Want to find dinner recipes that are both healthy and simple? Here are our best fast and easy dinner ideas — all made in 30 minutes or less!
Cooking takes time. But making delicious and healthy recipes doesn’t have to take all day! After over 10 years in the kitchen together, Alex and I have learned this: the best easy dinner ideas balance big flavor and quick cooking methods. So here, we’re sharing fast dinner ideas you can make in 30 minutes or less. From tacos to pasta to salads to soups, there are easy dinner ideas for everyone!
Looking for fast and easy dinner ideas?
The question Alex and I asked most often is, “What are your favorite fast and easy dinner ideas?” And we get it. Life is busy. There are 101 things to do, and adding cooking to that list can be stressful.
Luckily, you can find dinner recipes made in less than 30 minutes with big flavor. These are recipes with fresh, high quality flavor that’s achieved without using cheap shortcuts. Creating this type of fast and easy dinner ideas has become our sweet spot. We love tinkering to get the perfect balance of speed and deliciousness. Here are some of our favorite concepts for fast and easy dinner ideas:
With all the recipes in our arsenal, we’ve got you covered for those weeknights where you have less than 30 minutes to spare. In many cases, making one of our easy dinner ideas is even faster than takeout!
And now…our top fast & easy dinner recipes!
These fast and easy dinner ideas take 30 minutes or less to make. And that’s not achieved using shortcuts or processed foods! These recipes are loaded with vegetables and made using whole foods. Because most of the time, easy dinner ideas are simply about finding creative concepts that fit your tastes!
First up in our fast and easy dinner recipes: garlic shrimp! The shrimp come out impossibly juicy with the best garlic flavor. The best part? It takes under 10 minutes to make. Yep, that’s pretty unheard of in dinnertime territory. Serve with pasta or couscous and a salad for a speedy meal. Also try Cilantro Lime Shrimp. Scroll down for the recipe!
Here's the very definition of easy dinner recipes: 5 Minute Tacos! Can dinner really be made in 5 minutes? Yes, dinner will materialize before your eyes! These tacos are filled with "chorizo-style eggs", which take on a meaty texture and flavor in a flash. Top them with salsa fresca, red onion slivers, cilantro & hot sauce, and prepare to be amazed.
Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese sandwich? Here’s one with a glamorous twist: the avocado grilled cheese.Simply adding an avocado and tomato to a standard grilled cheese makes it fit for serving to company! Although it’s a simple dish, grilled cheese can be gussied up as much or as little as you like.
Some pasta recipes stand a head above the rest, and this is one of them. Try this cheese tortellini in creamy marinara sauce! In just 15 minutes, you’ve got a pasta skillet that’s a literal symphony flavor. The fresh basil-infused marinara sauce is perfectly complimented with pillows of tangy goat cheese. (In fact, it’s like this baked goat cheese dip made into a main dish.)
It’s simple, it’s elegant, but it tastes like something you’d order at a restaurant: Sheet Pan Salmon and Asparagus! Roasting it up on a sheet pan with lemon slices and fresh herbs adds effortless flavor that feels fresh yet refined. This sheet pan meal is the perfect weeknight meal.
Next up in our easy dinner recipes: this mushroom pasta! It's a fan favorite recipe because of the big flavor that's possible in under 30 minutes. Imagine: creamy goat cheese and savory mushrooms, seasoned with thyme and oregano and paired with the bite of chewy pasta. An absolute showstopper.
This chickpea curry is the epitome of healthy weeknight dinners! It can be made in just 20 minutes, a speed record for sure. But there are no flavor shortcuts: it's bursting with garlic, ginger, cumin, and curry powder, with a bit of coconut swirled in for a creamy body. Serve with basmati rice and it's a true gem.
Here's the ultimate quick weeknight meal, a filling vegetarian dinner that comes together in 20 minutes flat. Meet this soba noodle bowl! It’s filled with stir fried broccoli, red pepper and onion, mix with a savory sauce with creamy peanut butter. Even better: eggs are scrambled right into the mix (like fried rice, but with noodles!).
This chickpea bowls recipe is a common repeat in our easy dinner recipes repertoire. In just 25 minutes, you have a fresh bowl of veggies that’s smothered in a tangy lemon tahini sauce. If you’re just starting to eat plant based recipes or have been eating them for years, this one is a truly tasty way to eat your veggies.
