What to Make for Dinner: 10 Tasty Recipes That Take 45 Minutes or Less

What to make for dinner: A woman chopping cilantro
Image: Alyson McPhee

Don't know what to make for dinner? We know the feeling. When it comes to deciding on a meal that doesn't involve takeout, dining out, or toiling in the kitchen for hours, it can be a challenge. But don’t fret, fellow food lover.

We've searched far and wide to bring you a list of easy dinner recipes that will work any night of the week (and more than a few that will work for lunch, too). From 20-minute tacos to a tasty twist on meatloaf and beyond, these 10 dinner ideas won't take more than 45 minutes from start to finish.

Remember: One of the easiest and healthiest ways to enjoy a meal is with the Tovala Oven. No need for a slow cooker, instant pot, or other contraption. Tovala allows you to cook your food like a pro in virtually no time. Now, what's for dinner?  

Grilled Steak With Greek Corn Salad

What to make for dinner: Grilled Steak With Greek Corn Salad
Image: Food Network

Cooking & Prep Time: 20 minutes

Is it possible to have a hearty meal while still keeping it light? This weeknight dinner steak salad seems to think so. A sweet-and-tangy mix of grilled corn, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and feta cheese are tossed in a simple DIY vinaigrette while cube steak (aka tenderized top round or top sirloin) adds the right amount of heft. The recipe calls for grilling corn on the cob yourself, but you can easily sauté it in a pan for a few minutes until browned or just use canned corn.

20 Minute Ground Chicken Tacos With Poblanos

What to make for dinner: 20 Minute Ground Chicken Tacos With Poblanos
Image: Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Cooking & Prep Time: 20 minutes

Why wait for Taco Tuesday? These ground chicken tacos make for a winning meal any night of the week—and they do it without a single shred of cheese. Using simple ingredients—including corn tortillas, avocado, poblano chilis (or bell peppers if you prefer), onion, garlic, and a few basic Mexican seasonings—this dish is a party on a plate. For a meatless version that still packs plenty of protein, try replacing the chicken with black beans or sautéed tempeh.

1-Pot Chickpea Shakshuka

What to make for dinner: 1-Pot Chickpea Shakshuka
Image: Minimalist Baker

Cooking & Prep Time: 30 minutes

Even if you've never heard of shakshuka, there's a good chance this savory Mediterranean dish will soon become part of your regular rotation—once you try this one-pot vegan version. Although traditionally prepared with poached eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this egg-free and gluten-free recipe uses chickpeas as an alternative protein source.

Shakshuka is all about the seasonings, so make sure your pantry is stocked with dried herbs and spices like smoked or sweet paprika, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon. That said, you can make this 30-minute meal even if you don't have all the spices and it will still taste great.

Mustard Salmon Sheet-Pan Dinner

What to make for dinner: Mustard Salmon Sheet-Pan Dinner
Image: Foodie Crush

Cooking & Prep Time: 30 minutes

Supremely simple and scrumptious, this sheet-pan salmon recipe is exactly what you need on those busy weeknights when time and energy are running low. With just a filet of salmon, thinly sliced potatoes, asparagus, a few tablespoons of mustard, and some lemon, this easy recipe is healthy, full of flavor, and ready in half an hour or less. What's more, because it's a sheet-pan meal that means minimal cleanup once dinner is done.

Garlic White Wine Skillet Chicken With Olives & Artichokes

What to make for dinner: Garlic White Wine Skillet Chicken With Olives & Artichokes
Image: Snixy Kitchen

Cooking & Prep Time: 40 minutes

This tantalizing chicken recipe looks fancy as all get-out, but the main tasks are simply seasoning and cooking the chicken and other ingredients in a skillet and then placing the whole thing in the oven for 15-20 minutes of baking time. The recipe suggests chicken breast, but you could easily use chicken thighs instead. Juicy, crispy, and oh-so flavorful, this dish is perfect over pasta or a bed of rice. Whatever you decide, you'll have a complete meal that's easy enough for a weeknight meal yet elegant enough for a dinner party or a romantic dinner.  

