50 Filling Dinners You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less
Seared Scallops with Chile-Garlic Spinach
The trick to perfect scallops is to leave them alone once they hit the pan—they’ll stick to the skillet at first then release once they sear. If you prefer less heat, use just one Fresno chile and remove the seeds before adding to the pan.
Pan-Seared Shrimp with Walnut and Herb Gremolata
Fresh herbs and lemon make a bright, tasty topper for succulent shrimp. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of protein for fewer calories than most meat. Paired with spinach and rice pilaf, this weeknight-friendly main comes together in just 15 minutes.
Seared Cajun-Style Steak with Green Tomato Relish
Many seasoning blends now offer low- or no-salt options, making spice rubs an easy, instant way to spruce up quickly seared chicken, seafood, or steak without overdoing the sodium.
Seared Salmon with Balsamic-Blistered Tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes and balsamic vinegar mirror and amplify each other; both are a bit tangy and sweet, and both benefit from a little high heat in the pan.
Quick BBQ Chicken Thighs with Mashed Potatoes
We speed up this cookout classic by using boneless chicken thighs and a hot grill pan. Look for refrigerated mashed potatoes in the prepared foods aisle of the supermarket, usually with the refrigerated fresh pastas.
Herby Pea and Lemon Pasta Salad
This verdant pasta salad signals a fantastic start to spring with a shower of fresh herbs. Mini shell pasta and peas are a perfect pair—the pasta serves as a kind of catcher's mitt for the sweet, bright green peas. You could also use orecchiette, an ear-shaped pasta that serves the same purpose.
Salmon with Potatoes and Horseradish Sauce
You’ll be surprised at the sophistication of this 5-ingredient dish, which is easy, elegant, and beautiful. You can't go wrong when you start with salmon and a sour cream sauce, especially if the sauce is flavored with dill and horseradish. Fill out the plate with a side of steamed asparagus or haricots verts (slender French green beans), or barely wilted spinach or Swiss chard. If you have a mandoline in your kitchen, use it—carefully—on the potatoes to make the job of slicing go faster.
Shortcut Risotto with Brussels Sprouts
Our simple technique yields classic risotto texture in a fraction of the time. Pre-cooked brown rice simmers with a flour-thickened mixture of milk and chicken stock, boosted with a touch of cream cheese for extra richness.
Greek Spaghetti Squash Toss
Spaghetti squash is a great lower-calorie, lower-carb alternative to pasta. It’s a neutral tasting veggie that absorbs all the flavors of this simple skillet, so be sure to toss well to coat every strand. The end result is a veggie-based meal in a bowl that you can quickly throw together—a nice alternative to salads when you want to fill up on vegetables.
Pasta with Chickpea Sauce
Onions, carrots, and garlic cook in olive oil until buttery soft, then get blended with chickpeas and water to form a deeply savory puree that coats pasta beautifully. It’s a satisfying dish that just happens to be vegan. Try to let the blender run for a minute or two when pureeing the ingredients; the smoother the sauce, the better the dish. A flourish of fresh herbs at the end brightens and freshens the dish; you can use all parsley or all basil if you don’t have both on hand.
Beef Tenderloin With Horseradish Cream and Glazed Carrots
Beef tenderloin is worthy splurge when you want a special entrée in less time; the cut is so meltingly tender already that it takes just 8 minutes to cook. We use the same pan to cook and glaze the carrots for easy clean up. The horseradish sauce is the tangy, creamy, pungent element this dish needs. Beyond the sauce, try stirring horseradish into the dressing for slaw, a devilled egg filling, or mashed potatoes.
Nutty Fried Rice
This hearty vegetarian dish is a fun twist on the usual takeout version of fried rice, incorporating lots of nutty flavor from toasted sesame oil, roasted cashews, peanut butter, and sesame seeds. The rice is drizzled with a savory, creamy peanut sauce that takes the whole thing right into indulgence territory. If you have a peanut allergy, opt for cashew, almond, or sunflower butter instead of peanut butter. Look for toasted sesame seeds on the spice aisle of your supermarket; it’s a great ingredient to keep on hand for busy nights because it saves a step.
Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Here's a low-carb twist on a taco: shredded white-meat turkey dressed with sweet-tart cranberry sauce spiced with adobo and chipotle. Tuck it all into tender lettuce leaves.
