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20 Microwave Recipes That Are Delicious and Nutritious (Yup!)

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20 Microwave Recipes That Are Delicious and Nutritious (Yup!)

Nobody will argue that microwave recipes make cooking easier, but don’t they make for less healthy food? Well, science has weighed in on the matter, and the answer is no.

There’s no doubt that microwaving is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to cook food.

But that expedience comes at a cost, right?

Doesn’t microwaving food strip it of all its nutrients? Doesn’t it effectively “kill” the food, leaving you with an empty shell of irradiated swill?

I mean, it’s called “nuking” your food for a reason, right?

Well, you may be surprised to learn that all that is nonsense.

Ironically, research shows that microwaved food is not only perfectly safe to eat, but can actually be more nutritious than when it’s cooked traditionally.

Yup, it turns out that “nuking” your food can be a “healthier” way to heat it up.

Let’s find out why, and then get to the recipes.

Microwaves Don’t Make Your Food Less Nutritious

The most common charge leveled against microwave cooking is it zaps most, if not all, of the nutrients in food.

Well, extensive research conducted by scientists at the University of Murcia found the exact opposite. Microwaving is actually one the best ways to preserve the nutrients in your foods, along with griddling and baking.

The exception is in the case of boiling vegetables in the microwave, which causes most of the micronutrients to leach into the water.

Furthermore, other research indicates that microwaved vegetables can be more nutritious because they’re easier to digest and absorb.

Yup, you read that right. Microwaving some foods actually makes them healthier for you.

Microwaving Doesn’t “Kill” Food

This is one of those claims that “plays well,” but doesn’t really make sense.

By the time it hits your mouth, more or less everything you eat is “dead,” regardless of how you store or cook it.

You see, biologically speaking, plants start dying the second they’re harvested, meat and animal products die soon after the animal does, and frozen foods are completely dead on arrival.

That doesn’t mean the foods aren’t healthy to eat, though.

Unless you’re talking about probiotics, there’s no evidence that eating food with more “live” cells is healthier for you (and that’s the subject for another article).

So, microwaves don’t “kill” anything but what you don’t want in your food, like bacteria.

The Radiation From Microwaves Isn’t Dangerous

Microwave marketers have had an uphill battle from the beginning.

Blasting your food with “radiation” just sounds really bad, because, well, isn’t that the stuff that makes nuclear bombs so destructive?

Well, yes, but there are many different kinds of radiation.

The kind used in microwaves is known as non-ionizing radiation, which is very different than the radiation that blighted Chernobyl and is threatening to do the same in Japan.

We don’t need to get into the technical details here, but just know that microwave radiation can generate enough heat to boil water, but not enough to break food down on a molecular level (which would be bad).

In fact, that’s how microwaves work: they heat the water in food, which turns into steam, which cooks.

They also all have a safety shield built in that keeps the radiation from “leaking out” and heating the water in your body.

So, while you probably wouldn’t enjoy eating nothing but microwaved food (many types of dishes must be cooked traditionally to turn out right), don’t be afraid to make good use of your zapper.

As you’ll see with these microwave recipes, you can use it to make all kinds of delicious stuff for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks in between.

Enjoy!

French Toast in a Mug

microwave french toast in a mug recipe Picture courtesy of Hungry Girl

Overnight French toast is one way to make a no-fuss breakfast, but it still takes prep the day before and time to bake in the morning. For an even faster, easier alternative, make this single-serving French toast in the microwave.

Need help meal-planning for both nutrition and convenience? Check out Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World to get more great meal ideas like Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken Skewers and 7-Layer Burrito Blitz.

cookbook

Serves 1

Ingredients

2 large egg whites (about 1/4 cup)

2 Tbsp. unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 packet Truvia (or sweetener of choice)

3/4 tsp. maple extract

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Dash of salt

2 slices bread

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 190

Protein: 15 grams

Carbs: 25 grams

Fat: 2 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Beef & Broccoli

beef broccoli microwave recipe Picture courtesy of Tupperware

This microwave dinner is healthier than takeout, and it’s even good enough to serve to guests. Since this uses a microwave pressure cooker, no one will guess how you made it.

