Everyone should have a collection of nutritious, tasty recipes that can be prepared in a pinch. Every Monday during March – National Nutrition Month – we’ll feature one recipe per week that can be prepared in under 15 minutes.

What can you look for when planning a meal that will come together in under 15 minutes?

  • Quick cooking grains. Think instant brown rice, couscous, microwaved sweet potatoes or white potatoes, or even smaller cut pastas like orzo, angel hair, macaroni or ditalini.
  • Vegetarian protein sources like canned beans, lentils, and nuts or nut butters. These often have short cooking times where you are doing more heating than cooking. Eggs, fish, and even ground meats also tend to cook quickly.
  • Pre-cut canned or frozen vegetables are a budget friendly option that can save a few minutes of prep time in your recipe.
  • Choose components that can be prepared simultaneously, such as whisking together a sauce while noodles are boiling, or sautéing vegetables and proteins in the pan at the same time.

15 minute spicy noodle bowl

Makes 2 servings


  • 4 oz lo mein noodles
  • 1 tablespoon butter or plant based margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 1 sliced green onion

Optional toppings: baked tofu, edamame, hard cooked egg, peanuts, cooked shrimp, shredded chicken


  1. Boil water for noodles and cook according to package directions.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together sriracha, brown sugar, and soy sauce to create sauce. Set aside.
  3. In large skillet, heat butter or margarine over high heat. Add red pepper. Whisk egg in a bowl and add to skillet—stir gently and cook through. Turn off heat.
  4. When noodles are done cooking, drain. Add noodles to skillet along with the prepared sauce. Top mixture with cilantro, green onions, and any optional toppings, if using.

Recipe source: Adapted from budgetbytes.com

Modifications: Sub thin spaghetti, linguini or rice noodles for low mein noodles; omit egg for vegan version; stir in tablespoon of peanut butter along with noodles at the end and top with peanuts; sub sesame oil or olive oil in place of butter/margarine; top with sprouts or sesame seeds; top with additional veggies like sautéed onions, peppers, shredded Napa cabbage, broccoli or carrots

Written by: Beth Kindamo, Nutrition Education Coordinator, UHC Health Promotion