25 Best 30-Minute Meals
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
30-Minute ‘Cheesy’ Lentil Spaghetti by The Kitchen of Danielle
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
Sweet Almond Tofu Rice Stir-Fry by Earth of Maria
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
White Chicken AIP Chili by What Great Grandma Ate
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
Dairy-Free Caprese Frittata by The Whole Cook
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
Smoked Paprika + Lime Salmon Burgers by Better With Cake
A one-bowl, 15-minute burger recipe that you can load up with all of your favourite toppings, spreads and condiments. Plus, it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo and keto.
30-Minute Black Beans + Rice
30-Minute Black Beans + Rice by My Darling Vegan
A quick and very budget-friendly vegan meal. Add extra oomph by topping this with homemade salsa or guacamole – yum!
Persian Rice Pilaf With Lentils + Sweet Potato
Persian Rice Pilaf With Lentils + Sweet Potato by Gillian Elizabeth Wellness
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
Garlic Roasted Tomato + Chicken Sausage Zucchini Noodles by Spices In My DNA
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
Coconut Curry with Cod by Meghan Telpner (*ACN Founder + Director)
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
Whole 30 Taco Salad by A Saucy Kitchen
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
Creamy Vegan Polenta with Spring Veggies by Feasting at Home
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
Meal Prep Almond Thai Chicken by Skinny Fitalicious
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
15-Minute Cauliflower Fried Rice by Pinch of Yum
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
Detox Salad with Ginger Miso Tahini Dressing by My Fresh Perspective (*Culinary Nutrition Expert)
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
Vegan Black Bean Burgers by Veggies Don’t Bite
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
Baked Spiced Turkey Meatballs by Eat Drink Paleo
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
‘Cheesy’ Tahini Pasta with Brussels Sprouts + Capers by Healthy Little Vittles
This recipe includes both a vegan cheese sauce and a nut parmesan. Vegans will be in heaven!
Creamy Kale + Chicken Soup
Creamy Kale + Chicken Soup by Suzy Larsen (*Culinary Nutrition Expert + Program Coach)
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
Vegan Ginger Teriyaki Stir-Fry by Sweet Peas and Saffron
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
Keto Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Coconut Cauli Rice by Keto Diet App
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
Black Bean Pasta Salad by Green Scheme
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
Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders + Honey Mustard Sauce by The Modern Proper
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
1-Pot Chickpea Shakshuka by Minimalist Baker
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!
More Wisdom from our Experts
Here in North America, Spring has descended upon us and that means a lovely array of produce is cropping up at farmers markets, grocery stores…Read More
In many places around the world, asparagus is an ingredient that signals springtime. When asparagus crops up at grocery stores and markets, we know the…Read More
The grocery store is packed with ingredients that support our health – and in many cases, our favourite ingredients can have multiple uses. While there…Read More
Slow cookers, also called crockpots, are one of the handiest tools to have in a whole foods kitchen. They allow you to eat delicious home…Read More
Vegan blogs are an incredible source for finding plant-based inspiration that will make you forget all about the meat, stat. We are blown away by…Read More
Celebrations often include family dinners, edible gift-giving, reflection and enjoying precious moments with our loved ones – as well as treats and boozy cocktails. Excess…Read More