From-Scratch Speed Cooking: Healthy Meals in 30 Minutes!

In an ideal world, making dinner would never be an ordeal- we would always have plenty of time and plenty of energy to make amazing meals that are both nourishing and delicious. But this just isn’t realistic for weeknights when even the most cool, calm, and collected cooks among us get home after a long day at work, right? All we want to do is put our feet up and call out for delivery (if we haven’t already been wooed by all the take-out restaurants we passed on the way home, that is).

For nights like these, we need amazing recipes that come together quickly and easily: recipes that will win the battle against the siren call of take-out food, which, let’s face it, is never as healthy (and rarely as tasty) as we want it to be; recipes that we can make and enjoy and will still leave us time to unwind; recipes that that are fast but healthy at the same time.

Recipes like these! Take a look, try them out, and never be overwhelmed by weeknight meals again!

Red Lentil Dal
Lentils are one of our go-to ingredients for nutritious meals in a hurry. Served with naan and topped with plain yogurt, this red lentil dish is warming, delicious, and fast!

2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced carrots
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp ginger puree
3 Tbsp garlic puree
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp coriander
¾ tsp cardamom
¾ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
3 cups red lentils
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Gently cook the onions and carrots in the oil until tender. Add the garlic and ginger purées along with the spices, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and just cover with water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer until lentils are tender. Add salt, cilantro, and additional water as needed to achieve desired consistency.

Forget-About-Delivery Pizza
When you’re starting off with a high quality pre-baked pizza crust, you’ll have ample time to choose- and prepare- a variety of unique and scrumptious toppings. Here are some of our favorite combinations.

Butternut Squash & Sage
1 cup sliced red onion
2 cups pre-roasted butternut squash; diced (available at Healthy Living!)
1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella
2-3 tsp chopped fresh sage
2-3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese; for finishing

Potato & Bacon
1/3 cup alfredo sauce
1 small russet potato; peeled & thinly sliced on mandolin
1/2 cup chopped bacon; cooked
1/2 cup shredded gruyère
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley; for finishing

Duck & Pesto
1/3-1/2 cup basil pesto
1/3 cup caramelized onions (available at Healthy Living!)
1/3 cup cherry or grape tomatoes; halved
1 duck leg confit; shredded (available at Healthy Living!)
3-4 Tbsp grated pecorino romano; for finishing

Vegetarian Mexican
1/2 cup vegetarian refried beans
1/3 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1/3 cup corn kernels
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro; for finishing

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread desired toppings over pizza crust and bake for approximately 5-10 minutes.

One Pan Pasta with Basil & Shrimp
This dish comes together in a snap and is incredibly flavorful, beautiful, and healthy. You know what else is incredible? You get all that flavor, beauty, and health in just one pot, making clean-up incredibly fast too!

12 oz linguine
12 oz cherry or grape tomatoes; halved or quartered if large
1 white onion; thinly sliced
4-6 cloves garlic; roughly chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup basil leaves, plus more for garnish
2 Tbsp olive oil
Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cups dry white wine
2 1/2 cups water
10-12 shrimp; peeled & de-veined
1/2-1 cup freshly grated parmesan

Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, olive oil, a little salt and pepper, wine, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs. About halfway through, add shrimp. Cook until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated. Stir in most of the parmesan and fold to incorporate. Garnish with more fresh basil, parmesan, and black pepper.

Our Café’s Black Bean Burgers
Skip the siren call of the drive-thru and treat yourself with these ridiculously quick and easy from-scratch burgers! Much healthier than any burger you’ll find en route, they’re completely yummy and completely satisfying.

1 15-oz can black beans; rinsed, drained, and half puréed
1/2 small green bell pepper; diced
1/4 small red onion; minced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chickpea flour, plus more for coating
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Form into burger-sized patties, press each patty into extra chickpea flour on both sides (this will help the patties keep their shape), and bake on parchment-lined baking sheet until heated through and slightly crispy on the outside, about 5-10 minutes. Serve with desired toppings and condiments on warm rolls.