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Cooking for Two: 33 Healthyish Meals for You and Your Boo

Cooking for two can be a tricky skill to master. While leftovers are practical, eating Crock-Pot chili five nights in a row can get pretty old, and eating out can get pretty expensive. These recipes—from breakfast and starters to dinner and dessert—are perfect to enjoy with your girlfriend, boyfriend, mom, dad, or BFF. Each meal is perfectly portioned for two, so grab a sous chef and get cooking.

Breakfast

Cooking For Two: Spinach Burrata Omelet With Avocado Recipe

Photo: How Sweet Eats

Adding greens to every meal can be tough, but this omelet-and-buttery-lettuce combo makes checking off breakfast easy. Spinach and burrata go inside the eggs, while avocado and butter lettuce (plus an easy olive oil and vinegar dressing) join on the side, and are just mild enough that you won’t notice you’re eating salad for breakfast.

Cooking For Two: Vanilla Overnight Oats Breakfast Bowl Recipe

Photo: Coffee and Crayons

Overnight oats are just too easy to pass up. Make your morning easier by whipping these up the night before, and then customizing with each of your favorite toppings. Nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit are all good options. Breakfast in bed, anyone?

Cooking For Two: Blueberry Peanut Butter Pancakes Recipe

Photo: Table For Two

Is one part of your duo gluten-free? They’ll appreciate these healthy pancakes, while the other half won’t know the difference. Peanut butter and blueberries make for a PBJ-like flavor and add enough sweetness that you could probably do without syrup.

Cooking For Two: Vegan Banana Nut Muffins Recipe

Photo: Minimalist Baker

Both hearty and healthy, this recipe produces two monster-size vegan muffins made with wholesome ingredients. These babies get bonus nutrition points for the whole-wheat pastry flour, ground flaxseed, omega-3 rich walnuts, and half a banana in each.

Cooking For Two: Healthier Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Photo: Imma Eat That

Ditch the Pillsbury can and opt for DIY cinnamon rolls for two with a way healthier Greek yogurt icing. Crunchy outside and doughy inside, these honeyed breakfast treats taste like the sinful version but focus more on the cinnamon flavor than 12 sticks of butter or powdered sugar-based frosting.

Cooking For Two: Quinoa Avocado Breakfast Bowl Recipe

Photo: Cookin Canuck

These savory bowls combine quinoa, green onions, tomato, avocado, feta, and a soft- or hard-boiled egg (we’re partial to the runny kind). Cook quinoa ahead of time to make breakfast prep that much quicker.

Cooking For Two: Vegan Blueberry Almond Crumb Muffins Recipe

Photo: Cake Merchant

Skip the coffee shop run and make these homemade muffins instead. Made with oats, almonds, and soy or almond milk, these sweet guys are vegan and a step up from the store-bought kind, health-wise. Fresh or frozen blueberries keep them moist.

Cooking For Two: Vegan Tofu Scramble Recipe

Photo: Running On Real Food

Though tofu may not normally be your cup of tea, cooking the budget-friendly protein source just like scrambled eggs is a great way to mask the funky texture (and stay vegan) while adding tons of flavor. Scramble it up with peppers, spinach, and onions, top with avocado or hot sauce, and you’ve got yourself a lean, mean breakfast.

Cooking For Two: Black Bean, Potato, and Avocado Breakfast Burrito Recipe

Photo: Delightful Adventures

Vegan breakfast burritos can seem lackluster if not done right, but these pack in tons of hearty (and healthy) ingredients. Black beans, hash browns, onions, avocado, cabbage, and salsa will keep you full till lunch. Swap the white rice for quinoa to up your fiber or nix it altogether… this burrito is filling enough.

Appetizers/Salads

Cooking For Two: Lyonnaise Salad Recipe

Photo: Olivia's Cuisine

Nothing warms up a boring old salad like a fried egg and bacon. Top frisee (or any other salad green) with bacon strips, Dijon mustard, chopped shallot, a little salt and pepper, and an egg for a satisfying way to start your meal.

