoes, kale (for some serious antioxidant action), and a can of cannellini beans—a convenient way to pack in some meatless protein and iron.
16. Easy Minestrone Soup
Minestrone is a must-have in anyone’s culinary repertoire. This recipe has fewer ingredients than many out there while being just as hearty and tasty. Frozen mixed veggies, canned beans, and ready-made low-sodium broth make the prep stress free, so that all you really have to do is sauté the onion and carrots for the first five minutes. Easy peasy.
17. Corn off the Cob Soup
This soup leaves hefty chunks of potato and kernels of corn intact so you can appreciate their individual sweet and starchy flavors in every bite. Plus, leaving them as is means you don’t need an immersion blender—a tool that can be pretty intimidating for first-time soup makers.
18. Mom’s Simple Chicken Tortilla Soup
Ready-made rotisserie chicken and a can of seasoned crushed tomatoes make this boldly spiced tortilla soup a breeze to assemble. But the simple recipe doesn’t skimp on flavor. It features all the usual suspects of a classic tortilla soup—garlic, chips (opt for an all-natural baked kind to avoid weird ingredients), and of course, all your favorite toppings—from avocado cubes to sprinkles of shredded cheese.
19. Easy Chickpea Noodle Soup
Don’t wait until you’re sick to make this meatless take on the classic chicken noodle soup. This recipe will give you just as many—if not more—warm and fuzzies as the original, not only because the 10 ingredients are so easy to whip together (no need to cook the noodles separately!), but also because the vitamin B6 in chickpeas has been known to have mood-boosting benefits.
20. Smoky Red Lentil Stew
The super-affordable, fastest-cooking lentils are a must in any first-time cook’s pantry. Here, the red guys simmer along with a handful of sautéed vegetables and basic spices to become a thick, spicy, satisfying stew that boils down to a mere 62 cents per serving! Who said healthy eating had to be expensive?