I am not a recipe developer, but I am definitely a healthy recipe trier! I am including notes, comments and links to my favorite recipes so that it can help you to expand your repertoire as well. You’ll find healthy desserts, main dishes, sides, appetizers, separate ingredients and snacks that include a little bit of everything for everyone. Plus, I hope they help you to save time and effort since these are recipes that I’ve tried and can recommend. I update these every day, so please check back often!
Please note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through some of the links included below.
Healthy Appetizer Recipes
September 25, 2018
These Vegan Gluten Free Crackers from Oh She Glows taste wonderful! The nutritional yeast is a great addition, and the herbs added a lot of flavor. I made mine a little too thin, so they were slightly crumbly. There will definitely be a next time with these though, and I’ll make them thicker then. I’m always looking for good options to have on hand for social occasions, and these crackers will certainly be added to the list.
September 1, 2018
Linda Watson’s Hummus recipe from her Wildly Affordable Organic cookbook is my go-to when I have to take an appetizer to a get-together or when I’m hosting something myself. In fact, my friends and family will ask me ahead of time if I’m bringing my hummus. If I walk in without it, I hear “Oh, I was hoping you’d bring your hummus.” Well, it’s not my hummus, it’s Linda’s, and it’s absolutely a crowd pleaser. Best of all, it’s easy to make and generally uses ingredients that I usually have on hand. The recipe also makes a huge amount, so I split it in half and freeze what I don’t need at the time. When I do need it, I just thaw and serve. It still tastes great! As expensive as hummus is to buy, this recipe is much cheaper to make, and you have control over the ingredients.
I try to recommend free recipes that I’ve found online as much as possible, but this one is just too good not to share. If you don’t already own a copy of Wildly Affordable Organic, this recipe is worth the investment itself. If you’re not familiar with Linda, check her out at cookforgood.com.
Healthy Dessert Recipes
September 20, 2018
You simply can’t go wrong with oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate, but these Gluten-free, Vegan Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies take this combination to another level. They’re perfect for an afternoon snack or to pack in lunches for a small sweet hit. No matter when they’re eaten, you can feel good about them because they’re made with healthy, natural ingredients.
Note: I substituted all-natural sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter, and it worked fine.
September 15, 2018
Now that summer’s over, it’s time to bring out the recipes that call for ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, but who are we kidding? Gingersnaps are a favorite anytime of the year in my house. That’s why I was so glad to find these Keto Gingersnap Cookies from ruled.me. They offer that gingersnap flavor without using a heavy sweetener. Since we can’t use almond flour, I substituted sunflower seed flour, and they tasted fine. That’s why mine look a little different than those pictured in the recipe. If almond flour isn’t an issue for you, I would try that first before substituting other flours. While they were certainly good on the first day, I thought they were even better on the second and third days. If you have a sweet tooth but want something on the lighter side, you’ll definitely want to give these a try.
September 2, 2018
This Avocado Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream recipe from Pure & Simple Nourishment is both paleo and vegan friendly, and most importantly, it’s really good! This is another one that my harshest food critic (my youngest son), approved of whole-heartedly, although, he did say it looks like guacamole. He didn’t even know there are avocados in it and didn’t figure it out when he tasted it either. All he knew was that he liked it. I will say that I used spearmint in it because my peppermint plants needed a break, but I think that next time I make it, I’ll use peppermint. The spearmint taste was fairly strong, and we all know how I feel about peppermint!
August 29, 2018
This Paleo Chocolate Ice Cream recipe from Paleo Running Momma has earned my youngest son’s (dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free and wheat-free) full-hearted stamp of approval! Need I say more?! This child is incredibly picky and has a crazy sweet tooth so if he loves this, you may want to try it as a dairy-free option for yourself and your family. The recipe calls for adding in almond butter cookie dough (recipe included), but since my guy can’t have almonds, I just use the ice cream base recipe as is. It’s that good!
Healthy Snack Recipes
September 3, 2018
These Raw Chocolate Balls from Raw Food Recipes are one of my “go to” afternoon pick-me-ups if I start to drag. They’re a perfect little healthy “hit” of energy that does the trick every time. If you’re carb-conscious, these may not be for you because they’re made with dates, but if a bit of natural sugar is what you’re looking for, you should definitely give these a try. They’re also super quick and easy to make with no baking involved.
August 28, 2018
These Spicy Roasted Chickpeas from Natural Chow are easy to make, delicious and perfect for a mid-morning or afternoon flavorful protein hit of a snack. I was afraid that they might be too spicy, but they were just right. I don’t think I’ll ever buy packaged roasted chickpeas again! Depending on your oven, you may need to let them cook for an additional 5 minutes to make sure they’re plenty crunchy.
