Healthy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Shake up your weeknight dinner routine with Cooking Channel's easy, healthy, delicious recipes.

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Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Evan Sung for The New York Times

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Photo By: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Photo By: Emmer Schmidt

Photo By: Evan Sung for The New York Times

Chili-Rubbed Steak Tacos

A fragrant chili powder, cinnamon, garlic and cayenne pepper rub readies lean sirloin steak for grilling in this unbelievably tasty taco recipe. The limey avocado salsa — made lighter with crunchy cucumber — balances all that spice.

Get the Recipe: Chili-Rubbed Steak Tacos

Turkey Meatballs with Quick and Spicy Tomato Sauce

Finely grated carrot is the secret weapon inside these meatballs, as it adds volume and moisture to the lean meat. The spicy adobo-spiked tomato sauce gains layers of flavor from fresh herbs and is best served over a tangle of whole-wheat spaghetti.

Get the Recipe: Turkey Meatballs with Quick And Spicy Tomato Sauce and Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon

A drizzle of honey and cinnamon add a decadent touch to roasted sweet potatoes.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon

Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

No need to call for takeout; Ellie Krieger's homemade teriyaki boasts the same big flavor as the restaurant version, with chicken thighs swathed in a low-sodium soy-ginger sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Get the Recipe: Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

Soba Noodle-Vegetable Salad

Lime dressing brings extra brightness to this noodle salad.

Get the Recipe: Soba Noodle-Vegetable Salad

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

Bulk up whole-wheat fettuccine by working zucchini ribbons (mandoline-sliced or thinly cut strips) into your pasta bowl. Sprigs of basil and parsley and large red pepper flakes add ample flavor and round out this dish's rainbow spectrum.

Get the Recipe: Zucchini Ribbon Pasta


This recipe takes less than half an hour to prepare, but its elegant flavor and texture make it a great recipe for easy entertaining.

Get the Recipe: Lemon Chicken with Artichoke Hearts

Slow-Cooker Shredded Pork

Kelsey Nixon's healthy slow-cooker recipe relies on strong spices, herbs and fresh vegetables, not fats, to flavor her pork.

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Shredded Pork

Parmesan Fish Sticks

Giada De Laurentiis swaps out the standard white fish for salmon in her homemade fish sticks and dredges them in Parmesan breadcrumbs instead of a heavy batter. Served with a yogurt-based Dijon sauce, these baked bites are a smart revamp of the familiar freezer staple. 

Get the Recipe: Parmesan Fish Sticks


Five simple ingredients transform Ellie's chicken thighs into a spicy-sweet, super-low-calorie dinner dish. The dark-meat thighs are juicy and packed with nutrients, and with the skin removed, still a healthy option.

Get the Recipe: Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs

Roasted Salmon With Shallot Grapefruit Sauce

A uniquely tangy-sweet grapefruit and shallot sauce livens up Ellie’s simply roasted salmon. Serve with a side of couscous to make it a meal.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Salmon with Shallot Grapefruit Sauce

Chipotle Chicken Fajitas

By finishing the cooked chipotle-marinated chicken in a broth along with the onions, peppers and garlic, you'll ensure that your fajita chicken is super-moist and infused with the flavors of the other ingredients.

Get the Recipe: Chipotle Chicken Fajitas

Pork Chops with Fennel and Caper Sauce

Bring the trattoria menu home any night of the week with Giada's thick-cut pork chops that are cooked in a fragrant fennel and white wine pan sauce.

Get the Recipe: Pork Chops with Fennel and Caper Sauce

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil and Salmon

This 5-star-rated recipe is beloved for its healthy qualities, flavor and speed. Ready in under 20 minutes, its whole-grain noodles and lemon-basil-caper sauce complement the simply prepared, good-for-you fish.

Get the Recipe: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon

The Girl Burger

Instead of a meat patty, fill a soft ciabatta bun with grilled veggies. Pesto, Cajun mustard and crumbled goat cheese make tasty stand-ins for traditional ketchup.

