23 High-Protein Sheet Pan Dinners That Pretty Much Cook Themselves

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

I love cooking, but I hate doing dishes. Unfortunately the two go hand in hand, and unless you’re a wizard who can zap away the mess, you kind of just have to deal with it. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact of life that is washing dishes, but one thing has made the acceptance process a lot easier: sheet pan dinners.

The trendy meals don’t eliminate the chore entirely, but because they generally only require one sheet pan (and maybe a cutting board, knife, and a spatula), they leave you with that one sheet pan to clean and not much else. Not to mention, sheet pan dinners are inherently pretty healthy, because they’re always some kind of combination of proteins (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) and vegetables. And, of course, they require hardly any work on your end—just throw your ingredients together on a pan, and let them cook in the oven till they’re ready.

These 23 sheet-pan recipes have all the traits good sheet pan recipes should have, plus they’re high in protein. Each one has at least 15 grams (the amount registered dietitians recommend eating with each meal), so they’ll definitely keep you satisfied. And when you know cleanup will take 5 to 10 minutes tops, enjoying them will be even easier, too.

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15 Healthy Sheet Pan Dinners Under 500 Calories

 

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

I love sheet pan recipes because they’re easy to cook and to clean up. They’re almost always some combination of meat and veggies (protein, plus fiber and healthy carbs), so they tend to make for inherently balanced meals. Oh, and they’re equally easy to make meatless, if that’s your jam.

The recipes below are made on a single sheet pan, and they clock in at 500 calories or fewer per serving. To be clear, you don’t have to count calories to be healthy, and some people are better off ignoring calories altogether. Also, remember that everybody’s daily energy needs are different, depending on all kinds of factors like height, weight, lifestyle, medical history, and more.

Regardless of calories, these 15 recipes are easy and delicious, and they make for super easy cleanup. Next time you’d rather spend the evening cozied up on the couch while your dinner basically cooks itself, give one of these dinners a try. Feel free to add your favorite side dishes and garnishes, too!

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How to Make 7 Healthy Sheet Pan Dinners From 1 Grocery List

How to Make 7 Healthy Sheet Pan Dinners From 1 Grocery List

Andrew Purcell / Carrie Purcell / Design by Stephanie Indrajo

I love cooking dinner, especially during the week. After a long day at work and an often frustrating rush-hour commute, it feels great to spend a little bit of time prepping and cooking something delicious. Putting together an easy recipe is relaxing, and I find that it’s a great way to ease into a slow-paced evening. You know what’s absolutely not relaxing, though? Going to the grocery store at 6 P.M. on a weeknight in New York. (If you’ve done it, you understand. If you haven’t, you’re lucky.)

The way around that, of course, is by planning meals in advance and making a comprehensive grocery list at the beginning of the week. If you really plan ahead, you can even get those groceries delivered and not have to worry about braving supermarket crowds at all! Since I know that’s easier said than done, I came up with a set of seven sheet pan dinners that you can make from a single grocery list—basically, I did your dinner meal planning for you. And, bonus, you won’t have a huge pile of pots and pans to wash every night.

All of the recipes are made with simple, good-for-you ingredients, and each serving has a healthy balance of carbs, protein, and fat, in accordance with current USDA dietary guidelines. There are two meatless recipes, one salmon recipe, and four chicken recipes (from one whole chicken that you can have your butcher break down for you), and all of them have plenty of veggies, healthy fats, and healthy carbs. And even if you don’t have time to shop all at once, the great thing about these recipes is that nothing needs to be prepped ahead of time.

Here’s everything you need to make these seven sheet pan dinners:

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

Almonds, ¼ cup
Apple, 1 medium
Avocado, 2
Bell pepper, 1 small
Broccoli, 2 small heads
Butternut squash, 1 small (about 2 pounds)
Chicken, 1 small (about 3 pounds)
Cumin, 1 teaspoon
Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons
Farro (dry), 1¼ cups
Green cabbage, 1 small head
Kale, 5 cups
Lemon, 3
Maple syrup, 1 tablespoon
Olive oil, ½ cup
Paprika, 1 teaspoon
Parsley, 1 small bunch
Salmon, 2 small fillets (skin on, about 4 ounces each)
Sweet potato, 1 large or 2 small (about ⅔ pound)
Tempeh, 12 ounces
Whole-wheat tortillas, 8 small
Yellow onions, 2 medium
Yukon gold potatoes, 3 medium (about 1 pound)

There are also a few optional garnishes for the Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas:Cilantro
Cheddar
Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
Salsa

For food safety reasons, it’s important that you store your groceries properly.

