The Best Whole30 Recipes You Need To Try

When the Whole30 program first came out in 2009, it took healthy living circles by storm. This diet developed by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig aims to suss out any food intolerances and help you build a diet that works for you, not against you (via U.S. & World Report News). The idea? Eradicate any possibly inflammatory foods from your diet for 30 straight days before slowly reintroducing them, keeping tabs on which ones make you feel fine and which ones don't.

Whole30 is strict, to say the least. Rather than list things you can't eat on the protocol, it's easier to signal those you can: veggies, fruits (in moderation), unprocessed meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Off the table are all forms of added sugar, all dairy, all vegetable fats aside from olive oil and coconut oil, all grains, and legumes like soy and peanuts (via Whole30).

Starting the Whole30 diet can feel a bit overwhelming at first, as so many staples go out the door. Gone are breakfasts of oatmeal or muffins, along with sandwich lunches and dinners of pasta or rice. Cheese and dessert are no more. Gone, even, are options you once relied on as healthy staples, like lentils and beans. But once you get the hang of it, you'll find that many compliant recipes are actually delicious — and they're not all that different from what you might have eaten pre-protocol.

An eggy casserole – hold the cheese

On Whole30, you'll get very accustomed to having eggs for breakfast. Protein-rich and filling, they're the perfect way to start your day. This egg casserole is almost 100 percent Whole30 compliant as it's originally written. The only change you'll have to make? Ditch the feta. 

With tomatoes, onions, spinach, and chives, this casserole is still delicious without the cheese. But if you're missing that savory flavor that cheese brings to the table, consider sprinkling your slice with some nutritional yeast, a B-vitamin-rich seasoning that's dairy-free and Whole30 approved.

Cucumber-tomato salad for a quick and easy lunch

Instead of lunchtime sandwiches, quick salads will soon become your noontime staple. This cucumber-tomato salad is seasoned with a dressing made with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Red onion and fresh herbs add a punch of flavor and gorgeous color. Enjoy on its own or with a hard-boiled egg or piece of grilled chicken for added protein. And while it's phenomenal freshly made, this salad can actually get better with time, as the dressing absorbs into the crunchy cucumber and become fully infused into the salad.

Sheet pan chicken that couldn't be simpler

Some people find that in their first days on the Whole30 protocol, they start to get hangry, cranky, and grumpy. Program proponents call this the "Sugar Dragon," an out-of-control feeling that is largely attributed to weaning your body off sugar (via Whole30). When the Sugar Dragon rears its ugly head, it can be tempting to give up. So do yourself a favor and plan for some easy dinner options that are ready fast. 

This sheet pan chicken does the job, combining chicken breasts, veggies, and seasonings on one baking sheet. Pop it in the oven and dinner will be on the table in under 30 minutes. The only change you need to make from this recipe as written is to sub ghee or olive oil for the butter, which is a Whole30 no-no.

Roasted asparagus as a side or snack

Snacking is discouraged on Whole30, but especially in the first few days on the program, it can be tough to manage your new hunger signals. While your body gets used to your new eating habits, it's nice to have some leftovers you can devour quickly — and preferably something not too high in (even natural) sugar. That's where these asparagus come in handy. This simple veggie dish is the perfect side to a plain grilled or roasted protein. They're also delicious when quickly reheated in the oven or, let's be honest, devoured cold out of the fridge.

Roasted carrots are sweet and savory

Roasted carrots are another phenomenal side dish option, and it can be fun to play up their natural sweetness by pairing them with different sauces. Chimichurri is a fun topping that pairs equally well with beef as with carrots, for instance, or a pesto sauce that switches out vegan ingredients like nutritional yeast for the Parmesan cheese. Leftovers can be sliced into small chunks and added to meal salads with other leftovers, like grilled chicken or hard-boiled eggs.

Roasted broccoli with lots of char

Forget the sad, wilted broccoli of your youth. We're not steaming these pretty little florets. Instead, we're roasting them until they're crispy and charred. A touch of lemon juice perks them up and counterbalances that delightful sweetness. You can also season them with your choice of spices, be they red pepper flakes, cumin, or even nutritional yeast. However you decide to dress them up or down, these florets are a delicious side to any protein. Honestly, we have a hard time keeping ourselves from snacking on them right off the baking tray.

Slow-cooker fajitas are fast and flavorful

Recipes with just a handful of whole food ingredients are the key to keeping yourself sane on Whole30. Long ingredient lists loaded with packaged goods will have you scanning the backs of a billion bags and boxes before you even begin cooking. That's why we love these four-ingredient fajitas, which are super quick and easy to make in the slow-cooker. Just be sure to choose a Whole30 compliant taco seasoning or — better yet — stir together your own blend from spice cabinet staples.

Cauliflower rice – with a caveat

Whole30 is all about training your body to conceive of food differently, breaking your cravings, and challenging your reliance on foods like starches and sugars. So transforming a compliant food such as cauliflower into a typically non-compliant food — like pizza crust — is usually frowned upon in Whole30 circles. But if you're not making it every night and turning it into a crutch for a grain addiction, this lime-scented cauliflower rice can be a fun addition to those slow-cooker fajitas up top or even a base for a coconut-scented Thai curry.

Cabbage soup that's filling and yummy

For a rich, hearty dinner that makes enough for leftovers, this cabbage soup is a delicious choice. Marrying fire-roasted tomatoes and a host of veggies, it's a simple soup that's just as tasty for dinner as for a snack on days when unexpected hunger reels its ugly head. The only changes you've got to make? Swapping out the butter for ghee and the potatoes for mild cauliflower florets or sweet potato. Regular old spuds, which are full of carbohydrates, are not Whole30 approved.

Salmon en papillote is fancy and photogenic

Just because you're on the Whole30 protocol doesn't mean all of your dinners have to look like health food. These pretty parcels of herbed salmon and cherry tomatoes make a delightful, 100 percent compliant main perfect for an on-program date night. They're on the table in under an hour, which gives you just enough time to whip up a yummy side salad with spinach, red onion, and balsamic vinaigrette. Now that's a colorful plate!

Hearty roast beef with veggies

Cooked low and slow in the oven for two whole hours, this roast beef emerges tender, juicy, and flavorful. Only one small change needs to be made to this recipe to make it Whole30 compliant: subbing coconut aminos for the Worcestershire sauce.

You may not have heard of this fermented, coconut-based product before, but it's about to become your new secret weapon. The dark, salty sauce with a slight sweetness easily stands in not only for Worcestershire but also for soy sauce, adding an unmistakable rich umami flavor to all of your favorite recipes.

A vegetarian entrée that's yummy and satisfying

Whole30 can be pretty heavy on the meat, so on a night when you need something a little bit lighter, give these cabbage steaks a try. Roasted in a hot oven, they emerge crispy and caramelized and far tastier than you might have imagined.

These cabbage steaks are plenty yummy on their own, but they also make a tasty base for a host of toppings. Consider piling on a fresh tomato salad, diced avocado, or even a fried egg to complete the meal.

Giardiniera is the Whole30 topping you didn't know you needed

Lightly pickled in apple cider vinegar, this Italian vegetable medley of cauliflower, carrots, celery, onion, and bell pepper is the ideal fridge staple to perk up a meal salad or tired leftovers. Pair it with creamy avocado, leftover grilled chicken, and your favorite lettuce for a meal salad that's filling and satisfying, or pile it alongside your morning scrambled eggs to add some brightness to your breakfast.