Medically reviewed by Shahzadi Devje, Registered Dietitian (RD) & Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
- This post was sponsored by The Regional Municipality of York (York Region). As always, all opinions are my own.
Explore 15 of my favourite easy and healthy recipes - the entire family will love. Trust me, these fresh recipe ideas you’ll make on repeat. Whether you’re a newbie still finding your way in the kitchen, a seasoned home chef or a passionate foodie - there’s a recipe for everyone!
Buddha bowls, matcha pancakes, green smoothies, and avocado, well everything: if it’s not been on your plate, you’ve seen a snap of it on Instagram. One look at the #foodie will bear this out.
One can’t refute that millennials are shaking up the food scene - perhaps even leading the change in the food revolution. And, it’s no secret, millennials are massive foodies, taking a big bite out of Canada’s foodservice sector. According to Restaurants Canada, millennials are one of the factors driving foodservice sales; which have soared to $84 billion, in 2017. It’s estimated that by 2022, combined commercial and non-commercial foodservice sales will exceed $100 billion.
From fast-casual to farm-to-table, as a millennial mompreneur, I place tremendous value on knowing where our food comes from; how it’s grown and produced. Of course, I feel deeply committed to supporting a sustainable food system - one that supports my family’s health, as well as the health of the planet.
As much as I adore cauliflower rice, the reality is, during the weekday chaos, there’s serious demand to serve up satisfying meals to feed two hungry teenagers and a 6-year old. I often receive messages from working moms, who are overwhelmed, and on the hunt to fix meal planning mayhem.
Let’s face it, we all crave healthy, simple home-cooked meal inspiration - without it feeling like a daunting chore.
What Cooking Means To Me
For me, cooking is one of the biggest joys, and my favourite way to show my family, how much I love them. Whether it’s choosing fresh and wholesome ingredients or preparing and cooking them, there’s something pretty special in serving the final dish to your loved ones. Granted: life is busy, but for us, this is the time to come together and connect, which makes it pretty darn awesome. Add to that, evidence suggests, eating together several times per week, has benefits that go beyond nutrition - including both physical and mental health.
Mr. D and I regard cooking as an important life skill, much like driving a car, learning to read or swimming. As our children grow, the job of feeding will become theirs. And so, we’ve made a conscious effort to get them in the kitchen. Early on. They get to explore food, help with meal prep, and learn to cook, in hopes that their transition to adult life is not only easier - but also healthier.
While nourishing meals offer tremendous health benefits, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that cooking at home is also good for the planet - it helps reduce food waste. Cooking at home has meant that we’re shopping in our kitchen first; digging through the fridge and pantry, to use up what we have on hand. Honestly, it’s the best time to get our creative juices flowing and come up with desi Indian recipes - with a western flair.
While it’s true that I love to cook up a storm in my kitchen, I know not everyone does. Weeknights are hectic enough without having to pull off Gordan Ramsey style recipes when you want to eat well. In fact, cooking at home - more often - is healthier. Frankly, it’s the easiest way to control what’s on your plate. You get to know what’s in the food you eat, decide how much to eat, adapt recipes to your culture and taste, and choose seasonal - to support your local farmers.
Let’s not forget, cooking a meal at home is more affordable than eating out or buying pre-packaged foods.
Get Inspired: #LetsCook30 At Market & Co.
You can imagine my excitement when York Region Government asked me to join forces to launch #LetsCook30. In essence, the goal of the campaign is to celebrate food and get inspired to cook simple, healthy and tasty recipes using local ingredients.
You can drop in to Market & Co. and join York Region as they inspire you to participate in the #LetsCook30 Challenge! You’ll have the opportunity to sample an easy to prepare soup, made from locally sourced ingredients, learn how easy it is to participate in the challenge at home and connect with fellow foodies (including me!). You can sign up to join the challenge at york.ca/letscook30 or follow #LetsCook30 where you’ll have access to quick and easy, budget-friendly recipe ideas for new meals and snacks. Together, we will share the food love on social media, and you’ll also have the opportunity to enter weekly contests for a chance to win great prizes!
For contest rules and regulations, please visit york.ca/letscook30
15 Easy and Healthy Recipes
Whether you’re a newbie still finding your way in the kitchen, a seasoned home chef or a passionate foodie - there’s a recipe for everyone!
