50 Quick Recipes You Need to Try in 2021



We’ve compiled a list of quick and easy dinner recipes that can be thrown together on a busy night in the blink of an eye. All of these tasty dishes can be made in an hour or less (with the vast majority of meals ready in just half that time) and several of these hearty and healthy dinner options require minimal cleanup. What’s more? Entrées such as roasted salmon and chicken stir fry are super simple to prepare, making them ideal for those of us who have been absent from the kitchen for a few weeks and need to get back in the meal prep groove.

And for more, don’t miss these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.

Paleo grilled lamb gyros
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Stuffed with antioxidant-rich Greek-style yogurt, tomatoes, hummus, lamb, and, of course, topped with hot sauce, this gyro packs a flavorful punch but packs fewer calories with it.

Get our recipe for Grilled Lamb Gyros. 

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creamy chicken with spinach and cracked black pepper from an instant pot
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Made with two whole pounds of chicken, you can easily have dinner on the table for up to eight people in under 30 minutes.

Get our recipe for Creamy Chicken with Spinach. 

Healthy cornmeal catfish with corn salsa
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This catfish recipe mimics the satisfying crunch of a fried fillet and the corn salsa provides more flavor than you’d ever find in a coat of soybean oil.

Get our recipe for Cornmeal Catfish with Corn Salsa. 

Healthy avocado-crab salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

We use cucumber and onion for a nice crunch, chiles for a hint of heat, and a bit of fish or soy sauce for a slick of savory salt. Adding an avocado half makes the perfect vessel for this salad, its rich, creamy texture boosting the sweetness of the crab.

Get our recipe for Avocado-Crab Salad. 

Paleo chicken ramen
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

With real chicken, vegetables, and hard-boiled eggs, this homemade ramen will nourish your body with nutrients, plus filling protein to keep you satiated. Bonus: it’s also lower in sodium than the store-bought counterpart!

Get our recipe for Chicken Ramen with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach. 

grilled steak topped with red wine butter next to steak fries
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

We’ll give you steak and a slab of spiked butter for a quarter of the cost and over 500 less calories than that of a similar dish you would order at Outback Steakhouse. Eating in looks good on you, so go ahead and dig on into this grilled steak recipe!

Get our recipe for Grilled Steak with Red Wine Butter.

tuna veggie melts on a cutting board with herbs
Jason Donnelly

This particular recipe cuts the calories by swapping it out with mashed garbanzo beans and yogurt. Top it off with some reduced-fat cheddar cheese, pop it in the oven on broil, and you have yourself a delicious tuna melt in no time!

Get our recipe for Tuna Veggie Melts. 

boneless barbecue ribs and broccoli on plates on wooden background
Jason Donnelly

These “ribs” (made from sliced boneless pork chops) are so flavorful, you’ll almost forget they came from the oven and not from a smoke pit. Serve these ribs with a side of baked fries and broccoli, and you’ll be good to go.

Get our recipe for Boneless BBQ Ribs. 

Open face hot ham and cheese with chipotle mayo
Waterbury Publications Inc.

An open-face sandwich is an easy way to cut back on calories because there is only one slice of bread involved, so you can still satisfy your sandwich craving. It’s all about what you’re putting on top of that slice that matters, and in this hot ham and cheese open-face sandwich, we add chipotle mayo and eggs to give you extra protein with a kick. You won’t even miss that other piece of bread!

Get our recipe for Open-Face Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Chipotle Mayo. 

shrimp and broccoli with cauliflower rice sprinkled with sesame seeds green onions and sriracha
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Shrimp doesn’t need a ton of time to cook, which is why this Instant Pot shrimp and broccoli recipe is the perfect recipe to whip up on a busy weeknight. Served on rice, or cauliflower rice to keep it low-carb, this recipe is one that you’re going to want to make again and again.

Get our recipe for Shrimp and Broccoli. 

pan burgers fried egg special sauce
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

There’s nothing quite like taking a bite out of a juicy burger, and while the idea of firing up the grill might seem daunting, you don’t actually have to cook a burger that way. Instead, you can pan fry your patty for an easy way to satisfy your burger craving. However, we take things one step further, creating the perfect fried egg burger, complete with a special sauce that rivals any you would find at a restaurant.