First, you’ll be using parts of a chicken in four different recipes, so you should either ask your butcher to break it down into two breasts, two thighs, and two drumsticks, or break it down yourself as soon as you get home. Then, decide the order you’re going to cook the recipes. Refrigerate the chicken and salmon that you plan to cook within four days, then portion the rest in sealed bags and freeze them. To thaw, just place your bag of chicken or salmon in the refrigerator the night before you plan to cook it.

Store the vegetables in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator; store the apple, lemon, and tempeh on your refrigerator shelf; store the onion, potatoes, and sweet potatoes in a cool, dry spot in your pantry. To keep your parsley fresh, store the stems in water (like a bouquet of flowers) and lightly cover the leaves with plastic wrap. Since you’ll only be using half an avocado at a time, you can keep the leftover half fresh by drizzling the flesh with lemon juice, wrapping it tightly with plastic wrap, and storing it in the fridge.

Two of the recipes call for cooked farro, so it would be smart to cook enough farro for both recipes at once (1¼ cups dry, which will yield about 3½ cups cooked), either at the start of the week or before you cook the first farro recipe. The cooked farro will stay good in your fridge for four days, so plan accordingly.

Here’s what’s on the menu. Remember, every recipe makes two servings:

1. Sheet Pan Chicken Breast With Potatoes and Cabbage

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

This healthy meat-and-potatoes meal is definitely simple, but add-ins like Dijon, maple syrup, paprika, and fresh parsley add enough flavor to keep it feeling fresh and interesting. Get the recipe here.

Total time: 50 minutes

2. Sheet Pan Salmon With Cabbage and Farro

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

Salmon cooks quickly, so it’s great when you know you’ll have a little less time to cook. In this recipe, you’ll cook salmon on a sheet pan with cabbage and farro and cook everything for about 10 minutes; the salmon will be fork-tender, the cabbage will be softened but still al dente, and the farro will crisp just slightly around the edges for some extra texture. Get the recipe here.

Total time: 20 minutes

3. Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

Sheet pan fajitas might not have the same dramatic effect as a sizzling hot skillet being delivered to you at a Tex Mex restaurant, but they’re equally delicious and a whole lot easier to put together. The avocado topping is included on the grocery list, but note that you’re on your own to buy whatever other toppings you want! I’d suggest Greek yogurt, salsa, and maybe a little cilantro or cheese. Get the recipe here.

Total time: 45 minutes

4. Kale-Almond Salad With Sheet Pan Maple Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

You might turn your nose up at the idea of tempeh, but I really recommend trying it. Like tofu, it’s a soy product and a good source of vegetarian protein. Unlike tofu, it’s made with whole, fermented soybeans, so it’s got a great, grainy texture and a nutty flavor that’s slightly funky. It crisps up when you roast it, and when you put it on a salad, like you do in this recipe, it acts kind of like a (high-protein) crouton. Get the recipe here.

Total time: 40 minutes

5. Sheet Pan Chicken Drumsticks With Warm Farro and Apple Salad

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

Chicken drumsticks are amazing—tender, flavorful, and wrapped in delicious skin. Plus, you can eat them with your hands! In this recipe, you’ll roast drumsticks on a sheet pan with apple and onion, then add farro and kale in the last 10 minutes of cooking so that they can soak up all of the chicken juices. Get the recipe here.

Total time: 50 minutes

6. Sheet Pan Crispy Tempeh and Broccoli Tacos With Shredded Cabbage and Mashed Avocado

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

You know what else is awesome about tempeh? When you crumble it, it’s a great substitute for ground meat. These meatless tacos also feature crispy broccoli, and they’re served on a tortilla spread with mashed avocado and topped with crunchy cabbage slaw. Get the recipe here.

Total time: 25 minutes, plus marinating time

7. Sheet Pan Chicken Breast With Butternut Squash and Crispy Broccoli

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

This dinner keeps things simple with chicken breast, winter squash, and some broccoli. Cooking the chicken breast with the bone and skin on helps keep the meat from drying out and makes it more flavorful. Get the recipe here.

Total time: 50 minutes

Planning to cook these recipes? Post your photos on Instagram and tag @selfmagazine—we want to see how it goes!

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