If your cravings are anything like mine, they ebb and flow with the seasons. Come springtime, all I want is Italian fare, and light-hearted meals that are both nutritious and tasty. While I binged on soups all winter, I’m now ready to trade in my ladle for a fork and feast on seasonal offerings. That being said, It’s hard to pry my hands away from my keyboard long enough to make anything extensive Monday through Friday (unless it’s going into a slow cooker). Instead, I find myself cozying up with these 15 easy dinner recipes to make in 30-minutes or less that I'll be repeating way into mid-summer.
Once you delve in, you’ll see a through line beyond the fact that they’re super simple to whip up. These meals remind us of the joy of warm weather cooking, meandering through the farmers market, with field-to-table options—and even a few with deep sea veggies. They are undeniably appetizing (the use of fruits is abundant), while still fitting into the category of #cleaneating—leave your guilt at the door.
The Recipe: Tortellini En Brodo
The Hero Ingredient: This recipe calls for celery root which adds a healthy heartiness to the dish according to Rose & Ivy Journal and is a great way to include seasonal produce in your daily practice of cooking.
Pro Tip: The Rose & Ivy team suggest that if celery root is unavailable to you, a potato can also do the job. They go on to add that finishing off the dish with grated parmesan makes for an authentic touch.
Why We Love It: This is a very impressive dish to whip up and little will your guests know it only takes a mere 20-minutes.
Your secret’s safe.
The Recipe: 20-Minute Tofu Stir Fry
The Hero Ingredient: This super healthy, plant-based recipe is ideal for those busy weeknight dinners when you need some sustenance—tofu will do the trick. As the perfect base, it allows all the other flavors such as peanut butter, coconut, and chili to really shine through.
Pro Tip: Dana Shultz of Minimalist Baker prompts you to get creative with your vegetables. This time around she threw in mushrooms, cabbage, and bell peppers however the possibilities are endless.
Why We Love It: When it’s midweek and the farmers market produce needs to be used, this recipe is the best outlet. Toss those greens into your pan and sautée away.
The Recipe: 30-Minute Pork Scallopini with Lemons and Capers
The Hero Ingredient: Tangy lemon and pickled capers add a blast of flavor to this pork dish. Once mixed with herbs such as sage and parsley, you’ll have a full-fledged Italian feast.
Pro Tip: When pounding the pork cutlets, make sure you’re getting them nice and thin. Heidi Larson of Foodie Crush says this method will allow it to cook evenly, resulting in less cook time. Additionally, she shares a foodie secret: use a combination of butter with a little dash of oil, for a perfect browning.
Why We Love It: This makes for a fresh twist of the Sunday roast tradition. Pair with a glass of crisp white wine, and you’re starting the week off right.
The Recipe: Creamy Olive and Arugula Pesto Pasta
The Hero Ingredient: Homemade pesto is always a winner. It amplifies any meal and fuses it with strength. Pesto also makes a great partner for the nutty arugula sprinkled within this recipe.
Pro Tip: This pesto calls for walnuts, but Laura Wright of The First Mess thinks you could easily get creative, “play around” by swapping in toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, or the “super traditional” pine nuts.
Why We Love It: I can always opt for pasta, but this creamy delight is a super comforting and easy-to-make dinner that you can enjoy over and over.
The Recipe: 30-Minute Quinoa Fried Rice
The Hero Ingredient: This hearty bowl is packed full of flavor, but the stand-out taste is the sneaky tablespoon of almond butter. This creates a rich, exotic aroma that satisfies hungry tummies, fast.
Pro Tip: Shultz believes you’ll want to have this bowl again and again, so why not play around with the toppings? Toss on some cashews for a little more crunch and staying power.
Why We Love It: Instead of opting for take-out on busy work-nights, make this healthy take on fried rice.
The Recipe: Prawn and Israeli Couscous Salad with Harissa Mayo
The Hero Ingredient: This recipe has a lot of authentic components that make it stand apart from the rest but its use of orange kumara (a sweet potato) and prawns gives a unique texture and influx of protein that hits the spot.
Pro Tip: Sarah Tuck of Stuck in the Kitchen knows this recipe “makes a perfect next-day work-lunch,” and advises to make enough to sustain your table-full and have some leftovers.
Why We Love It: This is a great creative take on a salad if you’re trying to eat clean but keep things exciting.
The Recipe: Shim Beguner Chorchori, Flat Green Beans and Eggplant Stir-Fry
The Hero Ingredient: The use of Gavar Fhali, or romano beans in this recipe make it a wonderful seasonal option and a great way to get your greens.
Pro Tip: Kankana Saxena of Playful Cooking wants you to know there is really no hard rule on how to prepare a chorchori and throwing in that extra seasonal produce in your fridge makes it all the better. She suggests throwing in cauliflower stems, bottle gourd skin, and fresh pea skin for extra flavor.
