Tag Archives: healthy dinner

Comforting Three-Cheese Cacio e Pepe in Spaghetti Squash Form

Cacio e Pepe translates to “cheese and pepper”, and is the ultimate no-nonsense pantry pasta consisting of freshly ground pepper, noodles, and good quality cheese. Spaghetti squash presents much like spaghetti noodles and is generally available all year-round, making for an excellent alternative for gluten-intolerants (more gluten-free dinner inspiration here) or those looking for a healthy low-carb twist on the classic. So grab your cheese grater, and start prepping tonight’s dinner.

Three-Cheese Cacio e Pepe Baked Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 80 minutes (includes squash roasting time)
Servings: 4 (raw veg = 5 cups before mixing in cheese)

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 ½  tsp coarsely ground black pepper, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup mascarpone cheese or smooth ricotta (optional)
Chopped parsley or basil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and strands with a spoon. Brush inside with 1 Tbsp oil and sprinkle with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the prepared pan.

Tip: Don’t forget to save the squash seeds and roast them as a snack. Here’s how to roast tamari and sea salt pumpkin seeds (follow the same instructions).

3. Roast until a paring knife is easily inserted in the centre, about 45 minutes. Let cool.

4. Using a large spoon, spoon out and shred into long strands. Spread on a double layer of paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb any liquid.

5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and then the squash, remaining ¼ tsp salt and remaining 1 ¼ tsp pepper and toss. Stir in mascarpone (if using), stirring until just melted and combined. Remove from heat and sprinkle with the Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, tossing to combine.

Tip: Like its namesake, this dish is all about pepper and cheese. For the best pepper flavour, toast whole black peppercorns in a skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, shaking the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool and crush with the bottom of a heavy bottom pot or skillet.

6. Divide among plates and sprinkle with parsley and more cheese, if desired.

Another cheesy pasta recipe with a twist: this winter greens mac & cheese will make you feel healthy. You’ll also devour this vegetarian spaghetti puttanesca with cauliflower. Lastly, test out these weeknight dinners where veggies replace carbs.

This 20-Minute Tuscan White Bean Skillet is a Dinner Winner

Tuscan cuisine is known for humble and delicious food, relying on impeccable regional ingredients. Don’t let this super quick vegetarian dinner recipe fool you: it’s substantial and nutritious, and the trick is to let the flavours of the marinated vegetables meld and intensify the kale and beans.

When it comes to the veggies starring in this vibrant dish, tuscan kale (often called cavolo nero or dinosaur kale or even lacinato kale) is more tender than the curly variety and is enriched with an abiding sweet and earthy flavour. Its versatility is highlighted in this quick sauté with marinated artichokes and sundried tomatoes, turning simple ingredients into a most satisfying supper.

Related: Our Easiest 5-Ingredient Dinner Ideas

20-Minute Tuscan White Bean Skillet Dinner

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

2 ½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 cups torn Tuscan kale (see tip)
Pinch each salt and pepper
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes or can cherry tomatoes, drained
170 ml jar artichokes in oil, drained
540 ml/19 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
⅓ cup shaved Pecorino cheese or Parmesan cheese

Chopped parsley (optional)
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Artisanal loaf (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat 1 ½ tsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add kale, and using tongs, toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 2 tsp water to steam, tossing until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.

Tip: To prepare kale, wash and drain. Tear kale away from the rib.

2. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil to the pan; add onions and cook, stirring until softened, 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and sundried tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until almost softened, 3 minutes.

Variation Tip: Swap out sundried tomatoes in oil for roasted red peppers or marinated eggplant and swap out Pecorino cheese for feta or goat cheese.

3. Stir in beans and artichokes; cook, stirring to combine. Return the kale and cook until warmed. Top with cheese and sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with more olive oil.

4. Serve with crusty bread to round out the meal.

Dinner doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are Alton Brown’s quickest dinner ideas, 20+ tasty mains ready in 15 minutes and the most affordable healthy suppers to make at home.

The Epic Winter Salad That’ll Keep You on Track This Season (Ft. the Best Dressing Ever)

Who says winter lunches and dinners need to revolve around steaming stews, soups and roasts? Instead, try an epic winter salad that’s loaded with the season’s best produce. This fresh and colourful recipe is adaptable to any of your favourite cold weather add-ins: try cauliflower instead of Brussels sprouts, pomegranate seeds instead of dried cranberries, sliced chicken breast instead of chickpeas, crumble over feta to add richness and so much more. What you won’t want to change is the lip-smacking roasted garlic dressing with a hint of sweetness to tie it all together. 

The sturdiness of the vegetables used enable you to meal prep this on the weekend for a week of filling lunches or veg-forward dinners. Even if you’re cooking for one, make the entire recipe and reward yourself with something nourishing and delicious every day this week. 

