Whether you’re rushing from a last-minute meeting to the gym, weaving through rush hour traffic to get to daycare before closing, or coaxing your cranky kids to hold off on scarfing another snack on the way home from soccer practice, weeknights don’t leave a lot of time for lingering over recipes, leisurely perusing heirloom tomatoes and kale at the farmer’s market, and cooking everything from scratch. For evenings when time seems too short to finish science projects, finalize reports for tomorrow’s work day, read the little ones three stories before tucking them into bed, and fold the laundry that’s been sitting in the dryer for three days, try these quick-cooking dinner recipes below. You can have a delicious meal made with high-quality ingredients on the table in 30 minutes or less.
30-Minute Dinner Recipes
Shelve the Instant Pot and pull out the AirFryer to make this aromatic, umami-rich soup. You read that right. The AirFryer provides quick, even heat to cook up this shiitake- and ginger-spiked broth that’s made more substantial with meatballs and bok choy.
Instead of deep frying chicken wings in oil, we opted for the lighter, crispy touch an AirFryer provides. Paired with a two-minute sassy, spicy buffalo sauce, these saucy wings are perfect with sliced raw veggies and baked potato skins.
Avocado boats are all the rage for good reason—these creamy, rich, emerald-green beauties make the perfect portion-controlled vessel for a variety of fillings. We stuffed these with a simple chicken salad dressed simply with avocado oil mayo, fresh lemon juice, and chives. Pair this with basic chopped romaine, sliced cherry tomatoes, and crumbled crisp bacon and you have a bread-free version of a BLT with chicken.
This Fourth of July-themed burger is good to make year-round because all of the ingredients are (or can be made) seasonal no matter where you live. If the trees are barren and snow blankets the ground, substitute sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil for the fresh ones, or snatch up some roma or grape tomatoes at the store anyway and roast them in the oven (to bring out their sweetness).
A classic no-cook platter to share family-style as an appetizer, antipasto combines the salty, rich flavors of cured Italian meats; marinated, herbaceous vegetables; briny, unctuous olives; and milky, sharp cheeses. Why not scatter all of this goodness atop of crisp greens and accent all of the contrasting flavors with an acidic vinaigrette? No cooking required.
Switch it up with a breakfast-for-dinner night. Trust us: The kids will applaud you! Once you master molding the cheese taco “shell,” the rest of the meal is as easy as frying bacon and scrambling eggs.
You can have this dinner done and be ready to chow in about 13 minutes, no joke. While you sear the salmon, halve and pit the avocado, chop the cherry tomatoes, slice a few Brussels sprouts, and toss together in a bowl with some spinach. Add some cashews for crunch or not, but either way, this combo is as quick and easy as it is scrumptious.
Faster than delivery, this wrapper-free, stir-fried egg roll bowl delivers the salty-sweet Asian flavor you crave in 20 minutes. Simply brown ground pork, stir in prepped veggies, add bottled sauce, garnish, and you’re ready to chow.
Dinner Ideas So Easy You Don’t Need a Recipe
Eggs & Greens
Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this paleo/Primal, keto, and Whole30-friendly meal template can be whipped up with whatever ingredients and energy you have at the time. Saute kale, collard or mustard greens, and serve alongside eggs scrambled with veggies, bacon or sausage. Toss arugula, baby spinach or mixed lettuce with your favorite Primal Kitchen dressing or simple extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, and pair with scrambled, hard-boiled, fried, or over-easy eggs.
Sheet Pan Dinners: Roasted Veggies & Protein
On evenings when you can barely muster the energy to chop vegetables, it’s absolutely okay to bust out the pre-cut veggies, dump them onto a sheet pan, toss them with olive or avocado oil, salt and pepper, and roast them at high heat for 20–25 minutes. Add portioned, seasoned pieces of protein, such as skin-on chicken thighs, salmon filets, or pork chops, to one of the sheet pans, and dinner is done in 30 minutes or less with very little effort.
Veggie Noodles & Protein (or More Veggies) & Sauce
Spiralized, julienned, or shaved vegetables make wonderfully light pasta replacements, and actually saute much quicker than the 9–11 minutes it takes to boil dried pasta. Pair veggie noodles with any Primal Kitchen pasta sauce for a silly simple dinner prep. Crisp diced pancetta or chopped bacon in a skillet; when cooked, remove from pan and drain half of the rendered fat before adding sliced garlic and shallots, four sprigs of chopped fresh thyme, the zest of one lemon, and 2 tablespoons of avocado oil. Saute for 2 minutes before adding zoodles and cooking for another 5 minutes. Combine sauteed beet noodles with a tablespoon of ghee, mixed mushrooms roasted in the oven at high heat for 20 minutes, and a few sprinkles of truffle salt.
Meatless Marvels: All-Veggie Dinners
This one might be tough for the kiddos and true carnivores to wrap their heads around, but it’s a great way to get a quick, colorful, and phytonutrient-rich dinner on the table. Make a hearty, rich stew of eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow or butternut squash thickened with tomato paste that’s sauteed with plenty of olive oil for 20 minutes on the stove, and serve over cauliflower rice. Roast a rainbow of vegetables doused with avocado oil, salt, dried herbs, and any spices you like for 25 minutes, and eat straight off the sheet pan. Season cauliflower steaks liberally with a dry rub and grill for 8–10 minutes per side; serve with marinated olives, lightly toasted nuts, and a few wedges of aged cheese.
You might also like these other recipe roundups:
- Our Most Popular Keto Recipes
- Keto Snacks with 8 Grams of Net Carbs or Less
- Low-Carb Keto Breakfasts
- Whole30 Recipe Roundup
- Whole30 Cooking Tips and Recipes
- Simple Recipes That Use Italian Dressing
- Creative Collagen Recipes