Coconut-crusted fish tacos, plus nine more impressive recipes that any guy can make.
Robin Hilmantel 1 / 11
Sure, you could take your girlfriend out to dinner (again). But as a card-carrying woman, I can tell you that you’ll impress her way more if you fire up the oven and make her something from scratch. These recipes, while they sound fancy (so as to earn you the most points possible) are actually pretty beginner-friendly. Whip one up, follow the meal with a pint of gelato for dessert, and prepare to see her swoon.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
2. Mix together all ingredients for the coconut crust. Set aside.
3. Rinse tilapia filets and pat dry with a paper towel. Squeeze lime juice over fish and then coat with the coconut mixture. Place on lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish. Broil for the last minute to get the coconut nice and brown. Remove from oven and use a fork to gently break filets into smaller pieces.
4. While fish is cooking, prepare mango salsa. Dice veggies and mango and place in a small bowl. Add lime juice, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. The salsa can be made up to a day ahead.
5. Once fish is done, assemble tacos: Add fish, mango salsa, avocado chunks, and cotija cheese to warm tortillas and serve immediately.
1. In a small food processor, combine all vinaigrette ingredients and purée until smooth and emulsified.
To make the salad:
1. Bring a small pot of water to boil; add green beans and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until bright green. Drain and run green beans under cold water or shock in a bowl of ice water.
2. Spray grill grates with nonstick cooking spray or brush grates with oil. Heat grill to 500° F. Place steak on the grill and cover to cook, flipping once, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare.
3. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the steak against the grain.
4. Drain green beans and pat dry. In a large bowl, toss together baby spinach, blanched green beans, strawberries, radishes, toasted almonds, and just enough of the shallot vinaigrette to coat lightly. Portion onto four plates, top with sliced steak, drizzle with additional vinaigrette, and serve.
1. Combine mozzarella and Parmesan in a small bowl, toss and set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, gently mix ricotta and egg; season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Heat 1/2 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 lasagna noodles, then top with half of the vegetables, a few spoonfuls of sauce, followed by half of the ricotta mixture, then one-third of the mozzarella mixture.
4. Make the next layer with 2 more noodles, remaining vegetables, a few more spoonfuls of sauce, the remaining ricotta, and an additional one-third of the shredded cheese.
5. For the final layer, use the two remaining noodles, followed by remaining sauce and shredded cheese. Cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and noodles are tender.
6. Allow to cool slightly and garnish with fresh basil before serving.
3-4 Tbsp high-quality curry powder (I like the one from Trader Joe’s)
1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt (or more to taste)
1 large red onion, chopped
3-5 medium garlic cloves, chopped (adjust the amount of garlic based on how spicy you like it)
8 oz firm tofu, cut into small cubes
2 heads of broccoli
1 lb asparagus, chopped
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped cashews, toasted
A handful of cilantro, loosely chopped (optional)
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (if you like things spicy)
Cumin, cardamom, and pepper to taste
Brown rice, for serving
1. Cut all your veggies. Saute the onion and 2 cloves chopped garlic in 1/2 tsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp curry powder and salt, and stir until combined.
2. Add the coconut milk to the onion mixture, bring to simmer, and work out any clumps. Stir in the tofu, and cook for a few minutes, until the tofu has absorbed most of the flavors. Simmer the liquid on low heat until it has cooked down slightly.
3. Meanwhile, in a large pan, saute the broccoli, asparagus, and pepper (or whatever veggies you use) with 2 cloves chopped garlic over medium heat. Add salt, cayenne, and remaining curry power/cumin and other spices to taste. Cook until veggies are crisp.
4. Pour tofu/coconut milk mixture over veggies (in the pan) and stir to combine.
5. Add additional spices as needed. Cook through for a few minutes.
6. Remove from heat and stir in cashews. Serve with brown rice.
6 oz mini Portobello mushrooms, finely chopped, hard stems removed if necessary
½ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
10 mint leaves, coarsely chopped
3 green onions, diced (green and white parts)
Large romaine lettuce leaves (about 8)
1. Whisk ginger, garlic, lime zest and juice, soy sauce and red pepper flakes in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and stir-fry until soft. Add ginger mixture and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the cilantro, mint and green onions and remove from heat.
3. Serve mushroom mixture on large romaine leaves and fold over on each side to make into a wrap.
Tandoori Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Skewers and Yogurt Cilantro Sauce
For the meatballs:
2 lb extra-lean ground turkey
1 cup quinoa, cooked or quick-cooking oats
1 large egg
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin ½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh ginger, crushed
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
4 Tbsp low-fat plain yogurt
1 tsp salt
For the zucchini skewers:
12 wood skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
4 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise in half, then sliced lengthwise again and cut into ½" pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
For the yogurt sauce:
1 ½ cups low-fat plain yogurt
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp honey
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Soak wood skewers in water while combining meatball ingredients.
3. Combine turkey, quinoa, egg, coriander, paprika, cumin, turmeric, garlic powder, ginger, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne, 4 tablespoons yogurt, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Mix will be soft.
3. Preheat a large nonstick skillet sprayed generously with cooking spray over medium heat. Working in batches, use an ice cream scoop to place 6 meatballs into the pan and brown on both sides for 3 - 4 minutes per side, then remove to the baking sheet. Make the second batch and place them on the baking sheet as well.
4. Combine zucchini, olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a second bowl. Skewer zucchini and arrange around the meatballs.
5. Bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, taking care not to over-cook or meatballs will be tough. I slice one to make sure it’s no longer raw in the middle with just a faint tinge of pink, then remove from the oven to allow the meatballs to finish cooking.
6. While meatballs are cooking, combine remaining yogurt, cilantro, honey, and cayenne in a bowl and chill.
2 cups water or low-sodium broth (for cooking quinoa)
2 10 oz. bags of frozen broccoli florets (make sure to buy the broccoli florets and not chopped broccoli)
½ Tbsp olive oil
½ large yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 8-oz block of good quality cheddar cheese
2 cups mushroom soup (not condensed), store-bought or homemade
Sea salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
1. Lightly coat a casserole dish (I used a 9 x 12 x 2 inch dish) with non-stick spray or lightly grease.
2. Prepare quinoa using water or broth, according to package directions. You should end up with about 3 cups of cooked, fluffy quinoa.
3. Preheat oven to 350°.
4. Place frozen broccoli florets in a colander and run cool water over them for a minute. They may not defrost completely but that’s okay. Drain well and set aside.
5. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant. Set aside.
6. Meanwhile, shred cheese by using a food processor with the shredding attachment or with a handheld grater. Measure out ½ cup to sprinkle on top of the casserole.
7. In a large bowl combine the onion and garlic mixture, quinoa, broccoli, shredded cheese, and soup. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to greased baking dish and top with remaining ½ cup shredded cheese.
8. Cover and bake for 25 mins. Uncover and bake for 15-20 minutes more or until the casserole is heated through and cheese has melted. Serve warm.
One 15-oz can enchilada sauce (mild, medium, or hot)
½ cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
Eight 8-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil or coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 minutes. Add the spinach, cumin, and chili powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, 3 more minutes. Transfer the cooked veggies to a large bowl and set aside to cool, about 5 minutes. When cool, stir in 1 cup of the cheese, beans, corn, and cilantro until well combined.
3. Meanwhile, place the enchilada sauce and pumpkin in a medium-size bowl and whisk until well combined. Spread ½ cup of the mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
4. To assemble the enchiladas, place ½ cup of filling down the center of each flour tortilla. Roll up tightly, tucking in the ends, and place seam side down in the dish. Cover evenly with the remainder of the sauce, sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese, and bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes.