Need inspiration for getting dinner on the table fast? These healthy and easy weeknight dinners take 30 minutes or less and satisfy the whole family!
What are your best easy weeknight dinners? We hear this question again and again. So Alex and I have put together our current Top 10 weeknight dinners! The great thing about our website (we think, at least!) is that we are two real people with a real 2-year-old who actually eat everything you see here. We’ve weeded out things that are impractical or niche and only share recipes that are actually really good.
What’s a healthy, easy weeknight dinner?
What makes something a healthy, easy weeknight dinner? These recipes work for family or whether you’re cooking for one. Here are our criteria for the the recipes below — each dinner recipe:
Takes 30 minutes or less. To us, an easy weeknight dinner should be about 30 minutes, or quicker if possible. We bent the rule a tiny bit for this list and included two soups that take 35 minutes, because they’re just that good. But overall: we think 30 minutes is a good rule of thumb for weeknights.
Uses all whole food ingredients: seafood, vegetarian or vegan. While we eat mostly plant based, we do eat a little seafood, so the recipes below are a combination of veggie-filled and seafood. Seafood is perfect for easy weeknight dinners because it’s so quick to cook. Overall, our definition of healthy is less about calorie counts and more about eating lots of nutrient dense ingredients, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins.
But enough with definitions…let’s get to the recipes!
First up in our easy weeknight dinners: chickpea curry! This one is literally designed for weeknights and comes together in just 20 minutes. It's seriously flavorful, filled with ginger, garlic, cumin and curry powder, with a little coconut milk swirled in to make it creamy. Serve with basmati rice (or Instant Pot rice).
Some weeknight dinners 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.)
Here's the fastest easy weeknight dinner EVER: these Epic 5 Minute Tacos! Is it really possible to make dinner in 5 minutes? Yes (but no dawdling, of course!) These tacos are filled with our famous "chorizo eggs", which turn eggs into a meaty texture and flavor in a flash. Top with salsa fresca, red onion slivers, cilantro & hot sauce, and prepare to be amazed. It's kind of a miracle, making it fitting for the top spot in our easy weeknight dinners.
Want a vegan taco instead? These Black Bean Tacos we wrote for Washington Post have been popular with readers!
Salmon is so quick to prepare and full of nutrients that it often features in our top picks for easy weeknight meals. This 10-minute baked salmon recipe makes for an ultra quick dinner. You can eat it on its own, or pair it with our bright green chimichurri sauce. For a seriously quick dinner, serve with quinoa, couscous, or roasted brocolli.
This 20-minute creamy goat cheese pasta is so tangy and creamy, sweet from the tomatoes and lightly peppery from the fresh basil. The secret to the creaminess is that goat cheese, which brings a body to the sauce that’s almost like a vodka sauce. Combined with chewy penne, it’s out of this world! And best of all, you barely have to think to make it.
This recipe makes the humble solo meal into a delicious weeknight 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.
The 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!
Is there anything better than shrimp tacos? Combine shrimp tacos with chips and salsa, and maybe some refried beans on the side, we can’t think of much better. What we love about this shrimp tacos recipe is that it’s both an easy weeknight dinner and perfect for entertaining, making it a double whammy.
Instead of simmering for hours, you can get big flavor in this tortilla soup in just over 30 minutes. The secret here is adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilis: it brings in a smoky flavor without adding too much heat! It’s not too spicy, so it pleases eaters of all kind and qualifies as one of our easy weeknight dinner recipes. Serve with our Easy Vegan Cornbread for a simple side.
And last up in our easy weeknight dinners: 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.