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9 Easy No-Cook Dinner Recipes

author image Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a chef, nutritionist, recipe developer, media personality and award-winning cookbook author. She’s a cooking instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education and frequent contributor to Rachael Ray Every Day magazine. Her newest book is the second edition of "The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook." Instagram/Twitter: @jackienewgent

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9 Easy No-Cook Dinner Recipes

You don’t need to labor over a hot stove (or oven) to create a delicious dinner. If you take advantage of your farmers' market and have some essentials on hand, like oils, vinegars, spices and nuts, that's all you need. Make things even easier by letting someone else do some of the cooking for you: Pick up prepared shrimp or rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. So if you’ve got 10 minutes, you can whip up any of these nine healthy, easy dishes that are full of flavor.

1. Ricotta and Peach Flatbread Pizza


Pizza doesn't have to be greasy and unhealthy. Though the basic definition is stretched a bit here, you can technically still consider this "pizza." Toppings are served on bread -- in this case, whole-grain flatbread or pocketless pita, which helps boost whole-grain goodness and fiber intake. Rather than sauce and cheese, you’ll spread some creamy, low-fat ricotta cheese. On the ricotta, layer fresh peach slices and sprinkle pistachios, honey, fresh thyme and a little sea salt to provide a sweet-and-salty finish. It’s a nutritionally balanced and beautiful bite with no baking required. CALORIES: 409

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

2. Raw Zucchini Caprese “Pasta”


Savor a bowl of pasta without the noodles: Hello, zoodles! If you’ve got a vegetable peeler, you can make low-calorie, naturally gluten-free, fettuccine-like "pasta" by peeling a large zucchini until you’ve got two cups or so worth of “pasta imposters.” For best results, toss them in a little sea salt and set aside for 20 minutes to allow them to soften and become extra tasty. After you drain off the residual liquid, toss in your favorite toppings, like fresh mozzarella, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, extra-virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, garlic and pine nuts. Now that’s one cool bowl of noodles. CALORIES: 428

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

3. Bulgur, Beets and Goat Cheese Bowl


Bulgur is a type of whole wheat and what makes it unique is that it’s already steamed, crushed and dried. So all you need to do is rehydrate it -- no need for cooking! It provides great texture for salads, like in the popular Middle Eastern salad tabbouleh. This recipe uses that as inspiration, combining bulgur with fresh mint, extra-virgin olive oil and a little sea salt. But the similarities end there: This salad is a vibrant, mouthwatering main dish by way of fresh baby spinach, beets, vinegar, goat cheese and walnuts. And don’t worry about cooking the beets either; simply pick up a package of Love Beets Cooked Beets or another natural brand. CALORIES: 408

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

4. Thai Peanut Entree Salad


This salad is ideal when all you really feel like having is a refreshing salad, but don’t want to hear your stomach grumbling again in an hour. Besides a gorgeous array of raw veggies, this salad offers plenty of culinary yin and yang: the sweetness of honey, saltiness of tamari, nuttiness from unrefined peanut oil and roasted peanuts, “heat” from hot pepper flakes, fragrance from cilantro and mint and balance from lime juice. Smoked turkey adds body and high-quality protein. Go organic if you can. Or if you prefer, replace the turkey with thin strips of ready-to-eat organic baked tofu, such as Wildwood Organic SprouTofu Baked Tofu Royal Thai. CALORIES: 373

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

5. Avocado, Prosciutto and Melon Tartines


Avocado toasts (or tartines) are becoming as commonplace as buttered toasts. They’re definitely better for you and you can glam them up to create nutritionally complete entrees. Use bread with healthful qualities, such as whole-grain sourdough. After spreading with a heart-friendly Hass avocado mix, accessorize these tartines with natural prosciutto (a little goes a long way!), cantaloupe, black pepper and fresh basil leaves. Surprisingly, prosciutto is not considered a processed food; it’s actually an Italian ham that’s cured simply by dry-aging. When in doubt about the ham you buy, choose an organic variety. Or swap out the prosciutto and cantaloupe for egg and diced tomato. The end result: tasty tartines. CALORIES: 500

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

6. Mexican Six-Layer Dip Dish


Don’t reserve Mexican layer dip just for parties and football games; make it part of your regular recipe repertoire. It’s loaded with nutrition in every layer: The vegetarian refried beans offer filling fiber and avocado provides nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. Greek yogurt provides high-quality protein along with a gut-friendly dose of probiotics (good bacteria). Monterey Jack cheese has definite bone-maintaining benefits, while tomatoes contain lycopene, a plant-based carotenoid pigment that appears to have heart-protective properties. And cilantro counts as part of your vegetable intake. Call this a dip with benefits! CALORIES: 554

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

7. Tzatziki Rotisserie Chicken Pita


Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the market and the possibilities are limitless. Ever make a gyro? In this Greek-style recipe, that’s basically what you’re creating. Remove the skin from the chicken breast, slice or shred it and sprinkle with black pepper, garlic and cumin. Then stuff the flavorful chicken pieces into a whole-grain pita along with tomato, lettuce, onion and pickled peppers. The tzatziki topping transforms these pockets into true palate pleasers. If you like, make your own tzatziki by stirring a little finely diced cucumber, chopped fresh mint, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt into plain fat-free Greek yogurt. CALORIES: 529

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

8. Bowl of Avocado Soup With Shrimp


Chilled soup is one of the easiest dinners ever. It can be rich as well, especially if there's avocado in it. For this cool and creamy recipe, simply drop avocado, buttermilk, vegetable broth, lemon juice, sea salt, ground coriander and fresh cilantro into a blender and puree. That’s it! Add ready-to-eat shrimp, fresh cilantro and some cayenne or black pepper for extra pep. All together, this is a satisfying meal with a friendly bonus — a healthful punch of probiotics, thanks to the buttermilk. CALORIES: 403

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

9. Chilly Philly Cheesesteak


A plant-centered diet is the best approach for healthfulness and eco-friendliness. But if you’re a meat lover, you don’t need to give it up. But do choose lean meats like loin and round cuts. Pick organic, grass-fed varieties and have no more than 2 1/2 ounces in a meal. Another tip: Anytime you do eat meat make sure you pair it with vegetables. This voluptuous sandwich showcases how it's done: It’s like a Philly cheesesteak sandwich — without the cooking! It may just help steer the meat lover in you towards more of a plant-forward lifestyle. CALORIES: 356

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

What Do YOU Think?
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Do you prefer to spend less time cooking these days? Why or why not? Would you rather just order carryout when you don’t feel like cooking? What’s your favorite no-cook meal? Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Related: 20 Foods to Always Buy Organic

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