Cooking For Two: Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Photo: Chef Savvy

Simple, fresh, and a little tangy thanks to our cheesy friend feta, this watermelon and blackberry salad is a simple start to any meal. With a three-ingredient dressing (balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and oil), it’s a keeper for when you need a last-minute dinner spruce-up.

Cooking For Two: Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas Recipe

Photo: Tastes Better From Scratch

These gooey quesadillas place black beans, corn, peppers, and onions between melty shredded cheese. Add in cumin and chili powder and cut one up for a spicy start to your meal. For healthier ‘dillas, choose whole-wheat tortillas and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Cooking For Two: Nori Roll With Cucumber and Avocado Recipe

Photo: Chocolate and Zucchini

We don’t know about you, but for us, sushi falls into the category of foods we love but that don’t fill us up. Solve that problem by making an easy roll at home and serving it as an app for you and your boo. This one’s foolproof—just grab cucumber, avocado, a protein (like tofu or salmon), and sprouts, and roll it on up.

Cooking For Two: Cucumber Artichoke Salad Recipe

Photo: Hello Glow

Dinner salads can be a snoozefest, but this one spices things up with hemp seeds, artichokes, parsley, and basil, plus tried-and-true faves likes carrots and cucumbers.

Cooking For Two: Buffalo Ranch Chickpea Taco Salad Recipe

Photo: Veggies Save the Day

Buffalo and ranch are a sauce combo typically paired with unhealthy bar grub like chicken tenders, but the duo gets a major makeover in this vegan salad. Make your own homemade ranch dressing or pick up a store-bought kind (such as Tessemae’s or Follow Your Heart), and melt vegan butter and hot sauce to mix chickpeas in before assembling each salad.

Cooking For Two: Crispy Eggplant Caprese Stacks Recipe

Photo: The Comfort of Cooking

Tomato, mozzarella, and basil are a classic combo that everyone seems to love. This recipe shakes things up a bit by adding in crispy eggplant slices coated with flour (try whole-wheat instead of white) and panko bread crumbs.

Dinner

Cooking For Two: Peanut Quinoa Bowl Recipe

Photo: Oh My Veggies

Topped with savory soy and maple baked tofu, these quinoa bowls get double the protein. A homemade peanut sauce goes on top of steamed broccoli, red pepper, chopped roasted peanuts, and freshly grated ginger.

Cooking For Two: Spicy Maple Glazed Salmon Recipe

Photo: Ambitious Kitchen

This salmon sounds like it belongs in a restaurant but can be made at home in less than 30 minutes. Maple syrup, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, garlic, chili powder, and cayenne pepper combine to make a sweet and spicy glaze for the flaky salmon. Serve with Brussels sprouts, sweet potato fries, or whatever veggie you have on hand.

Cooking For Two: Baked Honey Mustard Chicken With Lemon

Photo: My Gorgeous Recipes

Made up mostly of ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, this easy date-night dish is a cinch. Chicken breasts get a big flavor boost thank to lemon, Dijon mustard, honey, and paprika. Serve with broccoli spears and lemon slices on the side.

Cooking For Two: Sauteed Beef With Polenta Recipe

Photo: Sandra's Easy Cooking

This quick, home-cooked meal is perfect for when it’s chilly out. Lemon- and garlic-marinated strips of beef and red onion complement polenta—a.k.a. cornmeal cooked into a comforting, porridge-like consistency.

Cooking For Two: Seared Shrimp Vindaloo Recipe

Photo: Bev Cooks

With carrots, broccoli, onions, garlic, wilted kale, and collard greens, this dinner blends just about every veggie from the produce drawer. Shrimp and vindaloo seasoning—a mix of turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and other spices—finish off the meal.

Cooking For Two: Pesto Chicken Caprese Flatbread Recipe

Photo: Tastes Better From Scratch

While we’ve got a caprese salad stack on the list too, this is a much more substantial version with baked chicken and a flatbread as the base. Thick slices of fresh mozzarella, halved cherry tomatoes, pesto, and chopped basil make for an awesome Italian-inspired meal.

