Quick and easy dinner ideas: 9 recipes ready in 30 minutes or less

Quick and easy dinner ideas: 9 recipes ready in 30 minutes or less
Recipe: Spaghetti with black pepper and pecorino. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

Before you decide to order delivery after a busy work day, consider the following recipe options. Each of these dinner ideas is ready in 30 minutes or less. Many are one-dish ideas, and others work well paired with a simple starch or salad. Because eating well, even when you're busy, makes everything better.

<a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Recipe: Tuscan kale salad</strong></a>
Recipe: Tuscan kale salad (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Because of its rather tough texture, greens like kale are often cooked to tenderize them before serving. But gently rubbing a bright vinaigrette onto the cut greens also works to soften their texture, making for a wonderfully fresh salad with crisp, assertive notes. Top it with a few grilled baby carrots for an extra touch of color.

Plan to serve these clams with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the flavorful sauce.

<a href="" target="_blank">Recipe: Balboa Cafe's kale slaw</a>
Recipe: Balboa Cafe's kale slaw (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Incredibly simple to make, thinly sliced kale is tossed with colorful carrots, red cabbage and fresh fennel, then coated with a light but tangy dressing. Toasted walnuts are added at the end for added crunch.

<a href="" target="_blank">Recipe: Spinach soup with nutmeg and creme fraiche</a>
Recipe: Spinach soup with nutmeg and creme fraiche (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

The flavors of tender spinach coarsely pureed in chicken broth, only deepen with rich and tangy creme fraiche, freshly grated nutmeg and a little lemon zest.

Dinner doesn't get much simpler than a nice helping of sizzling shrimp with a touch of garlic and a sprinkling of hot pepper. Serve it alongside a crusty baguette to soak up all those amazing juices.

<a href="" target=""><strong>Recipe: Angel hair pasta with fresh shiso-herb mix</strong></a>
Recipe: Angel hair pasta with fresh shiso-herb mix (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

A wonderfully aromatic herb with a bit of a bite, shiso is part of the mint and basil family. For a simple meal, pair shiso with fresh lemon zest, parsley, chives and basil and toss with angel hair pasta. Serve the dish on its own for a vegetarian option, or top with a grilled fillet of salmon or other fish.

<a href="" target="_blank">Recipe: Nage's clementine salad</a>
Recipe: Nage's clementine salad (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Salad is the perfect way to highlight these sweet little mandarin oranges. Nage combines the orange segments with shaved fennel, mixed greens, crystallized ginger and toasted, salted cashews. The salad is tossed with a wonderfully sweet and fragrant five-spice dressing.


For a simple meal, try grilling tomatillos — direct heat over a hot fire brings out the sweet notes of the fruit — until they're crisp-tender, a couple of minutes per side. Toss the grilled wedges with some quick-grilled scallions, serrano chile and marinated, grilled shrimp. Divide the mixture among freshly warmed tortillas, add a side dish — and supper is served.

<strong><a href="" target="">Recipe: Spaghetti with black pepper and pecorino</a>.</strong>
Recipe: Spaghetti with black pepper and pecorino. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

Why clutter pasta with sauces and too many toppings when you can keep it simple? A little fresh cracked pepper and grated cheese is all it takes to turn basic noodles into a soothing dish.

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