The microwave version is easier to use than a stovetop pressure cooker, and they can cost less than getting a full-size kitchen appliance.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. flank steak, trimmed of fat, cut into 4

1 tsp. steak seasoning

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 3/4 cups beef stock, divided

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 bag (14 oz.) frozen broccoli florets

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 295

Protein: 36 grams

Carbs: 16 grams

Fat: 10 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

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Faster Twice-Baked Potatoes

microwave baked potato recipe Picture courtesy of A Cozy Kitchen

It’s easy to make a baked potato in the microwave in minutes. Some models even have a button specifically for this quick side dish. But if you have a little more time to spare, why not take it a step further?

This healthy twice-baked potato recipe can be made entirely in the microwave in about 20 minutes. If you choose to use the oven, it’ll take at least an hour.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 large russet potato, scrubbed clean

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Splash of milk (optional)

1/2 Tbsp. chopped chives

1 small zucchini, chopped

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 447

Protein: 12 grams

Carbs: 70 grams

Fat: 15 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Homemade Microwave Mac ‘n’ Cheese

microwave homemade mac cheese recipe Picture courtesy of This Week for Dinner

Pass up dinner in a cardboard box, and make it from scratch in the microwave. This recipe still starts with boiling the pasta, or you can microwave the macaroni in a bowl of water for about 10 to 12 minutes. The cheese sauce gets microwaved separately.

If you want to take it over the top and don’t mind turning on the oven, mix panko bread crumbs with some melted butter, then finish it under the broiler until crisped and brown.

Serves 8

Ingredients

16 oz. small pasta, cooked

2 cups milk

6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of nutmeg (optional)

2 cups shredded cheddar

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 264

Protein: 16 grams

Carbs: 39 grams

Fat: 5 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Parmesan Herb Spaghetti Squash

easy parmesan herb microwave spaghetti squash recipe Picture courtesy of Joyful Healthy Eats

When you’re focused on cooking an entrée like chicken breast or salmon, you don’t always have time or energy to worry about a side dish too.

This microwave spaghetti squash requires hardly any work, so you can start it before the entrée, then add the cheese and seasonings right before digging in.

Serves 6 / Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash, halved and deseeded

Water

1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded Parmesan

1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 141

Protein: 7 grams

Carbs: 8 grams

Fat: 10 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Microwave Potato Soup

microwave potato soup recipe Picture courtesy of Bigger Bolding Baking

Anyone can open a can of soup and heat it up in the microwave. But did you know it’s almost as easy to make soup from scratch without the stove?

Of course this requires a few more steps than reheating a can of soup, but it’s worth taking ten minutes to cook a real meal in the microwave whether you’re at home or in the office breakroom.

Serves 1

Ingredients

3/4 cup water

3 Tbsp. small diced potatoes

1 Tbsp. chopped white onion

2 Tbsp. shredded cheddar

1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 tsp. cornstarch

1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

1/4 cup milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 141

Protein: 9 grams

Carbs: 14 grams

Fat: 6 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Microwavable Carrot Cake Muffin

microwave carrot muffin recipe Picture courtesy of Desserts with Benefits

Bake a dozen muffins, and it’s hard to stop at just one. This single-serving muffin in the microwave solves that problem.

It’s a great breakfast, especially since you could enjoy similar ingredients in a bowl of oatmeal. For this quick carrot muffin, the oats are ground into flour and “baked” in the microwave.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/3 cup grated carrots

1/2 tsp. lemon zest (or orange zest)

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

4 packets Truvia

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (or apple pie spice)

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 cup oat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 330

Protein: 13 grams

Carbs: 52 grams

Fat: 8 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

microwave sweet potato chips recipe Picture courtesy of Rachel Cooks

Instead of digging into a bag of packaged potato chips, make a snack from scratch in the microwave.

Thinly slice a sweet potato, coat with olive oil, and microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes. That’s all it takes to make homemade potato chips, so you could quickly make these for an afternoon snack at work.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato, scrubbed clean

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 102

Protein: 2 grams

Carbs: 19 grams

Fat: 3 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Peanut Noodles

microwave noodle recipe Picture courtesy of The Kitchn

Forget about making basic ramen in the microwave. Toss out the seasoning packet, and it’s easy to turn the noodles into a healthy meal.

