27 Healthy Dinner Recipes That Let Your Oven Do Most of the Work
When terms like bomb cyclone, deep freeze, and arctic air are being used to describe the decidedly frightful weather, you’re probably looking for every source of heat possible—and in no mood to use those practically frostbitten fingers for too much hard labor in the kitchen. Make life easier during these frigid times and let these 27 oven-baked meals do double duty, warming up your home and cooking your dinner simultaneously. Meanwhile, you can get busy snuggling up with the biggest blanket you’ve got and getting in some quality couch potato time.
Beef and Pork
A cross between sweet potato fries and lasagna, this recipe alternates layers of the spiralized spuds with cheese, veggies, and marinara sauce. You’ll still get that all-important carb fix, but it comes with much more fiber than white pasta, not to mention it’s gluten-free.
This skillet meal may be even more scrumptious when it’s made in the oven since the roasting method brings out the juices of the meat and caramelizes the veggies to perfection. Go for a variety of peppers to make the dish as colorful as possible.
Beef, sour cream, and cheddar cheese don’t sound like the healthiest trio, but this recipe smartly combines those rich ingredients with lighter ones, like cauliflower instead of rice and protein-packed cottage cheese instead of ricotta. The result tastes decadent without leaving you overstuffed.
With ground beef, breadcrumbs, and Italian herbs all bound by an egg, the classic flavors in these meatballs are pretty darn close to what Grandma used to make. Eat 'em on top of spaghetti (covered in cheese, duh), in a sub, or simply alongside some roasted veggies for a lighter meal.
By using frozen mixed veggies and eliminating the need to peel the potatoes, this recipe makes putting together a shepherd’s pie a breeze. Major snaps for shortcuts that don’t compromise nutrition or flavor.
Avoid the splatter and the grease of fried pork chops and opt for this much easier oven-baked method. The panko and Parmesan make sure they’re still as crisp on the outside as ever, they’re much healthier for you, and they keep your kitchen cleaner. You’ll never go back to frying again.
We’re always looking for easier ways to make risotto at home, and this one totally fits the bill, requiring just 10 minutes of stovetop prep before it hits the oven. Even without constant stirring, you end up with creamy, saffron-scented, carby goodness.
If you’re giving up gluten or living low-carb, don’t take pizza off your menu just yet. Incorporate cheese, sauce, and veggies into a lean ground beef mixture, and bake it into a loaf instead of pie form. It takes just as much time as ordering in, and it’s much higher in protein than your regular deep-dish 'za.
When the temperatures drop, nobody’s in the mood to chow down on cold lettuce. Solution: Turn to this warm version of a Greek salad for your veggie fix. It swaps out feta for chopped chicken breast but still gets all that typical Mediterranean flavor from the lemon, olive oil, and oregano dressing.
Not only do these juicy, vitamin-packed patties need only five ingredients, but they also take just 15 to 20 minutes to bake. Satisfyingly crunchy from the breading on the outside, juicy from the chicken and cheese on the inside, they have the pan-fried taste without the oil-soaked side effects.
With just a few southeast Asian seasonings, you can take chicken and potatoes from a run-of-the-mill dinner to a meal to remember. It does require the extra step of pan-searing in coconut milk and soy sauce, but the extra crispy finish on both the meat and the starch is so worth it.
Stuffed peppers with a chipotle drizzle may sound like a dish that requires a lot of hands-on work, but TBH, this is merely a 10-minute prep job. Brimming with black beans, turkey, and corn, and topped with bubbly cheese, these need to be your go-to meal when you need something that looks impressive but takes minimal behind-the-scenes labor.
No wok? No problem. Not only does this recipe make the hoisin chicken extra juicy, but it cooks the rice and the meat all in one dish, saving you prep and cleanup time.
Turn summery chicken fajitas into a winter-ready meal by placing your meat and veggies in a casserole dish instead of the outdoor grill. Plenty of Mexican seasonings make sure you’re still getting those spicy, fragrant results.
Whoever balks at the idea of pairing fish with dairy clearly hasn’t tried slathering salmon fillets with a creamy, cheesy spinach and artichoke spread. If something so delicious is a culinary wrong, we have no interest in being right.
Aside from the unmistakable spicy kick from the jalapeño and the succulent baked shrimp, this recipe scores major points for being super customizable. Nutritional yeast, coconut cream, and olive oil replace the dairy, while several alternative flours can be used to make the dish gluten-free.
This super-simple fish dish does need a good hour in the oven, but keep in mind that absolutely no stove time is needed, so it requires hardly any effort. Plus, despite the lengthy cooking time, ingredients like fresh oregano and parsley, white wine, fruity olive oil, and lemon keep it tasting bright and zesty.
While most tuna casseroles use noodles alongside the fish, this one opts for brown rice as a fiber-rich alternative. It even uses a cream sauce made from cashews instead of milk and cheese for dairy-sensitive diners.
Several small but key tweaks give this pub staple a nutritional upgrade. Swap out some of the breadcrumbs for higher-protein crushed almonds, use an egg white instead of a whole egg, throw some sweet potato alongside the white kind, and bake instead of deep-fry, and you’ve got a dinner you can put on rotation much more regularly than just the occasional happy hour.
Get a classy meal on the table in less than an hour with these flaky salmon cakes. Packed with protein and healthy fats from the fish and egg, and drizzled with a delicate mustard vinaigrette, they go perfectly alongside some veggies for a light but filling and elegant dinner.
With layers of tortilla chips, salsa, spiced black beans, and nutritional yeast, this recipe can be thought of as a nachos lasagna—and when did those two words ever mean anything other than delicious?
Give tofu the oven-baked treatment to give it the same crispy texture as frying would, then coat it in a homemade sauce made with only two tablespoons of maple syrup. Add a generous pile of broccoli to the sheet pan, and the resulting meal is much lower in sugar, fat, and sodium than any restaurant or store-bought teriyaki dish.
For all you breakfast-for-dinner fans, this frittata is a much more balanced option than pancakes. With plenty of veggies folded into the eggy mixture, plus cubes of whole-wheat bread also baked right in, it’s got everything you need in one pan.
Even vegetarian meals can be of the stick-to-your-ribs variety. Take this big, creamy bake; while it uses part-skim ricotta and plenty of produce, the pasta, cheese, and sauce combo can satisfy the heartiest appetites.
Black bean burgers are a basic, but necessary, part of plant-based life. This recipe makes sure they’re simple without being boring by using robust ingredients such as garlic, cumin, and red onions to make them exceptionally flavorful. Twenty minutes in the oven and these patties are ready for the buns (or the lettuce wraps!).
If you don’t have a casserole dish—or if you simply want to minimize cleanup—use wide portobello caps as the vehicles for your cheese and sauce filling. Like any good lasagna, this recipe freezes fantastically too, so it’s perfect to make ahead and save for especially lazy evenings.
Take pizza night in a new direction by making this recipe. It nixes the process of rolling out the dough and layering on toppings. Just mix all the sauce, cheese, and herbs into cooked quinoa and life will immediately feel easier. Sprinkle with mozzarella for that gooey cheese topping—what’s pizza without it?!