37 Easy Dinner Ideas

May 4, 2018
by Nicole Gulotta for Thrive Market
37 Easy Dinner Ideas

Ever wish dinner could cook itself? We can’t promise miracles, but we can help you put a simple weekly menu together. Whether you’re cooking a quick Tuesday night dinner or embracing date night in, these dishes have something for everyone.

Tips for Keeping Dinner Simple

A satisfying family dinner can stay streamlined when you follow these tips.

Meal plan

Yes, meal planning takes some time, but it saves you in several ways. First, you’ll never open the fridge and ask the dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?” and second, you’ll save on your budget, too! Nixing impulse buys will help keep you on track.

Prep ingredients

When you get home from the store with your fresh produce, don’t just stash it in the fridge. Spend some time washing and chopping lettuce greens, slicing sturdy veggies like carrots, or mincing aromatics like onion and celery that can go straight into a hot pan. If you can make a dish component ahead, like pesto or soup, do it! Reheating or defrosting will make a busy night in the kitchen that much easier.

Embrace a theme

From Meatless Monday to Taco Tuesday, meal planning will be faster if you have a general theme to stick with, and there’s more flexibility than you think! Categories like pasta night or salad night can take on all sorts of global flavors, and there’s no need to make the same tacos on repeat. Switch things up by using different beans, make new salsas, or swap your proteins— using shrimp one night and steak the next.


Easy Dinner Appetizers

Appetizers don’t have to be over the top, just a quick little nibble to keep hunger at bay until the main dish is served. Check out these easy ideas!

Bruschetta on a Grilled Baguette

If you have a can of organic diced tomatoes, then you’re halfway to this pantry-friendly appetizer. Garlic, basil, and salt add flavor, and grilled bread sops up the sweet juice.

Rosemary and Lemon Spiced Nuts

Make these herb-coated nuts in advance and snack on them all week long. Fresh rosemary, lemon zest, and spices like garlic powder, cayenne, ginger, and brown sugar give every bite a salty and sweet vibe.

Deviled Eggs With Fresh Herbs

Quick pickled shallots really take this classic appetizer up a notch. It’s crowd-pleasing and the creamy yolks get a boost from Dijon mustard, a dollop of mayo, and a trio of fresh herbs.

Sriracha Kale Chips

Upgrade your snacking game with kale chips baked in coconut oil, coconut aminos, shredded coconut, and spicy sriracha. We guarantee the platter will be empty by the time dinner’s ready.

Dinner Ideas for Two

Date night in? We’ve got a few recipes to make your next meal special. Don’t forget to light some candles and make a new playlist for extra ambiance!

Steak With Pinenut Chimichurri

This bright green Argentinian sauce amps up pretty much any grilled meat, but tastes especially good with steak. Parsley, red pepper flakes, and pine nuts provide its signature flavor.

Vegan Mushroom Bolognese

This pasta is perfect for two and tosses low-cal shirataki noodles into a rich mushroom and tomato sauce. The best part? A three-ingredient vegan “Parmesan” cheese made with cashews, nutritional yeast, and salt.

Roasted Eggplant Curry

Roasting eggplant for this Indian-style curry brings an extra smoky flavor component to the spicy dish. A dollop of Greek-style yogurt cuts the heat, and basmati rice is also a welcome addition.

Pork Chops with Walnut Romesco

Simply cooked pork chops topped off with a Spanish walnut romesco sauce makes an elegant dinner—one that takes less than an hour to pull off.

Breakfast for Dinner

Sometimes nothing hits the spot like a waffle, pancake, or egg scramble for dinner. Here are our top picks for bringing breakfast flavors to your last meal of the day.

Italian Breakfast Scramble

Give your egg scramble a Mediterranean twist with cherry tomatoes, zucchini, basil, and EVOO. Just add toast!

Carrot Pancakes with Sorrel Pesto

Here’s a savory spin on pancakes! Shredded carrot, coconut flour, and coconut oil make a sturdy base for a dollop of lemony pesto and a sunny-side-up egg.

Sweet Potato Spanish Omelet

A Paleo-friendly take on a traditional tortilla española—or Spanish tortilla—is a simple omelet made with caramelized onions and potatoes. We add extra flavor thanks to golden sweet potatoes and a medley of herbs and spices like nutmeg, thyme, and pepper.

Breakfast Pizza

Topped with crispy bacon, juicy tomatoes, mushrooms, and sautéed spinach, this breakfast pizza makes a show-stopping supper. Prep the crust and toppings earlier in the day to get a jump on your evening.

Waffle Sandwich With Sausage and Egg

Savory cheese and pepper waffles + homemade sausage patties seasoned with paprika, garlic, and fennel + a fried egg = a filling dinner you’ll crave on the regular.

Vegan French Toast

We’ve perfected French toast made with eggs or butter. That’s right! This vegan version is just as tender as the original and uses lots of pantry staples like spelt flour, cinnamon, almond butter, and maple syrup.

Easy Chicken Recipes

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! We’ve got lots of creative ways to cook your next bird.

Garlic-Roasted Chicken

A whole roast chicken always wins big points on flavor, especially when there’s garlic, rosemary, thyme, and lemon involved. Add mashed potatoes, a green salad, or your favorite veg to complete the meal.

