Fast healthy dinner recipes

Fast healthy dinner recipes means buying a pressure cooker, in my opinion. It reduces the cooking time by two-thirds and, because I am a greenie, that means reducing your energy bill significantly too; they lessen your carbon footprint.

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This page was last updated by Dr Bernard Preston on 22nd April, 2021.

Hot and spicy bobotie.

The emphasis here is on speedy yet nutritious meals; or, as we put it, slow-food made fast. For some that may seem a contradiction in terms, but with a little planning it can be achieved.

Read more about this traditional Cape-Malay bobotie dish below.

For example chickpeas which are for me the best meat-substitute, need to be soaked overnight, pressure cooked for half an hour, and can then be frozen and instantly available.

Many of these nutritious dinner recipes, we will present first in the usual way, and then pressure-cooked.

For example, below is a chicken-dinner. Normally it would take an hour and half in the oven; that is how it is presented below. But by pressure cooking first for say twenty minutes, and then roasting for about half the time, you have just reduced your efforts by a more than a third.

Fast healthy dinner recipes

This page will be built by degrees. First up is an old favourite that really is not difficult.


A pork hock is really a very simple and fast meal to make if you have a pressure-cooker; I would not be without one. They are quite safe provided you remember to set the lock.

Mindfulness is important in the kitchen where working with sharp-knives, hot oil and pressure-cookers can be almost as dangerous as those tools used in a carpentry shop.

This eisbein recipe is one of our favourite, inexpensive and nutritious meals. Notice the wide spectrum of foods, and especially that there are three-coloured items on the plate.

More that three really as this is actually kimchi rather than sauerkraut; more about that another day.

Eisbein and sauerkraut supper.

Butter chicken curry

Nothing could be easier than this butter chicken curry; it will take you an hour from start to finish to prepare, but for best results it should be marinaded overnight in yoghurt and lemon-juice.

Toasted egg sandwich

Toasted egg sandwich with cheese on wholemeal bread is a quick and easy winner; fifteen minutes from start to finish. True, this is a supper dish rather than a fast dinner.

Indian Saag recipe

This Indian Saag recipe is rich in spice but low in peppery heat; it is a simply delightful way to enjoy spinach and kale, the two greens that lead the way in preventing age-onset macular degeneration. The freshly ground cumin and coriander bring to the fore the Eastern herb flavours without it being chili hot.

Enjoy it as a vegetarian dish, or use a chicken-bones stock.

Bobotie recipes

Bobotie recipes hail from the Malay people in South Africa; traditionally it is just red meat, onions, spices and bread but we add chickpeas and sliced vegetables that are in season.

These bobotie recipes take about twenty minutes to prepare, and three-quarters of an hour in a hot oven.

Braised new potatoes

New potatoes have half the starch of those from cold storage; even in many diabetics they do not cause a spike in blood glucose at the two hour test, though each insulin resistant person is different and has to assess himself.

Leave them overnight in the fridge and reheat, and they will then retrograde, the starch passing through the small intestine to the colon where it does not form glucose at all.

Find the ingredients for braised new potatoes; they are one of my favourite fast healthy dinner recipes, taking about 45 minutes to cook; but you are actively busy for probably less than five. They don't need peeling.


Kale and legumes combine together beautifully with various condiments to make a wonderful, very quick to prepare, salad or dinner.

Is has the benefits of the dark green leafy vegetables that we must enjoy daily, like them or not, or suffer from a range of many ailments, the pick of which is macular degeneration; kale is the richest source of lutein which is the phytochemical along with zeaxanthin that is found in the eye preventing cataracts and blindness.

Look no further than red meat for the source of the tumours that bedevil every other family. In season, drop young broad beans into the pot first, for five minutes before steaming your kale; the combination of vegetable protein and greens makes a wonderful fast healthy dinner recipe. 

Not that we are vegetarians, but enjoy chickpeas daily and red meat a maximum of twice a week; now if you could find assuredly organic beef, I would be less concerned. I think farmers are more honest that politicians, but probably only marginally so when it comes to the bottom line.

These recipes for cooking kale are virtually daily on the menu; you can enjoy the young leaves raw too. What is kale good for you may be asking?

Easy eggplant

Chicken and eggplant on the grill; we call the latter brinjal, in the Indian tradition.

One of these easy eggplant recipes are regularly on the fast healthy dinner menu; I will acknowledge that it is a bit of an acquired taste. And, when they are old, they are simply terrible; like most vegetables.

It is so easy to be put off for a lifetime just because of one bad experience when young. Just think of all the folk who hate lettuce salads; it is so hard to get fresh greens if you are not a gardener.

As a child I was once forced to eat old broad beans, and then refused to touch them for fifty years; now I have discovered that fresh and young, they are absolutely lovely vegetable protein. And it is the same with what we call aubergine in Holland; this fried eggplant recipe is one of my great favourites.

