If you missed our Whole30 breakfast recipe roundup, here’s a simple refresher of what the program is all about. Designed to be a monthlong reboot for your body, the Whole30 aims to cleanse and renourish your system through a complete detox from packaged and otherwise processed or preservative-containing edibles. It seems easy enough (just eat real food!), but several additional off-limits groups—like dairy, grains, and sugar of any kind—make finding compliant recipes extra challenging (who knew there was sugar in chili sauce?!).
So if you, like many Whole30 eaters, find yourself in a roast chicken or kale salad rut when dinner o’clock rolls around, don’t freak out or give up. Here are 21 easy but fun recipes to put you on your way to a better evening meal.
1. Thai Chicken with Spicy “Peanut” Sauce
A Thai-inspired stir-fry sounds innocent enough (veggies! meat! dairy-free!), but it can be a minefield of Whole30 no-no’s, such as soy sauce, honey, and peanut butter. This recipe gets around those roadblocks, subbing in coconut aminos for the soy, a mashed date for sweetness, andsunflower butter as a vitamin E-rich replacement for the peanutty stuff.
2. Roasted Lemon Chicken With Potatoes and Rosemary
Already a pretty clean meal, the classic chicken and potatoes dish doesn’t need too much tweaking to become Whole30 compliant. Translation: It’s a great way to ease yourself into the plan. Just spruce up the protein with a spritz of lemon and the carbs with garlic and rosemary (another can’t-be-beat combo), and you’ve got a succulent dinner that’ll make you forget you gave up anything at all.
3. Chicken Balance Bowl
This fresh bowl has all our salad favorites—chicken, sweet potato, and avocado—and a sauce so good you’ll want to make extra and keep it in the fridge. (Just double-check that the tahini you go with has no added sugar so it’s Whole30 approved.) A delicious dinner whipped up in 30 minutes? We’re sold.
4. Mango Chicken With Coconut Cauliflower Rice
This recipe makes two clever swaps: The first is cauliflower “rice” instead of the usual white grain, and the second is tapioca flour as breading for the chicken. Add ginger and trusty coconut aminos to round out this healthier version of a take-out classic. Genius.
5. Jalapeno Turkey Burger
With gluten, dairy, and even ketchup out of the picture, you’ve got to get creative to make burgers taste good. Here, guacamole, a poached egg, and jalapeños up the ante.
6. Grilled Salmon With Mango Salsa
No restrictions on healthy fats while on the Whole30! And thank goodness for that, because we have a feeling you wouldn’t be able to stay away from this cholesterol-slashing, omega-packed dish. Flaky salmon with a chunky mango salsa? Irresistible.
7. White Fish Fillet With Braised Fennel
Not counting salt and pepper, there are only three ingredients in this dish. Plus the large fillet of white fish makes for a super-filling protein source. Pair it with fennel—the vitamin C-heavy cousin of carrots—for an easy but elegant dinner.
8. Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry
Coconut oil lends an appropriately tropical taste (not to mentionantimicrobial benefits) to the shrimp in this light, brothy stir-fry. Simply seasoned with lemon, ginger, and garlic, it’s the 15-minute clean meal you can throw together no matter how tired you are after a busy day.
9. Triple Seafood Chowder
This hearty coconut milk-based bowl features not one, not two, but threetypes of seafood. Salmon, shrimp, and kippers check off a range of nutritional boxes, from niacin to essential fatty acids. The coconut cream in the broth keeps it rich, and while there may not be any noodles here, the herby addictiveness makes it slurp worthy.
10. Blackened Cajun Mahi Mahi
This recipe calls for a few more spices than you might normally stock, but each will go a long way in flavoring the fish. And yes, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself using them for other recipes while on the Whole30. Use them here for a rub to slather onto brainpower-enhancing mahi-mahifillets before the fish gets seared and topped with sliced avocado.
11. Skillet Beef Fajitas
This homey Tex-Mex favorite is packed with veggies and a spicy kick. Throw everything in a skillet, and you’ll be done in 30 minutes. Just make sure your broth of choice is Whole30 approved (or if you’re game, make it from scratch).
12. Sweet Potato and Pineapple Beef Bowls
A hearty salad bowl can be the perfect quick fix when you don’t feel like getting out the pots and pans. This one gets its sweetness from pineapple and mango. Just be sure you opt for the real thing (not the canned versions) to avoid added sugars.
13. Hearty Vegetable Soup
With only one tablespoon of olive oil in the entire six-serving recipe, this may be a lower fat dish, but it’s no “diet” soup. Packed with potatoes, lean ground beef, and chunky tomato sauce, it’s a filling and nutritious dinner that’s also easy to make in big batches. Hello, easy weeknight meal.
14. Pork Roast With Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Onion
Instead of sugary or preservative-laden applesauce, this Whole30 makeover of the favorite pork and apple combo uses fresh chunks of the fruit, roasting it for a naturally sweet side to the protein. With diced sweet potato pitching in for some additional carb action, this meaty dish scores plenty of produce points.
15. Balsamic and Basil Marinated Steak With Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
With just 10 main ingredients, skirt steak gets elevated from mere hunks of meat to seared strips loaded with flavor—and a ton of muscle-aiding iron. Soaked in a tangy marinade before generous dollops of the zippy (and nondairy!) red pepper pesto are spooned on top, it’s got to be one of the most photogenic Whole30 meals ever.
16. Lamb, Mint Chimichurri, and Butternut “Rice”
Cauliflower isn’t the only veggie you can morph into rice-like granules! Butternut squash also makes an awesome substitute for the grain. Here it’s made all buttery and wonderful with the addition of ghee (yup, enjoy ghee with glee!) and then topped with grilled lamb and drizzled with a fresh, herby chimichurri. This is dinner party-worthy stuff.
17. Tomato Basil Beef Goulash With Eggplant
A traditionally Hungarian goulash takes a page out of an Italian cookbook in this blogger’s version, trading in the dish’s trademark paprika and caraway seeds for basil and garlic, and potatoes for eggplant. Whisking in the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk makes it extra luscious while keeping to the Whole30’s no-dairy rule.
18. Paleo Eggs in Hell
Eating clean, real foods on the Whole30 doesn’t mean splurging on pricey or obscure ingredients. Take this dinner, which turns a modest ingredient list into a protein-rich dish that, contrary to its name, tastes pretty heavenly. The blogger serves it with bread to sop up the sauce, but it’s perfect on its own.
19. Zucchini Noodles With Everything Pesto and Fried Eggs
If spiralized zucchini never seemed like an adequate pasta alternative before, maybe this recipe will convince you. Lathered in a dairy-free pesto and topped with a fried egg, the zoodles are every bit as tasty as real spaghetti but with none of the gluten and a fraction of the carbs.
20. Slow Cooker Ratatouille Soup
With a whopping eight different veggies, this may as well be called “the one-stop stew for your daily recommended fiber and vitamin intake” (although “ratatouille soup” sounds much more appetizing). The produce is cooked down in a mix of its own juices and fruity olive oil, yielding a large batch that will have dinner covered for days.
21. Sweet Potato and Kale Gratin
This gratin may be grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free, but it makes no compromises when it comes to flavor. A coconut milk-based cream sauce, fragrant with nutmeg, and an entire head of garlic (can’t have too much of those heart-healthy and anti-tumor benefits!), gets slathered generously between layers of sweet potato disks and kale for a one-pan dinner that’s light and decadent all at once.