I love meals that are easy to make, have minimal clean-up, and allow you to use up whatever food you have in the fridge. This describes sheet pan meals! They’re one of those versatile meals where you can make a nutritious and filling meal with what you have instead of worrying about buying all the ingredients in a recipe.
It’s a great way to make a well-balanced meal that includes vegetables, healthy starches, and some protein. You also minimize the number of dishes that you have to clean because everything is cooked on one or two pans. To make them, you basically fill a baking sheet with vegetables, starches, and protein and then pop everything in the oven to roast. Sheet pan meals also make good leftovers.
Consider making more than what you need for one meal as part of your meal prep so you have ready-made food for a later lunch or dinner. Follow the guide below to learn the steps to make a delicious, no-fuss sheet pan meal.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Choose ingredients from at least two of the categories below.
Choose a few vegetables and chop them up into bite-sized pieces. Make sure that the pieces are similar in size to help everything cook evenly.
- Brussels sprouts
- Red or yellow onion
- Yellow squash
- Green beans
- Bell Peppers
Chop starches that you want to use into bite-sized pieces.
- Potatoes: Yukon gold, red potatoes, or fingerling potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash: butternut, acorn, or kabocha
- Chicken sausage
- Chicken: thighs, breast, or drumstick
- Flank steak
- Tilapia or other white fish
- Individual mini meatloafs
Lightly coat the vegetables and starches in oil. Oil will help prevent sticking to the pan, keep ingredients from drying out, and give everything some crispiness. Try to use an oil with a high smoke point, like coconut oil or avocado oil which has a lighter flavor. Use one or two tablespoons of oil and toss everything together in a large bowl. I usually use my hands.
Then add salt and pepper and any seasoning that you want. Toss everything together. Some seasoning ideas include:
- Creole seasoning
- Old Bay seasoning
- Italian blend seasoning
- Curry powder
Prep your protein. Although not necessary, you may want to marinate your meat, tofu or tempeh ahead of time for added flavor. You can make a simple marinade by mixing together an acid (e.g., vinegar or lemon juice), oil, and seasoning. Toss the protein and your marinade in a sealable bag and let it sit for as little as an hour or as long as the whole day if you do this step in the morning to prep for dinner. If you don’t have time for a marinade, just season the protein with some salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices that sound good.
Spread everything out on the pan in a single layer so things can cook evenly. Don’t crowd the pan. Use a second pan if necessary. Ideally, you want to use a half sheet pan (18” by 13”) with a 1” rim all around the sides, made of a heavy-gauge metal. They’re very cheap, last forever, and can withstand high heat.
To make clean-up easier, line the pan with a silicone baking sheet, parchment paper, or heavy-duty foil. Do not use parchment paper however if you are broiling anything. If you don’t have any of these items available then spray the pan with some oil to minimize sticking.
If you coated your protein with breadcrumbs or crushed nuts to add some crunchy texture, you may want to roast it on a wire rack placed over the vegetables and starches on the pan. This will allow the protein to get crispy on all sides and prevent getting soggy on the bottom.
TIme to put everything into the preheated oven. Some of your ingredients may need different cooking times. If that’s the case, then add the ingredients with the longest cooking time first and then add the remaining ingredients later on. You may need to add the slower cooking ingredients to another pan if adding them will make the pan too crowded. It will likely require some trial and error to determine what cooking time is best for different ingredients in your oven, but here are some cooking time guidelines to start with. Remember that the size of the pieces will influence how much cooking time is needed. Larger pieces may need more time.
Estimated cooking times at 425 degrees.
Root vegetables (sweet potatoes, white potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, beets): 30-45 minutes
Winter squash (acorn, butternut, kabocha): 25-30 minutes
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts): 15-25 minutes
Softer vegetables (mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, asparagus, green beans, kale): 10-20 minutes
Onions: 25-30 minutes
Salmon: 12-15 minutes
Chicken: 25-30 minutes
When everything is done cooking, serve and enjoy! Now you have the “formula” for making an easy and healthy meal for dinner that requires minimal clean-up.