Healthy Breakfast Recipes
September 18, 2018
What better way to start the day than with a muffin? There’s just something so comforting about them that makes you feel good about what’s in store for the day. These Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Muffins from Ambitious Kitchen offer that plus so much more. The zucchini gives you a vegetable right off the bat, and the blueberries give your brain a much-needed kickstart. After eating one of these, you’ll have no choice but to go conquer the day!
September 14, 2018
This Vanilla-Almond Chia Breakfast Pudding from Nourish the Roots and posted on Daily Burn is a light but filling way to start the day. Very easy to make (5 minutes) and with only 5 healthy ingredients, it’s easy to whip up before bed and have waiting for you the next morning. My husband looked disappointed the last time I made it because he saw me pulling ingredients out as he was headed to bed and said, “Oh, you’re cooking?” (He was all set to watch our favorite show.) I assured him I would be there in just a minute, and he looked at me doubtfully. Sure enough, five minutes later, I was climbing into bed, and my breakfast for the next morning was “making” in the fridge. Add fruit on top, and it’s perfect any time of year.
September 10, 2018
These Paleo 5 Minute Muffins from Tessa the Domestic Diva pack a big punch when it comes to knocking out hunger. My youngest eats them as an afterschool snack, and I eat them after workouts. I use sunflower seed butter since my son can’t have nuts, and the results are wonderful! That’s why mine look a little darker than the ones pictured in the recipe. These muffins are easy to make, and they take, you guessed it, five minutes to put together. I love any recipe that says, “Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend until well mixed.” You can’t get any easier than that!
September 7, 2018
I constantly have people ask me which smoothie recipes I would recommend. Since I have a healthy smoothie of some kind every day if at all possible, I have many favorites – depending on my mood and what it feels like my body needs. But, I have to admit, I don’t want to search high and low when I’m ready to try something new, so most of my recipes come from Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Juice. One of my favorites included in that fabulous book is this one – the Body Builder smoothie. I often drink this before a workout, and it gives me the energy I need to power through. Instead of peanut butter, I use almond butter, and it tastes great! (Whether you use peanut, almond or some other type of nut butter, be sure it doesn’t contain added sugar. You’re sweet enough, you definitely don’t need it!)
Healthy Side Dishes
September 19, 2018
This Mexican Bean Salad from All Recipes is one of my standbys. It’s perfect for days that are still hot into early fall. With three different kinds of beans, it’s definitely filling but not too heavy. Another bonus – it travels well. I often pack this in our cooler when we’re going to be out with activities for the weekend, and it tastes great!
Note: the recipe calls for sugar, but I don’t add it. If I add any sweetener, I use a little Stevia, and it tastes fine.
September 17, 2018
These Crispy Smashed Potatoes from Oh She Glows are simple but delicious! I have to admit that the potatoes were so good by themselves that I nearly didn’t try them with the aioli – what a mistake that would have been! The aioli adds a wonderful flavor that turns these from really good potatoes into a recipe that I’d definitely serve to guests. Thank you Oh She Glows for making me branch out with the simple potato!
Healthy Main Dish Recipes
September 26, 2018
This Balsamic Roast Beef from PaleoLeap isn’t your grandma’s roast (or at least my grandma’s roast, but that is in no way disrespecting her recipe because it was delicious!). This one has a bit of a rich zing to it and will definitely turn what might have become a taken for granted standby into a new favorite. For my family’s veggies, I didn’t include the sweet potatoes and carrots in the slow cooker and served broccoli and corn instead. I’m sure the sweet potatoes and carrots would have been delicious, but we were having regular potatoes another night and my gang doesn’t like sweet potatoes. Either way, the roast was very easy to put together and came out great!
September 24, 2018
I have been searching high and low for a Vegan Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe that meets all my requirements, and I found it at Detoxinista. It tastes great, and it’s firm enough that you can actually eat it with your hands! I have tried other recipes that taste fine, but they’re too soft and don’t support the weight of the toppings, so you have to eat them with a fork. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I love to be able to hold my pizza! While this recipe is not hard at all, you do have to make sure you allow plenty of time for the entire process. I fit it in as part of my normal meal prep time, so I’d get one part of it going, let it do what it needed to, I’d work on something else and then I’d come back to it when needed. The recipe does offer a time-saving tip with the cauliflower and suggests doubling or tripling it and freezing the leftover crusts. Now that I know this is one I’ll keep coming back to, I’ll definitely do that in the future.
