Eight quick and easy weeknight dinners


Preparing dinner in 30-45 minutes gives me enough time in the kitchen to feel like I’ve cooked something and gets me out of the (cluttered) kitchen with plenty of time for an evening activity. The key to quick, easy dinners are recipes that use simple techniques to create fresh, bright flavors and also use very few pots and pans. These recipes can all be prepared in 45 minutes or less, and most only use one skillet.

Vegetarian and full of flavor, lentil and rice bowls with grated cauliflower, spinach and yogurt is a one-pan wonder. The cauliflower sautés in the pan on top of the rice and lentils while they cook, and the spinach is then piled on top and wilted in the residual heat, before being tossed with fresh lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavors. Make it vegan by swapping out the Greek yogurt for one made from an alternative milk base.

Steamed halibut with ginger sauce is another great one-pan option. Shiitake mushrooms and baby pak choy are cooked alongside the fish, after which lemon and coriander enhance its delicate flavor. For a bolder spiced dish, try Blackened Snapper with Crunchy Pickle Salad. A dollop of flavorful butter flavors the fish, while scallions and garlic add a touch of flavor. For the salad, tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes are quickly pickled and then tossed with sesame oil, which softens the flavor of the veggies and adds a rich nuttiness to the crunchy salad.

While this dish is technically a two-pan affair, I tend to think of pasta as a one-pan meal — the pasta pot is so easy to wash that it barely doubles as a second pan. Caramelized Lemon Pasta with Mushrooms and Broccoli is flavorful, earthy, and full of contrasting textures. To make the dish vegan, swap out the grated Parmesan for nutritional yeast.

Melting, fresh mozzarella cheese smothers the cauliflower and/or butternut squash (your choice), served with the garlicky, flavorful pasta in this Vegetable Mozz with Spicy Spaghetti. The cheese also evades the heat. Pasta with Italian sausage and broccoli uses a great trick to keep pans to a minimum: cook the broccoli in the pasta water along with the pasta. The broccoli can be substituted with other vegetables like broccoli, Chinese broccoli, or even kale. Instead of the Italian sausage, you can also use cured meat, guanciale or prosciutto.

Shredded zucchini is mixed with the ground beef to make these juicy lamb and zucchini burgers with yoghurt and rocket. (And if you don’t tell, no one will know about the added veggies.) Caramelized lemon and feta meatballs are served with a fresh parsley and mint salad and a lemon yogurt, lending the dish a Mediterranean flavor.

Go ahead and improve your weeknight dinner with one of these quick and easy options.

Red snapper fillets are blackened with Korean chilli flake butter and served with pickled crunchy vegetables.

Time40 minutes

incomeFor 4 to 8 people.

Grated cauliflower adds body to lentils and rice, garnished with yogurt and coriander leaves.

Time45 minutes

incomeServed 4

Zucchini adds moisture to lamb burgers with yogurt and cold, crispy arugula.

Time40 minutes

incomeServed 4

Caramelized lemon adds umami flavor to this vegetarian pasta stuffed with mushrooms and broccoli, topped off with a grating of fresh Parmesan.

Time45 minutes

incomeFor 4 to 6 people

Tomatoes and mozzarella cover roasted veggies in this easy baked dish, perfect with a side of garlic-spiced pasta.

Time30 minutes

incomeServed 4

A few lemon wedges and sprigs of coriander enhance the flavor of the halibut without overpowering it.

Time30 minutes

incomeserves 2

This pasta dish is easy, quick and flexible. You can make it with broccoli, broccoli rabe, or even Chinese broccoli and Italian sausage or salt beef, guanciale, or prosciutto.

Time25 minutes

incomeServed 6

Ground turkey is flavored with creamy feta and caramelized lemon paste that mimics the taste of grilled lemon.

Time30 minutes

incomeServed 4 Eight quick and easy weeknight dinners

Russell Falcon

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