This post is in partnership with BCBSAZ but all thoughts are my own.
Nourishing Arizona is a campaign by BCBSAZ (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona) to help educate our community about nutrition and why it matters. We see the health problems that result from poor nutrition. While good nutrition is only one piece of the health puzzle, it is an important component. In my private practice I see every day how changing what you eat can impact how you feel. One obstacle that seems to come up over and over is lack of time to spend in the kitchen cooking nourishing meals. Before you visit the drive thru, I want to introduce you to easy and quick sheet pan dinners. All you need is your favorite seasonal vegetables, a good protein source, and a sheet pan. A healthy and tasty dinner can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.
I recently posted a picture in my Instagram stories showing a sheet tray full of vegetables that I was going to roast for the week. Surprisingly, I got some questions about what vegetables I used, what seasoning I put on them, and how I roasted them. Spending most of my life loving the time I can spend in the kitchen, combined with a nutrition background, I tend to forget that not everyone is a food expert. Let’s spend some time talking about how to season and roast vegetables in one pan and how to make it a complete meal without a lot of effort.
Sheet pan dinners can make eating healthier easier. There are hundreds of combinations you can use to switch the flavors up and better yet have one pan to clean at the end of the meal. And do it all in 30 minutes!
Tips to creating an easy sheet pan dinner-
Give firmer vegetables like potatoes and carrots more time to cook. If you are adding a softer vegetable like asparagus or tomatoes, add them 10-15 minutes before the pan comes out of the oven so they don’t get mushy.
Keep the vegetables roughly the same size. When adding potatoes, bell peppers or onions, cut the ingredients to the same size (3/4 – 1 inch pieces work well) to ensure they cook at the same rate of time.
Line the sheet pan with unbleached parchment paper or a silpat to make clean up super easy.
Lightly coat the vegetables with coconut or avocado oil before roasting to prevent them from drying out while cooking.
Any protein works well, including salmon, chicken, pork, or beef. Keep the pieces the size of a deck of cards. Too small and they will dry out and get tough. To large and they won’t cook all the way through. If using shrimp, add the shrimp halfway into cooking your vegetables.
Don’t overcrowd the sheet pan. Keep everything to one layer for even cooking. You can always cook your meal on two sheet pans if you are feeding more people.
Ideas to get your creative juices flowing-
- Salmon, Brussels sprouts, and butternut squash with honey mustard and pecans
- Sliced sausage, bell peppers, green beans, red onion, and halved fingerling potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper
- Chicken, tomatoes, zucchini, and onion with Italian seasoning
- Shrimp, bell peppers, and onion with taco seasoning and squeezed with lime before serving
- Apple and sweet potato chicken sheet pan dinner (recipe below)
Leftover Tip- Cut the chicken into cubes. Serve the chicken and roasted vegetables and apples over chopped kale (or your favorite green) and top with a simple dressing. Mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil, and a squirt of Dijon mustard into a jar. Shake the jar to mix the dressing and pour over the salad. Done!
And, take a look at the graphic below from the Nourishing Arizona campaign that can help guide you in purchasing produce.
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into ¾ inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 2 cored apples, cut into ¾ inch pieces (I used Gala)
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into ¾ inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon fresh or dry thyme
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 1 pound chicken thighs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Mix the spices together in a small bowl.
- Coat the potato, apple, and onion in coconut oil.
- Sprinkle half of the seasoning mixture onto the vegetables and mix to coat.
- Spread the vegetables and apple mixture into a single layer on a lined 13x18 inch sheet pan.
- Season both sides of the chicken with the other half of the seasoning mix.
- Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
- Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through.
- Serve immediately.