September 23, 2018
This Chicken Salad with Lemon and Dill from skinnytaste is a healthy twist on an old favorite. Served on whole wheat bread or with whole wheat crackers, it can be a light lunch, a filling dinner or something you’d take to a potluck. I shredded my chicken a little more in the food processor than the recipe called for because I wasn’t sure that serving chunks of chicken would pass as chicken salad in my house. One thing that you might want to keep in mind is that if you have a true lover of traditional chicken salad that you’re going to be serving this to, you may want to warn them ahead of time that there is no mayo in this recipe. They won’t be disappointed in this version, but it will be a different taste (and a whole lot healthier) than they’re used to.
September 22, 2018
This vegan quesadilla or TFF “Dilla” from Thought For Food’s Dude, Where Do You Get Your Proteinbook will definitely not leave you hungry. There are some days I just crave it! I use canned vegetarian refried beans, whole wheat low-carb tortillas and don’t usually include the salsa because I’m just lazy. I have had it many times with the salsa though, and it’s equally as good. It just depends on what you’re in the mood for. Simple to make, but oh so satisfying is what you’ll get with this recipe, plus the rest of the information in the book is great as well in answering the “Where do you get your protein” question that most vegans get at some point or another.
September 13, 2018
These wheat and dairy free Paleo Italian Meatballs from Tastes of Lizzy T work perfectly in my house and have a wonderful flavor because of all of the Italian seasonings. With both turkey and ground beef, they are definitely hearty but not overwhelming. My guys have them on spaghetti, sub rolls and sometimes just by themselves. This is another recipe that my oldest son (who eats tons but doesn’t really like anything) ate the first time and said, “Hey, these taste really good!” Into the meal rotation they went! They also freeze really well, so you can put aside small amounts and thaw as needed.
September 12, 2018
Let me just say – I love these Homemade Veggie Burgers from Kale and Chocolate! They are delicious, filling and there’s nothing processed tasting about them. As the recipe says, they are not meant to taste like meat, and they don’t. They taste like complete veggie goodness in a way that I never would have been able to come up with myself. I will say that it does take a while to put these together, but trust me, the effort is well worth it. It also makes 10 patties that can be frozen, so invest the time once every now and then, and you’ll be set for a while.
September 11, 2018
If you’re Paleo or just looking for a great main dish to feed a crowd, you’ll definitely want to try this Texas Oven-Roasted Beef Brisket recipe from the Food Network. My parents were from Texas, so to say I grew up with a great appreciation for brisket would be an understatement. My youngest son is all too happy to carry on the family tradition and considers himself quite the brisket connoisseur. I tried many recipes and never found one that even came close to his high expectations until this one. He loves it! I have to admit that even though I now eat a primarily plant-based diet, the first time I made this, I had to try a small piece to see if I even came close. Bam! It’s spot-on, and he has his brisket!
A couple of notes: Brisket is one of the leanest cuts of beef, so if you’re going to eat meat, this is one of the healthier ones to include in moderation as part of your diet. The recipe calls for sugar in the rub, but you can easily do without. If you do want to add a sweetener, I substitute granular Swerve (natural, non-glycemic sweetener), and it does fine.
September 9, 2018
Let me just say it right now. This Vegan Seitan Steak recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken is FABULOUS! and it wasn’t hard to make at all. I have to admit that I was skeptical while I was putting it together, but then when it actually seemed to be doing what it was supposed to, I felt a little better. When I put the finished product in my mouth, I knew we had a winner! Now I don’t have to feel left out when we fire up the grill for the rest of my family. These steaks also freeze well, so once you’ve made a recipe, you could be set for a while. While they definitely taste fine as is, the recipe’s suggestion of brushing on more marinade before cooking is a good one. That makes them juicier. I eat these with a baked sweet potato, in a steak bowl or just on a salad.
September 8, 2018
This Roasted Chicken recipe from Fourth and Heart is simple and delicious. Who could ask for anything more? My oldest son even said, “Wow, this chicken is really good!” This is the one who eats like the weightlifting powerhouse that he is but doesn’t seem to truly like anything. You can bet this recipe was immediately filed into the “make again and again” category. The hardest part about it is remembering to take the chicken out of the refrigerator an hour before starting to cook to let it come to room temperature. Since it does take about two and a half hours from start to finish (including the room temperature time), if you don’t get home until after 5pm, this may be one that you want to make on the weekend, when you have a bit more time. There’s only about 15 minutes of active time involved though, so you can certainly be doing other things at the same time. Since my kiddos can’t have dairy and soy isn’t an option, instead of ghee, I use Earth Balance’s Soy Free Buttery Sticks. I’m sure the recipe tastes great with the called for ghee, but my family can vouch for the fact that this butter substitution works well too.
