These easy dinner ideas for two are perfect as everyday meals that don’t end in leftovers for days, or for romantic date nights in!
Let’s face it: sometimes you’re just looking for dinner for two! Maybe it’s a romantic date night. Or maybe it’s for everyday cooking, because you’re not into eating leftovers for days! Whatever the case, Alex and I have been there. As a couple who cooks together, we’ve cooked for two for years! (And now we cook for a two plus a toddler, which isn’t even so different.)
Here’s a list of our top easy dinner ideas for two. Some of the recipes are designed for two servings. Others are recipes that are easy to cut in half, or don’t make many leftovers. Whatever the case, we hope that you (and your number two!) will enjoy them as much as we do.
Our top dinner idea? This Easy Risotto for Two recipe below! And here’s 10 more ideas to get you cooking.
First up in our easy dinner recipes for two: Cacio e pepe! And this recipe is made just for two servings. Essentially the equivalent of Italian mac and cheese, it’s elevated in flavor using Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper. This version is served with a Parmesan crisp, made by baking grated Parmesan until it forms into a crispy cracker. Alex and I ate a killer cacio e pepe last time we were in Rome, and we had the best cacio e pepe of our life in NYC. It’s a truly easy recipe that’s elegant in its simplicity.
This salmon en papillote is easy and also designed as a dinner for two! This one we made just for a romantic cooking date: and you’ll see that the cooking method has a little romance thrown in too! Here, the salmon is cooked in parchment paper (“en papillote”), and the parchment paper is cut into two heart shapes before packaging up the salmon with lemon and veggies. The salmon comes out flaky and tender after just 10 minutes: making it one of our top easy dinner recipes for two.
Next up: pizza! Making pizza into dinner for two is simple: just cut it down the middle! This Margherita pizza is our absolute best ever, featuring our homemade pizza dough, best pizza sauce, gooey mozzarella cheese, and fresh peppery basil. To bring out the “easy” in easy dinner recipes for two, use store bought pizza dough. Or go even easier and make a naan pizza or pita pizza version with Margherita toppings!
Another at the top of our list in easy dinner recipes for two: seared tuna! If you’ve never had ahi tuna, it’s time to start. NOW! Seared ahi tuna does not tasty fishy at all. So if you’re looking to convince someone ambivalent about seafood, seared tuna is a great place to start. The flavor? It tastes buttery on the inside and salty savory on the outside. We used sushi grade ahi tuna that we found frozen in our local grocery store. Serve with rice and a salad for quick and delicious dinner for two.
These vegetarian spinach meatballs are so, so delicious that you’ll want to eat the entire recipe yourself: making them a suitable in a list of easy dinner recipes for two! The “meatballs” are made of spinach and feta, and have an almost meaty quality to them. Put them on spaghetti with a simple flavorful seasoning, and it’s an incredibly satisfying dinner recipe. An alternative way to eat them: throw them in place of falafel in our Falafel Salad Bowl. Or, you could try our Easy Marinara Sauce with the spaghetti and meatballs.
Here’s one of those recipes that’s easy to cut in half: our loaded Mexican fries! Just bake up half of the sweet potato fries, and then load them up with goodness: black beans, salsa, cumin lime crema, and feta cheese. The cumin lime crema sauce will make more than enough for two, but you’ll want extra to use as a dipping sauce or dressing all week! Use it for dipping raw or roasted veggies, or drizzled on top of salads or bowl meals. It’s totally satisfying and one of our favorite easy dinner recipes for two for a date night in.
Another easy one to make for two: our creamy pasta marinara! The marinara sauce takes a bit of time to simmer, but other than that it’s an incredibly recipe. And the flavor? So savory, salty, tangy, and creamy all at once! The magic ingredient is a bit of Greek yogurt, stirred in at the end to make a creamy body to the sauce. To make this one of our easy dinner recipes for two, we’d make your desired amount of spaghetti or bucatini for two (6 to 8 ounces) and then make the entire marinara sauce. It freezes well, so you could use it for another meal in a month’s time. For an even quicker sauce, try our Easy Marinara Sauce.
The serving size on this cauliflower rice is 3 to 4, but every time we make it, Alex and I polish it off just the two of us! What’s cauliflower rice? Essentially, it’s chopping cauliflower into small bits that mimic grains of rice. Because it’s cauliflower and not actual rice, it makes it less filling than the same amount of rice would be. So we count it as one of our easy dinner recipes for two! The cauliflower soaks up the aromatic ginger and garlic even more than rice would, and the bowl of piping hot vegetables was comfort food at its finest. To bring in more filling protein to the dish, we used egg, edamame, and cashews.
Bowl meals are also perfect for making into easy dinner recipes for two! These turmeric yellow rice bowls are healthy and delicious, filled with bright yellow rice and colorful vegetables. To top it off, our fan favorite creamy and tangy lemon tahini sauce. To make this a dinner for two, determine your hunger level: the recipe it might feed 2 hungry eaters with just a little left over for lunch the next day. There’s never a harm to having more vegetables around: and these leftovers reheat well.
And to round out these easy dinner recipes for two: quesadillas! But fancy quesadillas. These mushroom and brie quesadillas give the humble quesadilla an upgrade. The mushrooms are sauteed with fresh herbs, then nestled into a tortilla with gooey Brie cheese, arugula, and honey. The savory sweet combination is mind blowing! The recipe is for four quesadillas, but depending on your hunger level you may want to eat two each — making this the perfect dinner recipe for two! Accessorize with a side salad like our strawberry salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
Place broth in a medium saucepan and heat to a simmer; reduce heat and keep warm.
Mince the shallot.
In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the shallot, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the shallot is translucent, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to combine; cook for 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add the white wine. Cook, stirring, until liquid is almost evaporated, a few minutes.
At this point, you’re ready to start adding the broth. Add ½ cup warmed broth to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until broth is almost absorbed. Repeat, gradually adding broth ½ cup at a time and stirring, until rice is tender but still al dente and sauce is creamy (you may not need all the broth). The process should take about 12 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the Parmesan or Pecorino cheese. Continue to stir until combined. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired (if using Parmesan, it may require more salt than with Pecorino). Serve immediately, garnished with additional cheese and fresh ground pepper.
Keywords: Risotto for Two, Easy Dinner Ideas for Two
Outside of these dinner ideas for two, here are a few more collections of dinner recipes:
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 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.