Cooking For Two: Baked Acorn Squash With Quiche Filling

Photo: Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe

This effortless recipe takes just minutes to prepare—whip up eggs, milk, tomatoes, cheese, and chives and pour the mix into seeded acorn squash halves before tossing in the oven to bake.

Cooking For Two: Broccoli Brie and Walnut Rotini Recipe

Photo: Pinch and Swirl

This rich dish combines walnuts, broccoli, and creamy Brie cheese, and can be customized with whatever nuts or veggies you prefer. With only five ingredients and a combined prep and cook time of just 15 minutes, this meal is as uncomplicated as it gets.

Cooking For Two: Greek Stuffed Red Peppers Recipe

Photo: Wry Toast Eats

While traditional stuffed peppers have a ground beef filling, this version uses ground chicken instead, plus quinoa for even more protein. Artichokes, tomato, fresh dill, lemon, and mozzarella bring a Mediterranean touch.

Desserts

Cooking For Two: Peach Crisp Recipe

Photo: Eating Bird Food

A couple of ramekins, a couple of peaches, and you’ve got yourselves two perfectly portioned desserts. The oat- and coconut-oil-based topping is nutty and sweet with just a touch of maple syrup. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or a scoop of healthier vanilla ice cream (we love Halo Top) for an even sweeter treat.

Cooking For Two: Carrot Cake Chia Pudding Recipe

Photo: Happy Health

Vegan cream cheese frosting? Umm yeah, we’re sold. Soaked cashews make it possible, and taste deeeee-lish on top of carrot cake pudding, made with almond milk, carrot juice, cinnamon, cardamom, and chia seeds.

Cooking For Two: Raspberry Molten Lava Cake Recipe

Photo: Texanerin

These rich, gooey lava cakes are a must. Coconut sugar, buckwheat flour, and fresh raspberries give them a #healthyish spin, and since they’re dairy and gluten-free, you won’t feel gross after digging in with your S.O.

Cooking For Two: Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins Recipe

Photo: The Conscientious Eater

PB lovers will go nuts for these sweet muffins, made healthier with whole-wheat flour, cacao powder, nondairy milk, and cacao nibs. If you can’t find peanut flour, powdered or regular peanut butter works too, though regular will make the filling a bit thicker.

Cooking For Two: Paleo Brownies Recipe

Photo: A Saucy Kitchen

For those times you’d rather not whip up a full batch of brownies (way too tempting to eat leftovers for breakfast all week), this recipe makes just two in record time. Avocado and cocoa powder makes the brownies super rich, while maple syrup and dark chocolate chips keep ’em sweet.

Cooking For Two: Mediterranean Mango Parfait Recipe

Photo: Tomayto Tomahto

Sweet and flavorful, without added sugar, this fruity dessert is as refreshing as it is tasty. Layer chunks of mango, pistachios, and Greek yogurt, then top with pomegranate seeds (in the shape of a heart if you’re feeling extra lovey-dovey).

Cooking For Two: Vegan Blueberry Tarts Recipe

Photo: This Rawsome Vegan Life

With only five ingredients, these super-pretty tarts are surprisingly easy to make, despite looking like they belong on the Food Network. Put almonds through a food processor, mix with maple syrup and coconut oil, and press into two ramekins or tart tins. Put ’em in the fridge for about an hour, then fill with blueberries and coconut powder. Boom! You go, Top Chef.

Cooking For Two: Avocado Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Photo: Crazy Vegan Kitchen

Upgrade your pudding from powder boxes to homemade with this rich dessert. Instant espresso, sea salt, and vanilla bean seeds add big-time flavor, and coconut cream and chocolate almond milk instead of whipped and heavy cream help keep the dessert in healthyish territory.

Originally published February 2014. Updated February 2017.

Updated: February 6, 2017 — 7:30 pm

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