Escarole and Bean Soup   

What to make for dinner: Escarole and Bean Soup
Image: Food Network

Cooking & Prep Time: 22 minutes

Soup's on! This classic Italian soup proves you don't need meat to enjoy a hearty supper. Although escarole is part of the endive family, it's not as bitter. You can use spinach or Swiss chard if you prefer, but escarole is the traditional way to go.

The secret ingredient to this ultra-simple vegetarian soup is the Parmesan cheese, which adds a burst of robust flavor and velvety texture. Sautéed garlic in olive oil, creamy cannellini beans, and chicken broth round out the recipe. Serve with crusty bread, and you're in for a delicious greens-and-beans dinner tonight.

30 Minute Skinny Alfredo Ziti With Broccoli

What to make for dinner: 30 Minute Skinny Alfredo Ziti With Broccoli
Image: Ambitious Kitchen

Cooking & Prep Time: 30 minutes

For a healthier take on a comfort food favorite, try this 30-minute skinny Alfredo ziti pasta recipe. Forgoing the usual overload of butter and heavy cream, this Alfredo sauce is made with dairy-free milk and cheese as well as vegetable broth. Use gluten-free pasta if you want to keep it low-carb, and feel free to add shredded rotisserie chicken or tofu for extra protein. It's the perfect weeknight meal when you feel like having pasta but don't want to feel overstuffed.

Sheet Pan BBQ Meatloaf Dinner

What to make for dinner: Sheet Pan BBQ Meatloaf Dinner
Image: Budget Bytes

Cooking & Prep Time: 45 minutes

Don't let the 45-minute cooking time scare you. This easy recipe for meatloaf requires just 10 minutes of prep time—your oven will do most of the work. Rather than baking a full-size meatloaf with the sides done separately, this one-pan recipe lets you do it all at once. The ground beef mixture is easy to make with egg, bread crumbs, barbecue sauce, and a few seasonings that you form into mini meatloaves. Serve with diced sweet potato and broccoli florets or any veggies you have on hand.

Pesto, Artichoke, and Havarti Grilled Cheese

What to make for dinner: Pesto, Artichoke, and Havarti Grilled Cheese
Image: Two Peas & Their Pod

Cooking & Prep Time: 20 minutes

Whether it's your cheat day or you just need that comfort food fix, it doesn't get much more indulgent than an ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich. With just a handful of ingredients, this grilled cheese sandwich takes your childhood favorite to the next level with spinach-basil pesto, artichoke hearts, and creamy Havarti. Sure, this isn't going to be part of your nightly routine (right?), but every now and again, you can't go wrong with a dose of grilled cheese goodness.

20 Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp

What to make for dinner: 20 Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp
Image: Sally's Baking Addiction

Cooking & Prep Time: 20 minutes

A tasty go-to for those busy weeknights, this honey garlic shrimp is a quick and easy dinner recipe that you can make with fresh shrimp or frozen. (Naturally, you'll need to thaw the shrimp beforehand if you go the frozen route.) Requiring just five ingredients and 20 minutes of your time, this healthy dinner will become a weeknight favorite. Serve it with brown rice and vegetables or mixed into a salad, pasta, or colorful stir-fry.

Dinnertime Goals

What to make for dinner: Tovala meals being baked in the Tovala oven

When you're trying to figure out what’s for dinner, these recipes offer great mealtime inspiration. But you never have to worry about what to make for dinner with Tovala Meals. When you’re too busy to cook, these chef-crafted meals are made with carefully sourced ingredients—absolutely nothing artificial—and fit a variety of dietary preferences, including gluten-free, high-protein, and vegetarian diets.

This meal-delivery service is effortless and gets you nutritious, delicious meals delivered directly to your doorstep. Simply unpack the box, scan the meal’s barcode on your Tovala Oven, and within 20 minutes you'll have a home-cooked meal on your dinner table. Dinnertime goals achieved.