June 23, 2024

15+ Diabetes-Friendly Summer Skillet Dinner Recipes

Summer is in full swing, so it’s time to embrace seasonality in your meals. These healthy and tasty dinners feature in-season produce like bell peppers, corn tomatoes and zucchini for a refreshing bite. With complex carbs like whole grains and legumes, sodium-conscious ingredients and low counts of saturated fat, these recipes fit well into a diabetes-friendly eating pattern. Plus, they’re super easy to make since you only need one skillet to prepare them—and you won’t have to worry about cleaning up a big mess later. Recipes like our Lemony-Garlic Pan-Seared Salmon and Spicy Broccoli & Bell Pepper Stir-Fry with Peanuts are delicious dishes for the season.

Perfect Lemony-Garlic Pan-Seared Salmon in 15 Minutes

Photographer: Morgan Hunt Glaze, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

This pan-seared salmon features fresh herbs of your choice, bright lemon and savory garlic. Leaving the skin on the salmon keeps the fillet in one piece while cooking. The skin is deliciously crispy, but easy to remove if you prefer skinless salmon.

Shirataki Noodles with Chicken, Feta & Tomato

Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

We pair shirataki noodles with feta and tomatoes in this quick and vibrant dinner recipe. The tomatoes release their juices to create a glossy sauce that clings to the noodles and carries with it the flavors of garlic, oregano and basil. Crumbled feta and Kalamata olives add a briny punch.

Baked Frittata with Butternut Squash, Kale & Sage

This easy frittata recipe is full of fall flavors, thanks to creamy butternut squash, plenty of fresh sage, and earthy lacinato kale.

Shrimp Paella

Jennifer Causey

Paella is a Spanish seafood and rice dish, prized for the crispy bits of rice that come from letting the rice sizzle in the pan, and the deep yellow color from saffron. We cheat the color with less expensive ground turmeric and speed the process with precooked brown rice. Make sure to spread the rice mixture in an even layer so the bottom can crisp. The shrimp take less than 5 minutes to cook. Rinse well under cold running water until completely thawed, and then pat dry before adding to the pan. Serve with simply steamed asparagus to round out the meal.

Spicy Broccoli & Bell Pepper Stir-Fry with Peanuts

Broccoli florets soak up the flavors from Chinese five-spice powder—a combination of sweet spices including anise, cinnamon, cloves and spicy Szechuan peppercorns. Serve over black rice.

“Egg in a Hole” Peppers with Avocado Salsa

Colorful bell pepper rings stand in for bread in this healthy version of egg in a hole. Cook an egg inside the peppers and top with a vibrant avocado salsa for a cheerful breakfast.

One-Pan Pork Tenderloin with Heirloom Tomato & Shallot Confit

Pair juicy, tender pork with a rich, flavorful tomato confit that tastes like melted tomatoes and sweet shallot preserves. We think this sweet and savory pork recipe is just as suitable for company as it is for Wednesday night dinner at home.

Southwest Breakfast Skillet

Carolyn Hodges, M.S., RDN

One skillet is all you need to create this satisfying, veggie-loaded breakfast (or dinner) dish. This skillet is packed with mushrooms, bell pepper and chard to help up your veggie count for the day and is topped with bacon, eggs, cheese, pico de gallo and fresh cilantro.

Salmon with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Jamie Vespa

A jar of sun-dried tomatoes does double duty for this healthy dinner recipe—the flavorful oil they’re packed in is used to sauté the shallots and the actual tomatoes help to add delicious flavor to the creamy sauce. Served with perfectly cooked salmon, you really can’t go wrong with this easy 20-minute weeknight meal. This recipe is a variation on our insanely popular Chicken Cutlets with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce recipe by Carolyn Malcoun.

Cheddar and Zucchini Frittata

This frittata is made with cheddar cheese and zucchini and is quick and easy to prepare. With just 115 calories per serving, this is a guilt free meal.

Chicken Sausage & Spinach Skillet Pasta with Lemon & Parmesan

Jamie Vespa

This one-pan pasta combines tasty chicken sausage and sautéed spinach for a one-bowl meal that’s garlicky, lemony and best served with a little Parm on top. It’s a quick and easy weeknight dinner everyone is sure to love. This recipe is a variation on our Chicken & Spinach Skillet Pasta with Lemon & Parmesan, which is a super-popular recipe developed by Devon O’Brien.

Mexican-Inspired Beef and Corn Skillet Peppers

Sweet bell peppers are simmered to tenderness with ground beef, corn, and Mexican-style seasonings, stuffed, then topped with goat cheese for a hearty dinner that doesn’t need an oven.

Skillet Lemon-Pepper Salmon

Ali Redmond

Simple ingredients like lemon, cracked black pepper and paprika completely awaken this fall-apart-tender salmon with a crispy exterior. Use this salmon to add protein to a grain bowl or salad, or enjoy alongside roasted veggies.

Creamy Chicken-Tomato Skillet

Caitlin Bensel

Yes! You can make chicken and rice in 20 minutes. When a craving for comfort food hits and you need it in a hurry, this fast take on chicken and rice hits the spot. Stirring chopped baby spinach into warm brown rice is a smart way to get more vegetables and jazz up an otherwise plain starchy side. Our pro tips for speedy cooking: Cut chicken into bite-size pieces so it cooks in just a few minutes, use precooked rice and heat it in the microwave, then use the hot rice to wilt the spinach for you while you finish the chicken. Fresh thyme, chopped basil, or parsley are all good stand-ins for the rosemary. Round out the meal with a glass of sauvignon blanc.

Garlic-Sautéed Shrimp

Peeled shrimp may be convenient, but here the shells–and heads if you are lucky enough to find them still on–are transformed into a quick stock that adds a boost of flavor. Serve the garlic-sautéed shrimp as an appetizer or use them as a topping for pasta or risotto.

Lemon & Dill Chicken

Fresh lemon and dill create a quick Greek-inspired pan sauce for simple sautéed chicken breasts. Make it a meal: Serve with roasted broccoli and whole-wheat orzo.

Summer Skillet Vegetable & Egg Scramble

Don’t toss out those almost-past-their-prime vegetables and fresh herbs. Toss them into this skillet egg scramble for a quick vegetarian meal. Nearly any vegetable will work in this easy skillet recipe, so choose your favorites or use what you have on hand.

Kung Pao Tofu

Laura Kanya; Breana Killeen (Food Styling)

Kung pao sauce is typically made with dark soy sauce and sugar—we lightened it up in calories but still kept the dark color by swapping in a touch of molasses. Cooking the tofu and vegetables over high heat means they get crisp on the outside but stay tender in the center.

Basil-Tomato Chicken Skillet

Quick cooking chicken tenderloins and packaged spinach make this dinner recipe come together in just 25 minutes.

Spicy Tamarind Stewed Fish & Okra

This healthy fish curry recipe showcases the complex flavors of Singapore. Soak up the sauce with rice noodles or brown rice. For eco-friendly fish choices, visit seafoodwatch.org.