This would also work with a block of ramen noodles, technically about two-thirds of one for the same serving size. And to reduce the fat, make the peanut sauce with PB2, adding hot water as needed.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 cup of noodles, seasoning packet discarded

Handful of frozen broccoli florets (or frozen peas)

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. granulated sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 460

Protein: 15 grams

Carbs: 45 grams

Fat: 25 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Corn on the Cob with Chile, Goat Cheese & Ham

microwave corn on the cob recipe Picture courtesy of Fine Cooking

When you make corn on the cob in the microwave, it’s easier to get creative with how it’s served. This version is fancy, but it takes hardly any time to whip it up as a quick snack.

The corn only takes a few minutes to cook, and you aren’t waiting on a pot of water or grill to heat up. Microwave unshucked corn, and the husk and silk will come off easily once cooked.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/4 cup (about 2 oz.) soft goat cheese, room temp.

1 Tbsp. minced red chile

1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. minced garlic

Salt to taste

4 ears corn, shucked and cooked

4 very thin slices (about 4 oz.) Serrano ham or prosciutto

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 180

Protein: 14 grams

Carbs: 17 grams

Fat: 7 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

90-Second Protein Cake

microwave whey protein cake recipe Picture courtesy of The Protein Chef

Most mug cakes have higher macros than a slice of frosted cake – and that’s plain cake without tasty toppings.

That’s because the recipes rely on a lot of butter or oil, up to three tablespoons, which is a whopping 40 grams of fat. This chocolate cake uses Cool Whip for a fat-free replacement, and it has whey protein powder to reduce the carbs.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 packet granulated stevia (or sweetener of choice)

1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 scoops WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

6 Tbsp. fat-free whipped topping

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup buttermilk pancake/waffle mix

Water as needed

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 359

Protein: 38 grams

Carbs: 36 grams

Fat: 9 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Microwave Mug Pizza

microwave mug pizza recipe Picture courtesy of Not Quite Nigella

You probably think microwavable pizza has to come from a cardboard box. But when a frozen pizza is microwaved, the crust winds up being soft and kind of soggy rather than crisp.

This mug pizza isn’t reheated – even the crust at the bottom of this convenient lunch is made from scratch. Top it with pepperoni, as shown, or leftovers like roasted veggies and sautéed mushrooms.

Serves 1

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Pinch of baking powder

Pinch of baking soda

Pinch of salt

3 Tbsp. milk

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 Tbsp. pizza sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp. grated mozzarella

Sprinkle of dried oregano

1/2 pepperoni sticks, sliced

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 399

Protein: 18 grams

Carbs: 25 grams

Fat: 26 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Strawberry Shortcake Protein Mug Cake

strawberry shortcake microwave mug recipe Picture courtesy of No Excuses Nutrition

Craving cake in the summer? Don’t worry about turning on the oven. This angel food cake can be microwaved, and it’s even gluten-free without wheat or oat flour.

Serve with fresh strawberries and coconut cream or Cool Whip. If you want to make a quick strawberry sauce while the cake cools, mash one berry with a teaspoon of granulated stevia, and pour that over the top.

Serves 1

Ingredients

3/4 scoop WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

3 Tbsp. baking stevia

2 Tbsp. coconut flour

2 Tbsp. almond flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

3 Tbsp. liquid egg whites (1 extra-large egg white)

2 Tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 265

Protein: 29 grams

Carbs: 18 grams

Fat: 10 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Spiced Lentils with Yogurt, Almonds & Mint

microwave spiced lentils recipe Picture courtesy of Power Hungry

This is the kind of dish you’d think would need to stew on the stove for a bit, but you can make the whole thing in the microwave.

Seasonings are an easy way to upgrade cheap canned goods, and once the lentils are done, the yogurt and almonds turn it into a full meal. Extra hungry? Enjoy the lentils with flatbread like naan, pita, or a flour tortilla.

