20-Minute Dinners From 4 Healthy Food Pros

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By Brittany Risher

Between prep for tomorrow’s work presentation, shuttling your daughter to soccer practice and your son to his chorus concert, your husband’s travel, plus the usual laundry and walking the dog, it’s a miracle you have time to breathe. Who has time to also cook healthy, delicious dinners?

Thanks to the recipes below, you do. All of them are ready in about 20 minutes, use simple supermarket ingredients, and will give you and your family the energy you need to tackle your to-do lists. Plus, each comes from a mom who’s also a busy CEO, chef, food blogger, or registered dietitian, so they are in the trenches right alongside you.

SOBA NOODLES WITH TOFU

Since Alice Choi, AKA blogger Hip Foodie Mom, and her husband and two daughters love Asian food, she turns to this recipe (pictured above) on hectic nights. “My kids love soba noodles, so I keep those on hand,” she says. “This dish is quick, delicious, and healthy.”

Recipe: Cook 4 oz. soba noodles according to package directions. In the last 2 minutes, add 8 oz. cubed tofu to the water. Gently pour into a colander and drain well. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and a splash of brown rice vinegar. Pour soy sauce mixture over soba noodles and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Top with sliced zucchini, carrots, and scallions. Garnish with shredded dried seaweed and sesame seeds. Serves 4.

SALMON WITH RASPBERRY-BALSAMIC GLAZE

As a mother of two, celebrity nutritionist, author, and founder of NutritiousLife.com and The Nutrition School, Keri Glassman, RDN, knows how important it is to have recipes that are not only fast and healthy but also really appetizing. “This dish looks impressive whether you’re serving it to your kids or guests,” she says. “Plus salmon is an amazing source of protein and omega-3s, which are important for little growing brains.” She recommends serving any leftovers flaked into an egg scramble for breakfast or on top of your salad for lunch the next day.

Recipe: In a small bowl, mash 24 raspberries (frozen thawed berries are fine) and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar with a fork. Stir in 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange peel, 2 teaspoons honey, and 1 tablespoon red wine until combined. Coat a nonstick skillet with avocado or coconut oil cooking spray and place over medium heat. Cook 4 skinless 4 to 6-ounce salmon fillets for about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel and return to medium heat. Add the reserved raspberry mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until just thickened. Pour sauce over salmon and serve with cooked asparagus or another green vegetable on the side. Serves 4.

LAMB LOLLIPOPS WITH QUINOA PILAF AND CUCUMBER SALAD

Grilled Lamb Chops Ribs with Glass of Red Wine

“This is my go-to for a busy night because it’s quick, balanced, and my son, Asher, loves the meal. He especially loves eating the ‘lollipops,’ AKA lamb chops,” says Alison Bailey Vercruysse, CEO and founder of 18 Rabbits Organics. Her trick: Use a mandoline. “You can use it for several ingredients simultaneously without having to clean it.”

Recipe: In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water, and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Add 2 sliced green onions, 1 to 2 large sliced raw carrots, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 handful toasted slivered almonds, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, and 1 handful dried cranberries. Stir mixture until combined.

Make the Cucumber Salad: In a medium bowl, combine 2 peeled, thinly sliced cucumbers, 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 small handful toasted sesame seeds, and 1 tablespoon honey. Toss well.

Make the Lamb Chops: Combine 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves and sea salt to taste in a mortar, and grind until fine. Rub it on both sides of 3 lamb chops. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil to a skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Saute lamb chops for 2 minutes per side for medium rare, 3 minutes per side for medium. Remove from heat and season with freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Serve lamb chops with quinoa pilaf and cucumber salad on the side. Serves 3.

MINTED QUINOA GARBANZO BOWL

Plates of refreshing bulgur and vegetables salad

Sure, chef and health educator Joanne Gerrard Young is Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen’s plant-based chef in Costa Rica. But her favorite people to cook for are her two sons. “This is one of my family’s favorite one-dish, clean-out-the-fridge dinners,” she says. “I always prepare a batch of beans or a legume and a batch of grains on Sundays to use for the rest of the week. I use them as sides, and turn them into quick soups or salads like this one.”

Recipe: In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water, and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Toss cooked quinoa and 1 cup chickpeas in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, and 1/4 cup chopped spinach. In a small bowl, whisk together the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss gently. Garnish with more mint, colorful bell pepper chunks and red onion to add even more color. Serves 4.


Also published on Medium.