Get our recipe for Pan Burger with Fried Egg. 

low-calorie tortilla soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Between the pulled chicken, the soothing tomato broth, and the pile of fixings, what’s not to love?

Get our recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Paleo blackened fish sandwich
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Our fish sandwich replaces processed patties with fresh tilapia fillets, frying with blackening, and tartar sauce with creamy avocado and crunchy cabbage. You won’t miss the mystery meat alternative you’re used to, as this blackened fish sandwich packs a punch.

Get our recipe for a Blackened Fish Sandwich. 

scoop of cheesy cauliflower mac and cheese from an instant pot
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Macaroni and cheese is a classic dish that has two important ingredients: macaroni and cheese sauce. Clearly a dish where you substitute macaroni with cauliflower couldn’t be called “mac and cheese” simply by nature. So while it technically isn’t true mac and cheese, this Instant Pot cauliflower mac and cheese is strikingly similar to the real thing and is the perfect alternative for anyone trying to go low carb.

Get our recipe for Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese. 

sweet potato toasts on blue plate with butter
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

This recipe is super simple, too—the hardest part will be deciding whether you want to try the almond-cherry, Southwestern, or peanut butter and jelly topping recipe option first!

Get our recipe for Sweet Potato Toast. 

plate of italian hash with fried egg next to skillet and water glass
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Breakfast hash is also one of favorite easy dinner recipes to make! Is there anything more satisfying than a hearty breakfast hash? With crispy potatoes, fresh vegetables, and a nice fried egg, you can’t go wrong with this filling meal any time of the day.

Get our recipe for Italian Hash with Eggs. 

eggs diablo with taco shells in pan
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

With crushed red pepper and fire-roasted tomatoes, along with green peppers and onions, this dish is bursting with flavor and nutrition.

Get our recipe for Eggs Diablo. 

one skillet taco pasta with spoon, cotija cheese, and sliced avocado
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Sure, traditional pasta is great. But have you tried taco pasta? This easy recipe takes all of the things you love about tacos—seasonings, spice, and yes, cheese—and converts them into a pasta format. Taco Tuesday is about to take on a whole new meaning.

Get our recipe for Taco Pasta.

cooked lemon chicken inside an Instant Pot
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

When you’re tight on time, the Instant Pot is great for easy dinner recipes! Cooked in chicken broth with a touch of fresh lemon juice, this Instant Pot lemon chicken recipe is an easy and flavorful protein to add to your dinner plate.

Get our recipe for Lemon Chicken. 

pizza burger on wooden tray with marinara sauce
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

You’ve had pizza, and you’ve had burgers. But what about…a pizza burger? Yep, it’s a real thing, and it’s the best of both worlds.

Get our recipe for a Grilled Pizza Burger.

mixed greens salad with pears and pumpkin vinaigrette
Blaine Moats/Eat This, Not That!

Sure, you could make your own salad and top it with a classic dressing, like Italian or ranch. But why not kick things up a notch and make your own pumpkin vinaigrette dressing?

Get our recipe for Mixed Green Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette. 

Three fish tacos on a plate
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

While most fish tacos are battered and fried (usually with a nice piece of cod), making fish tacos at home is much easier than you think. Because the fish for this recipe doesn’t involve breading a fish fillet, you can save major calories and bulk up on some delicious toppings instead.

Get our recipe for Fish Tacos with Tilapia and Avocado.

Garlic shrimp scampi recipe with linguine on a marble counter with squeezed lemon
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Usually, this dish is served with pasta, but if you don’t want it, this recipe is delicious on its own! You could always make this shrimp scampi recipe with some roasted vegetables. Also, that shrimp scampi sauce is so delectable, a fresh loaf of crusty bread would be perfect for dipping!

Get our recipe for Shrimp Scampi with Linguine Pasta.

