Dinner is the last thing most of us want to think about after a long day at work, but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice nutrition in order to get a little R&R. With these speedy dinner ideas, you’ll be eating healthy, tasty foods – without those precious hours lost to a hot stove.
Eating sugar-free doesn’t mean you have to spend hours whipping up complicated meals, in fact, it can be easier to just keep it simple. Plus, if you're an IQS convert, you're probably familiar with our affinity for enjoying dinner for brekkie – but have you tried having traditional brekkies for dinner? We see no issue with chowing down on scrambled eggs or avo toast for supper; doing away with pointless food conventions opens the to door to endless possibilities. Here are a few of the basics to getting those speedy dinners up and running.
The best thing about slow-cooker meals is how little effort you need to put in. You can simply add in your ingredients, then enjoy some time to yourself while it’s cooking away. Of course, a slow cooker is the first thing you’ll want to invest in to get started – and trust us, it’s worth the time and money savings. Plus, unlike some appliances, these aren’t overly expensive, with some going for $25. For a higher quality make, it shouldn't cost much more than $50.
The options are endless when it comes to slow-cooker meals, these are just a few ideas to try next time you’re in a hurry to get dinner on the table:
- Chickpea and potato curry
- Pumpkin soup
- Potato and leek soup
- Minestrone soup
- Slow-cooker Korean hot pot
- Brownies – yep, you can even enjoy some baked goods straight from the slow cooker!
There’s nothing easier than throwing a bunch of veggies into the oven with a little olive oil, rosemary and thyme, then leaving them in until they’re crisp and perfectly roasted. It’s a low-effort, cheap and simple path to a speedy dinner. Here are some of our favourite oven meals to try tonight:
- Pumpkin and ricotta lasagne
- Roast root veggies like sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots
- Roast Portobello mushrooms, stuffed with spinach and feta
- Cottage pie – for a cheaper twist, swap the meat out for lentils
- Pasta bakes
- Veggie tray bake with seasoning of your choice, for instance, paprika, rosemary and thyme, mint and parsley
- Zucchini slice
- Frittatas and quiches
One-pot meals may be the speediest of our speedy dinners – and that’s saying something. These meals cut out multiple steps in the cooking process – like cooking different sections at different times and whipping out various appliances. All you need is one pot and a few tasty, nutritious ingredients. Try these one-pot wonders on for size:
- Spaghetti Bolognese or pesto penne
- Shakshuka – yep, this nutritious dish isn’t reserved for brekkie alone!
- One-pot stir fry
- Lentil and veggie soup
- Vegetarian chilli
- Sweet potato and feta gnocchi
- Brown fried rice with mushrooms, greens, tofu and egg
- One-pot mushroom ragu
Prioritise the nourishing foods
- Healthy fats like avocado, eggs and olive oil make for a satisfying, gut-boosting dinner.
- High-protein foods like eggs, nuts, lentils and tofu are all worth prioritising. You can even drop a bit of Greek yoghurt on top of your soup for a protein-rich – but just as creamy – alternative to cream.
- Iron-rich foods like lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, eggs, spinach and pumpkin are nourishing additions to include in your meals. From slow-cooker soups to pasta bakes – it’s not hard to slip in some of these tasty ingredients.
- Whole grains are another vital nutrient – these provide energy, stable blood-sugar levels and promote good gut health. The whole grains to add to your dinners could range from whole wheat pasta to quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
If you’re in need of some inspiration, give this Slow Cooker Cookbook recipe a go:
Vegetable Korma with Quinoa and Slivered Almonds
- ½ cup korma paste (opt for sugar-free varieties)
- ½ cup almond meal
- 1 brown onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 cup vegetable stock (make your own or buy a sugar-free product)
- 400ml coconut milk from the can
- 2 cups finely chopped carrot
- ½ head cauliflower, broken into florets
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 2 baby yellow squash, quartered
- 1 zucchini, cut into chunks
- 1 cup kale leaves, washed and roughly chopped
- 1 red capsicum, cut into 3cm pieces
- ½ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup cucumber raita or sliced cucumbers, to serve
- Fresh coriander, to serve
- Combine korma paste, almond meal, onion, garlic, vegetable stock, coconut milk, carrots and cauliflower in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7 ½ hours or high for 3 ½ hours.
- In the evening: Remove the lid and stir through peas, zucchini, squash, kale and capsicum. Cover and cook on high for another 30 minutes or until vegetables have cooked through.
- Serve korma over a bed of warm quinoa and top with slivered almonds.
Keen for more speedy dinner recipes? You can find them in our Slow Cooker Cookbook or One-Pot Wonders eBooks. If you haven’t already signed up to our 8-Week Program, it’s not too late. If you’re ready to bid farewell to low moods and excited for a future of health, happiness and motivation – JOIN NOW!