Black Bean and Mushroom Burgers
The food processor brings these meatless patties together in a flash. Another bonus? A new Harvard study found that those who regularly ate a healthy plant-based diet (like this burger) significantly lowered their risk of heart disease. Ground flaxseed adds body to the burgers. This quick dinner is also a great way to work more meatless dishes into your week. Kids can help shape the patties, mix up the avocado spread, and build the sandwiches.
Quick Green Chicken Chili
The secret to a lightening-fast chili is to keep it simple, with starchy, creamy Great Northern beans as the main bean and canned green chiles (already broiled, skinned, and chopped) as your heat source. We blend half the beans to build body, leaving the rest whole for texture. Precooked rotisserie chicken also saves time, but you could use any leftover protein, such as chopped cooked pork tenderloin or cooked ground turkey. Top the chili with creamy sour cream and crunchy radishes, or try diced tomato, cilantro, or sliced jalapeños. Serve with multigrain tortilla chips.
Five-Spice Chicken Breasts with Sesame-Orange Beans
Five-spice powder packs some serious aromatic punch; it's all you need to season the chicken breasts here. You can sub broccoli florets or chopped kale for the green beans.
Steak Salad with Salsa Verde Vinaigrette
Italian salsa verde, a classic red meat pairing, turns into a quick vinaigrette for this entrée salad. One 8-ounce sirloin steak, thinly sliced, is all you need.
Turmeric Lamb Chops with Crispy Potatoes and Broccoli
Lamb loin chops (shaped like mini T-bones) save about 11g sat fat per serving over rib or shoulder chops. You can also ask your butcher to cut "steaks" from a leg of lamb, also lean, or sub 2 (8-ounce) beef sirloin steaks.
Creamy Chicken Quesadillas
A creamy base helps the cheese go further and keeps the chicken moist. For a crisp exterior, coat the filled tortillas with cooking spray instead of coating the pan.
Orange-Almond Chicken-and-Cabbage Bowls
Make these low-calorie, no-cook bowls ahead for an easy lunch or dinner when time is tight. Change up the fruit, nut, or protein for whatever you have on hand.
Pork Stir-Fry with Snow Peas
A great stir-fry uses only 2 or 3 vegetables in the base, insuring all elements shine through as well as leaving enough room in the pan for a good sear.
Chimichurri Chicken Thighs With Potatoes
An herb-packed chimichurri sacue makes this meat-and-potatoes main vibrant and exciting. Double the mixture and spoon it over grilled steak or fish on another night. For less heat in both the chimichurri and the potatoes, remove the seeds from the Fresno chile.
Cheesy Chicken Cutlets with Ham and Jam
This recipe is a play on chicken cordon bleu that's far easier to prepare. Instead of stuffing chicken breasts with jam and cheese, we broil cutlets until done and simply top them with ham, cheese, and a touch of jam. We also tested the dish with cheddar, which you could use in a pinch, but the nutty, tangy flavor of Havarti makes it feel more special.
Chicken Potpie Tartines
A creamy chicken and vegetable mixture tops toast for a quick twist on potpie. Matchstick-cut carrots, frozen peas, and rotisserie chicken save time, as does a wide skillet for sautéing the vegetables and building the sauce. For ideas to use the leftover peas in the package, see our recipes for Cooking with Peas.
Turkey and Swiss Sloppy Joes
This twist on a classic sandwich swaps the sweet, barbecue-style sauce for a white sauce enriched with nutty Swiss cheese.
Chicken-Poblano Tortilla Soup
Chilly evenings call for a comforting soup with a bit of restorative kick and plenty of vibrant toppings. Top with tortilla chips, or make your own crispy tortilla strips as shown. Cut 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas into 1/2-inch strips and bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Crush halve the strips for the soup and garnish with the rest. Make these ahead and store in a zip-top bag at room temperature for a day or two. Poblano peppers range in heat; add cooling avocado or crushed red pepper as needed.
Green Gazpacho with Shrimp
Fresh bread gives gazpacho body, making it a substantial summer entrée soup. Use bread from the bakery section for the best results (bread from the supermarket aisle can be overly soft and sweet).
Tuna, Avocado, and Pickled Onion Sandwich
This sandwich is all about healthy fats, with omega-3 fatty acids in the tuna and monounsaturated fat in the avocado. The first boosts brain function; the second is great for heart health. Tuna and avocado also happen to taste delicious together, along with pickled onion, roasted almonds, and briny, pea-green Castelvetrano olives. You’ll want a sturdy loaf of sourdough to support the filling; be sure to buy from the bakery section of the supermarket.
