3 Gourmet meals made in a microwave

Apr 22, 2013 at 3:58 a.m. ET

Challenge yourself to go beyond heating frozen dinners with the complex flavors in these made-from-scratch, gourmet microwave meals.

Salmon and fennel

Cooking in the microwave doesn't mean your meal needs to be boring or even simple. It just means it will come together fast! Even a quickly prepared dish can boast a sophisticated flavor profile, and the recipes below prove it in only a few minutes. You'll love the perfectly balanced flavors of the salmon soup, the pleasing texture of spaghetti squash with ricotta or the rich and lemony aroma of the chicken piccata.

Microwave salmon and fennel soup with garlic aioli

A refreshing, yet filling, soup with slightly sweet fennel and a tangy aioli to balance out the richness of the salmon.

Serves 4


  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 medium fennel, bulbs and fronds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Finely chop the garlic clove. Then add a pinch of salt and use the flat side of your knife to rub in the salt, creating a garlic paste. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and garlic paste until smooth. Set the aioli aside.
  2. Remove about 1/4 cup of the fennel fronds and set aside. Remove the fennel bulbs from their stocks, cut them into quarters and cut out the tough core. Thinly slice the fennel and toss it in a 2-quart microwave-safe dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cover and microwave on high until tender, about three minutes.
  3. Drizzle the salmon fillets with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle them with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Add the salmon to the dish in a single layer on top of the fennel. Cover and microwave for two minutes. Add vegetable broth and microwave for another minute.
  4. Divide the broth and fennel evenly between four bowls, and then add a salmon fillet to each. Top each salmon portion with a tablespoon of the aioli and sprinkle some of the fennel fronds evenly between the bowls.

Spaghetti Squash with Ricotta and Herbs Recipe

Microwave spaghetti squash with ricotta and herbs

Spaghetti squash cooks fastest in the microwave and is perfectly adorned with creamy ricotta and vibrant herbs.

Serves 4


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced basil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half from stem end to bottom and use a spoon to remove the seeds and pulp. In a microwave-safe dish, add 1/2 cup of water and add one or both spaghetti squash halves (may need to do one at a time, depending on the size of the dish and the microwave) cut side up. Microwave on high until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Using a fork, gently scrape out the squash strands and place in a medium bowl. Toss the spaghetti squash with the olive oil and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the spaghetti squash evenly among four plates. Top each serving with 1/4 cup ricotta and a tablespoon each of chives and basil. Serve warm or room temperature.

Microwave Chicken Piccata Recipe

Microwave chicken piccata

This thinly-pounded chicken cooks up in no time and thrills the senses with a fragrant and zesty lemon-butter-caper sauce.

Serves 4 


  • 8 chicken tenderloins or four chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, divided use
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper


  1. If using chicken breasts, cut them in half. Place the pieces of chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and, using something hard like the back of a ladle, gently pound the chicken to about 1/8-inch thickness.
  2. In a two-quart microwave-safe dish, add the chicken in a single layer and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cut half of the lemon into 1/8-inch slices and place on top of the chicken. Cover and microwave on high for four minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through cooking.
  3. Place the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until melted, 30-45 seconds. Whisk in the juice of the second half of the lemon and stir in the capers and thyme. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and serve.

More microwave meal recipes

Microwave scalloped potatoes and ham recipe
Microwave taco casserole recipe
Microwave confetti chicken casserole recipe