Mustard-Herb Chicken

Talk about pantry friendly—if you’ve got whole grain mustard and apple cider vinegar on hand, you’re halfway to a tangy and crispy chicken dish. Scatter on fresh herbs to finish it off.

Italian Baked Chicken

Baking chicken breasts on a bed of cherry tomatoes and black olives keeps the meat super moist. And when you do the protein and veggies all in the same pan, you cut down on cleanup time, too.

Lemon-Yogurt Chicken Kebabs

Fire up the grill! With a colorful marinade of yogurt, turmeric, and lemon these chicken kebabs are a must-try. Try a bright fennel slaw makes the perfect accompaniment.

One-Pot Chile-Ginger Chicken and Rice

Throw rice, boneless chicken thighs, and aromatics into a big pot, then simmer away. As the rice cooks, it steams the chicken to lock in moisture and flavors from garlic, ginger, and green chiles.

Vegan Dinner Recipes

You don’t have to be vegan to love these delicious recipes. From spring rolls to meatloaf, these dishes are ready for your weeknight rotation. Sweet tooth? Check out our plant-based desserts.

Vegan Spring Rolls

Jackfruit might look prickly from the outside, but the texture is remarkably similar to pulled pork when it’s cooked. Robust flavors like cumin, coriander, garlic, and lime will satisfy vegans and carnivores alike.

Grilled Vegan Pizza

No pizza oven? No problem! Grilling your pies can give a similar, charred flavor. We’ve topped our dough with olive oil, tapenade, and fresh veggies for a light vegan meal.

Crispy Tofu with Sesame-Ginger Dipping Sauce

Tofu is a staple in plant-based diets, but it doesn’t have to be the same-old, same-old every time you eat it. Instead, try this idea that bakes the protein with some sesame oil and serves it alongside a spicy Asian-style dressing.

Vegan Meatloaf

You won’t find any meat or bread in this recipe! Instead, every bite is filled with onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, walnuts, flaxseed, plus spices that’ll satisfy everyone.

Nutty Sesame Carrot Noodles

Turn this trusty side into a main course just by layering tofu on top. The carrot ribbons hold up to sesame oil, ginger, and nut butter for the right blend of sweet and savory flavors.

Vegetarian Dinner Recipes

Bring on the veggies! Quinoa, mushrooms, pesto, and more give you options for every night of the week.

Cheesy Mushroom Toast

With melty mozzarella, hearty mushrooms, and fresh herbs, this is essentially an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich, and only takes a few minutes to toast in the oven.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad typically made with bulgur wheat, but we swap in nutty quinoa as the grain and toss it with plant-based ingredients like fresh parsley, mint, and lemon juice. Add grilled tofu or tempeh for extra fuel.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta With Tomatoes and Kale

Creamy, rich, and cheesy—this parmesan polenta is the stuff of dreams. Top each bowl with olive oil–stewed cherry tomatoes and crispy kale for a complete meal.

Pasta With Kale-Hemp Pesto

When nothing but pasta will hit the spot, go for it. Get extra nutrients with this kale-hemp pesto that’s richer than it’s classic basil counterpoint.

Paleo Dinner Recipes

When you stock a Paleo pantry, you’ll always have ingredients to whip up a protein-packed dinner. Try roast beef, stir-fry, and even fried chicken wings.

Mustard Roast Beef

This simple and flavorful recipe keeps the meat moist and gives it an unexpected spicy kick thanks to bold mustard. Add a salad or your favorite grilled veggie to fill your plate.

Beef and Broccolini Stir-Fry

Missing Chinese takeout now that you’ve gone Paleo? Thanks to an easy beef and broccoli stir-fry, you’ll never need to order in again.

Lamb Meatballs with Tahini Dipping Sauce

These lamb meatballs are so satisfying—and make great next-day leftovers! Double the tahini dipping sauce recipe and use it as a salad dressing or serve with a crudite platter.

Coconut Flour–Fried Chicken Wings

Coconut flour takes a little bit of the guilt out of fried chicken wings, and onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika make every bite extra delicious.

Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes

Cooking up a gluten-free dinner is easy with these recipe go-to’s.

Quinoa Pasta With Goat Cheese and Figs

All you need is some good-quality extra virgin olive oil, fresh figs, creamy goat cheese, and flaky sea salt to take plain pasta from basic to divine.

Spicy Tofu Bowl

Marinating extra-firm tofu in orange juice and cayenne pepper punches up the flavor, and baking it locks in crispiness. Serve slices over wheat-free soba noodles and baby bok choy for a satisfying meatless dinner.

Thai Red Curry With Green Veggies and Miracle Noodles

Coconut curries have always been on the menu for gluten-free foodies—it’s the noodles that so often accompany them that are off limits. Swap in zero-calorie shirataki fettuccine to keep things gluten-free and low-carb, too.

Vegan Shells ‘n Cheese

Pasta lovers, rejoice! Creamy mac and cheese is yours when you use shells made with chickpea flour and a cashew-based sauce that doubles down on flavor with garlic, nutritional yeast. Add this to your 30-minute meal list!

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This article is related to: Easy Recipes, Healthy Recipes, Dinner Recipes, Healthy Cooking, Miracle Noodle Recipes

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