Cooking takes time. But making delicious and healthy recipes doesn’t have to take all day! After over 5 years in the kitchen together, yashvi and I have learned this: the best easy dinner ideas balance big flavor and quick cooking methods. So here, we’re sharing fast dinner ideas you can make in 30 minutes or less. Keep reading for the recipes.
1. Gnocchi with romesco
For the romesco sauce
- 1 cup roasted almonds
- 2 garlic cloves
- 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 large roasted red peppers from a jar
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the gnocchi
- 1 pound packaged gnocchi
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves (or chopped standard spinach)
- 1 cup romesco sauce
- 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles, optional
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, seasoned with about 1 tablespoon kosher salt.
- Make the gnocchi sauce: Peel the garlic. In a blender or food processor, process all ingredients until smooth. Taste and add additional seasonings if desired.
- Once the water is boiling, add the gnocchi and boil until they float, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line a colander with spinach leaves. When the gnocchi are done, pour them into the colander with the spinach so that the boiling water wilts the spinach. Then pour the cooked gnocchi and spinach back into the pot and stir to a few times to evenly distribute the spinach.
- Add 1 cup of the romesco sauce to the pot and stir. (Reserve and refrigerate the remaining 1 1/2 cups for up to 1 week.)
- For vegan, top with fresh ground black pepper. For vegetarian, top with black pepper and feta crumbles. If desired, add a drizzle of olive oil
2. Loaded veggie quesadilla
- 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium)
- 4 cups spinach
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 4 8-inch flour or corn tortillas
- 4 slices cheese
- Kosher salt
- Cook the sweet potato: Cook it in an Instant Pot (note that this method requires 4 sweet potatoes to be cooked at once for the timing to be accurate). Or, you can bake it using these baking instructions, or prick holes in it and microwave it on high for 8-10 minutes until tender, turning halfway through. (Do this step in advance and refrigerate the sweet potatoes before cooking the quesadilla; the cook time below does not include this step.)
- Cook the spinach: Roughly chop the spinach. Warm the olive oil in a skillet and add the spinach, garlic powder, cumin, and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook until spinach is wilted and bright green, about 2 minutes, then remove it to a bowl.
- Assemble the tortilla: Cut the sweet potato in half and slide off the skin: place the flesh into a bowl and mash it with a fork. Spread 1/4 cup of the mashed sweet potato onto one tortilla. Drain and rinse the beans, then top the sweet potato with 1/4 cup of the black beans. Sprinkle sweet potatoes and black beans with a pinch of kosher salt. Then top with sprinkles of the cooked spinach (use your hands and leave any liquid at the bottom of the bowl). Top with 2 slices of cheese, tearing it as necessary to fit onto the tortilla. Cover with the second tortilla. Then repeat these instructions for the second quesadilla.
- Lightly coat a skillet with olive oil and heat it to medium heat. Place one quesadilla in the pan, cheese side down. Cook for 2 minutes per side until lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Cut into wedges and serve. (Note: For lunch boxes, you can keep the quesadilla wedges refrigerated for a few days and place them into lunch boxes each morning.)