September 6, 2018
I hope you’re hungry when you try this Great Big Vegan Salad from Delish Knowledge because vegan or not, it is one hearty meal! Too often, we think of salads as being skimpy on everything because after all, that’s what makes them healthy – right? Not with this baby! This thing tastes amazing, looks amazing and as advertised in the recipe, will not leave you hungry at all. As my family can attest to, I could eat this salad every night for days and still look forward to it just as much on day 3 as I did on day 1.
September 5, 2018
I can claim this version of this Steak Bowl recipe because it’s really just a matter of putting in whatever you want. There’s really no “recipe” to it. I did however want to offer it up as a suggestion because I know I thought of it out of desperation in trying to figure out one more protein-packed meal that my oldest Chipotle-loving son would eat. Why not just put together some sirloin steak, brown rice, guacamole, salsa, corn, black beans and whatever else we had on hand? After all, isn’t that what he gets at Chipotle? It’s also relatively healthy because sirloin is a fairly lean meat. I just sear the meat in toasted sesame seed oil (because of this oil’s high smoke point), prepare all of the other add-ins, and let everyone build their own bowl to fit their specific dietary needs (we have quite a mix in my house). If you don’t want something, no problem! Just don’t add it. This is one dinner where I’m guaranteed to have no complaints!
September 4, 2018
Not only does this Easy Curry Pasta and Vegetables recipe from Dizzy Busy and Hungry look great, but it tastes wonderful! Since it’s vegan, I used Explore Cuisine’s Organic Red Lentil Penne to add a bit more protein, and the end result was a hearty but light main meal. It could also be a fantastic side dish as well. I added some cayenne pepper as the recipe suggests to spice it up a bit more, and most people are probably going to want to add some salt and pepper (again, as suggested in the recipe). I have to say though that I love a salty taste to my food, but I didn’t add it to my version, and it was so good, I didn’t even miss it. I think my husband (who usually doesn’t like salty foods) would have preferred it with some salt. But that’s why you make the recipe and then salt and/or pepper to taste – right? I also used fresh onion, pepper and squash, so I’m sure using frozen versions of those (as the recipe calls for) would make this already easy recipe even easier!
August 31, 2018
I love a good homemade black bean burger, but I have to say, many recipes are simply too complicated to be realistic for my schedule. That’s where this Black Bean Quinoa Burger recipe from Yuri Elkaim comes in. With just five ingredients, it’s easy and fast. Whether you eat it on a bun, on a bed of lettuce (like Yuri recommends) or just by itself with a little avocado on top, you’re sure to love the flavor in this hearty vegan patty.
August 30, 2018
These Spiced Beef Taco Wraps from drhyman.com are great as a wrap, a taco salad (seen here) or as the filling for a taco shell. The key is the spice mixture, which adds just the right amount of “zing.” I have to admit that before I discovered this recipe, I was still buying the packaged taco seasoning because it was just too easy. This recipe is so easy to make (especially if you mix up the spice mixture ahead of time) that I don’t think seasoning will be on my grocery list again anytime soon. The spices that are called for are pretty much ones that you probably always keep in your collection anyway. Since I use grass-fed ground beef and the meat is fairly lean to begin with, I can feed this to my family and feel good that even “Taco Tuesdays” can be pretty healthy.
August 27, 2018
This healthy Vegetarian Black Bean Pasta recipe from Taste of Home tastes fantastic, is easy to make and takes the recipe-advertised less than 30 minutes to prepare. Since I need as much plant-based protein and as few carbs as possible, I used Explore Cuisine’s Organic Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine instead of whole wheat fettuccine. I prefer my pasta salads at least a little bit warm, but this would be good cold or at room temperature as well.
September 21, 2018
This Vegan Pesto from Minimalist Baker is so good, I have to stop myself from just sitting and eating it by itself. I use it for pizza and pasta, and it’s wonderful on both. What makes it even better is how easy it is. The pesto is ready in literally five minutes, and that includes assembling all of the ingredients. If you have to avoid nuts, there’s also a nut-free suggestion included with the recipe.
September 16, 2018
I have tried store bought vegan parmesan cheese before, and I have to say, I was not impressed. This Vegan Parmesan Cheese recipe from Minimalist Baker on the other hand, is delicious! It really does taste “cheesy”, but there’s nothing overpowering about it. Sprinkle it on pizza, pasta, salads, anything that you would use grated parmesan cheese in, and you’re set. While I’m not big on coming up with “substitutes” for things on a plant-based diet (just make it taste good, and I don’t need to pretend like I’m eating something else!), cheese is one of those things that I truly love. So, if this gives me that cheesy taste that I crave, I’m all for it!