By Carl Hanson
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Clean Eating is simple. Essentially, clean eating is about eating more healthy foods and fewer unhealthy, heavily processed or refined foods and foods with added sugars and unhealthy fats. When we talk about healthy clean eating recipes, we're talking fresh, whole ingredients, organic and eaten in season when possible, and prepared in unfussy ways that highlight natural flavors.

You've heard Michael Pollan's maxim: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." That's kind of the essence of clean eating, too. And if you're doing the Mediterranean Diet, you're already eating clean.

Clean eating is eating close to nature, without too much human or industrial interference along the way.

Here's a simple way to determine if food fits the clean-eating concept. Consult the label. For starters, if it has a label, it may not be clean. But if it's a can of beans or tomatoes with only one or two ingredients, that's clean. Longer ingredient lists filled with unpronounceable words? Not so much.

There's no rigid regime to follow. Organic produce and grass-fed meats are preferred. Breads are brown and made from whole grains. Healthy fats are favored, including olive and nut oils. Added sugars, salt, and additives are out, as are trans-fats and highly processed and refined foods. Simple ingredients, simple preparations. You get the idea.

Now let's grab a glass of red wine, sit down with friends and family, and enjoy some simple clean eating recipes.

Clean Eating Dinner Recipes: Main Dishes

Clean eating salmon recipes benefit from being healthy and, generally speaking, simple to prepare -- since the best salmon recipes treat the fish with a light touch. "This quick salmon dish is perfect for a weeknight dinner," says CHEDDAR97005. "Serve with a side of sauteed spinach and a glass of pinot noir."

Photo by CookinBug

This delicious, colorful roasted pork tenderloin dish works great with any stone fruit. It's one of our favorite clean eating meat recipes.

Photo by lutzflcat

"This meal is very yummy, juicy, easy to cook, and convenient," says maddy cruise. "My fiancee loves this recipe and wants it everyday. Try it!"

Photo by Spunky Buddy

Clean Eating Chicken Recipes

Here's another in a long list of easy clean eating recipes for beginners and expert cooks alike. "This is a simple, quick and delicious dish," says Carolyn. "All you need are a few spices and, of course, the chicken! Add more or less spice according to your taste. Enjoy!"

Another big hit among the clean eating chicken breast recipes. "This easy, quick, and light dish has exceptional flavor," says Semigourmet. "The rosemary plays perfectly with strong garlic flavor and a hint of lemon for bright fresh flavor."

Photo by Deb C

"Excellent served with pita bread, a garlicky tzatziki, and a Greek salad," says Dolce Cuoco. "Lamb can be substituted for the chicken, and many variations on vegetables can be used."

Photo by CookinBug

Avocado clean eating recipes are always a favorite! These mouthwatering grilled chicken burgers feature caramelized onion, provolone cheese, and avocado slices.

Photo by Allrecipes

Find more of our favorite clean eating chicken recipes.

Clean Eating Soup Recipes

Always a favorite vegetarian clean eating recipe, this hearty lentil soup is "chock full of veggies and very yummy," says Marie.

Photo by larkspur

"I love mushroom barley soup and I was originally making one that took about 3 hours to cook," SANDI149. "This one is so simple and easy and takes a third of the time. If you like mushroom barley soup, you will really like this. It's perfect for a cold winter night."

Photo by lutzflcat

Complete Your Clean Eating Meals: Side Dishes

Grill or bake red potatoes with Vidalia onion wedges and carrots marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, and rosemary.

Photo by larkspur

"A crisp, fresh-vegetable salad with a simple oil-and-vinegar dressing," says Coyote House.

Photo by lutzflcat

Cauliflower is tossed with olive oil and garlic sprinkled with Parmesan and broiled until tender and golden brown.

Photo by KGora

"A great complement with souvlaki," says koko. "All you need is a great Greek salad for a full meal!"

Photo by lutzflcat

In this savory side dish, butternut squash, seedless red grapes, and sweet onions are roasted with pine nuts and sage leaves.

Photo by lutzflcat

So easy. Simply season green beans with salt and minced garlic, then toss on the hot grill.

Photo by LilSnoo

Clean Eating Salad Recipes

Here's a quick and easy kale Caesar with a tangy anchovy-infused dressing and ribbons of nutritious kale. "This kale salad recipe is very quick and simple," says thisgirllikesfood2003. "Pour remaining dressing into a container, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 weeks."

Photo by France C.

Toss cooked, cooled quinoa with toasted almonds, dried cranberries, colorful bell peppers, and red onions and dress with a curry powder, cilantro, and lime juice dressing.

Photo by Clarisa

A refreshing zucchini salad dressed with a fresh mint, lemon juice, and olive oil dressing.

Photo by lutzflcat

Cherry tomatoes and crunchy cauliflower combine for a festive salad with a light, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and olive oil dressing.

Photo by lutzflcat

"This is an easy, healthy salad that is a great side dish to BBQ chicken, beef or fish," says sourdough girl. "It can also be easily adapted to a Tex-Mex style by changing the lemon to lime, parsley to cilantro and adding ground cumin and/or chili powder!"

Photo by naples34102

Clean Eating Breakfast Recipes

A tasty homemade granola with oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

Megan's Granola | Photo by CCLoves2Bake

A quick-and-easy egg and tomato stir fry in avocado oil.

Photo by LilSnoo

Simple savory bites of quinoa, zucchini, ham, egg, and cheese.

Photo by jenjen

Peanut oil and honey roasted peanuts whirled around in a food processor until smooth -- it's so easy to make your own peanut butter.

Photo by KGora


Want more clean eating diet recipes? Check out more of our Best Clean Eating Recipes.