If you need dinner tonight, and you need it FAST… look no further! Here are healthy 30 minute dinner recipes so you never need to stress about weeknight meals again. All are real food, compliant for many different special diets, and each one can *truly* be made in under 30 minutes!
Nothing beats dinner that can be made in under 30 minutes!
This time of year can be particularly busy for many families. With school in full swing and all the holiday festivities popping up, throwing a meal together at 5 o’clock can be a major stressor!
That’s why you need this roundup of 30 of the best 30 minute meals that feature wholesome and healthy ingredients!
These fast dinners include chicken and turkey dishes, seafood dishes, beef meals, and Instant Pot recipes that are all made in under 30 minutes!
30 Minute Meals
One of my favorite shows as a newlywed was Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals, where she transforms a handful of ingredients into a delicious and complete meal. (Are you newlywed? Here are 10 Traditional Cooking Tips For The New Wife On A Budget.)
Like many other viewers, I loved it because the meals were often simple, practical, and totally doable on a busy weeknight.
Looking back, I now realize that many of those meals were not nourishing my body. Those recipes, though quick and easy to make, often called for heavily-processed ingredients like canned low-sodium broth, mushroom soup, and copious amounts of pasta.
Thankfully, with just a few simple swaps, those same recipes can be adapted to fully nourishing and wholesome meals!
For example, use homemade bone broth in place of the canned variety. And select the best ancient grains pasta that your budget will allow, such as Jovial.
We know that a quick dinner on a busy weeknight is every home cook’s dream.
That’s why we compiled this list of 30 minute dinners.
All healthy and wholesome recipes. Each can truly be made in under 30 minutes!
The best part? This list doesn’t go heavy on the pastas, and most recipes are already adapted to fit your real food lifestyle.
What can I cook in less than 30 minutes?
If you think it’s unrealistic to have a complete meal in under 30 minutes… you’re wrong!
When possible, prep all ingredients (such as veggies) ahead of time so they’re ready to go. This saves lots of stress during the week.
Don’t have the luxury of a few hours on a weekend to prepare all your veggies? No worries. Most of these 30 minute recipes still require minimal time in preparation.
Most seafood such as salmon and shrimp can be cooked well under 20 minutes. In fact, they are easily overcooked if kept on the heat for more than a minute longer.
Additionally, boneless chicken cooks quickly, especially when cut into smaller pieces. Chicken, like seafood, can quickly become dry when overcooked.
Finally, with the exception of some roots and gourds, vegetables are cooked in well under 30 minutes. Combine seasonal veggies with spices in a skillet… and you’ve made a terrific side dish.
When cooking vegetables, be sure to not overcook them. They should still have a bite to them and be firm rather than soft and mushy. Plunging them into ice water to stop them from further cooking also helps to retain their firmness and beautiful color.
For reference, here are some helpful times when cooking vegetables on the stovetop in a stir-fry:
- Broccoli florettes (4 minutes)
- Green beans (3 minutes)
- Sliced carrots (4 minutes)
- Hearty greens like collards (6 minutes)
- Delicate greens like spinach (2 minutes)
- Asparagus (5 minutes)
- Zucchini noodles (4 minutes)
- Halved brussel sprouts (5 minutes)
As you can see, vegetables are ideal foods to cook in under 30 minutes. Simply grab your cast-iron skillet and a healthy fat!
What are some fast dinner recipes?
You’ll notice that this list doesn’t have any breakfasts or lunches (though each dinner can be enjoyed as such!).
That’s because we wanted to stick to easy and fast, yet healthy and nourishing dinners. You’ll find 30 minute chicken and turkey dishes, 30 minute seafood dishes, 30 minute beef dishes, and, of course, 30 minute Instant Pot recipes.
You could say, we have you covered when it comes to quick and easy weeknight dinners.
30 Minute Chicken & Turkey Dishes
Image courtesy of Fearless Dining.
Creamy Paprika Chicken Skillet (Paleo, Low Carb, GAPS) — A 30 minute dinner of skillet chicken and veggies in a non-dairy creamy sauce.
Crunchy Plantain Chicken (Paleo, Whole30, GAPS) — Juicy chicken coated in a crunchy plantain shell. Enjoy with a large salad or a compliant side dish for an easy dinner.
Easy, Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken (Paleo) — Substitute this easy and delicious chicken recipe for your favorite take-out!
Keto Chicken Cordon Bleu (Low Carb, GAPS, Primal) — If you love the simplicity and convenience of using leftover roasted chicken, you will love this recipe. Whip everything together and pop in the oven for an easy dinner.
