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Little or No Cooking Required

Brooke Marsal, MS, RD
September 7, 2023
September 7, 2023

Over and over again you hear dietitians, doctors, and other health professionals recommend home cooking. But what if you don’t have anything to cook with or only have a microwave? Or what if you don’t have much time to cook? Can you still eat healthy? Luckily the answer is yes, you absolutely can! 

It All Starts with Basic Ingredients

Healthy eating all starts with the ingredients. And the great news is many staple foods don’t even need to be refrigerated! Of course the cold temperature of the fridge will help food last longer, but many foods can last for a little while when stored on the counter. Below are some healthy foods you can purchase even if you don’t have a fridge. 

  • Produce: onion, cucumber, red pepper, carrots, fresh peas, celery, garlic
  • Healthy Canned Food: canned beans or peas (low sodium), tuna
  • Dried Foods: quick oats, dried milk, dried parsley, dried oregano, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper
  • Bottled Foods: olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil
  • Other: bread, crackers, instant brown rice, peanut butter, mayonnaise packets

Once you have some staple ingredients you can start creating healthy delicious meals. These are some of our favorite no-cook and microwave meals made with the ingredients listed above.

Trying to eat healthfully on a budget? A 6oz can of tuna is packed with 24g protein, and 1 cup of peas contains around 8g fiber and 8g protein. They might set you back around $2, but they're loaded with vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fats.

Recipes - No Cooking Required

Tuna Salad Sandwich


  • 1 can of tuna (5 ounces)
  • ½ stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 Tbsp of red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley 
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 packet of mayo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 2 slices of bread, cucumbers, crackers


  • Drain the liquid from the tuna cans
  • Mix the tuna with the mayo, diced celery, red onion, parsley, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper
  • Serve as desired. Can use for a sandwich, spoon on top of cucumber slices, eat with crackers, or consume on it’s own 

Nutrition Facts (for the tuna salad served as a sandwich with 2 slices of bread): Calories 330, Total Fat 13.1 g, Saturated Fat 2.6 g, Cholesterol 44 mg, Sodium 320 mg, Total Carbs 10.9 g, Fiber: 1.2 g, Sugar 1.4 g, Protein 39.6 g 

Bean Salad 


  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, no salt
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Drain and rinse the can of beans
  • Mix all ingredients into a bowl and enjoy

Nutrition Facts: Calories 490, Total Fat 20.3 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 51 mg, Total Carbs 68.6 g, Fiber 19.7 g, Sugar 6.7 g, Protein 16.4 g



  • ½ cup quick oats 
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup powdered milk
  • 1-2 Tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter of choice) 
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste


  • Mix powdered milk with water
  • Mix oats, cinnamon, and salt 
  • Add 1/2 cup of milk to oats and let sit for 20 minutes
  • Stir in peanut butter
  • Enjoy

Nutrition Facts: Calories 372, Total Fat 10.7 g, Saturated Fat 2.2 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Sodium 257 mg, Total Carbs 49.1 g, Fiber 5.7 g, Sugar 17.9 g, Protein 21.9 g

Recipes - Microwave Only

Stuffed Red Peppers


  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 can of garbanzo Beans
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • pinches of sea salt & pepper


  • Drain chickpeas and season with garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, sea salt & pepper, red onion, parsley, and olive oil. Mix it up.
  • Slice a bell pepper in half and carve out the inside.
  • Place the bell pepper halves in small microwave-safe bowls and add a few tablespoons of water to the bowl to help the bell pepper soften while it cooks.
  • Stuff the bell pepper halves with chickpea mix and microwave for 3.5 minutes.
  • Enjoy

Nutrition Facts: Calories 409, Total Fat 17 g, Saturated Fat 2.1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 448 mg, Total Carbs 54.6 g, Fiber 3.2 g, Sugar 15.2 g, Protein 13.9 g

Microwave “Fried” Rice 


  • 1 cup instant brown rice
  • ½ Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ Tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp ginger, minced 
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 Tbsp red onion
  • 2 eggs, beaten


  • Cook the instant brown rice in the microwave per the instruction on the packet 
  • Add all seasonings, carrots, and peas into the rice and cook for 2 more minutes
  • microwave beaten eggs in a flat dish so that they cook in a thin layer.
  • Cut up cooked egg into slices, and mix into the rice and vegetables.
  • Fluff, let cool slightly, then stir and enjoy 

Nutrition Facts: Calories 380, Total Fat 6.2 g, Saturated Fat 0.8mg, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 684 mg, Total Carbs 69.3 g, Fiber 12.6 g, Sugar 14.4 g, Protein 14.2 g

You don’t have to be a skilled cook or have access to fancy equipment in order to be healthy. There are still plenty of ways to eat healthy at home. Hopefully these recipes provide some inspiration for ways in which you can use simple ingredients to create delicious and healthy meals.