Clean eating might sound like the latest food trend – a fleeting fad that’ll soon pass – but it actually just means eating naturally, the way nature intended. This means eating whole foods and staying away from processed foods, which has many benefits.

Eating lots of fruit and veg obviously gives your health a big boost, and buying fresh ingredients and cooking from scratch can save you money. Plus, knowing you’re making food that’s really nourishing your body feels pretty good, too.

But cooking simply and naturally doesn’t mean forgoing flavour and pleasure – and if you’re a foodie who’s concerned you won’t enjoy clean eating, think again! Here are 15 clean eating recipes that actually taste good.

1. Chickpea flour pancakes

Chickpea flour pancakes

Pancakes are a breakfast staple. Yet, due to the typical addition of white flour, they can’t really be classed as ‘clean’. So why not make these chickpea flour pancakes by My Natural Family? Not only are these totally gluten-free, but thanks to the protein in chickpea flour, you don’t need to add as many eggs as usual – which means these pancakes are much lower in cholesterol too.

These healthy pancakes take only 20 minutes to make, and because they’re so high in protein and packed with healthy complex carbs, they’ll keep you full for hours! For maximum enjoyment and health points, drizzle with maple syrup and scatter over some fresh berries.

2. Seared tuna with shaved vegetable salad

Seared tuna with shaved vegetable salad

Root vegetables reach their peak in the winter months, and while they’re usually eaten roasted until tender, shaving them into delicate strips is another great way to eat them. They’re ready in minutes, their earthy flavours are more powerful, and adding a splash of vinaigrette helps them soften slightly, while still retaining a satisfying crunch.

This seared tuna with shaved vegetable salad by Cooking Light is the ideal way to let root vegetables shine. Raw beetroot, turnip, fennel, and apple are shaved into strips, then tossed in a dijon mustard, rice vinegar and olive oil dressing – and the seared tuna steaks pack plenty of protein. Thanks to the zesty flavour of the salad, the tuna doesn’t need a sauce, so this is clean eating at its simple best.

3. Easy jambalaya

Easy jambalaya

If you’re craving a flavoursome, complex-tasting dish that will transport you to warm and exotic countries, but you don’t fancy fussy over a hot stove or creating a mess in the kitchen, then this jambalaya dish from Clean Eating is perfect.

Jambalaya is a Creole and Cajun dish that’s a wonderful blend of flavours. Packed with spiced rice, protein, and plenty of veg, every bite is a pleasure.

While pork is traditionally used, this recipe uses leaner turkey sausages, and brown rice takes the place of white rice to ensure the dish is healthier and more wholesome. Another benefit is that it’s all cooked in foil pouches, so there’s hardly any washing up, and everything is cooked to perfection!

4. Quick and easy chilli

Quick and easy chilli

If you’re looking to make a speedy, no-fuss lunch or dinner that’s also packed with flavour, this quick and easy chilli by My Natural Family is ideal.

All you need to do is open some tins, pop the contents in a pan, cook, and eat. Thanks to the cumin, cayenne, chilli, onion, and garlic salt seasoning, this is a seriously flavoursome dish – and it freezes really well too, so you can make extra to eat another time.

Though this recipe uses ground beef, you can easily leave it out to make it a vegetarian recipe. Because it already contains chilli beans and black beans, you won’t need to worry about protein! Just use veggie stock instead of chicken stock to make it fully plant-based.

Or, if you want to keep the meat but make it as healthy as possible, then you could opt for lean turkey or chicken mince – or for lean beef mince (5% fat or less). Or, some people prefer to use slices of thin beef frying steak.

5. Slow cooker Mediterranean chicken and farro

Slow cooker Mediterranean chicken and farro

If you’re a fan of the sun-soaked flavours of Mediterranean food and enjoy using a slow cooker, then we might have found your perfect dish. This slow-cooker Mediterranean chicken and farro recipe from Cooking Light is an Italian-inspired dish that’s healthy and delicious.

