If you hate doing dishes, or simply don’t like standing hunched over a stove stirring and tossing, sheet pan meals can be a real revolution in the kitchen. Essentially, a sheet pan meal is when you can take all the ingredients, spread them out on a sheet pan, roast them in the oven, and then enjoy them altogether as one fabulous meal.
Another big benefit of sheet pan meals? Roasting is a healthier method of cooking than, say, frying. While some cooking oils do offer heart-healthy fats, frying your food can result in excess oil (and thus excess calories). Plus, if veggies aren’t your favorite, roasting them is a great way to improve their flavor.
Not all sheet pan meals are healthy. Beware of sheet pan meals featuring large quantities of red meat (such as beef or lamb) or processed meat (bacon, sausage, or chorizo). While they may be fine in moderation, the World Health Organization warns that these may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
For healthy sheet pan meals, choose proteins like fish, poultry, and beans, according to the American Heart Association. These proteins are typically lower in saturated fat, which is tough on the heart. Additionally, fish often has heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. (Learn more about the types of dietary fat here.)
Need ideas? Try these healthy sheet pan meals:
1. Sheet pan chickpea fajitas
Chickpeas are a great meat alternative: Unlike meat, chickpeas are high in fiber and offer a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including potassium and magnesium.
Combine chickpeas, sliced bell peppers, and sliced onions and toss with fajita seasoning. Roast them together in the oven, and then scoop ‘em into tortillas for a low-fat and low-calorie fajita. Find out how to make sheet pan chickpea fajitas here.
2. Sheet pan salmon and broccoli
Salmon is one of the greatest sources of heart-healthy fats—both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Salmon is also high in magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Pairing it with broccoli ensures your meal has plenty of fiber as well.
3. Sheet pan BBQ tofu + veggies
Tofu is a meatless protein with healthy unsaturated fats. Roasting in the oven is one of the best ways to turn this spongy ingredient into a pleasantly chewy, flavorful bite.
Pair your BBQ tofu with your favorite veggies: Potatoes, corn, peppers, and green beans fit the BBQ theme perfectly (and they can go right on the sheet pan as well). Check out the recipe for sheet pan BBQ tofu from a Pinch of Yum.
4. Sheet pan “fried” rice
Got leftover rice? Skip frying and bake instead to make this dish lighter on oil. You can customize with your favorite protein option, like chicken, shrimp, tofu, or edamame. Find out how to make sheet pan chicken “fried” rice from Averie Cooks.
5. Sheet pan breakfast hash and eggs
Who says sheet pan meals are only for dinner? This sheet pan hash is perfect if you’re serving a crowd, and since it’s roasted, it’s much less greasy (but still just as tasty).
Roast potatoes, peppers, onions, and herbs—along with any other veggie you’d like. For example, diced summer squash works surprisingly well in hash. Then, top with eggs for easy protein and unsaturated fat. Check out this recipe for sheet pan hash and eggs from Evolving Table.
You may not need a recipe to recreate your favorite meals on the sheet pan. Play around with your favorite healthy proteins, veggies, and starches for healthy meals that are pan-tastic.