Easy Chicken Legs with Zucchini and Carrots (Paleo, Whole30, GAPS) — This budget-friendly skillet meal will become a hit with the pickiest eater!
One Skillet Chicken with Bacon Mushroom Gravy (Keto, GAPS, Paleo options) — A simple but delicious skillet dinner full of flavor but no hassle.
Chicken Fried Rice (AIP, Paleo, GAPS, Whole30) — This deeply nourishing fried “rice” recipe is quick to put together with very simple ingredients that you most likely have on hand already.
Baked Asian Turkey Meatballs (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — A simple but flavorful baked ground turkey meatball recipe.
Creamy Paleo Zucchini Pasta with Artichokes & Turkey (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — This nutritious no-cook Paleo pasta dish combined with creamy artichoke sauce takes only 20 minutes to whip up.
30 Minute Seafood Dishes
Image courtesy of I Heart Umami.
Crispy Coconut Pan-Fried Salmon (Paleo, Keto, Whole30, GAPS) — With minimal prep and only a few allergy-friendly ingredients, this salmon will become a regular on your dinner table.
Sheet Pan Salmon with Asparagus and Potatoes (Paleo, Whole30) — A complete meal on one sheet pan, full of flavor and so easy.
Air Fryer Salmon Recipe (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — This simple yet delicious recipe produces the most tender salmon so quickly and easily.
Vietnamese Easy Garlic Shrimp (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — Golden seared on the outside, juicy on the inside, and drenched in spicy garlic sauce. Enjoy over a bed of zoodles or riced cauliflower.
Fish Salad with Cajun Grilled Salmon & Kale (Paleo, Low Carb, Whole30) — This salad packs a lot of nutrients and antioxidants yet doesn’t sacrifice on flavor. The best 30 minute dinner!
Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Zucchini Noodles (Paleo, Low Carb, Whole30) — Dinner doesn’t get quicker than this 15-minute delicious shrimp over spiralized zucchini.
Fish Tacos (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — Crispy Baja fish served over a bed of spicy slaw and wrapped in tortillas or lettuce wraps!
Spicy Shrimp and Cauliflower Rice Bowl (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — This 20-minute Paleo meal is perfect for busy nights.
The Best Tuna Patties (Paleo, Low Carb, Whole30) — An easy and budget-friendly recipe. Crunchy on the outside yet tender on the inside!
30 Minute Beef Dishes
Egg Roll in a Bowl (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — Make this skillet dish in 20 minutes, then enjoy alone, in a lettuce wrap, or over rice.
Sheet Pan Nachos (Paleo, Whole30, Low Carb options) — This easy, crowd-pleasing meal requires minimal prep and cleanup.
Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash (Paleo, Whole30) — This recipe is totally adaptable to what you have on hand.
Asian Beef Bowl (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — Everyone will love this 15-minute Asian dish. Sometimes basic ingredients make the best meals, as this skillet dinner attests!
Hamburger Soup (Paleo, Whole30, Low Carb) — This easy one-pot wonder is loaded with seasonal vegetables and protein.
Veggie-Packed Sloppy Joes (Paleo, Low Carb, Whole30) — Fun, flavorful, and lots of healthy veggies! A new family favorite.
Best Shakshuka (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — This Israeli skillet dish is rich in flavors yet simple.
30 Minute Instant Pot Recipes
Image courtesy of Tessa the Domestic Diva.
Beef & Kale Soup in the Instant Pot (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — This warming and nutritious soup is a perfect blend of savory ingredients and the sweetness of coconut milk.
Instant Pot Smothered Pork Chops (Paleo, Keto, Whole30) — Smother your savory seared pork chops in a creamy dairy-free sauce with bacon, garlic, and mushrooms!
Almond Thai Basil Egg Roll in a Bowl (Paleo, Whole30, GAPS) — A jazzed-up version of egg roll in a bowl with sesame oil, basil, almond butter, ginger and shrimp. Your family will love this 30 minute dinner!
Instant Pot Chicken Stew (Paleo, Whole30) — Cozy up to this hearty and delicious stew with potatoes, carrots, and chicken!
Creamy Italian Chicken (Primal, Keto, GAPS) — Loaded with delicious Italian flavors, this Instant Pot chicken meal comes together quickly and easily.
What is your favorite home-cooked meal when you’re in a rush? Do you have any go-to weeknight meals?
Main images courtesy of Traditional Cooking School, Beauty and the Foodie, and Eat Beautiful.
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alyssa | everydaymaven says
Great list!!! Thanks for including my dish 🙂