25+ Last Minute Dinner Ideas
If you’re looking for easy, healthy last minute dinner ideas you’re in the right place!
Read on for last minute ideas that are family friendly, and include vegetarian, chicken and ground beef options perfect for busy weeknights.
about these last minute dinner ideas
Around here we are all about embracing more ease in the kitchen!
While I love a good crockpot recipe, some weeks a quick stovetop, sheet pan or grilled recipe is just the thing to get a hot meal on the table fast.
I know a lot of you might be looking for some last minute dinner recipes to lean on too – so I’ve gathered all my favorites for you in one easy to find place.
Including tacos, bowls, stir fries, one-pan and skillet dinners that you can throw together any night.
Since they’re simple to prepare, they make the perfect low-effort dinners on busy weeks (or just anytime you don’t really feel like cooking)!
PS – All of these recipes feature simple good-for-you ingredients, minimal clean up and easy prep steps with flavor profiles designed to be loved by the whole family.
table of contents
While we’re big fans of healthy chicken dinners (you’ll find plenty below), you’ll also find plenty of recipes in this round up that are not chicken!
Click on each category below to go straight to that section:
what makes these recipes healthy
The truth is, there isn’t a universally agreed upon definition of what makes a recipe healthy.
As an expert on healthy habits, I should know — I’ve interviewed over 200 health and wellness experts on the question of what it really means to be healthy, and have yet to uncover a definition of healthy eating that all experts agree on.
However, I did write the book on what it really means to be healthy, and when it comes to recipes I take a whole, real foods, research-based approach.
With that in mind, all of these recipes are made with whole food ingredients, without any added refined sugar, and do not include processed ingredients or oils.
They are also plant-forward, include whole grains, as well as plenty of colorful, health-filled veggies.
Finally, as a healthy habits expert, I know that a big part of eating healthy is making the process easy.
That’s why all these recipes are not only filled with good-for-you ingredients, but also incredibly simple to prepare.
As always, if you’re following a specific diet for health reasons, consult with your doctor or registered dietitian for specific health advice and check out our nutrition disclaimer for more information.
how to freeze & store leftovers
All of these recipes will keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.
Many of these recipes also freeze well, store in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months.
more easy healthy dinner recipe collections
these recipes are all…
I’ve also included some kid-friendly, whole30, paleo, and vegan options too – so there’s something for everyone to enjoy!
I hope you’ll make these easy Last Minute Dinner Recipes soon.
If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!
last minute chicken dinner ideas
Easy Italian Chicken Zucchini Skillet
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or chicken thighs), zucchini, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, butter (optional: traditional or dairy-free), fresh basil, red pepper flakes, garlic, Italian seasoning, olive oil and salt.
Healthy Chicken, Cashew, Green Bean Skillet
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), green beans, ginger, chicken broth, honey, green onions, cashews, coconut oil, arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) and salt.
Healthy Orange Chicken Asparagus Stir-Fry
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), asparagus, garlic, orange zest, orange juice, chicken stock, white wine vinegar (or lemon juice), coconut oil, arrowroot powder and salt.
Quick & Easy Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), frozen vegetable blend, celery, onion, chicken stock, cream or canned coconut milk, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, olive oil, arrowroot powder and salt.
15-Minute Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry (Gluten-Free)
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), broccoli, coconut aminos (or tamari), scallions, cashews, coconut oil (or olive oil), garlic, ginger, and salt.
Sheet Pan Chicken, Kale & Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients: chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, lacinato dinosaur kale, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.
Sheet Pan Balsamic Glazed Chicken and Veggies
Ingredients: chicken breasts, asparagus, carrots, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, olive oil, and salt.
Peach Chicken Basil Glow Bowls
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), zucchini, onion, cooked quinoa (or cauliflower rice), peaches, garlic, white balsamic (or white wine vinegar), olive oil, fresh basil and salt.
last minute dinner ideas with fish
Sheet Pan Ginger-Orange Salmon Bowls
Ingredients: salmon, green beans, coconut aminos, orange juice, garlic, ginger, olive oil and salt.
Sheet Pan Fajita Fish Tacos
Ingredients: white fish (like cod), bell peppers, onion, cumin, garlic powder, mild chili powder, olive oil, lime juice, and salt.
