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Look, I get it. It’s 5:30 p.m., you’re exhausted from your school or work day (or maybe both), and you really don’t have the energy to whip up a Gordon Ramsay-approved meal. But you still want something fresh and comforting, you’ve already ordered takeout twice this week and that box of Easy Mac that’s been in your pantry for months is just not going to cut it (but don’t get me wrong, those certainly have their time and place).

Enter: a sheet pan meal. I have heavily relied on sheet pan meals ever since moving into my first apartment because they require very little effort, are super customizable and are always satisfying.

The best part about sheet pan meals is that they can become just about anything. You want crispy tofu? Sheet pan. You want tacos? Sheet pan. You want chicken shawarma? Sheet pan.

Even if you’re not totally sure what you want, you can just chop up any veggies you’ve got, drizzle them with some cooking oil and spices and toss them in the oven! It really does not get any simpler than that.

If you’re someone who really needs a recipe to cook anything, don’t worry! Tons of food bloggers have great sheet pan recipes. This sheet pan lemon rosemary dijon chicken and potatoes with feta goddess sauce by Half Baked Harvest has inspired quite a few of my recent sheet pan endeavors. I also love this sheet pan chicken fajita recipe by Food Network (though I usually add my own flair to it).

 

My latest sheet pan creation was a mediterranean herb salmon with potatoes and asparagus, and it was so simple and delicious. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what I did:

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Cut up a russet potato into cubes. Drizzle with olive oil and seasoning of choice (I stuck to a basic salt, pepper and garlic powder). Add the potatoes to one side of a sheet pan and cook for about 20 minutes.

  2. Cut the stems off the asparagus (use however much you want; green beans work too!), then cut them into thirds. Season the asparagus the same way as the potatoes. Add those to the pan when the potatoes are done (keep the potatoes on still!) and cook for about 5 minutes.

  3. For the salmon, I used a pre-marinated mediterranean herb salmon I picked up from Aldi, but you can definitely use a regular salmon filet and season it however you’d like! I recommend getting a cut of salmon that still has the skin on (I know it looks creepy, but trust me). Place the salmon skin-side down on the pan after the potatoes and asparagus have cooked for five minutes, then cook everything together for 10-12 more minutes. The salmon should be able to flake with a fork and come right off of the skin.

 

And that’s it! I served mine over some mixed greens, and I had plenty of leftovers for my next few dinners. (Check out our TikTok for a tutorial video, too!)

 

The next time you’re feeling unmotivated or exhausted and don’t want to order takeout for the upteenth time, I encourage you to try a sheet pan meal! They’re simple, tasty, comforting, and can save you a whole lot of money in the long run.

Amanda is a senior at Loyola University Chicago studying English and multimedia journalism. She's originally from the Cleveland, Ohio, area and is a huge baseball fan. When she's not drowning in papers (and even sometimes when she is), Amanda can probably be found watching her latest Netflix obsession or drinking coffee in one of the many great cafés throughout Chicago.
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