Turkey Sliders with Crunchy Green Apple Slaw
Sliders make any burger night more fun, especially since you get double the creamy, crunchy slaw. Look for ground turkey rather than ground turkey breast—the former has a bit more fat and flavor from dark meat while still keeping a lean profile.
Peanut, Shrimp, and Broccoli Rolls
White Bean and Vegetable Bowls with Frizzled Eggs
This easy bowl of brothy goodness is loaded with both veggies and umami depth--it's comfort food you can feel good about. It's also great for times when the food budget is tight, as it costs only about $11 for 4 servings. One-bowl dinners are a great way to solve the "What's for Dinner?" question that strikes daily. This flavorful option offers up a vegetarian option. The eggs add great protein and staying power to the veggie-heavy dish. The ingredients are similar to what you find in a traditional chili, but the results are anything but. Grab a bowl and enjoy.
Egg-in-a-Nest BLT Sandwiches
These toasty handfuls may just be the ultimate combo in the world of sandwiches. The recipe combines some of our favorite things: It's a delicious mash-up of egg-in-a-hole, avocado toast, and a classic BLT.
Chipotle Hanger Steak with Sour Cream Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Hanger steak is a flavor-packed cut of beef from between the rib and the loin. You may have to ask for it at the butcher's counter; if you can't find it, a different flat cut, like flank or skirt steak, works just as well. If your steak is thicker than 1 inch, it may require a slightly longer cook time or a quick finish in a 400°F oven. If you loved grandma's hamburger steak suppers growing up, this grown up version is guaranteed to make you cheer. It has all the comfort-style food you crave in a more attractive, satisfying package.
Quick Chicken Piccata
Chicken piccata is typically made with sliced chicken breasts, but we find chicken "thighcatta" to be even more flavorful.
Speedy Shepherd's Pie
Making the most of supermarket convenience items gets this family favorite on the table in a flash. Precut matchstick carrots are easier to chop into small pieces quickly, and using prepared mashed potatoes for the topping is a good trick for when you don't have leftover mashed potatoes on hand.
Seared Steak with Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad
For a finishing touch of color and light, herby flavor, garnish the dish with chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.
Chicken Cutlets with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa
This colorful, flavor-forward dish makes the most of peak-season produce with a sweet and tangy fruit salsa that would be equally delicious served over pork chops or with whole-grain tortilla chips. The heat from the seeded jalapeño is mild, but it can be omitted. To round out your plate, try serving the chicken and salsa over a bed of rice or with a simple side salad.
Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Soup
To make your satisfying supper hit the table even faster, go ahead and prep this creamy soup through step 1 in the morning. Then, all that's left to do is heat the soup and throw together a salad.
Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Penne
If broccoli rabe is a bit bitter for your family or if you have trouble finding it, chopped broccoli would be a delicious substitute. Serve with extra lemon for more zip.
Mini Bow Ties with Bacon and Peas
Finishing your peas and carrots is exponentially more exciting when bacon is involved. In fact, almost every dish is more exciting when bacon comes to play, so feel free to swap your family's favorite veggies into this versatile pasta.
Hummus-Zucchini English Muffin
Instead of the usual bagel with cream cheese and jam, we're adding protein and cutting sugar with creamy hummus and vegetables. Start with a whole-grain English muffin, and pile on shaved carrot, zucchini, and roasted salted sunflower seeds for a savings of 30g added sugar.
Arugula Pizza with Poached Eggs
You can also try using fresh dough. Look to your local pizzeria for homemade dough, as many will sell theirs for only a few dollars.
Smashed Chickpea Salad Toasts
A little reminiscent of both tuna salad and egg salad, this combo of coarsely mashed chickpeas, mayo, pickles, celery, and onion is all at once creamy, crunchy, and toothsome. We like serving it as an open-faced tartine or toast, but you can also sandwich it between two bread slices or serve it with whole-grain crackers. For a vegan version, choose a vegan mayo, and you’ll be good to go.
Spicy Thai Red Curry Beef
This single-skillet supper is a quick ticket to rich, exotic flavor. Don't shake the coconut milk before opening; you want to keep the thick cream layer separated.
We couldn't resist stuffing cup-shaped avocado halves, here gently seared until lightly caramelized. Sweet crabmeat dressed with zingy lemon and tarragon is a nice complement to the buttery avocado; chopped cooked shrimp or shredded chicken breast would also work. You could also fill the halves with a fresh summer squash salad or black bean salsa.