5 Quick and Healthy No-Cook Meals

If you didn’t feel the motivation to start eating healthy from reading  Healthy Gourmet on a Budget - then the following recipes are a must read on how to trade take out for easy eating in. The following quick and tasty meals will blast the ridiculous myths (most likely created by college students) that eating healthy is time consuming and unaffordable. These meals can be created out of items found in most local delis and grocery stores. And the best part is that they require no cooking!

Best rule of thumb to save time and money is to plan ahead. Most of these recipes makes 4-6 servings. Before you hit the store, be sure to have your ingredient list and figure out if you will be dining solo or with company. Obviously you can also have leftovers – but salads are not known to hold once the dressings on!  So whether it’s a late night on-the-fly kind of meal night, or a fun friendly meal – you’ll be covered with these tasty meal ideas!

Chopped Steak Salad

Get your iron and zinc on with this deliciously filling steak salad. Cooked steak can usually be found in your local deli, but if you have leftover grilled steak – bonus. Pair a Malbec or Petite Sirah, and a fresh French baguette with this salad, and you’ll forget that you’re actually eating salad!

2-pound 1 1/2-inch-thick top sirloin steak
Non-stick vegetable oil spray
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup baby arugula or chopped regular arugula
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup (generous) diced red onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1 jalapeno chile, seeded, finely chopped (about 4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar dressing

Mix tomatoes and all remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Thinly slice steak and arrange on top of veggie mixture. (Serves 4-6)

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts and Naan

Chicken salad is a little gluttonous (with the heavy mayo) but such a treat when paired with flavor-packed grapes and walnuts. Get a little middle-eastern delight by serving this easy-to-make salad with naan and hummus, then pair with a Pinot Grigio or Rose for a light libation delight. This is also a great dish to serve on a warm summery Sunday Afternoon!

4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 pound)
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (3 ounces)
3 tablespoons drained capers, chopped

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well. Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce. (Serves 4)

Ceviche Tacos

This fun recipe definitely takes the most prep time of the five recipes – but is so worth it. Ceviche is also great to bring to a summer barbeque or a long afternoon at the beach. The fact that the fish has marinated in lime juice means it can handle warm conditions without going bad (2-3 hours). Serve with chips and salsa, and for libations – nothing beats an ice cold Bohemia or Pacifico with lime. Guys, this is also a great dish to impress the ladies with!

1 1/4 pound of very fresh (sushi-grade) fish fillets (tuna, or mahi-mahi), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapeno chiles from jar plus 1 tablespoon liquid from jar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large head of romaine lettuce, very thinly sliced crosswise (3 to 4 cups)
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
12 white corn taco tortillas
Salsa (canned or deli fresh)

Place fish in medium glass dish or bowl, then sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add lime juice, lemon juice, and sugar and toss. Cover and chill until fish turns white and no longer looks raw, tossing occasionally (between 4-6 hours). Strain fish, by discarding the marinade. Place ceviche in large bowl; add tomatoes, red onion, pickled jalapenos (1 tablespoon of liquid from the jar), and olive oil and toss to blend. Add lettuce, avocado, and cilantro to ceviche mixture and toss. Fill tortillas with ceviche mixture (warm tortillas on low-heat grill; but that does defeat “no cook!”). Top each taco with large spoonful of salsa and serve. (Serves 4-6)

Chopped Greek Salad with Chicken

Chopped salads are much easier to enjoy than the regular, large leafy salad variety. After cleaning the lettuce, take a nice big knife and “chop” the leaves into quarter-inch strips. If you really want to get crazy, re-chop the entire salad together…it's worth it, I swear!

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup sliced ripe black olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Whisk vinegar, oil, dill oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and feta; toss to coat. Makes 4-6 servings…and is way easy to prepare!

Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap (Vegetarian)

This is a fun and spicy vegetarian dish that is sure to entice even the most hardcore meat eaters! When shopping, look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, they'll keep at least two weeks in the refrigerator. Make a few of these for your weekday lunches, or pair this wrap with a bowl of gazpacho and a glass of Torrantes for a quick and easy meal.

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced red onion
4 8- to 10-inch whole-wheat tortillas

Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro. Toss to combine. Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a large spoon. Stir in cheese and onion. When assembling the wraps, spread about 1/2 cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a tortilla and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve. (Serves 4)

It’s Healthy – I Swear!

These recipes all taste so good you’ll forget they’re actually good for you!  Without the overabundant fat, meat, and sodium, food can still taste great and be easy to make. The next time you’re in line at Panda Express, keep an eye on your watch. Most of the recipes above take less than 30 minutes to prepare – that’s typically less than the time it takes to travel to and from your favorite take out, if you include ordering and wait time. Just a little food for thought!

What are some of your favorite healthy quick and easy recipes? Share your food for thought!

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About the Author: Sunny Shakula

Sunny Shakula is a copywriter, seasoned freelance journalist, and marketing professional with 10 years of industry experience under her belt. She holds B.A.s in Journalism and English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as training in graphic and interior design. Today, Sunny focuses on eco-friendly life and money management advice; her passion for design and eco-commerce extends to her own business, inside, whose motto is "Re-Purpose with a Purpose." Her forthcoming book, Cheap.Fun.Delicious, dishes on everything from eco-friendly cocktails to DIY interior design.

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