Easy dinner recipes: No-work cioppino and more hearty gluten-free dishes

Craving a hearty soup or stew? These (which happen to be gluten-free) are bound to warm you up on cold nights.

Ciopinot's "no work" cioppino: It may take a little work prepping the ingredients, but Ciopinot's take on this classic contains a lot of flavor in just a few simple steps, and it makes a perfect dinner for those cold winter nights!


Creamy butternut squash soup with ginger: This soup from Times Food editor Russ Parsons tastes so complex your guests will be guessing what's in it. Really, though, it's not much more than squash itself, pureed. The final addition of vinegar is crucial, though, to keep the flavors focused. The recipe is demonstrated in the video at left by Russ Parsons.

Oyster stew with leeks and prosciutto: Another recipe from Russ Parsons, who writes, "My favorite oyster stew is not all that much more complicated to make, but it adds more layers of flavor. Start by stewing prosciutto, leeks and shallots in butter. Add wine and reduce it, then bring half-and-half to a bare simmer. When bubbles begin to appear around the rim of the pan, add the oysters and cook just until they're done. What brings all of the flavors into focus is a last-minute garnish of chopped tarragon (oysters love licorice flavors almost as much as they love cream)."

You can find the recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at


Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from Ciopinot in San Luis Obispo.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1/2 pound (about 1½) leeks, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced diagonally ½-inch thick

1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 dried bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

1 1/2 cups peeled and diced tomatoes, cut into ¾-inch dice

8 ounces tomato sauce

1 cup dry white or red wine

1/2 to 1 cup clam juice


Hot sauce

4 to 6 ounces large shrimp (16 to 20 count per pound), shelled and deveined

1/2 pound large scallops

6 ounces firm, light-flesh fish steaks (such as swordfish), cut into 1½-inch pieces

2 tablespoons cold butter, chopped

Freshly chopped basil and oregano, for garnish

1. In a medium, heavy-bottom pot heated over medium-high heat, add the oil, then stir in the onions, leeks, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, pepper and saffron. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and the herbs are fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce and wine. Cover and simmer gently to develop the flavors, 30 to 45 minutes. Thin if desired with 1/2 cup to 1 cup clam juice. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste. The cioppino base can be made ahead of time to this point; remove from heat, cover and refrigerate up to one day (reheat before continuing).

3. To the pot, add the shrimp, scallops and fish. Cover and simmer gently just until the fish and shellfish are firm and opaque, about 10 minutes. Uncover the pot and remove from heat. Stir in the chopped cold butter, stirring just until the butter melts to add a little richness to the broth. This makes about 5 cups cioppino. Ladle the cioppino into wide bowls, garnishing each serving with freshly chopped basil and oregano. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 338 calories; 23 grams protein; 16 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 16 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 111 mg cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 915 mg sodium.


Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 6

1 tablespoon butter

2 slices prosciutto, cut in thin ribbons

1 medium leek, finely chopped

1 shallot, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups half-and-half

Salt, optional

2 dozen oysters, shucked with oyster liquor retained

1 1/2 teaspoons minced tarragon for garnish, divided

1. Place the butter and the prosciutto in the bottom of a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the prosciutto softens and begins to darken, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the leek and shallot, and cook until they are soft and glistening, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine, and reduce to a syrup. (Recipe can be made to this point several hours in advance.)

2. Add the half-and-half, and bring just to a simmer over medium-low heat. When you see bubbles beginning to appear around the rim of the pan, add the oysters. Cook just until the oysters are plump and firm, about 3 minutes. Season to taste, if desired. Remove from the heat and ladle into well-heated soup bowls. Garnish each serving with one-fourth teaspoon chopped tarragon and serve immediately.

Each serving: 171 calories; 5 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 12 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 46 mg. cholesterol; 178 mg. sodium.


Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Servings: 6

1 (2 1/2-pound) butternut squash

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

3 cloves garlic, sliced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root

6 cups water

2 teaspoons salt, more to taste

Apple cider vinegar

Crème fraîche or sour cream

Toasted slivered almonds

1. Peel the squash, using a sharp vegetable peeler. Cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut in 1-inch chunks.

2. Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger root and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the diced squash, water and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook at a low simmer until the squash is tender enough to smash with a spoon, about 30 minutes.

3. Puree the soup, either using an immersion blender or grinding it in several stages in a regular blender. The soup should be completely smooth and a little thicker than heavy cream. Ladle the soup through a strainer into a clean soup pot, discarding any bits of squash or ginger left behind.

4. Heat the soup through once more and season to taste, adding salt first and then the vinegar. Add the vinegar one-half teaspoon at a time; it will take a little more than 1 tablespoon.


5. To serve, stir the crème fraîche to loosen the texture. Ladle the soup into wide bowls and spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of crème fraîche in a decorative pattern onto each. Scatter a few toasted slivered almonds over the soup and serve immediately.


Each serving: 163 calories; 3 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 9 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 20 mg. cholesterol; 795 mg. sodium.