Don’t feel like cooking? I get you. Here are some things to make for dinner when you don’t want to spend a bunch of time in the kitchen.
We all have those nights. Home late from work, on the feet all day, exhausted, and ready to grab a meal quick and relax for a while.
The cookbooks can linger on the shelf for another day when I’m motivated, not motionless.
Sure, I could order in… But making it myself is cheaper, quicker, and tastier too. (If I do say so myself.)
So when I’m looking to make something that will be ready in 20 minutes or less, I look no further than my own refrigerator.
What to make for dinner when you don’t want to cook
No matter what is left in the refrigerator, there’s almost always something left that’s good for pizza.
Top with any or all of the following:
- Red bell peppers
- Roasted potatoes
- Sautéed kale or collard greens
- Vegan sausage and/or pepperoni
- Artichoke hearts
Add some jarred marinara sauce to a frozen pizza crust.
I like to bake the Monteli crust for 12 minutes, and the Vicolo crust for fifteen minutes. I cook both at 425 degrees.
In no time at all I’m relaxing on the couch with a slice of pizza, adding generous amounts of hot sauce and jalapeños.
Salad with warm bread
Salad is another one of those meals for which I have all of the ingredients almost any time.
Spinach, romaine, or massaged kale make an excellent base.
Add whatever from the refrigerator & pantry:
- Red bell peppers
- Jarred artichoke hearts
- Pine nuts
- Baked tofu – homemade or store-bought
For salad dressings, lemon tahini dressing is almost instant. If you have a jarred vegan dressing you love, that’s even easier.
If I’m up to it, I love roasting garlic while I’m chopping salad ingredients. (I use this roasted garlic air fryer recipe.)
A simple meal of salad and bread feels like decadence when I’m smearing hot and buttery cloves of garlic onto crusty bread.
Otherwise, homemade hummus or oil and balsamic vinegar with fresh ground pepper make solid dipping choices.
Toasted tortillas with your choice of filling
Tortillas are so handy for quick meals. Depending on my mood & what I have on hand, I can whip up a meal in no time.
For a bean-y option, I’ll take homemade vegan refried beans or hummus, and spread it on whole wheat tortillas.
For a nutty option, I’ll take peanut butter and banana, and spread it onto tortillas.
I smash the two tortillas together, and lay them on a hot, dry pan. Flip once, until they are brown and crispy on each side.
Serve with the bean-y one with avocado slices, salsa, jalapeños, and hot sauce for a quick, easy, and delicious meal. Serve the nutty one on its own.
Here are a few more quesadilla ideas:
- Veggie quesadilla with apples and caramelized onions
- Breakfast quesadilla
- Pierogi-style vegan quesadilla with ranch
- Refried bean quesadilla
If I have leftover cooked brown rice, then I’m halfway there. If not, I pull frozen brown rice and/or cauliflower rice from the freezer.
If I have none of the above, I’ll start the water boiling for rice noodles, which cook in only eight minutes. (Get more info on those in this noodle stir-fry recipe.)
Then sauté any of the following:
- Bok choy
- Red bell peppers
- Peanuts or cashews
Add splashes of tamari, sriracha, and brown rice vinegar until you’ve found the perfect balance. A couple drops of sesame oil also adds some nice flavor. (You can see my favorite sriracha in my top hot sauces round-up.)
Then I add in the rice or drained noodles. Serve with potstickers and/or cubed tofu cooked in the air fryer.
Breakfast for dinner
Similar to the above stir-fry, a tofu scramble can be made in a jiffy with a sauté of any combination of vegetables.
Then add in firm or super firm tofu (not silken). I like to use vacuum-packed tofu that doesn’t have to be pressed. However, if you have water packed tofu, just drain it quickly, and give it a quick squeeze.
Crumble the tofu into the pan with the vegetables.
Pop a slice or two of bread into the toaster and serve with slices of avocado. Of course, hash browns in the air fryer and/or a couple slices of seitan bacon on the stove would not go amiss!
(If you’d prefer a recipe, here’s my favorite vegan tofu scramble.)