Sicilian castelvetrano olives have a buttery-sweet texture, and farro – an ancient grain that’s a staple in Italian cooking – is packed with protein and fibre, has a lovely nutty flavour, and satisfyingly chewy texture.

Cooked gently in a slow cooker, the chicken thighs remain tender and produce a rich juice that’s then perfectly soaked up by the farro. Garnish with fresh parsley for maximum flavour.

6. Dill garlic butter baked salmon

Dill garlic butter baked salmon

If you’re a fan of fish, this dill garlic butter baked salmon dish from Green Healthy Cooking is an incredibly simple way to prepare a healthy and impressive meal.

Because the fish is cooked in a parchment pouch in the oven (you can also use foil) the salmon will stay juicy – and adding a slice of lemon, a knob of garlic butter and scattering of dill to the pouch allows the flavours to really infuse.

Baby potatoes and asparagus go well with this dish, and to make things even easier, the asparagus can be popped in the pouch with the fish and cooked alongside it. If you’re not a fan of dill you can use basil, coriander, or parsley – although dill goes especially well with salmon.

7. Tahini and carrot soup with pistachios

Tahini and carrot soup with pistachios

Simple, wholesome, delicious, and comforting, soups are one of the easiest ways to ensure you’re eating clean. While some of the tastiest soups have a creamy taste and velvety texture, you don’t need to add any dairy to achieve this – as this gorgeous tahini and carrot soup by Cooking Light proves.

Made from ground, toasted sesame seeds, tahini is incredibly healthy and is packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

While carrots can taste a little sweet, the addition of tahini, smoked paprika, salt and garlic ensure this soup has a satisfyingly savoury flavour – and the pistachios add a lovely Middle Eastern touch. For an even more savoury umami flavour, add a spoonful of miso paste or a splash of soy sauce.

8. Chicken, avocado, and quinoa nourish bowls

Chicken, avocado, and quinoa nourish bowls

The best nourish bowls have five key components: whole grains, veggies, protein, dressing, and toppings like nuts, seeds, herbs, or sprouts. These chicken, avocado, and quinoa nourish bowls by Eating Well contain all five components and are quick, well-balanced meals that make a great lunch or light dinner.

The chicken thighs can take as little as five minutes to cook, but to save more time, you can use leftover chicken, shop-bought chicken chunks, or simply swap for canned chickpeas.

Avocado provides plenty of good fats; quinoa is rich in fibre, minerals, antioxidants, and all nine essential amino acids; and the radishes, chopped nuts, and seeds ensure each bite has crunch. The zingy dressing is also the perfect accompanist to all these different flavours and textures.

9. Quick and easy ramen

Quick and easy ramen

If you’re a fan of ramen, you may already know that it usually takes quite a bit of time to make the perfect broth – but if you’re looking to save time, don’t be tempted by those instant ramen packets! While they may take only minutes to make, they’re packed with MSGs, artificial flavourings and high amounts of salt; so they’re about as far away from clean eating as you can get.

Instead, why not make this quick and easy ramen bowl by Clean Eating? It only takes 10 minutes to cook and half an hour to prepare, so it’s this is a much speedier version of classic ramen. Though, thanks to the flavours and textures of tamari, chicken breast, spring onions, cabbage, whole wheat noodles and softly-set eggs, it’s no less delicious.

10. Chickpea and spinach stew

Another quick yet satisfying dish that can be made in under half an hour is this hearty chickpea and spinach stew by Eating Well.

Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre, chickpeas provide a whole array of health benefits, from helping manage weight to improving digestion. And because they’re mashed in this recipe, they add body and texture to this tasty stew.

Spinach, carrots, and onions provide even more vitamins and fibre, and a healthy dollop of tomato paste gives a savoury umami kick without adding too much salt. Just omit the turkey and swap the chicken swap to make a vegetarian version of this dish.

11. One-pan veggie frittata with goat’s cheese

If you enjoy eating eggs for breakfast, chances are you’re probably washing up dirty dishes every morning. So why not save yourself time and effort and make Clean Eating’s one-pan veggie frittata on a Monday, and enjoy it until the weekend?

