Love a healthy, home-cooked meal but not the dreaded kitchen cleanup afterward? Meet your new best friend, the sheet pan dinner. Fast and easy, sheet pan meals are hot right now for a reason. Toss a bunch of ingredients onto a cookie sheet, pop it into the oven, and boom — you’ve got a whole family meal, baked or roasted to perfection, and way less mess to deal with after you’re finished at the table. These five sheet pan recipes are ideal for busy weeknights and families on the go. From fajitas and oven-fried chicken to a complete fish dinner, all five of these healthy meals are a cinch to clean up, especially if you line your sheet pan with foil before adding ingredients. Oh, and they’re delicious, too.
Sheet pan fajitas make everyone in the house happy. Season strips of chicken, peppers, and onions with a store-bought taco seasoning, and toss on a sheet pan to cook together. All that’s left to do is to warm a few tortillas and prep your favorite fajita toppings. The entire meal comes together in about 30 minutes.
The ingredients in this recipe go into the oven at different stages, so you’ve got a little breathing room for getting them prepped. The meal also stands out nutritionally by packing a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids from the fish and lots of potassium from the potatoes, vitamin A from the green beans, and vitamin C from the veggies. Not a potato or green bean fan? Substitute cubed sweet potato or butternut squash, both rich in beta-carotene, for the red potatoes, or swap the green beans for a precut bag of broccoli florets. Trust us, you can’t mess this dinner up!
Pork tenderloin is the leanest cut of pork you can buy. In fact, it has around the same calories and fat as skinless chicken breast. This pork tenderloin with veggies is easy enough to slap down on the table on a weeknight, and also impressive enough to serve to guests at a weekend dinner party, thanks to a showstopping (but quick) balsamic-soy sauce marinade. Give the pork a head start in the oven, then roast the vegetables while the tenderloin stands. This ensures that veggies won’t get overcooked, and also allows you to customize cooking time based on how you like them done, whether crisp or tender. Remember to spread the vegetables out in a thin layer so they have room to caramelize and release their juices.
After tasting this recipe, you may never order Chinese takeout again! The secret is allowing the beef to briefly marinate and soak up lots of flavor before adding it to the sheet pan and tossing with fresh broccoli. Marinating the beef keeps fat and sodium down in comparison to takeout, since additional oil and soy sauce aren’t needed during cooking. Serve over brown rice, or sub in riced cauliflower if you’re watching your carbs. For a vegetarian dinner, substitute a package of extra-firm tofu cut into 1-inch cubes for the beef. Marinate and cook the tofu the same way the directions specify for the beef.
This crispy chicken gets a super-easy, healthy sheet pan makeover here, with a recipe that requires much less oil than you’d need if you were prepping this dish the standard way, by pan-frying. While the chicken cooks, whisk together an easy vinaigrette with a little lemon juice; then toss with arugula or other leafy greens to use as a crisp base on which to serve the chicken. Getting your protein and veggies doesn’t get tastier.
CAROLYN WILLIAMS, PHD, RD