Get the Recipe: The Girl Burger

Spiced Chicken and Grape Skewers

A quick marinade of lemon juice, cumin and coriander lends moisture and bright flavor to Ellie’s chicken skewers. Use a grill pan with a quick spritz of cooking spray to get smoky, char-grilled flavor and beautiful grill marks.

Get the Recipe: Spiced Chicken and Grape Skewers

Marinated Flank Steak

Marinating steak in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar guarantees tender grilled meat. A light buttermilk-blue cheese sauce is the perfect tangy partner to the marinade.

Get the Recipe: Marinated Flank Steak with Blue Cheese Sauce

40 Cloves and a Chicken

Even the garlic-averse can't deny that baking a whole chicken with 40 cloves infuses the bird with deep, savory flavor, accented by sprigs of fresh thyme.

Get the Recipe: 40 Cloves and a Chicken

Pasta With Winter Squash and Tomatoes

Sweet, hearty butternut squash adds substance and nutrients to this pasta dish. Once the squash has been cooked, it becomes so soft that it acts as the pasta’s sauce and eliminates the need for fatty cheese.

Get the Recipe: Pasta with Winter Squash and Tomatoes

Lettuce Cups With Tofu and Beef

Though lettuce wraps may seem like a healthy menu option, the fillings are often made with high-calorie, high-sodium sauces. Ellie uses a moderate amount of sweet hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, low-sodium soy sauce and powerful chili-garlic paste that flavors her lettuce cups, and saves calories by mixing lean ground beef with tofu.

Get the Recipe: Lettuce Cups with Tofu and Beef

Fish Tacos With Chipotle Cream

Ellie’s chipotle cream — made out of yogurt, mayo and chipotles in adobo — is so flavorful that you only need to dress these lean fish tacos in a tablespoon of the sauce.

Get the Recipe: Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

By stuffing sweet red peppers with lean ground beef and loads of veggies and topping the halves with a sprinkling of lean feta cheese, Ellie creates a meal that tastes indulgent but will cost you only about 200 calories.

Get the Recipe: Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

Grilled Chicken With Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto

Add a small amount of flavorful pesto to grilled chicken breasts to keep this meal's fat content in check.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Ellie lightens up — and simplifies — this traditional Southern staple by using lean, prepared rotisserie chicken meat, low-sodium tomato sauce and whole-wheat hamburger rolls.

Get the Recipe: Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Three-Bean and Beef Chili

Extra-lean beef and three types of fiber-filled beans assure maximum heartiness in Ellie's healthier chili.

Get the Recipe: Three Bean and Beef Chili

Fisherman's Stoup

This flavorful soup — high in protein and low in both calories and fat — is a heart-healthy, one-dish meal. Rachael Ray’s take on this Mediterranean-style fish stew contains scallops and cod, which makes it a refreshing change from your typical weeknight meal.

Get the Recipe: Fisherman's Stoup

Sloppy Joes

These meaty, cafeteria-style sandwiches have all the flavor of the ones from your school days, so you won't realize they're leaner.

Get the Recipe: Sloppy Joes

Fettuccine With Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce

Roasted red peppers and naturally light feta cheese are blended to form this pasta’s indulgent yet lower-calorie creamy sauce.

Get the Recipe: Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce

Thai-Style Halibut With Coconut-Curry Broth

Ellie gives mild halibut distinct Thai flavor with red curry paste, coconut milk and fresh lime juice.

Get the Recipe: Thai-Style Halibut with Coconut-Curry Broth

Mom's Turkey Meatloaf

Quick-cooking oats add fiber, protein and great texture to this leaner turkey meatloaf.

Get the Recipe: Mom's Turkey Meatloaf

Healthy Sweet-and-Sour King Prawn Stir-Fry

Ching-He Huang gives her prawn stir-fry depth with ginger, chiles, onions, pineapple and minimal amounts of honey and peanut oil for their powerful, sweet flavors.