Packed with protein from the eggs and plenty of veg, this dish is healthy, vegetarian, and gluten-free. Plus, it lasts for days and takes only 10 minutes to prepare.

Using brightly coloured veg like cherry tomatoes and courgette is a great way to ensure you’re getting enough antioxidants, although the beauty of this recipe is its versatility. You can throw in any leftover veg you have lying around, and if you don’t have goat’s cheese, swap it for another cheese – or just omit it altogether. For maximum flavour, top with sliced avocado, fresh coriander, and hot sauce.

12. Fennel, pomegranate, and broad bean salad

Fennel, pomegranate, and broad bean salad

For a light, healthy meal, why not make this fennel, pomegranate and broad bean salad by BBC Good Food?

Pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods in the world. They’re packed with vitamins and powerful plant compounds, have multiple health benefits, and add a delicious juicy twist. While this is a light meal, the bulgur wheat helps fill you up – and this is another food that’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

Broad beans are high in protein, folates, and B vitamins, and make this salad more filling than it might look. And the addition of fennel, mint, parsley, and a zingy dressing means every bite is packed with fresh flavours.

13. Sirloin beef wraps

Sirloin beef wraps

Beef isn’t necessarily thought of as a quick dish, but these sirloin beef wraps by Clean Eating are ready in under half an hour.

Sirloin steak is cooked until tender, sliced into slivers, and placed onto wholewheat tortillas. Then, fresh crunchy veg like carrots, cucumbers, and red onion are added, drizzled in a homemade sauce, and everything is wrapped up in tasty little pockets.

You can adapt this recipe however you like, and adding oven-roasted tomatoes is another great way to add a savoury umami flavour, while giving you another boost of vitamins. Fresh herbs go a long way here, too, so don’t forget to top with your favourite herb. Parsley and coriander both work well.

14. Tofu and vegetable curry with courgette noodles

Tofu and vegetable curry with courgette noodles

If you love the aromatic flavours of Thai curries, this tofu and vegetable curry with courgette noodles by Eating Well is ideal. The sauce is made with red curry paste, lime juice, garlic, and coconut milk, and though it only takes minutes to prepare, it’s packed with fragrant flavours. Using courgette noodles instead of rice or traditional noodles means this meal is much lighter, too.

Tofu provides plenty of protein and calcium – while the kale, mushrooms, spring onions, and courgettes will give you your veggie fix. The whole dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and because it’s all cooked in one pan, you’ll save on washing up, too.

15. Healthier creamy butter chicken

Healthier creamy butter chicken

If you get a sudden craving for an Indian takeaway, why not satisfy your hunger by making your own delicious curry instead?

Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be able to make a much more wholesome alternative. This creamy butter chicken recipe by Green Healthy Cooking is a far healthier version of traditional butter chicken. It uses 0% fat yoghurt and a smaller amount of sour cream instead of lashings of heavy whipping cream, and is served with brown rice instead of white.

Juicy chicken is then cooked in a creamy, tomato-based sauce that’s flavoured with cumin, ginger, turmeric, garlic, and garam masala. To boost your vitamin intake, try adding some vegetables on the side; roasted broccoli goes especially well with butter chicken.

Final thoughts…

As this article hopefully proves, clean eating doesn’t have to be restrictive – and these meals certainly aren’t boring or bland! From fragrant Thai curries to super-fresh salads and punchy chillies to comforting soups and stews, there’s something for everyone here.

Sometimes a few simple swaps can turn an average dinner into a wholesome, healthy clean eating meal – for example, swapping white rice for brown rice or quinoa, and pasta for farro. But essentially the focus of clean eating is on eating lots of health-boosting vegetables, cooking from scratch, and staying away from processed food and artificial ingredients.

For more recipe ideas, you might want to check out our articles; 12 healthy recipe ideas and 18 healthy 30-minute meals.

Do you try to practise clean eating? Or are you thinking about reducing the amount of processed food you eat or trying to eat more veg? We’d love to hear about your food experiences! Join the conversation on the Rest Less community forum or leave us a comment below.

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