20-Minute Salmon Fish Tacos with Quick Cabbage Slaw
Ingredients: salmon, cabbage, cucumber, avocado, tortillas (or grain-free wraps or lettuce wraps), mayonnaise (or plain Greek yogurt), lemon juice, and salt.
Easy Fish Tacos with Honey-Lime Cabbage Slaw
Ingredients: white fish (like rockfish, cod or tilapia), purple cabbage, lime juice, avocado, green onions, mayonnaise (or plain yogurt), honey, olive oil, cumin, mild chili powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper and salt.
meatless last minute dinner ideas
Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Apples & Mushrooms
Ingredients: sweet potatoes, apples, mushrooms, onions, melted coconut oil (or avocado oil), celery, pecans, cranberries, sage and salt.
Asian Inspired Quinoa Bowls with 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
Ingredients: quinoa, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, frozen edamame, garlic, maple syrup, tamari (or soy sauce), rice vinegar (or fresh lime juice), peanut butter and salt.
Veggie Noodle Bowls with 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
Ingredients: pasta (gluten-free or whole wheat), broccoli, cabbage, carrot, green onions, peanuts, peanut butter, garlic, maple syrup, tamari, rice wine vinegar (or lime juice) and water.
20-Minute Black Bean Bowls with Confetti Slaw
Ingredients: canned black beans, onion, baby spinach, purple cabbage, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, cumin, garlic powder, mild chili powder, olive oil, lime juice, and salt.
Black Bean Quinoa Bowls
Ingredients: quinoa, water or stock, canned black beans, red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, corn, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, mild chili powder, maple syrup (or honey), olive oil and salt.
quick & easy turkey recipes
20-Minute Ground Turkey & Green Bean Skillet
Ingredients: ground turkey (light or dark meat), green beans, garlic, ginger, honey, chicken stock, lime juice (or rice wine vinegar), tamari, arrowroot powder, olive oil, and salt.
20-Minute Turkey Tacos with Peach Basil Salsa
Ingredients: ground turkey (dark or light meat), onion, garlic powder, cumin, corn tortillas, avocado, peaches, lime juice, basil, olive oil, jalapenos (optional) and salt.
20-Minute Turkey Tacos with Apple Salsa
Ingredients: ground turkey, onion, garlic, apples, cilantro, green onion, lime juice and other seasonings
Egg Roll Veggie Noodle Bowls
Ingredients: ground turkey (or ground chicken or pork), crimini mushrooms, cabbage (or slaw mix), carrots, coconut aminos, vegetable noodles (spiralized carrots or zucchini), lime juice, green onion, ginger, olive oil, and salt.
simple healthy dinners with sausage
One-Pan Sweet & Sour Cabbage with Sausage
Ingredients: cooked apple chicken sausages, onion, apples, purple cabbage, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt.
Roasted Sweet Potato, Apple and Chicken Sausage Bowls
Ingredients: cooked chicken sausage, sweet potatoes, apples, baby spinach (or arugula), garlic, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt.
Roasted Italian Sausage and Vegetables
Ingredients: Italian sausage, red onions, acorn squash, kale, baby potatoes, lemon juice, dried oregano and other spices
easy ground beef dinner recipes
Southwest Beef & Sweet Potato Skillet
Ingredients: ground beef, sweet potato, canned diced tomatoes, mild chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, water, baby spinach, lime juice, olive oil, and salt.
Sweet Potato and Pineapple Beef Bowls with Mango Avocado Salsa
Ingredients: lean ground beef, sweet potatoes, canned crushed pineapple, mango, avocado, baby spinach, cumin, garlic powder, mild chili powder, olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and salt.
25+ Last Minute Dinner Ideas: Italian Chicken Zucchini Skillet
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tsp no-salt added Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 4 cups 1-inch diced zucchini , (from about 4 medium zucchini)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp butter*
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil, thinly sliced
- red pepper flakes to taste
- In a large 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken in one layer, taking care not to overlap the pieces. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Cook the chicken undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip, and cook an additional 3 minutes until browned on both sides and just cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add chicken stock, stirring to deglaze, then add tomato paste and diced tomatoes, stirring until well combined.
- Add the cooked chicken back to the pan, turn the heat to medium low, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced.
- Turn off the heat, add the butter, and stir to combine. Taste the sauce and add additional salt if desired. Serve sprinkled with basil and red pepper flakes to taste.
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