Get the Recipe: Healthy Sweet and Sour King Prawn Stir-Fry

Sichuan Peppercorn Steak With Grilled Green Onions

A tangy, spicy rub of papaya seeds and both black and Sichuan peppercorns gives this steak distinct Asian flavor, complemented by aromatic grilled onions.

Get the Recipe: Sichuan Peppercorn Steak with Grilled Green Onions

Sesame-Ginger Salmon en Papillote

By baking salmon in parchment paper with just a couple of tablespoons of an Asian-style marinade and crispy vegetables, Kelsey Nixon renders the fish extremely flavorful and moist.

Get the Recipe: Sesame-Ginger Salmon en Papillote

Shepherd's Pie

A kaleidoscope of vegetables fills this fresh take on shepherd's pie, which contains lean ground beef and a steamed-cauliflower-and-potato-mash topper that helps cut back the carb count.

Get the Recipe: Shepherd's Pie

Tri-Tip Steak With Tomato Romesco

While this bottom sirloin cut of beef is harder to come by (each cow has only one, Mark Bittman explains), it's the romesco sauce from Catalonia that really sets this recipe apart. The tomato, garlic and sherry vinegar condiment possesses unique crunch and flavor, thanks to toasted almonds.

Get the Recipe: Tri-Tip Steak with Tomato Romesco

Beef Tacos: Tacos de Carne Asada

The beef in these tacos needs little more flavoring than a spicy, briny marinade of pickled jalapenos. Grilled to your liking, they are packaged with onion, cilantro and potent salsa de arbol.

Get the Recipe: Beef Tacos: Tacos de Carne Asada

Chicken Parmesan

We can’t stop drooling over Ellie’s healthier Chicken Parmesan — baked, not fried, and breaded with fiber-rich whole-wheat crumbs. Mix part-skim mozzarella with regular Parmesan for full flavor and fewer calories.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Kebabs

Inspired by the fragrant chicken kebabs prepared in the market in her Indian village, Bal Arneson marinates chicken in a sweet, tangy and spicy sauce containing mint leaves, layers it on skewers and then grills them until they are nicely browned.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Kabobs

Penne With Tomatoes, Garlic and white beans

Ellie enhances tomatoes’ natural sweetness by roasting them in the oven with just a touch of olive oil. All her pasta dish then needs is some aromatic roasted garlic cloves.

Get the Recipe: Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, and White Beans

Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Ellie's simple lean ground turkey patties gain extra flavor from a mozzarella cheese stuffing and tangy roasted red peppers.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Chicken Stir-Fry Soup

Half chicken stir-fry, half chicken soup, this bowl gains flavor from a hot and spicy preparation of the chicken and low-sodium additions to the stock.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Stir-Fry Soup

Insalata di Pasta con Tonno: Pasta Salad With Tuna

David Rocco’s mayo-free twist on tuna salad layers seared, sushi-grade tuna, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes atop pasta.

Get the Recipe: Insalata di Pasta con Tonno: Pasta Salad with Tuna

Broiled Catfish With Fresh Thyme, Garlic and Lemon

Broiling is a fantastic healthy preparation style, as it requires little oil. In this recipe, Emeril Lagasse livens mild catfish with a homemade Creole-style seasoning containing paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano and thyme.

Get the Recipe: Broiled Catfish with Fresh Thyme, Garlic and Lemon

Grilled Vegetables With Tofu

High-protein, lean tofu, asparagus and portobello mushrooms take on the flavors of garlic, cumin and coriander when grilled with these aromatics.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Vegetables with Tofu

Salt-Crusted Snapper

Burying the fish under a thick layer of coarse salt keeps it insulated in the oven, allowing it to cook gently and evenly. When you crack the hard salty shell, you'll be rewarded with a perfectly tender and fragrant fillet.

Get the Recipe: Salt Crusted Snapper