The microwave has been relegated to serve as a simple heater of leftovers, but it's good for so much more. No, we don’t mean they’re also a cancer-causing death trap — there’s little convincing evidence that microwave ovens release enough radiation to harm human beings. In fact, microwave ovens have been taking undeserved criticism for way too long: They’re called ovens for a reason, and they can create meals equal to anything from a standard oven.
Skeptical? We’ve put together a list of absolutely delicious meals — breakfast, snacks, dinner, and dessert — that will quickly make you forget all the disappointing, soggy pizza and rubbery leftover meat. Whip up just one of these beauties & you won’t believe your taste buds.
Strawberry and Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl
Buckwheat groats might sound a bit intimidating, but they’re a terrific source of complete protein and a great substitute for plain old morning oatmeal. This gluten-free breakfast combines oats, flax meal, and applesauce with fiber-rich buckwheat for a delicious meal that can't be beat in healthfulness or taste.
One-Minute Quiche in a Mug
This versatile recipe delivers perfection time after time, regardless of the ingredients. Instead of a pastry crust, this version mixes torn bread with the eggs, veggies, butter, and milk. This might just be your new favorite on-the-go breakfast!
French Toast in a Cup
It’s not quite as crunchy as thick French toast made in a pan, but this very viable alternative is nearly as tasty — and it only takes two minutes to make. Torn bread and whisked eggs remain the primary ingredients, and this breakfast is just as versatile as the traditional version. We like ours with cinnamon and a little vanilla extract!
Cinnamon Maple Breakfast Quinoa
This healthy breakfast imbues quinoa with a creamy, cinnamon-y quality to great effect, delivering a protein-packed, high-fiber breakfast that tastes like a pancake gone healthy.
Crack a couple of eggs into a bowl, scramble with a fork, and microwave in thirty second increments until cooked through, stirring at each interval. Alakazam, scrambled eggs! Throw in some chopped veggies and serve with a slice of toast for a complete, filling meal.
Sweet Potato and Parsnip Chips
For some slightly unusual chips, this recipe is a great way to use up some veggies. It comes out looking super classy — not to mention, these chips are a great excuse to experiment with some healthy dips!
Toasting nuts releases their essential oils, which gives them that oh-so-fragrant scent. But, using the oven isn’t always necessary. Microwaving nuts won’t give them the same dark color as using the oven, but this method will give them a crunch and taste that’s nearly identical to the traditional method.
DIY Microwave Popcorn
You don’t need to spend entire dollars on store-bought microwave popcorn. It’s easy (and a lot cheaper) to DIY with some corn kernels, a paper bag, and a little tape. Movie night, here we come!
Whether it’s for topping a dessert or to nosh on its own (we won’t tell), toasting coconut has never been so easy. Simply microwaving for 30-second bursts and stirring regularly results in picture-perfect toasted coconut in under ten minutes.
Grain-Free English Muffin
Whether you’re eating gluten-free, avoiding grains, or just love almond flour (we don’t blame you!), these English muffins are a terrific addition to a healthy breakfast. Paleo McMuffins, anyone?
Four-Minute Corn on the Cob
The trick to making really simple corn on the cob is to leave the husks on — there’s no need for stripping, soaking, wrapping, or even a plate! After four short minutes, the corn is perfectly cooked, without the mess.
No need for a steamer here. All that’s required is a microwave-safe bowl with a cover. Don’t be shy — it turns out that cooking vegetables in a microwave may help them better retain their nutrients, due to the shortened cooking time.
Quick and Easy Polenta
Polenta is a wonderful and filling base for just about any savory meal, and it works especially well as a comfort food during cold, winter months. It turns out the cornmeal-based dish is super easy to make in the microwave, too. This recipe pairs the creamy stuff with sautéed greens for an easy comfort meal that’s rich in flavor and nutrients.
Wine, butter, broth, and cheese come together to create this simple, French-inspired risotto that's versatile enough to take on any extra vegetables. We’d include some sautéed mushrooms and spinach, but the possibilities are endless.
Chicken and Mushroom in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Some of the dishes on this list are designed to be wonderful in their simplicity, but this recipe is far more complex — and equally rewarding. Made in four distinct stages, the end result is a rich and healthy meal with a variety of vegetables and a thick, sweet sauce. You’ll never think of microwaves as a second class cooking utensil again!
It’s a little-known fact that the iron in eggs needs to be accompanied with a source of vitamin C to be properly absorbed. Here’s a meal that solves that eternal egg dilemma in a delicious fashion: Hollow out a pepper, fill with eggs and spices, microwave ‘til amazing. It’s not a long wait!
Flaky Microwaved Salmon
This is a dish that really nails the message that the microwave is an oven and can make dishes so healthy, tasty, and fast that you’ll wish you’d taken advantage sooner. The Sriracha mayonnaise adds a lot to this meal, but we recommend swapping the mayo portion for some protein-rich Greek yogurt.
Minute Microwave Cheesecake
Cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, egg, and a sweetener of your choosing all come together to make this astonishingly simple, delicious, and low-carbohydrate dessert. Top with plenty of fresh berries, and there might be no need for extra sweetener at all!
Healthy Oatmeal Cookie
A great option for breakfast or dessert, this cookie comes in at under 100 calories per serving (well, if you skip the chocolate chips!). Made from whole-wheat flour, egg whites, and applesauce, this is the perfect choice for a light, high-fiber snack.
Chocolate Chip Cake in a Mug
In less than five minutes, you can have healthy, gluten-free cake in your belly — and with this single-serving recipe, there’s no chance of overeating. This calls for a few tablespoons of xylitol or artificial sweetener, but feel free to sub for sugar or another natural sweetener if you’d prefer. The result — in the form of one larger serving or two more modest ones — is astoundingly good.
Click over to Greatist for the complete list of delicious microwave recipes.