Paleo bacon chile burger
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Burgers make for incredibly easy dinner recipes! By simply adding some guacamole and fresh salsa, you’ll have a flavorful patty that will keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Get our recipe for Bacon-Chile Burgers. 

mediterranean tofu veggiescramble
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

Breakfast as one of our easy dinner recipes? Of course! While this recipe shows you how to turn tofu into ‘scrambled eggs,’ you can use a similar method to make ‘ground beef’ or even add tofu to a stir fry.

Get our recipe for Mediterranean Tofu Scramble.

holding steak fajita filling with tongs from an Instant Pot
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

In less than 30 minutes you’ll have yourself a delicious meal for a crowd with almost minimal effort on your end! These Instant Pot steak fajitas can be served on warm tortillas, or on a bed of greens with a heaping amount of guacamole.

Get our recipe for Steak Fajitas. 

chicken kale and white bean salad
Gail Watson Photography

The easiest way to make sure you’re eating a healthy dinner is to plan ahead. You can make meal prep even easier by buying a rotisserie chicken and using it in several different ways to create a nutritious plate.

Get our recipe for Rotisserie Chicken, Kale and White Bean Salad. 

RELATED: Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!

whole 30 burrito bowl with guacamole on top
Posie Brien/Eat This, Not That!

Deconstruct a classic burrito bowl, remove grains and dairy, and you’ll get this satisfying and healthy beef burrito bowl. We’re using cauliflower rice instead of regular rice, and rely on spices and vegetables to punch up the flavors.

Get our recipe for Beef Burrito Bowls.

bowls of homemade orange chicken with chopsticks
Brie Passano

Enjoy a healthier take on this classic Chinese takeout dish with our easy-to-make orange chicken recipe.

Get our recipe for Orange Chicken. 

white chicken chili in two bowls with cilantro
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

If you’re not in the mood for a beef-based chili, why not choose a leaner protein and try this Instant Pot white chicken chili instead? Plus, by using your handy-dandy Instant Pot, you can enjoy a steaming bowl of chili in just under 30 minutes. Seriously, that’s it!

Get our recipe for White Chicken Chili. 

Paleo chicken with tomato, olives, and capers
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This baked chicken breast recipe will have you roasting the meat with tomatoes and capers, then olive oil bastes the chicken in a savory broth; this will keep the meat moist and ultimately provide it with both a chunky, textured topping and an intensely satisfying sauce to pour all over the top.

Get our recipe for Mediterranean-Inspired Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Capers. 

Paleo seared scallops with white beans and spinach
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Scallops are best served with simple and substantial ingredients that bring out their natural, subtle taste. They’re a tremendous source of lean protein, super-easy to cook, and stack up well with bold and subtle flavors alike.

Get our recipe for Seared Scallops with White Beans and Spinach. 

Vegetarian pesto gnocchi with green beans and tomatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Mess with the simplicity of pesto by adding things like cream, and you can kiss your chances of healthy eating goodbye. When you make this pesto gnocchi, figure 2 tablespoons per plate—and throw in some healthy extras like tomatoes and green beans to bring substance and balance to the bowl.

Get our recipe for Pesto Gnocchi with Green Beans and Tomatoes. 

Healthy ultimate club sandwich with super mayo
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

We think our version of the classic club—ham, turkey, bacon, and a souped-up mayo—would win over anyone at home. Plus, it’s one our favorite easy dinner recipes to throw together!

Get our recipe for a Club Sandwich with Super Mayo. 

Healthy creamy mushroom chicken
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

The combination of Greek yogurt and half-and-half gives the sauce richness and a lovely velvety texture without weighing it down in this creamy mushroom chicken recipe.

Get our recipe for Mushroom Chicken. 

Paleo sea bass packet
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Why more people don’t cook food in packets is one of the culinary world’s great mysteries. Not only is it one of the healthiest, easiest ways to cook fish, chicken, and vegetables, but the abundance of flavorful steam trapped inside the packet means your food will still be delicious, even if you overcook it. Plus, there are no pots or pans to clean—just toss the foil in the trash and move on.

