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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

Healthy Sheet Pan Dinners

‘Tis the season when children return to school and hectic schedules ensue.  Complicated menus and big kitchen clean ups could bring a parent to their knees.  What if you could make an entire dinner in less than 30 minutes using a sheet pan, parchment paper, and your oven?  With a little planning and basic pantry ingredients this method of meal preparation is one I rely on regularly.  Easy prep + healthy whole foods + quick clean up --> sanity!

The key is to select a quick cooking protein with a variety of vegetables cut in the same size so that they cook evenly.  Toss vegetables with a bit of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Parchment paper will ensure that clean up is a cinch.  We love using unbleached parchment sheets that are just the right size—nothing sticks so no scraping or soaking pans.

Here are some of our favorite combinations:

  • Salmon + green beans + cherry tomatoes + pitted kalamata olives
  • Cod + cauliflower + onion slices + garlic + capers + basil
  • Tofu + bok choy + garlic + ginger + cilantro
  • Chicken strips + red pepper slices + onion slices + oregano + cumin
All of the above combinations take about 20 minutes in a 375°F oven, depending on the thickness of your protein. For hardy cuts that take longer to cook, cut vegetables into bigger pieces. For slight cuts of protein, like flounder, you can pre-roast vegetables for 10 minutes before nestling in protein to finish baking. No need to break out another pan.

If you have time, make a tasty sauce or dressing at the beginning of the week, like our Herb Chimichurri [] and use to season the dish after cooking.

Healthy Sheet Pan DinnersSheet Pan Flounder


2 tablespoons grated lemon rind (about 3 lemons) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/4 cup parsley, chopped 1/4 cup basil, chopped 4 (6-ounce) flounder fillets 2 small zucchini squash, chopped 1 small eggplant, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped Parchment paper

Directions Prep: 1. Preheat oven to 425°. 2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 3. Chop zucchini, eggplant, and pepper into 1” pieces. [The smaller they are cut, the quicker they will cook]. 4. Finely chop herbs and mince garlic.

Make: 1. Combine first 6 ingredients. In a small bowl, toss vegetables with 1/4 cup of herb mixture, adding an extra drizzle of olive oil if needed to coat. 2. Place vegetables on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until softened. 3. Remove pan from oven and make room for fish, nestling filets among vegetables. 4. Rub balance of herb mixture evenly over filets. 5. Bake for additional 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. 6. Serve vegetables and fish with lemon wedges, if desired.

Vegetable Pizza with Cauliflower Crust


FOR CRUST: (Yields 2 rounds)

2 cups ground raw cauliflower florettes (about 1 small head) 3 eggs 1 cup almond flour Salt and pepper, to taste


1/2 cup prepared tomato sauce Optional toppings: 4 tablespoon nutritional yeast 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes 2 cups broccoli, steamed and chopped 1/4 cup kalamata olives


Prep: 1. Preheat oven to 450. 2. Chop cauliflower into florets.

Make: 1. Using a food processor, chop cauliflower until it’s the consistency of rice (not too long or it will get mushy) 2. Whisk eggs and mix in salt, pepper, almond flour, and cauliflower. 3. Press “dough” into a ball, and “knead” a few times to stick everything together. 4. Line a baking pan with greased parchment paper and press dough into a 1/4 inch thick circle, dusting a bit more almond flour if it makes it easier for you to work with. 5. Using a double layer of paper towels, blot crusts [pressing firmly] to remove excess moisture. 6. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes until edges are browned. 7. Remove crust from oven and spread with thin layer of tomato sauce and top with desired toppings and vegetables. 8. Return to oven and bake until toppings are warmed through.