If healthy dinner ideas don’t usually appeal to you, you probably haven’t yet figured out that there are plenty of options for healthy dinners with cheese. I’m not saying cheese necessarily makes everything better, but—well, scratch that: Cheese absolutely makes everything better. If you’re on a mission to eat more vegetables and whole grains this year, the easiest and most seamless way to do that is by cooking them up and adding a handful of your favorite cheese.
At any given time, I’ll have at least three kinds of cheese in my fridge. Goat cheese and Parmesan are mainstays, because goat cheese is spreadable and great on toast, and a little bit of flavor-packed Parmesan goes a really long way. Then I’ll have cheddar, mozzarella or some other kind of meltable cheese that’s as good in eggs as it is on a sandwich. Usually there’s a block of feta in there, too, because it works on literally every kind of salad out there. I tend to save soft cheeses like brie for cheeseboards, because they’re not my favorite (but if you love them, no shade!).
Because my cheese drawer is always stocked, I’m constantly whipping up healthy dinners with cheese. Whether it’s a breakfast-for-dinner cheddar egg sandwich, a homemade whole wheat pizza (the dough is $1.19 at my local Trader Joe’s!), or kitchen sink pasta with plenty of Parmesan, cheese is the thread that can bring any combination of ingredients together. While coming up with recipe ideas isn’t rocket science, the following 17 healthy dinners with cheese recipes should give you some ideas for how and when to jazz up your favorite weeknight dinners.
Baked Orzo-Stuffed Tomatoes
These juicy, textured orzo-stuffed tomatoes come equipped with both mozzarella and Parmesan. If you want to swap in a whole grain for the orzo, farro or wild rice would both taste great!
Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas
Want a veggie-packed meal that doesn’t compromise on flavor, texture or cheesiness? These zucchini enchiladas are it.
Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese
Is spaghetti squash as delicious as actual spaghetti? Nah. Is baked spaghetti squash and cheese totally delicious in its own right, as a side or a main? You bet.
Roasted Broccoli, Kale, and Quinoa Salad
Add as much feta as you see fit to this meat-free broccoli, kale and quinoa salad.
Think of these little eggplant pizzas as nutrient-packed vessels for mozzarella.
Greek Mac and Cheese
This mac and cheese gets extra flavor from veggies, olives, and herbs.
Roasted Vegetable Whole Wheat Pizza
This fiber-packed whole wheat pizza is perfect for nights when you want some healthy-ish comfort food.
Protein-Packed Mac and Cheese
You’d never guess this protein-packed mac and cheese was made with chickpea pasta.
Roasted Vegetable Grilled Cheese
Use leftover roasted veggies and hearty whole grain bread to make this easy, healthy grilled cheese.
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Frittata
Make a mushroom and goat cheese frittata for fancy weekend breakfast, then eat the leftovers all week long!
Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese
Is there room for a third veggie-packed mac and cheese on this list? Um, is that really a question?
Crockpot Tortellini Soup
Get your vegetable fix alongside cheese-filled pasta in this foolproof crockpot tortellini soup.
Instant Pot Mexican Casserole
This cheesy, Mexican-inspired casserole is made with tons of veggies, lean ground meat, black beans and avocado. In other words, it’s satisfying and it’s good for you.
Whole Wheat Calzone with Chicken, Chard, and Gorgonzola
This chicken, chard and cheese calzone isn’t the like giant balloon of ricotta and mozzarella you get at the local pizzeria. It’s a little lighter on the cheese and heavier on the chicken and greens, but it’s still totally delicious.
Baked Cauliflower Casserole with Goat Cheese
Serve this baked cauliflower casserole as a side dish to a meaty main, or as a quick and easy reheatable lunch.
Spinach and Cheese Egg Muffins
Looking for a meal prep-friendly breakfast option that’ll keep you going until lunch? Look no further than these spinach and cheese egg muffins.
Oven-Baked Chicken Parm
This baked chicken parm is a great alternative to the original. It’s got a little less cheese, but also creates a whole lot less mess.