Get our recipe for a Sea Bass Packet. 

Healthy fish with herbed bread crumbs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This oven-baked fish is still butter-laced, but with a breadcrumb topping that gives you the satisfying crunch and richness of deep fried food without ruining the inherent flavor—or nutrition—of the fish itself.

Get our recipe for Fish with Herbed Breadcrumbs. 

Paleo spicy thai chicken with basil
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This Thai classic (called gai pad grapow) gets its flavor from chiles, garlic, and fresh herbs—nutritional powerhouses known to boost your metabolism.

Get our recipe for Spicy Thai Chicken with Basil.

Healthy grilled chicken sandwich with chimichurri
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This grilled chicken sandwich delivers heroic flavor by employing chimichurri, an Argentine herb-based sauce that would make shoe leather taste like fine dining, along with a solid supporting cast of sweet peppers, sharp raw onions, and peppery greens.

Get our recipe for Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Chimichurri Sauce.

Paleo margarita chicken 
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Our version of margarita chicken, a meal that you can have on the table in 20 minutes, contains all the same bells and whistles (Cheese! Salsa! Sizzle!), minus all the added calories and dollars spent on eating at a restaurant.

Get our recipe for Margarita Chicken. 

Healthy chicken and red chile enchiladas
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

You can play with the filling as you see fit, but this is the truly the road map for true enchilada success.

Get our recipe for Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas. 

Healthy fettuccine alfredo
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

To dampen the Alfredo impact, we turn to our old friend béchamel, which creates a thick, creamy sauce without the calories of heavy cream and excess butter.

Get our recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo. 

Healthy mexican hot dogs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Spruce up your usual hot dog with these healthy and filling ingredients for an easy weeknight meal.

Get our recipe for Mexican Hot Dogs. 

Paleo grilled salmon with ginger-soy butter
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This grilled salmon recipe uses soy butter and ginger to add a tangy taste and keep this superfood, super healthy and tasty too. Plus, you’ll save almost 400 calories by being your own chef!

Get our recipe for Grilled Salmon with Ginger Soy Butter. 

Healthy spanish garlic shrimp
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

You’ll need a bit of bread to drag through the garlicky olive oil at the bottom of the pot. You know that’s the best part!

Get our recipe for Spanish Garlic Shrimp. 

Smoked salmon sandwich
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This is a New York classic, minus the bagel. All the great flavors that make this such a satisfying breakfast are still here—the richness of smoked salmon, the bite of onion and capers, the sweetness of tomato—but by ditching the oversize bagel in favor of whole wheat toast, you save about 200 calories and trade a ton of refined carbs for a boost of fiber.

Get our recipe for a Smoked Salmon Sandwich. 

Healthy philly cheesesteak
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Our version uses tender, intensely beefy skirt steak, provolone, and a trio of caramelized vegetables to do the cheesesteak titans one better (for about 500 fewer calories).

Get our recipe for Philly Cheesesteak with Caramelized Veggies.

Paleo grilled mahi with red pepper sauce
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

As long as it’s fresh, fish doesn’t need much to make it delicious, and our simple, spicy African pepper sauce (called harissa) fits the bill for this grilled mahi-mahi dish. With just a few ingredients, it brings big flavor, plus heart-healthy fats and a monster dose of vitamin C, to any grilled protein it touches.

Get our recipe for Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Red Pepper Sauce. 

Healthy orecchiette broccoli rabe
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This classic combines slightly bitter, peppery broccoli rabe (or, if you can’t find rabe, regular broccoli) and lean crumbled sausage with orecchiette, little ear-shaped pasta shells that cup the sauce beautifully.

Get our recipe for Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe. 

Vegetarian curry cauliflower with butternut squash
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

The balance of the creamy coconut milk, the sweet cubes of squash, and the subtle heat of the curry powder could make the most dedicated meat eater forget he was eating only vegetables.

Get our recipe for Curry with Cauliflower and Butternut Squash. 

For more, don’t miss these 108 most popular sodas ranked by how toxic they are.


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