The simplest way to cook them is just to drop one onto the BBQ; see it between the chickens? Peri-peri chicken is a great food, and believe it or not the capsaicin in chilis acts as an anti-inflammatory agent for your joints and muscles. Those like us who have chickens in the garden will know that half the darling chicks will grow up to become raucous, rapacious cockerels; the hens will have no peace until your grit your teeth and prepare the beast for a long slow cook in the oven.

One of the carotenes in eggplant is especially good for lowering cholesterol.

Corn and beans

Corn and beans is as old as Methuselah. A variation I much prefer is corn and chickpeas, in particular with hummus.

Like most vegetables, the sugars in corn are changed quite rapidly into starch, which is why we don't particularly like them. There is nothing more dull than old beets or mealies as we call them in South Africa.

The secret is how to grow corn. Then straight from the garden, into the pot and ten minutes later onto the table with a good scoop of homemade hummus, and you have the perfect fast dinner.

This quick succotash recipe might interest you; it brings back childhood memories to me. It takes twenty minutes from start to finish. Better still learn about growing lima beans; but that is not quick. 

We love them in this lima bean shakshuka.

It might also of course just be the starter for a meat dish with young zucchinis or Swiss chard. No potatoes though; you do not want too many carbs. That is just a recipe for all the nasties associated with you know what. Knee pain is amongst the worst.

Our authentic hummus recipe is so easy to make by the way; it takes me only five minutes, twice a week. It does not keep. On a green salad as one of our fast healthy dinner recipe, it will cure you of heartburn and indigestion. 

Gigantes butter beans

We're always going on about getting more of our protein from legumes; there is so much research about red meat causing tumours, although it is probably only those from feedlots.

Gigantes butter beans recipe is a wonderful Greek recipe that will do all of us a power of good; they are also known as limas.

Growing and cooking lima beans is not difficult, but they have a very long growing season; and then bear for months. They are so nutritious and tasty; I choose them any day over the canned variety.

Fava beans with cream and thyme is another favourite dish that can be made in less than fifteen minutes.

One of the reasons we never ate fresh legumes for many years was that shelling large green beans was a trial until the good wife worked out to make it much simpler.

Steamed mussels

Cockles and mussels, alive, oh, alas are not available the world round, but if you can lay your hands on them they are a very fast, healthy dinner recipe.

The only part that is time consuming is testing that each mussel is alive and well; those with cracked shells must be tossed.

I don't have fond memories of Bruge in Belgium; I had a severe 3 day diarrhoea after having mussels as a restaurant, and would not touch them for years. But, if you sort through them carefully, they are a very rich and delicious source of vitamin D and omega-3.

The actual steaming of recipes for mussels takes no time at all. They are one solution to the enigma that is food rich in vitamin D; sunshine has it is dangers.

These mussel facts may goad you on a bit.

Lamb stew

I know lamb is red meat with the attendant difficulties, but there is by and large one great difference; unlike beef and pork it is usually free range. I often wonder if the warning associated with food from the butcher pertains only to those animals that have had the misfortune to be raised in feed lots and sties, and described as corn-fed.

Sheep on the other hand are usually allowed to roam on the thousand hills. This lamb stew, as described at our what is mutton page, is to die for; add some chickpeas, and perhaps a few leaves of spinach, and it makes a place amongst our wholesome and very tasty fast healthy dinner recipes.

Roasted chicken on cauliflower.

Roasted chicken on cauliflower is just perfect for those who are banting. Some like it hot, so growing and knowing how to preserve jalapeno peppers is essential; it is so easy. 

Roasted chicken on a bed of cauliflower.

With a lot more people dying of obesity than starvation in the world, we should all be avoiding high glycemic foods; those that produce an insulin rush.

Whilst I'm not suggesting that potato should be thrown out, let's look for substitutes that are delicious and healthy and keep spuds for high and holy days.

New potatoes incidentally have much less of an effect on our blood glucose; if you can find them, they can be included in you fast healthy dinner recipes[1].

I'd like to stress that our food needs to be pleasurable, tasty and delicious; but it also should be nutritious if you want to live long in the land, and not be taking a bucketful of pills every day to lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar.

These fast healthy dinner recipes are almost without exception low GI meals. They won't be fattening seen in the context of the whole meal; it is my desire that we should be able to eat and enjoy our nosh without being constantly worried about calories or, worse still, becoming neurotic about food.


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How much you eat is certainly a factor, but far more important is the quality of the foods. Don't avoid fats, they are essential for your brain and nerve conduction, but do try to stick to the healthy ones.

That means the olive and avocado, and butter in moderation. Personally I won't touch margarine, and I try to avoid the solvent extracted oils; use cold-pressed if you can find it.