Epic Kale Winter Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 

Ingredients: 

Salad
300g Brussels sprouts, tough ends removed and halved lengthwise
250g (1 large) beet, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
3 Yukon gold or 2 peeled sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch wedges or cubed
1 onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
1 large or 2 regular cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
¾ tsp kosher salt
6 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn or shredded into manageable pieces
1 (19 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
⅓ cup toasted sunflower seeds
¼ cup dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds

Dressing
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp applesauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp kosher salt
Roasted garlic, from above 

Directions:

1. For the salad, preheat oven to 400ºF. Add Brussels sprouts, beet, potatoes, onions and garlic to separate areas (to prevent the beets from staining the other vegetables) of one large or two medium rimmed baking sheets and evenly divide over olive oil, thyme and salt, and then toss vegetables to coat. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Squeeze the garlic out of its paper and smash to create a paste; reserve garlic paste for the dressing. 

2. For the dressing, in a medium glass jar to shake or bowl to whisk, combine all dressing ingredients, including the smashed garlic paste, from above. Shake or whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy (it’s okay if there are some small bits of roasted garlic – it’s sweet and won’t be pungent like a chunk of raw garlic would). 

3. Toss a portion of the dressing with the kale to coat and add to large platter, or divide among 4 to 6 individual salad bowls. Toss a portion of the dressing with the chickpeas and add to the platter or divide amongst bowls. Add a section of each of the roasted vegetables and drizzle over remaining dressing. Sprinkle everything with sunflower seeds and cranberries, and serve warm, room temperature or chilled. Alternatively, instead of composing the salad, toss everything together before serving.

Entertaining this season? May we suggest this show-stopping healthy grain bowl for a crowd (featuring mashed sweet potato and wine-baked tofu!). You’ll also love these 15 vegan roast alternatives for meat-free guests.

30-Minute Harissa Tofu, Broccoli and Carrot Sheet Pan Dinner

Sheet pan dinners are unfussy and virtually mess-free, with no pots and pans to deal with after a long day. The trick to cooking an entire meal on a baking sheet is choosing the right vegetable and protein combination for even cooking. All that’s left to do? Sit back, relax and dig right in. This 30-minute healthy dinner, that’s vegan-friendly and jam-packed with flavour, will have you doing just that. We even paired it with a tangy cucumber salad that can be whipped up while the tofu, broccoli and carrots get all crispy in the oven. Dinner is served.

30-Minute Harissa Tofu & Broccoli Sheet-Pan Meal with Sumac Cucumber Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Sheet Pan Meal
350g firm tofu, patted dry and cut in 8 slices
5 carrots, halved or quartered lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil, divided
4 Tbsp jarred harissa
4 Tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
¾ tsp kosher salt or flaked sea salt, divided
1 head broccoli, trimmed and cut into quarters with stem
¾ red onion, cut in wedges
Half lemon, halved

Sumac Cucumber Salad
5 baby cucumbers, cut in chunks
¼ tsp kosher salt or coarse sea salt
½ cup parsley leaves or mint leaves
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
Half lemon
¾ tsp sumac + more

Directions:

1. Position racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat to 425°F.
2. Lay tea towel or double layered paper towel on work surface. Layer with tofu; top with another tea towel or double layered paper towel. Press with a baking sheet to absorb liquid.
3. Whisk together 4 Tbsp of the olive oil, harissa, vinegar, and all but the pinch of salt, in a casserole dish.
4. Add tofu and marinate for 5 minutes, turning often. Remove, and arrange on one side of a baking sheet. Repeat with carrots; arrange to other side of baking sheet. Reserve remaining harissa mixture.

Tip: Harissa, a spicy chili condiment, is widely used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. Made of crushed chilies, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway, mint and olive oil, it can be purchased as a paste in a tube or as a jarred sauce. Harissa paste is concentrated, to use in this recipe, reduce to 2 Tbsp and whisk in remaining ingredients.

5. Add broccoli and red onion to another baking sheet. Brush with remaining 2 Tbsp oil, turning to coat and sprinkle with remaining pinch of salt. Roast tofu and vegetables, switching racks after 15 minutes; flip tofu and vegetables and roast until vegetables are tender crisp, about 5 minutes.

Tip: Cut your vegetables into even pieces or you’ll end up with mixed tender and mushy results.

6. Sumac Cucumber Salad: Meanwhile, make the salad. In a medium bowl, sprinkle cucumbers with sumac and salt; stir to combine. Add onion, parsley and squeeze lemon over top. Drizzle with olive oil.
7. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle with more sumac and parsley if desired.

8. To serve, brush broccoli and tofu with reserved harissa mixture and serve with additional prepared harissa. Divide tofu and vegetables among plates and serve with Cucumber Salad.

Keep the summer sheet pan meals coming with this 25-minute citrus rainbow trout recipe, paired with broccolini and bok choy. We’ve also rounded up 15 sheet pan breakfast bakes to feed a crowd.