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10 Healthy Fall Dinner Ideas That Can Be Made In 5 Minutes Or Less

Liz Moody
October 29, 2019
Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
By Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
Liz Moody is a food editor, recipe developer and green smoothie enthusiast. She received her creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody is the author of two cookbooks: Healthier Together and Glow Pops and the host of the Healthier Together podcast.
Image by Nataša Mandić / Stocksy
October 29, 2019
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Fall can be one of the best times to cozy up to a good meal—but with a busy schedule, it can be hard to get excited about even the most beautiful Brussels sprouts and squashes showing up on the shelves. Never fear—we reached out to 10 of the country's best doctors and R.D.s to ask them to share their favorite healthy dinner that could be made in 10 minutes or less. Bookmark this and you'll never run out of time to make a quick meal again!

1. Make a sweet and spicy bowl.

My favorite dinner this time of year is a sweet and spicy bowl meal. Start by taking organic tempeh, crumbling it up in the skillet with a little olive oil, fresh garlic, splash of balsamic vinegar, pinch of cayenne pepper, and a drizzle of maple syrup, and let that cook for about 10 minutes. Then to that, I'll add whatever chopped veggies I have on hand, toss to combine, and serve on a big bed of massaged kale salad, quinoa, or a mix of the two. 

—McKel Kooinega, R.D., founder of Nutrition Stripped and the 5x5 Framework

2. Sauté some greens, pumpkin, and chickpeas.

One of my favorite quick and easy dishes in the fall is sautéed greens, mushrooms, and chickpeas. Sometimes I'll start by sautéing some onion and garlic in olive oil and adding a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes before I add the other stuff, or I'll mix in some riced cauliflower—I always have some frozen on hand so I can just zap it in the microwave. Folding in a little pumpkin purée adds a nice creamy texture as well. You don't have to add anything, but I think it tastes divine garnished with some crumbled goat cheese on top. 

—Jessica Cording, R.D., mbg Collective member and author of The Little Book of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress & Anxiety

3. Fast-track some Brussels sprout tacos.

My go-to 10-minute meal is inspired by my fave taco from my local spot: Brussels sprout tacos. I try to eat anti-inflammatory brassicas every day, and pan-frying is so much faster than roasting—especially when you start with pre-sliced sprouts! Grab pre-sliced Brussels sprouts, kale slaw mix, and frozen breakfast potatoes. Mix the kale slaw with dressing made from a bit of avocado oil mayo, Dijon, and a dash of maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Pan-fry the Brussels sprouts and breakfast potatoes in avocado oil (⅔ sprouts to ⅓ potatoes) on medium-high until crisp and golden. Turn off heat and then drizzle with soy sauce and sriracha. Wrap it all up in corn or cassava tortillas! 

—Desiree Nielsen, R.D., author of Eat More Plants

4. Go for the frozen veggies.

I'm a big fan of veggie and grain plant-powered bowls! They're convenient, filling, and loaded with gut-supporting fiber1. I use whatever fresh or frozen veggies I have on hand—usually broccoli florets, edamame, carrots, and red peppers. Simply drizzle with avocado oil and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes. I toss the veggies on a bed of quinoa, brown rice, or cauliflower rice. I might add balsamic vinegar and goat cheese, or coconut aminos and sriracha—whatever flavor I'm feeling. It's such a versatile and budget-friendly dinner! Definitely a household favorite. 

—Tori Eaton, R.D., founder of Honestly Tori

5. Make a more blood-sugar-balancing pasta.

A healthy and seasonal dinner I turn to when I am short on time is a more blood-sugar-balancing "pasta." I will buy a box of already spiralized vegetable noodles from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods Market, a jar of lower-sugar marinara sauce (Rao's Homemade is my favorite brand) and some pre-cooked chicken sausage. Throw all of the ingredients into a large pot until heated through, and dinner is done in about 10 minutes.

Sara McGlothlin, holistic nutritionist, founder of

6. Create a big fall salad.

I love making a big fall salad with different flavors. I'll massage kale; sauté shredded Brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt, and pepper for about 5 minutes; and add chopped pecans, crumbled goat cheese, and dried cranberries. For the dressing, I'll mix olive oil, lemon juice, and whatever herbs I have on hand. It's super flavorful, full of nutrients, and has so many satisfying different flavors and textures. Most importantly, it comes together in about 10 minutes!

—Sammi Haber Brondo, R.D., founder of Sammi Brondo Nutrition

7. Cook up a shrimp and veggie sheet-pan meal.

I love to make an easy sheet-pan meal when I'm short on time. Toss shrimp, carrots, and green beans (or sugar snap peas) on a sheet pan with a sauce made from ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey. Then cook for just 10 minutes! The honey adds natural flavor and perfectly balances out the bold soy-ginger flavors—so delicious!

8. Make a Trader Joe's burrito bowl.

A healthy fall dinner I like to make that takes only 5 to 10 minutes is a cozy burrito bowl. What makes everything easier is using leftover cooked brown rice and possibly leftover protein (meat or seafood). I heat up rice, open a can of low-sodium black beans (rinsed and drained), and typically add some sort of vegetable. I like to use leftover roasted broccoli (the precut and washed Trader Joe's broccoli florets are great) or quickly sauté some Trader Joe's chopped kale in a skillet with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add in some avocado slices, top with your favorite salsa, and enjoy! This bowl is a complete protein (thanks to the rice and beans) and has healthy fats from the avocado, along with carbohydrates for a satisfying meal. 

—Alanna Waldron, R.D., founder of Eats Real Food

9. Whip up a spiced pumpkin pasta.

One of my favorite fast fall recipes is whole wheat pumpkin fusilli pasta, and it really takes only about 10 to 12 minutes to prepare. On one burner I boil water and cook the pasta (whole wheat Trader Joe's fusilli, nothing fancy!). On another burner I make the sauce, and it looks something like this: I sauté about ½ cup of pre-chopped onions + 1 tbsp. minced garlic in a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil for about 1 to 2 minutes. Then I add in a can of organic pumpkin purée with a little bit of water. Lastly I load in the spices! Thyme, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, and garlic powder are my go-to's. When the pasta is cooked, I drain the water and add it to the sauce while it's still on the burner and let it heat together for about a minute. If you like a thinner sauce, simply add a bit more water versus if you like a thicker sauce, let it cook for an extra minute or two so the water can boil out. Finally, combine and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast if you'd like to keep it vegan) and enjoy! 

Leah Silberman, R.D., founder of Tovita Nutrition

10. Go for a Brussels sprout and pomegranate salad.

I love a warm Brussels sprout salad with in-season, nutrient-dense ingredients like pomegranate seeds and red onions. The great thing is that you can buy all of these ingredients pre-chopped, so all I have to do is roast the Brussels sprouts and red onions with some healthy fats like olive oil or avocado oil at the beginning of the week and then reheat in the microwave and toss with pomegranate seeds and balsamic vinegar whenever I am wanting a bowl! Pomegranate seeds are full of antioxidants, and Brussels sprouts and red onions help support my methylation pathways responsible for healthy hormones, brain, and inflammation levels.

—Will Cole, D.C., mbg Collective member and author of The Inflammation Spectrum

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Liz Moody author page.
Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor

Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.