Why We Love It: This rookie-friendly Indian recipe makes me excited to take a hack at my favorite cuisines.
The Recipe: Summer Maple Lime Watermelon Zoodle Bowl
The Hero Ingredient: I always enjoy a bowl that is inclusive to both fruits and veggies. This recipe complete with watermelon, corn, and zoodles really welcomes the warmer months with open arms. The maple lime dressing just gives it a dash of natural sugar for those with a sweet tooth.
Pro Tip: If you want to up the level of fruity, Taylor Kiser of Food Faith Fitness, adds blueberries in for those months they’re really in season.
Why We Love It: The grilled corn is a great contrast to the chilled watermelon.
This recipe could easily be an appetizer for a larger dinner party or the main event for a quiet night at home.
The Recipe: Roasted Salmon and Strawberry Grain Bowl
The Hero Ingredient: Like the above, this recipe is the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The strawberries are an unexpected addition that really makes this bowl memorable.
Pro Tip: Jenny Park of Spoon Fork Bacon loves a time management trick such as preparing these portions beforehand and throwing them together right before you sit down to eat so flavors can really stand-out.
Why We Love It: This bowl ticks off all the springtime dinner cravings—fresh seafood, playful fruit flavors, and beneficial elements.
The Recipe: 30-Minute Chicken Fajitas with Roasted Pineapple Salsa Verde
The Hero Ingredient: This recipe is a Mexican classic, mixing smoky meat with the succulent pineapple.
Pro Tip: Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest knows the joy of a good meal with minimal clean-up, meaning you’ll only be dirtying one dish and a blender for this recipe. It just got added to the weekly queue.
Why We Love It: Aside from minimal dishes, I love how much this meal is reminiscent of vacation days spent devouring Mexican fare.
Whether nostalgic to you or a first-time try, make these fajitas and you’ll soon see why it’s such a joy.
The Recipe: Poke Bowl
The Hero Ingredient: Fresh wakame seaweed is what gives this bowl it’s authentic flavor, not to mention these little sea greens are brimming with antioxidants and good minerals.
Pro Tip: Dzung Lewis, the founder of Honeysuckle, knows how pricey poke bowls can get. Here she offers an easy at-home recipe that you can binge but won’t put a dent in your wallet.
Why We Love It: I like to prep sushi rice ahead of time so that poke bowls are super seamless to throw together in just a few minutes.
Serve them up to your family with the option to create your own with the various toppings and save yourself the extra work.
The Recipe: Sesame-Citrus Kelp Noodle Salad
The Hero Ingredient: Yet another warm-day appropriate recipe heavy on sea vegetables. This one calls for kelp, which sounds curious but is very beneficial for detoxing digestive systems and boosting skin health.
Pro Tip: Stephanie Gerber of Hello Glow guides us through shopping for seaweed, suggesting we opt for the organic option. “My preferred brand is Maine Coast Sea Vegetables,” she writes.
Why We Love It: This salad only takes a few minutes to throw together, thus making it a super healthy choice when the hangry starts to set in.
The Recipe: Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Peach Pico de Gallo
The Hero Ingredient: This peach pico de gallo made me stop in my tracks and do a double take. Peaches mixed with serrano chili, topped with lime is a flavor palette I can’t wait to indulge in all spring and summer.
Pro Tip: Kate Ramos of Hola Jalapeno notes to grill the chicken to perfection leave the thighs whole, and marinate them in lime juice and spice, continue to grill until cooked through.
Why We Love It: Who doesn’t love a weeknight taco?
This taco is the perfect contemporary take on a tried and true favorite.
The Recipe: Cashew Shrimp and Mango Stir Fry
The Hero Ingredient: Mango and shrimp are like the headliners of the perfect spring dinner. Warmed and tossed with cashews creates a Thai-reminiscent dish that’s full of clean ingredients.
Pro Tip: Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats knows how versatile this recipe is. "I love is how well this reheats,” she writes. You’ll never get tired of this one.
Why We Love It: We love how simple and filling a stir fry done right is. This recipe is a fun twist on a classic vegetable-based sautée.
The Recipe: 30-Minute Stir Fried Korean Beef and Toasted Sesame Noodles
The Hero Ingredient: This recipe calls for brown rice noodles, an ideal alternative to carb-heavy noodles often found in Korean cuisine. With this base, you can really get creative with your ingredients if you feel the need to stray from the recipe. Not a meat-eater, these noodles make a great foundation for a veggie dish.
Pro Tip: The secret to this dish, according to Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest, is all in the sauce.
She suggests Gochujang, a traditional Korean chile paste that will really lock that flavor in.
Why We Love It: We can get behind any dinner that incorporates the colors of the rainbow. This list of ingredients is a great way to get all your ROYGBIV.