When it’s time to put on a jacket, it’s also time to update your evening meal plan to include delicious easy dinners that help warm you up.
And these nutrient-dense dishes are as healthy as they are hearty. Instead of adding extra empty calories or grease to get that soul-soothing warmth, we use ingredients like filling root vegetables, starchy legumes, steaming broths, and high-quality meats.
These recipes might require a few more steps than throwing together a summer salad, but for many of them, you can walk away while they roast or simmer—or make them ahead to eat as leftovers all week long.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)
7 Easy Dinners for Fall and Winter
Easy Three-Bean Chili
Chili should definitely be one of your go-to cold-weather recipes. It’s an incredible way to get in a ton of vegetables in one meal and is filled with plant-based protein. This three-bean version is hearty, filling, and super delicious. (Add the grass-fed beef for an even meatier version!) The best part: You can make a big pot on Sunday or at the start of the week and have it ready for multiple quick meals later on.
Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Spinach
Long before zucchini noodles (AKA zoodles) were a trendy health food, there was spaghetti squash. And seasonally speaking, it makes way more sense as a pasta substitute during fall and winter. Plus, it’s super easy to make and doesn’t require a fancy gadget. You just bake the squash (no chopping required!) and then scoop out the stringy meat. Top it with this yummy tomato, garlic, and spinach mixture and some herbs and Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got an amazing, easy meal for cozying up on cold winter weeknights.
Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry
This recipe covers a pile of healthy vegetables with flavorful curry sauce for a hearty, totally plant-based meal. It’s vegan if you leave off the Greek yogurt topping, vegetarian if you include it and is totally ready in 20 minutes. We love that it’s filled with spices because they add flavor and are packed with antioxidant power.
Easy Roasted Pork Tenderloin
You may not think to cook pork, but it’s actually fast and easy compared to other meaty options and is simple and delicious. Also, did you know that the tenderloin is the leanest cut of pork? Here, we dress it up with a simple Dijon and garlic rub everyone in your family will love. 15 minutes to prep and 15 minutes in the oven, and it’s ready to go. Pair it with roasted root veggies for the ultimate fall meal.
White Bean Soup with Kale and Chorizo
Bookmark this soup for busy winter weeks. It’s pretty much an all-star recipe that’s got every base covered. First, it’s hearty and protein-rich thanks to chicken sausage (buy organic!) and white beans. Then, it’s filled with a wide variety and volume of nutrient-dense vegetables, including kale, butternut squash, and garlic. Finally, while many soups take hours to simmer, this one’s ready in half an hour.
Zesty Beef Stir-Fry
Listen up: You can get this flavor-packed beef stir-fry on the dinner table way faster than the Chinese food delivery guy can get to your house. And your body will thank you later. Your family will, too, since this is a universally satisfying meal. While it puts beef front and center for meat lovers, it’s filled with vegetables. Kids will also love that it’s familiar and colorful. Meanwhile, those with more sophisticated palates will appreciate the depth of flavor thanks to ingredients like ginger, soy sauce, coconut oil, and red pepper flakes.
Noodle-Free Turkey Lasagna
Okay, this one is a little more elaborate and has to bake for an hour, so it’s not a Tuesday night throw-something-on-the-table kind of meal. But if you make it on Sunday, you’ll have leftovers all week! Using zucchini noodles eliminates refined carbs completely. Instead, this gluten-free dish is filled with nutrient-dense vegetables like zucchini (obviously), peppers, garlic, spinach, and tomato. It’s protein-rich thanks to lean turkey and cheese, and without the empty carb calories, it’ll leave you full and happy, instead of full and sleepy.