Another of our not so fast dinners is this recipe for sesame chicken.

Introducing hens to our garden has given us a whole new dimension to nutritious food; read more at best chick food. In the context of fast healthy dinner recipes, we're eyeing those young cockerels!

I'll give it a whirl in the pressure cooker one of these days. That will reduce the cooking time and energy consumption by two-thirds. Cyan zone people are concerned not only about their own well-being, but also that of the planet.

Chickpea soup

Chickpeas soup with a dash of cream can be enjoyed by children too.

If you keep a supply of frozen garbanzo beans in the deep freeze, which I strongly recommend, then this high protein chickpea soup recipe is going to be regularly on the fast healthy dinner recipes list. Add your favourite herbs as chickpeas don't have much flavour; thyme herb benefits.

Even the kids love it, and you can afford to add a dollop of cream. Fast health dinner recipes are about getting back to these basic meals.

Potato smash

An old favourite, plain boiled-potatoes, sadly has unnecessarily been banned by many of the diets; by those who came up with these crazy fads that don't work anyway, and they have no knowledge of the science behind reheating resistant starch.

Here you will find a delicious recipe for old-fashioned potato smash; gran did have it right after all. 

As one wag put it, don't eat what your mother used to put in front of you, but return to what your granny did; and Speedy Mash was definitely not something she put on the table with her fast healthy dinner recipes.

Green chili sauce recipe

Green chilis and chickpeas make a wonderful sauce; enjoy it on mashed potato, or as a side dish with a salad.

If you like it hot, choose longer and more mature red chillies; the short, green, young ones are not particularly fiery.

If you have the chickpeas in the deep freeze you can make this green chili sauce recipe in a jiffy.

And if you don't have packets of garbanzo beans in your freezer, then cooking chickpeas is a very important page if you want to keep your cholesterol down, and stay off statins.

Alcohol is part of most dinners. Mine too but let us not forget that beer makes a good servant but a very bad master. Luckily, despite being prediabetic, in the context of the whole meal, it doesn't raise my blood glucose abnormally. 

Surely every beekeeper has tried his hand at making honey mead; lovely with a light supper.

Easy homemade vanilla ice cream

One certainly should avoid a dessert every night after supper, but if you've had one of our fast healthy dinner recipes, then you can certainly indulge your sweet tooth occasionally.

Just a couple squares of chocolate is fine, if the caffeine doesn't affect your sleep, and if you can avoid the temptation to finish the 200g bar! Or this really very easy homemade vanilla ice cream.

The portable ice cream freezers are really inexpensive and enable you to avoid all the crap that is added to the commercial desserts.

Baklava alternative

Baklava is one of those dishes that having tasted it once, you will want it every week. But it is so disgustingly rich and takes at least two hours to prepare that it really should be had once a year at Thanksgiving and then you have to do penance at the gym for two weeks!

Think rather of this alternative to traditional baklava nutrition; you can prepare it in only five minutes and it is loaded in good nutrition.


Pressure cooking saves so much time. Here's the lid from the outside showing the safety features.

I'm astonished how few folk have a pressure cooker. It reduces cooking time by two thirds. And if you want to save the planet, that means a lot less energy being used too.

If you want to go the whole hog, then you can power it by the sun with solar pressure cooking, but just the old fashioned method is just fine.

If you're a busy person, this is a must. Can you prepare chicken in half an hour? Pay a little extra and get the stainless steel one.

Have you ever seen induction cooktop stoves like the one above? They are much faster than either gas or a conventional hob. And consume less than half the electricity. All our heating will be done like this before long.

Pressure cooking and induction stoves are to my mind an essential part of fast healthy dinner recipes; neither are expensive.

We use ours regularly for how to cook beetroot; otherwise you need nearly an hour; got that amount of time for this wonderful vegetable? It's what finally cured me of very serious constipation; that means polyps and peritonitis and a very sick large intestine.

Speaking of the colon, scientists are finding that the bugs in our intestine, the microbiome, friendly bacteria and yeasts, are supremely important for all parts of the body. We use kefir benefits; simple and cheap. No one seems quite sure when to take them, so it could be a part of fast healthy dinner recipes, but we have ours at breakfast for convenience.

Neurotic about food

When you turn down a supper date, or won't go with friends to a restaurant because they may have used this or that in their cooking, or insist on taking your own food along, then you are on shaky ground; fast healthy dinner recipes will certainly be better for your body, but there are signs the mind is taking serious strain.

Whilst I am crazy about healthy food and I will admit to the fact that there are some things that I simply will not eat, when it causes you to become antisocial then you are on the verge of what is known as orthorexia; it is a serious eating disorder, a second cousin to anorexia. Read more about it, if you dare, at neurotic about food.  If you refuse, then you have definitely got the affliction!

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