20 Clean Eating Recipes for Weeknights
“Clean Eating” expert, Diane Welland, selects simple weeknight recipes from the Cooking Light collection that work for those who are trying to eat clean. By: Text: Diane Welland MS, RD
Eating clean may sound like an “out there” buzz term, but the basic principles behind this movement are founded on sound nutrition. Once you get used to it, cooking and eating clean recipes is a snap, even during busy weeknights. To make life easier, plan your menu ahead of time and keep your pantry stocked with healthy “clean” foods. All of these “clean” dishes come together in less than an hour and all of them use simple ingredients most people have on hand or can be quickly picked up at the grocery store. For those strictly following a clean-eating diet, these Cooking Light recipes fit the bill. For those who are just interested in what “clean eating” is all about, see how easy (and delicious) it can be.
Whole grains are standard fare on the clean diet, and quinoa is the best of the bunch. Not only is it high in fiber, 1 cup cooked gives you 5 grams of fiber, it’s an excellent source of protein, providing all nine essential amino acids and making it a complete protein. It’s slightly crunchy, nutty taste goes well with many nuts, fruits and vegetables plus it cooks up quick in just 20 minutes or less.
View Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Dates and Orange
Mild and healthy, spinach is the perfect base to many meals and allows bold flavors to seep in and soak the leaves. Red grape tomatoes add a pop of color to this fresh spinach salad with shrimp.
When it comes to salad dressings, “clean” dressings are low in fat but still pop with flavor from fresh herbs, zesty spices, or a splash of fruit juice. In this recipe, maple syrup and honey blend with spicy mustard and a dash of vinegar to pack a sassy punch.
If pizza or pasta is your go-to solution for meatless dinners, switch it up and try a vegetable hash instead. Here, a beautiful poached egg tops a bowl of hearty, fibrous vegetables to create a balanced vegetarian meal in a flash.
Sticking to low-ingredient meals helps keep your dish in check when following a clean-eating diet. This six-ingredient dish delivers big taste with minimal fuss. Start marinating the chicken in the morning to make prep time quick and easy in the afternoon. Serve the salad on a bed of bulgur for a twist on tabbouleh and a fiber boost.
It doesn’t take processed ingredients to season a perfectly cooked steak. In fact, it ruins it. This steak gets its bright natural flavor from fresh herbs and lemon juice.
Instead of adding croutons, add nuts to salads for a punch of protein and a wonderful crunch. This salad is delicious served warm for dinner and makes the perfect leftovers for lunch the next day.
While this recipe is almost completely clean, the marinade calls for brown sugar. For an easy sugar substitution, replace 1½ teaspoons of maple syrup for the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
Get a dose of your omega-3s with fresh tuna. In season from late spring to early fall, fresh tuna is delicious grilled or lightly seared. When shopping for fresh tuna, look for pieces that look glossy and smell ocean-fresh. Make sure to cook it the day you buy it.
Drench grilled meats in salsa to get a natural, low-calorie topping. Here, an array of fresh melons, cilantro, and jalapeño peppers top garlicky grilled pork chops for a delicious meal that's ready in less than 30 minutes.