12 Healthy Dinner Ideas for Two – Healthline

It’s common to feel rushed at dinnertime and opt for easy options, such as fast food or frozen meals, even if you’re sharing a meal with just one other person — such as a partner, child, friend, or parent.

If you crave variety and want to spice up your routine, plenty of scrumptious, small-batch dinners take very little time to prepare and are incredibly healthy.

Interestingly, home-cooked meals are associated with improved diet quality, and family meals lead to healthier diets and less weight gain in children and adolescents (1, 2).

Here are 12 nutritious and scrumptious dinner ideas for two.

Couple preparing dinnerShare on Pinterest

This quinoa bowl is packed with protein.

In just a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, quinoa provides all of the essential amino acids, a good proportion of omega-6 fats, and 10% of the Daily Value (DV) for folate (3, 4, 5, 6).

Chicken is not only low in fat but also high in protein, with 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of breast meat offering 28 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat (7).

This recipe serves two and is ready in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (196 grams), cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of water
  • 1/2 cup (93 grams) of quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups (100 grams) of arugula
  • 1 small avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) of sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes or until the water is fully absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the chicken in olive oil on the stovetop. After the cubes turn brown, remove the pan from heat.
  4. Place 3 inches (7 cm) of water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, place the eggs in, and soft-boil them for 6 minutes.
  5. When done, place the eggs in cold water and let cool. Gently crack the shells, then peel and slice into halves.
  6. Portion the quinoa into two bowls and top with the arugula, chicken, sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and sesame seeds.

nutrition facts

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 516
  • Protein: 43 grams
  • Fat: 27 grams
  • Carbs: 29 grams

The healthy secret about this fried-rice dish is that it’s actually baked.

Plus, tofu has been linked to multiple health benefits, including improved fat metabolism, heart health, and blood sugar control (9, 10, 11, 12, 13).

This recipe is vegetarian, although you can swap the tofu for chicken or shrimp if you prefer.

It serves two and takes 1 hour to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package (3 ounces or 80 grams) of extra-firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon (10 ml) of maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon (10 ml) of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon (5 grams) of sesame seeds
  • 1 cup (140 grams) of frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1 cup (186 grams) of white rice, steamed
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) of scallions, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tofu between a couple of layers of paper towel and squeeze out as much water as you can. Dice into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes.
  2. In a bowl, mix half of the sesame oil and soy sauce, plus all of the maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and sesame seeds. Add the tofu and coat well, then place it on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.
  3. Around 30 minutes into baking, heat a small pan and scramble the egg, then set aside.
  4. Grease a second large baking sheet and add the egg, rice, white onion, peas, and carrots. Drizzle with the rest of the sesame oil and soy sauce, then toss all the ingredients to distribute evenly. Sprinkle the scallions on top.
  5. Bake for 7–10 minutes and remove both baking sheets from the oven.
  6. Mix the tofu with the rice before serving.

nutrition facts

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 453
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Fat: 26 grams
  • Carbs: 43 grams

These easy fish tacos not only deliver tropical colors and flavors but also heart-healthy fats, such as omega-9 fats like oleic acid.

Oleic acid is recognized for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Studies also suggest that it is necessary for proper brain development and function (14, 15, 16, 17).

This recipe serves two and is ready in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tilapia fillets (174 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (8 grams) of chili powder
  • 1 cup (70 grams) of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon (5 grams) of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of low-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup (165 grams) of mango, diced
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 4 small corn tortillas
  • pinch of cumin, salt, and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Place the tilapia in a bowl and add the olive oil, lime juice, honey, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Massage the seasonings into the fish and let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. For the slaw, mix the cabbage, cilantro, and sour cream in a separate bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the fish from the marinade and grill it for 3–5 minutes on each side. Set the fish aside, then grill the tortillas for a couple of seconds on each side.
  4. Divide the fish equally onto the four tortillas, add the slaw, and top with mango and avocado.

nutrition facts

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 389
  • Protein: 28 grams
  • Fat: 74 grams
  • Carbs: 45 grams

With this sweet-potato-and-broccoli chicken, you’ll enjoy a well-balanced meal that includes starchy carbs, lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.

