34 healthy 30 minute dinner ideas that will get dinner on the table quickly. Stir fries, tacos, pasta, salads and so many more delicious recipes.
While I used to love taking my time in the kitchen trying out extravagant recipes, once I had kids, I realized I needed to streamline this process. Cooking with a toddler clinging to your knee just doesn't have the same fun factor 😉
30 minute dinner ideas
This post is an update on a 2015 post...we've added brand new easy dinner ideas and more tips to help you get dinner on the table quickly!
Getting a healthy, delicious dinner on the table really doesn't need to take more than 30 minutes.
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Tips for speedy dinners
- write out a plan- so you can spring into action as soon as you get home from work! Check out How to Write a Meal Plan
- thaw your protein- the night before! You can set a timer on your iCalendar, or use Alexa to remind you. See 5 Ways to Use Alexa in the Kitchen
- use short cuts- pre-chopped veggies are your friend
- keep it simple- sheet pan meals or one pot meals are going to make your life easy!
- meal prep- prepping meal components ahead really helps! Even if it's as simple as pre-chopping some veggies or making a stir fry sauce ahead, it's going to help you so much. See How to Meal Prep
When it comes to speed, stir fries are where it's at! You can customize for any protein you'd like, including some delicious vegan options, and it's easy to meal prep components ahead making it even faster to cook up on a week night.
Short Cut- use pre-chopped veggies and store-bought sauce.
Meal prep it- chop your veggies ahead and store in an air tight container for up to 4 days. Prep your stir fry sauce ahead and freeze for up to 3 months
Make it a taco night
Nothing is more crowd pleasing than tacos, amiright? These quick dinner ideas featuring tacos are going to get dinner on the table quickly, and make your family happy, too.
Short Cut- use pre-chopped veggies and store-bought taco seasoning
Meal prep it- chop your veggies ahead and store in an air tight container for up to 4 days. Cook your meat ahead and freeze for up to 3 months.
Pasta to the rescue
Another great quick dinner ideas is pasta! I love how versatile pasta is, and how you can mix it up with different proteins, veggies, and sauces.
Short Cut- look for one pot recipes that cook the pasta, veggies, protein and sauce all together! Pro tip- Instant Pot pasta is fantastic!
Meal prep it- pre cook your pasta and re-heat for easy dinners.
The big salad
This always makes me think of Seinfeld: "it's a salad, only bigger, with lots of stuff in it". End of story! The perfect healthy dinner idea.
Short Cut- pre-chopped veggies, bottled dressing.
Meal prep it- assemble ahead and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. This only works with some recipes, so be sure to refer to directions for specifics.
Skillet/One pan recipes
Make the cooking and the clean up easier by sticking to recipes that cook all in one pot or on a sheet pan. Healthy dinner ideas that are made in one pan are my go-to when I need to get dinner on the table on busy nights
Short Cut- pre-chopped veggies. Are you noticing a pattern here? 😉
Meal prep it- pre-chop or spiralize veggies. Note that potatoes and sweet potatoes can not be pre cut. Thaw proteins ahead, mix seasoning blends or sauces ahead. Some of these recipes can be cooked ahead and reheated. Refer to specific directions on each recipe.
Misc quick dinner ideas
These recipes don't necessarily fit into a category, but are delicious, easy recipes to have in your back pocket for busy nights. I particularly like salmon as a quick dinner idea as it cooks through quickly. Shrimp is great when you forget to thaw something, as you can thaw in cold water for 15 minutes.