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 homemade 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.
These healthy dinner ideas include 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 dinner ideas that are healthy 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:
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.
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
5 stars (14 ratings)
Easy Italian Chicken Zucchini Skillet
This Easy Italian Chicken Zucchini Skillet combines chicken, zucchini, tomatoes and classic Italian flavors for an easy, one-pot dinner you can make any night of the week. I love that it's naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30 friendly and ready in under 30 minutes!
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.
Lightly crispy chicken combines with cashews and green beans in a lightly sweet sauce for a super fast last minute dinner that will keep you coming back for seconds. Just 30 minutes and one pan are all you need to make it happen!
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), green beans, ginger, chicken broth, honey, green onions, cashews, coconut oil, arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) and salt.
This Healthy Orange Chicken Asparagus Stir-Fry is light, fresh, filling and so delicious. Full of golden-brown chicken, crisp asparagus, and a tangy naturally-sweet sauce, it's the perfect last minute dinner to make any night of the week.
This crustless version of classic chicken pot pie has all of the comforting flavors of the original dish, but with much less effort required. This quick and easy dinner is ready within 30 minutes using one pan – a skillet! Naturally gluten-free and can easily be made dairy free.
Easy, quick, incredibly delicious, and made in just one pan, Sheet Pan Ginger-Orange Salmon Bowls are just the thing for dinner tonight! Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free, paleo, and Whole30 friendly
Ingredients: salmon, green beans, coconut aminos, orange juice, garlic, ginger, olive oil and salt.
Easy dinner ideas are my specialty—and this homemade honey-lime cabbage slaw for fish tacos delivers. Simple purple cabbage slaw elevates these fish tacos with slaw from an everyday dinner to a super-fast, flavor-packed dinner that’s ready in just 25 minutes! The slaw is a great topping idea for fish tacos and serves double duty as a veggie side dish too, if that’s what you prefer.
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.
Veggie Noodle Bowls with 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
Slurpable noodles and heaps of tender veggies combine with an ultra-simple sauce in Veggie Noodle Bowls with 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce. No complicated ingredient list here, these bowls are easy to make and taste amazing.
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.
With just a few minutes, some simple pantry ingredients, and a handful of fresh veggies you can whip up these flavor-packed 20-Minute Black Bean Bowls with Confetti Slaw. They are easy, quick, and super delicious!
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.
These healthy Southwest Black Bean Quinoa Bowls are quick and easy to make, and are topped with the most delicious homemade cumin lime dressing. Perfect for a light vegetarian dinner, colorful side dish or make-ahead lunch!
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.
This ground turkey skillet with sauce comes together in 20 minutes using one pan! It's savory, satisfying, and packed full of Asian-inspired flavors. Asparagus or broccoli florets can easily be substituted for the green beans. My top tip? Double this quick and easy recipe. You'll want leftovers!
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.
All the flavor of an egg-roll, but without the fuss. Tossed together with a tangle of veggie noodles, Egg Roll Veggie Noodle Bowls are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, Paleo, Whole30 and so delicious!
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.
Roasted Sweet Potato, Apple and Chicken Sausage Bowls
Simple to prepare in just one-pan, Roasted Sweet Potato, Apple and Chicken Sausage Bowls make for a hearty, warming weeknight dinner. A dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo and Whole30 recipe the whole family can enjoy!
Ingredients: cooked chicken sausage, sweet potatoes, apples, baby spinach (or arugula), garlic, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt.
25+ Last Minute Dinner Ideas: Italian Chicken Zucchini Skillet
This Easy Italian Chicken Zucchini Skillet combines chicken, zucchini, tomatoes and classic Italian flavors for an easy, one-pot dinner you can make any night of the week. Plus 25+ more last minute dinner ideas I know you'll love too!
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.
*Use dairy-free butter to keep this recipe dairy-free, or omit for Whole30. This recipe works with either chicken breasts or thighs – if you prefer juicer chicken, use chicken thighs.