Making a healthy dinner may be the last thing on your mind during the hectic weeks before Halloween. With all the candy and treats floating around, it’s essential to have a meal plan that prioritizes fresh produce and dense nutritional offerings for balance. These recipes can solve your busy weeknight woes at this time of year. Most of these meals are easy to make, so they’re perfect for families with lots of Halloween plans.
Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili
Warm soups and chilis are perfect this time of year. Adding sweet potatoes to a turkey and tomato base pumps up the nutritional value of this meal. Dice the potatoes small enough that they’ll cook evenly. Be careful not to burn the chipotle peppers when you add them to the pot. This chili can simmer for up to two hours on the stove if you want it to thicken. Set out a variety of toppings (like avocado, sour cream, and cheese) so that everyone can choose their favorites.
Sheet Pan Maple Mustard Chicken and Fall Veggies
One-sheet meals are perfect for busy weeknight dinners. This healthy chicken and veggie recipe is a great way to use fall produce, and roasting everything together creates a depth of flavor. The maple mustard sauce makes this meal extra special! The dash of sweetness pairs well with these fall vegetables. Cut your veggies into small chunks so that they finish cooking at the same time as the chicken. Serve with extra sauce, and enjoy!
Instant Pot Stuffed Squash
Squash can be time-consuming to cook correctly, but with an Instant Pot, it’s simple! You can have this meal on the table in under half an hour. Choose whatever small squash is available locally; acorn, delicata, and dumpling squash are all great options for this meal. Halve and core the squash, then cook on high pressure to soften. While the Instant Pot is working, make the filling on the stovetop. Cauliflower rice is a healthy base for the fall produce that you can add to the mix. Using cranberries and pecans imparts that quintessential autumn flavor with a pop of color!
Photo: Marian Vejcik via 123RF
Cheesy Butternut Squash Cavatappi
Fall is the perfect season for comfort food, and this healthier take on macaroni and cheese doesn’t disappoint. Cooking your butternut squash in the microwave is a time-saver on jam-packed nights. This meal is also a great way to introduce mushrooms to picky eaters. The cheese can obscure the flavor and texture of the mushrooms while the protein and nutrients are retained.
Autumn Quinoa Salad
Sometimes you don’t want a heavy meal for Halloween dinner, especially if you’re heading to an event. This salad is the perfect way to get a healthy dose of fall produce without a big meal. Quinoa is one of the best grains to choose from if you need protein, and its nutty flavor mixes well with other fall ingredients. The minced greens add a pop of color and lots of vitamins. Roasted sweet potatoes bring a nice, warm creaminess to this dish.
Sheet-Pan Salmon with Potato Hash
Another one-pan meal, this dish features nutrient-rich salmon and hearty potatoes. Fall is the best season for eating a variety of potatoes since they’re packed with vitamins at harvest time. You’ll need to roast the potatoes for a while on their own while you prepare the salmon and sauce. After the potatoes are fork-tender, add your salmon to the pan and bake another 7 to 10 minutes. Add fresh fall tomatoes to the pan with the salmon for even more color and flavor.
It’s easy to balance all of the sweets that pop up around Halloween with these healthy dinners, so put them on your list!