Here’s our ultimate fast and easy dinner recipe: Naan Pizza! Get this: it’s faster than delivery pizza, healthier, and it tastes better. So why order out when you can make tasty pizza in? Packaged naan bread is easy to find these days, making it easy to run to the store on a naan pizza run. You’ll never need delivery or frozen pizza again!
Here’s a meal that consistently makes everyone who takes a bite say Wow. Try this Pecan Crusted Salmon! It has an air of restaurant-style fancy, but it’s fast and easy to whip up on a weeknight. It takes basic salmon to the next level, coating it in a crunchy topping of nuts, seasoned breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. The flavors are elevated enough for dinner guests, but also tasty enough for kids to shovel in bites.
Is there anything better than shrimp tacos? Add chips and salsa as a side, and we can’t think of much better. The cilantro sauce drizzle is creamy like ranch, but with cilantro and cumin. This easy dinner idea is fast enough for weeknights and fancy enough for entertaining: making it a double whammy.
Looking for a healthy and easy weeknight meal? Try this shrimp and broccoli!The pair are cooked with soy sauce and and rice vinegar until bright and savory. The contrast of the crisp tender broccoli against the juicy shrimp is really something. Serve it with rice or noodles to make it a complete meal that comes together quickly.
This recipe makes the humble solo meal into a delicious fast and easy dinner, resulting in a big batch all at once on a sheet pan! All the quesadillas are done at the same time, and they come out with a beautifully crispy exterior. In fact, it feels like a whole new version of this classic: like Quesadillas 2.0. Here's how to whip up a pan of baked sheet pan quesadillas that are so good, everyone will be begging for more.
For this creamy mac and cheese, Greek yogurt is stirred in at the end, to give a creamy texture. Fresh spinach is gently wilted in for all the added nutrients without a strong flavor, and turmeric gives a tiny immunity boost and some extra color. And the flavor? Spot on delicious. The combination of cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese and fresh garlic makes it irresistible.
These loaded quinoa tacos are a true crowd pleaser and one of our go to’s for quick weeknights! The quinoa filling is toasted and filled with taco spices and lime. Then combine it with a bell pepper slaw, spicy sour cream, salsa, and feta cheese, and you’ve got a new level of delicious. Oh and pickled red onions for color and crunch!
If you've got no time at all: spring for tuna salad! This classic tuna salad is surprisingly satisfying: it hits all the right savory notes to make the very best sandwich! To make it ultra creamy, it uses both mayo and Greek yogurt; Greek yogurt ups the creamy factor while keeping calories low. Also try: Tuna Salad with Egg or Avocado Tuna Salad
Ready in just 30 minutes, we affectionately call this soup “pizza soup” because it tastes like liquid pizza! The pizza flavor comes in part from the San Marzano tomatoes, an Italian variety of tomato that’s available canned. Combine with fennel and smoked paprika, throw in some Tuscan kale to the mix, and you've got one delicious soup that reminds you of your favorite pizza pie.
Salmon is so quick to prepare and full of nutrients that it prominently features in our easy dinner recipes. Here this 10-minute baked salmon recipe makes for an ultra quick dinner, paired with a bright green pesto sauce. Serve with a whole grain like our pesto quinoa or rice.
Total time: 30 minutes
What people are saying…
Does this sound too good to be true: recipes that are easy AND taste good? Well let us assure you, it’s absolutely possible! Here are a few recent testimonials from readers who have emailed us about the easy dinner recipes they’ve been trying:
“My husband has a heart condition and I have borderline high cholesterol. My son bought me your cookbook and I am continuing to try new recipes from your book and website. While we still eat meat, we have cut back considerably. I have managed to lose about twenty pounds and my cholesterol has improved. This week I made your teriyaki stir fry and mushroom and goat cheese pasta. Both were TERRIFIC!” –Debbie
“My husband and I decided to take our family down the vegetarian road about 9 months ago. I used to LOVE cooking, but have been in a slump since we went vegetarian. Often I find vegetarian/vegan recipes try to do too much with too many ingredients. Well, tonight, the tides have turned! I made FOUR of the five sandwich recipes I got from your blog and every single one was a winner! I have not felt this satisfied in the kitchen in such a long time! ” –Terra-Leigh
Our cookbook: full of easy dinner ideas
Alex and I literally wrote the book on easy dinner ideas! Everyone asks us how to make healthy home cooking easy and accessible. Pretty Simple Cooking is all about solving that problem! That was the reason that we started this website, and that is why we keep doing what we do today.