Explore 15 of my favourite easy and healthy recipes - the entire family will love. Trust me, these fresh recipe ideas you’ll make on repeat. Head on over to your local York Region Farmers’ Market and #LetsCook30!
- Better Butter Chickpeas
Luckily this recipe feeds a crowd because the aromas bring everyone into the kitchen. It also freezes beautifully for quick and easy meals later.
Baingan Bharta (Indian Eggplant)Easy, quick to prep and scrumptious. This Baingan Bharta (Indian Eggplant) is a sure pleaser for the entire family. Roasted eggplant cooked in aromatic South Asian spices, simmered in a thick tomato-pepper sauce and garnished with tangy lemon and cilantro. If you're on the hunt for healthy desi recipes - with less oil, spices and salt - this is it! Best enjoyed with roti, quinoa, or lettuce leaves. Vegan and gluten free.Check out this recipe
- Butternut Squash Tacos
Be sure to try this twist on traditional tacos that use local and seasonal squash.
Vegan Chickpea Curry Stuffed Spaghetti SquashVegan chickpea curry stuffed spaghetti squash is one of our favourite winter squash dishes. Chickpeas are high in fibre and have staying power, which makes them a winner in my book. This easy and healthy recipe is a delicious supper that's also naturally gluten-free.Check out this recipe
How To Make Chia Pudding With Strawberry Nice CreamA cold and creamy dessert, this Vegan Chia Pudding with Strawberry Banana Nice Cream will make your taste buds dance. Frozen strawberries and bananas are blitzed into a delicious soft serve ice cream, that's dolloped over a thick and creamy chia pudding - all without any added sugar. You're welcome!Check out this recipe
- Maple Soy Glazed Salmon
This sweet and savoury glaze is delicious and flavourful! Baking this recipe in the oven is quick and easy!
- Fantastic Fried Rice
This is the perfect recipe to make when you have leftovers to use up. Cold rice is ideal, and you can use up leftover vegetables or protein foods. To make this dish even easier, you can use frozen mixed vegetables.
Beetroot Salad Recipe (Poriyal)This healthy Beetroot Salad Recipe, aka Poriyal, in South Indian cuisine, may look fancy - but it's simple to pull off. Done in 35 minutes, and perfectly balanced with cumin, onion, fresh ginger and lemon. Garnished with crunchy sliced almonds to create a stunning presentation, that tastes as good as it looks - SO DELICIOUS and piquant!Check out this recipe
- Local Harvest Muffins
These tasty muffins fill your kitchen (and your heart) with harvest season excitement! They are perfect for whipping up on the weekend to have on hand for busy mornings and grab and go snacks through the week.
Tandoori Cauliflower TacosThese Tandoori Cauliflower Tacos are delicious, quick to prepare, and the cashew marinade is out of this world! What's even better? You can customize them with your favourite taco extras for an easy weekday dinner. Learn how to make the best vegan cauliflower tacos.Check out this recipe
- Cranberry Apple Crisp
This crisp is not only delicious and makes your kitchen smell wonderful, but also very versatile! You can use any fresh or frozen fruit that you have one hand! Great for enjoying fruits that are in season
- Lentil Sheppard’s Pie
This vegetarian take on a classic is quick, filling and cozy on those cool days.
Vegetarian Quinoa Pilau RecipeInspired by the traditional rice pilau, this enticing and super-healthy gluten free Vegetarian Quinoa Pilau Recipe, aka "qui-lau" is bursting with flavour, and so simple to pull off. Infused with the aroma of cumin, coriander and garam masala, this recipe is one you will want to add to your repertoire. Satisfying and finger-licking good!Check out this recipe
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
This is the perfect dish for ‘planned-overs.’ Add an extra chicken breast for extras to make fajita flatbread later in the week.
Lunch in a Jar: Mediterranean Quinoa Chickpea SaladOn a hunt for a simple and easy way to enjoy lunch at the office? Try this gluten free, low GI and portable Mediterranean Quinoa Chickpea Salad in a jar. It’s delicious, nourishing and oh so satisfying - minus the sogginess!Check out this recipe
Shahzadi is an award-winning registered dietitian (RD) regulated by the College of Dietitians of Ontario and certified diabetes educator (CDE), approved by the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certification Board. A YouTuber and notorious foodie, she's dedicated to helping you end your cooking wars, transform your health, and be the best version of yourself! Shahzadi is an on-air nutrition expert for CTV Your Morning and a regular contributor for Global News and other national media outlets.