It packs a variety of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, anthocyanins, and flavonoids, from its sweet potatoes, onions, broccoli, and cranberries.

Antioxidants are molecules that help protect your body from free radicals and are linked to multiple health benefits, including anticancer properties and improved heart health (18, 19, 20, 21).

The recipe serves two and is ready in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (196 grams), cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 2 cups (170 grams) of broccoli florets
  • 1 cup (200 grams) of sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) of red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup (40 grams) of dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons (28 grams) of walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the broccoli, sweet potato, onion, and garlic. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper, then toss. Cover with foil and bake for 12 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven, add the chicken, and bake for 8 more minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven once more, add the dried cranberries and walnuts, and bake for another 8–10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

nutrition facts

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 560
  • Protein: 35 grams
  • Fat: 26 grams
  • Carbs: 47 grams

This vegetarian meal packs plenty of vegetables and plant-based protein (22).

It also provides a good source of iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body and is commonly lacking in vegetarian diets (23, 24).

The recipe serves two and is ready in 40 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 cup (128 grams) of carrots, cubed
  • 1 medium zucchini (196 grams), cubed
  • 1 medium sweet potato (151 grams), cubed
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) of lentils, uncooked
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Add the onion, carrots, zucchini, and sweet potato to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Spread the veggies on a baking tray, sprinkle with the rosemary and thyme, then bake for 35–40 minutes.
  3. In a pot, bring the vegetable broth or water to a boil, then reduce to a light simmer. Add the lentils and cover. Cook for 20–25 minutes or until tender.
  4. Once everything is cooked, add the veggies and lentils to a large bowl and toss with balsamic vinegar and honey. Mix well before serving.

nutrition facts

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 288
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 3.5 grams
  • Carbs: 56 grams

This meal is packed with protein from the tuna and chickpeas. What’s more, it provides a good dose of fiber from the veggies, leaving you feeling full for hours (25, 26, 27).

The recipe serves two and is very easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (164 grams) of chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 can of tuna (170 grams) canned in water, drained
  • 6 butter-lettuce leaves
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (10 grams) of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of tahini
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add the chickpeas to a food processor. Pulse them a few times, but leave a few chunks.
  2. In a bowl, mix the tuna, carrot, onion, celery, cilantro, and garlic. Then add the chickpeas and remaining ingredients — except for the lettuce — and mix well.
  3. Place about 2–3 spoonfuls of mixture onto each lettuce leaf before serving.

nutrition facts

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 324
  • Protein: 30 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 33 grams

This delicious salmon-spinach pasta offers a balanced meal loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fats offer many benefits and have been shown to combat inflammatory conditions and heart disease (28, 29, 30).

The recipe serves two and is ready in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound (227 grams) of boneless, skinless salmon
  • 1 cup (107 grams) of penne pasta
  • 1.5 tablespoons (21 grams) of butter
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 cups (90 grams) of spinach
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) of low-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in the butter for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the salmon and cook for 5–7 minutes, breaking it into flakes while cooking. Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
  3. Add the sour cream, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir well before adding the cooked pasta and parsley.
  4. Mix thoroughly before serving.

NUTRITION FACTS

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 453
  • Protein: 33 grams
  • Fat: 24 grams
  • Carbs: 25 grams

This shrimp-and-avocado quinoa bowl delivers a high-protein meal with a good amount of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).

MUFAs promote healthy levels of blood fats and help increase the availability of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K (31, 32).

This dish is easy to adjust. You can leave the shrimp out or replace them with your favorite source of protein, such as chicken, eggs, or meat.

The recipe serves two and takes under 20 minutes to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound (227 grams) of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup (186 grams) of quinoa, cooked
  • half of a medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 small avocado, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of butter, melted
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet and sauté the garlic in the butter and olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook on both sides. Then add the honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper, and cook until the sauce thickens.
  2. In two bowls, divide the quinoa and top with the shrimp, avocado, and cucumber.

