Students and staff at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition are obsessed with food, cooking and culinary nutrition – but sometimes even we don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. For those busy work days or when you simply don’t have the energy to cook, getting dinner on the table fast with less stress is essential to our health and well-being. This is where 30-minute meals can swoop in, satisfy your taste buds and keep your health goals on track.
Before we share our favourite 30-minute meals, we have a pro tip for making quick meals successfully: meal prep, meal prep, meal prep! Menu planning and meal prep is one of the first skills we teach our students in the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program and it becomes the foundation for a nutritious lifestyle. It’s hard to eat well when you don’t have your fridge organized and ready to go!
Some additional resources for quick meals you might find handy:
- Healthy Batch Cooking 101
- 5 Essential Meal Prepping Tips
- 20 Dinner Hacks to Help You Get Dinner on the Table Fast
- 6 Essential Elements of a Recipe-Free Dinner Bowl
- Eat Healthy at Work with These Tips and Recipes
- 26 Best Instant Pot Recipes
- 20 Best Slow Cooker Recipes
- 30 Best Gluten-Free Dinner Ideas
And now, go forth and enjoy these 30-minute meals!
25 Best 30-Minute Meals
30-Minute ‘Cheesy’ Lentil Spaghetti
Gluten-free pasta and sauce makes one of the ultimate 30-minute meals! This vegan version uses nutritional yeast for cheesiness and if you’ve got a homemade tomato sauce in the freezer, even better.
Sweet Almond Tofu Rice Stir-Fry
A veggie-packed stir-fry that is easy to customize and prep ahead for lunch or dinner (or even breakfast – we’re down with savoury breakfast options).
White Chicken AIP Chili
In addition to being a 30-minute meal, this recipe is compliant with the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), keto and Whole 30 diets. You’re covered!
Portobello Mushroom Pizzas
Portobello Mushroom Pizzas by Abigail Hopkins (*Culinary Nutrition Expert)
Learn all the tricks to creating healthy pizza, including this recipe, which swaps in portobello mushrooms for a hearty pizza crust.
Dairy-Free Caprese Frittata
Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? This protein-rich, quick meal can be pulled together with whatever veggies are in your fridge.
Smoked Paprika + Lime Salmon Burgers
30-Minute Black Beans + Rice
Persian Rice Pilaf With Lentils + Sweet Potato
A lovely, fragrant one-pot meal that is great on its own, or when paired with extra protein or a salad.
Garlic Roasted Tomato + Chicken Sausage Zucchini Noodles
If you’re looking for a low-carb pasta option, zucchini noodles are your best friend. Instead of using parm in this recipe, we like to make a nut/seed parm using nutritional yeast and either hemp seeds or blitzed cashews.
Coconut Curry with Cod
A simple, no-fuss family-friendly meal that is a total blessing when you’ve had a long, busy day. For a vegan option, try tofu, chickpeas or tempeh.
Whole 30 Taco Salad
Salads make fantastic 30-minute meals – and this recipe is tasty and refreshing, yet filling enough to keep you satisfied at lunch or dinner.
Creamy Vegan Polenta with Spring Veggies
An elegant, fancy-looking dish that is surprisingly easy to prepare. If it’s not springtime, use any seasonal veggie instead!
Creamy Pumpkin Gluten-Free Noodles
Creamy Pumpkin Gluten-Free Noodles by Sondi Bruner (*ACN Head Program Coach)
One of our favourite comfort food meals, with a luxurious creaminess and a healthy dose of nutritious fats from coconut milk and almond butter. For a grain-free, Paleo option, try zucchini noodles instead of rice vermicelli.
Meal Prep Almond Thai Chicken
We love make-ahead meals! This chicken recipe is loaded with fresh veggies and is fantastic for lunch, dinner, or if you’re part of a cooking cooperative.
15-Minute Cauliflower Fried Rice
This recipe has all of the flavour and charm of the traditional version, but uses cauliflower as a grain-free sub. For extra protein, add cooked tofu, chicken or more eggs. Yummy!
Detox Salad with Ginger Miso Tahini Dressing
A power-packed salad filled with detoxifying foods and tossed in a zingy, tangy dressing – salads don’t get much better than this. For added protein, toss in some beans, tofu, fish, eggs or meat.
Vegan Black Bean Burgers
We love that these veggie burgers can be cooked on the grill, in a pan or in the oven – it really depends on how hands-on you want to be. If you’re really organized, double the batch and freeze some so they are ready to go at anytime for a ‘fast food’ meal.
Baked Spiced Turkey Meatballs
These tasty meatballs are packed with veggies, herbs and spices. Pair them with tomato sauce and zucchini noodles, enjoy with a side of roasted veggies and a dipping sauce, or crumble over a salad or into an omelette. Lots of possibilities here!
‘Cheesy’ Tahini Pasta with Brussels Sprouts + Capers
This recipe includes both a vegan cheese sauce and a nut parmesan. Vegans will be in heaven!
Creamy Kale + Chicken Soup
If you’ve got some leftover roasted chicken or turkey that you need to re-purpose, this soup is the perfect home for it. There is a vegan option in this recipe as well!
Vegan Ginger Teriyaki Stir-Fry
Get your green on with these make-ahead vegan teriyaki bowls. For extra fibre and nutrition, opt for cooked quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, wild rice or cauliflower rice.
Keto Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Coconut Cauli Rice
You won’t believe how effortless it is to make this elegant keto meal. This one’s great for your next dinner party!
Black Bean Pasta Salad
For those days when it’s too hot to cook, a pasta salad can be a lifesaver. This recipe uses black bean pasta – a protein and fibre-rich option you really must try – and is soused in a heavenly avocado dressing. What more can we ask for?
Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders + Honey Mustard Sauce
These delectable Paleo chicken fingers are dipped in almond flour and shredded coconut for a crispy, crunchy crust you’ll love.
1-Pot Chickpea Shakshuka
A veganized version of the classic spicy baked egg dish that retains all of the flavour. We like this one because you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner!