What Should I Make for Dinner? Easy Recipes to Make

Wondering “What should I make for dinner?” Here are vegetarian dinner recipes that you can use as ideas for whatever ingredients you have on hand.

What should I make for dinner? Recipes for when you don't know what to make

This post was created in partnership with ALDI. All opinions are our own.

We hear it all the time: “What should I make for dinner?” Or, “It’s too hard to eat healthy on a weeknight, so I end up with takeout.” Don’t we know it. Believe it or not, 8 years ago we were the people who ate breakfast cereal or microwave dinners. Seriously. It makes me laugh when people tell me that’s not possible, because I was absolutely the girl who had no clue about cooking or food. Even making pasta seemed mysterious (where to start without the blue easy mac box instructions?).

Related: Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Lives | Easy Dinner Recipes for Family

What should I make for dinner? Simple meal concepts

After 8 years of “research,” we’ve figured out a few things about how to eat whole foods, ditch our processed options, and actually enjoy it. It’s not perfect or glamorous, and we don’t have an Instagram-perfect plate every time. However, we make it work with simple concepts that we change up using the ingredients we have on hand. Our diet is about 80% vegetarian, so we’ve become accustomed to meals featuring eggs, beans, and whole grains to keep things filling. We’ve got a few vegetarian dinner ideas for you that aren’t groundbreaking, just simple concepts for a meatless plate beyond the standard meat-plus-2-veg formula.

Some of these vegetarian dinner recipes are part of a 7-day dinner meal plan we created for ALDI’s new Hello, Healthy blog, which features healthy living resources including recipes, tips, meal plans, videos, and eating guides. We know many of you are ALDI fans too (hi there!), and we’re excited that ALDI is committed to carrying better-for-you ingredients and expanding their affordable organic product offerings. We’re happy to join in this effort and hope you’ll check out the new online resource, which includes a new dinner meal plan from us.

What should I make for dinner?

Dinner idea 1:  Breakfast for Dinner (Brinner)

What should I make for dinner? Recipes for when you don't know what to make | Black beans and eggs

It’s simple, but we sometimes forget about it: what’s more fun than breakfast for dinner? Both Alex and I loved this growing up, so it’s a sure hit with kids as well. (We’d love to hear, is brinner a hit in your house?) This concept features our favorite 15-minute black beans method using canned beans and a little canning liquid. You can use these beans on anything: tacos, quesadillas, or on a salad. Here, we’ve paired them with our other favorite method for soft, fluffy eggs that are quite unlike the typical rubbery mess. Adding an avocado and some other fresh veg makes it visually appealing—or try a side of avocado toast.

Recipe: Simple Black Beans and Eggs

Dinner idea 2: Bowl Meal

What should I make for dinner? Recipes for when you don't know what to make | Chickpea couscous bowls

A great way to use up vegetables in the refrigerator at the end of the week is a big old salad or bowl meal. We like to jazz it up by using a loose theme, like the Mediterranean flavors we’ve used here. A top notch dressing makes it special, if you have the time. This Lemon Tahini Sauce is one of the most popular recipes on our website. It’s easily made in advance for salads throughout the week. What should I make for dinner? So many times I throw veggies, grains, and proteins (beans, eggs, nuts, etc) in a bowl and call it a meal.

Recipe: Chickpea Couscous Bowls with Tahini Sauce

Dinner idea 3: Simple Pasta

What should I make for dinner? Recipes for when you don't know what to make | Everything Bagel pasta

Pasta can be considered a cop-out, but it can be one of the most elegant, simple meals. And according to recent research, pasta can actually be good for you. This Everything Bagel pasta is truly simple, and can be whipped up with only a handful of ingredients. Serve with a green salad with homemade salad dressing or roasted broccoli.

Recipe: Everything Bagel Pasta

Dinner idea 4: Tacos

What should I make for dinner? Recipes for when you don't know what to make | Quinoa tacos

Throw it in a tortilla and call it dinner! There are so many ways to make delicious tacos quickly and without a recipe: from scrambled egg tacos to refried bean tacos. These quinoa tacos are our latest favorite: quinoa is mixed with spices and then loaded with toppings. We made a quick bell pepper slaw by mixing sliced bell peppers with lime, and a spicy sour cream by stirring a bit of hot sauce into sour cream. There are vegan topping ideas in the post as well. When I ask “What should I make for dinner?,” I almost always have tortillas in the refrigerator to whip up a taco creation.

Recipe: Loaded Quinoa Tacos

Did you make these recipes?

If you make any of these vegetarian dinner recipes, we’d love to hear how they turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks.

Looking for more easy dinner ideas?

Still wondering “What should I make for dinner?” Some of our other top easy dinner ideas on A Couple Cooks:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

5 Comments

  • Reply
    Kelli @ Hungry Hobby
    February 22, 2017 at 8:34 am

    These are perfect for lent coming up! I always get asked what meatless recipes to make!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      March 30, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      Oh good point! I hope you enjoy these!

  • Reply
    Melissa Novotny
    February 25, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    I will often make salads in the summertime with garden produce, my favorite is spinach, grape tomatoes, cottage cheese 2%, sunflower seeds and no dressing. Obviously the cottage cheese wouldn’t be considered a healthy oil but is it really that bad especially since I’m not using any salad dressing. Feedback is fine.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      March 30, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      I LOVE this idea! I think cottage cheese is a genius dressing — great idea!

  • Reply
    Erika Jayne
    May 10, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Interesting collection of recipes. I found several I’d be interested in making, but I’m not sure my husband would like them. Poor guy, I’m always experimenting on him, and he generally takes it pretty well. The Honey-Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes has been in my regular rotation for quite a while, and I love it. I actually do it as a casserole instead of stuffing the sweet potatoes. Definitely, recommend that recipe to everyone.

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