Serves 1

Ingredients

3/4 cup canned lentils, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup (10 oz.) reduced-sodium diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. hot sauce

1 Tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. chopped roasted salted almonds

2 tsp. chopped fresh mint

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 324

Protein: 28 grams

Carbs: 46 grams

Fat: 2 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Paper Bag Microwave Popcorn

homemade microwave popcorn recipe Picture courtesy of Frugal Living NW

Microwave popcorn is convenient, but it’s not exactly environmentally friendly. There’s the cardboard box, the plastic wrappings, and the actual popcorn bags. And all that adds up to an extra cost too.

You actually need just two things: the plain popcorn kernels and a paper bag. Fold the top down tightly, and microwave with no extra ingredients. Once it’s popped, top with butter or coconut oil, plus your favorite seasonings.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 110

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 23 grams

Fat: 2 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Chocolate Chip Microwave Cookies

microwave cookie recipe Picture courtesy of Chocolate-Covered Katie

Cookies in the microwave? This recipe proves it’s possible, and the good news is you can stash the extra cookie dough in the freezer. Any frozen cookies have to thaw before going in the microwave, which helps with portion control when you want to eat the whole batch.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/3 cup + 1/4 cup oat flour (or all-purpose flour)

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup stevia-sweetened chocolate chips

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 Tbsp. milk (more as needed)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 116

Protein: 2 grams

Carbs: 18 grams

Fat: 5 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

One-Minute Protein Brownie

one minute protein brownie microwave recipe Picture courtesy of To Simply Inspire

Baking a whole pan of brownies from scratch takes about an hour. Even a box brownie mix takes almost as long. Yet this single-serving brownie is ready in less than 5 minutes, and you won’t have any leftovers to tempt you. And by using whey protein that’s flavored with stevia, this dessert has 35 grams of protein and only 5 grams of sugar.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 scoop WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

1 Tbsp. coconut flour

2 Tbsp. dark cocoa powder (less if using chocolate whey)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 cup egg whites (or 1 large egg)

1/4 cup milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 217

Protein: 35 grams

Carbs: 19 grams

Fat: 4 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Guilt-Free Protein Fudge

protein fudge microwave recipe Picture courtesy of Busy But Healthy

Mug cake is the go-to microwave dessert, but there are other options too like this protein-packed chocolate snack. By melting the coconut oil in the microwave, it’s easy to mix everything together.

Or, use peanut butter for Reese’s cup flavor. Then the fudge just has to chill for about a half hour, and you can keep any extras in the freezer for later.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 scoop WHEY+ chocolate protein isolate

1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil (or peanut butter)

2 tsp. chopped walnuts

2 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk (or low-fat milk)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 200

Protein: 24 grams

Carbs: 5 grams

Fat: 11 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Homemade Minestrone Soup

homemade microwave minestrone soup recipe Picture courtesy of Spoon University / Theo Lee

Because minestrone soup has so many ingredients, it’s hard to believe you can make it in the microwave. Try this recipe once, though, and you’ll never buy canned minestrone soup again.

Since this makes multiple servings, it’s a great way to feed vegetables to the whole family when you’re running low on energy.

Serves 5

Ingredients

4 oz. pasta shells, cooked

1 1/2 cups chopped carrots

1 1/2 cups zucchini, sliced

1 small onion

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (14.5 oz.) seasoned diced tomatoes, drained

1 can (14.5 oz.) vegetable broth

2 tsp. dried basil

1/4 cup (about 1 oz.) grated Parmesan

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 243

Protein: 12 grams

Carbs: 32 grams

Fat: 8 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

Microwave Salmon

microwave salmon recipe Picture courtesy of Savory Sweet Life

Microwave dinner just got upgraded. It’s possible to make an awesome entrée in minutes without ruining a quality filet. This recipe uses spicy mayo on top, plus a few fresh lemon slices, to keep the salmon from drying out. And you can also microwave yourself a side dish like steamed green beans or broccoli.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 salmon filet (about 5 oz.)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. Sriracha (or more to taste)

2 lemon slices

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 342

Protein: 31 grams

Carbs: 12 grams

Fat: 18 grams

   GET THE RECIPE

What did you think of these microwave recipes? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • saveourskills

    Microwave pressure cooker.. Wow, did not know this existed.

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