NUTRITION FACTS

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 458
  • Protein: 33 grams
  • Fat: 22 grams
  • Carbs: 63 grams

“Zoodles” are zucchini noodles, which make an excellent low-carb, gluten-free substitute for regular pasta.

The recipe is high in protein and healthy fats from peanut butter, which may protect against heart disease by promoting lower LDL (bad) and total cholesterol (33, 34).

It’s very easy to make and serves two.

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (196 grams), cooked and shredded
  • 1 large zucchini (323 grams), spiralized into noodles
  • 1/2 cup (55 grams) of carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (35 grams) of red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons (27 ml) of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons (48 grams) of peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of honey
  • 3 tablespoons (30 ml) of reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Sauté the garlic in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, cabbage, and pepper. Cook until tender.
  2. Add the zucchini noodles and chicken to the skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the zucchini softens. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the rest of the sesame oil, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and hot sauce. Whisk until the peanut butter has melted.
  4. Pour the sauce over the zoodles and chicken. Toss to combine.

NUTRITION FACTS

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 529
  • Protein: 40 grams
  • Fat: 29 grams
  • Carbs: 32 grams

These beef fajitas are filling and easy to make. The onions and bell peppers pair nicely with the lemon and chili.

You can make a low-carb option by swapping the corn tortillas for lettuce leaves.

The recipe serves two and is ready in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound (227 grams) of steak, sliced into 1/2-inch (1.3-cm) strips
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil
  • 4 small corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. Mix the soy sauce, lemon, chili powder, and olive oil.
  2. Separately marinate both the steak and veggies with the mix for at least 15–20 minutes.
  3. Heat a skillet and cook the meat. Remove when browned and add the onions and peppers. Cook until tender, then place the steak back in to warm it.
  4. Divide the meat and veggies equally onto the four tortillas.

NUTRITION FACTS

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 412
  • Protein: 35 grams
  • Fat: 19 grams
  • Carbs: 24 grams

This spinach-mushroom frittata makes a healthy and simple low-carb dinner that can be enjoyed at breakfast or lunch.

Together, the eggs and spinach provide 26% of the DV for vitamin A per serving. This vitamin plays a key role in eye health by maintaining your eyes’ light-sensing cells and preventing night blindness (37, 38, 39).

The recipe serves two and is ready in under 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of avocado oil
  • 1 cup (70 grams) of white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup (30 grams) of spinach
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (56 grams) of low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of avocado oil in an oven-safe skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, then add the spinach and sauté for 1 minute. Remove both from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Mix the eggs with half of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the skillet and top with the mushrooms and spinach. Cook on the stovetop for 3–4 minutes before baking.
  4. Top with the remaining cheese and transfer to the oven. Bake for 5 minutes and then broil for 2 minutes until the top turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

NUTRITION FACTS

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 282
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 21 grams
  • Carbs: 3 grams

Cauliflower rice is a great low-carb substitute for rice. You can buy it packaged or make it yourself by finely chopping cauliflower florets into a rice-like consistency.

This meal packs high-quality protein and many vegetables. High vegetable intake may help you meet your nutrient requirements and reduce your risk of heart disease (40, 41).

The recipe serves two and is ready in under 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (196 grams), cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 2 cups (270 grams) of frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) of seedless olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Season the chicken with the rosemary, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sear the chicken for 6–7 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove it from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice and olives, then stir until the cauliflower rice begins to soften.
  3. Remove the cauliflower rice from the pan. Divide into two bowls and top with the chicken.

nutrition facts

Per serving (8):

  • Calories: 263
  • Protein: 32 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Carbs: 8 grams

Even if you’re short on time, there are many ways to enjoy a healthy homemade dinner for two.

This list of recipes provides plenty of simple, nutritious ideas and includes several vegetarian and low-carb options. If you crave variety in your routine, try some of them out instead of hitting the drive-through.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu