Delicious "no-cook" dishes in under 30 min?
December 13, 2012 6:32 AM   Subscribe

I recently came across this awesomeness of a Daal recipe. It blew me away, not only with its amazing flavor, but the fact that you actually don't have to cook. I mean you chop one onion, dump all the ingredients in and less than 30 minutes later, you have an amazing meal. Which immediately made me wonder, are there any other awesomely tasty recipes out there which I could add to my repertoire of fast and easy?
posted by kitchencrush to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 194 users marked this as a favorite
Sesame peanut noodles: cook pasta (penne or rigatoni works well; can also use soba or rice noodles.) Drain. Add in large amount of peanut butter, tamari, chopped garlic and ginger (or out of a jar, I'm not going to judge,) and chili garlic sauce. Can also add: rice vinegar, chopped scallions, any other delicious condiments you think would be good, sugar snap peas or warmed frozen peas. Toss until sauce is thoroughly mixed and all noodles are coated with delicious peanut sauce. Top with sesame seeds. It's slightly easier if you start mixing the tamari and peanut butter et al. in a big bowl before adding the noodles, but you can do it as a one pot kind of thing; some peanut butters work better with a little reserve pasta water added. We usually make at least a pound of pasta like this at a time because it keeps relatively well, can be eaten chilled, and my boyfriend goes bonkers over it.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:05 AM on December 13, 2012 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Do a search for "dump and stir" recipes. It's basically what you're describing.

This black bean chili is really good and mostly comes out of containers. And this chorizo and shiitake soup gets a lot out of a pretty short list of ingredients.

Is 30 minutes/quickness overall a factor? Or just minimal effort?
A good number of slow cooker recipes can be summarized as "put stuff in pot and walk away for six hours." If meat's involved, some might have you brown it first, but it's not absolutely necessary. Have a look through the categories at A Year of Slow Cooking.
posted by Su at 7:11 AM on December 13, 2012

Best answer: May be a bit more work than you're looking for, but my super cheap and easy tomato soup is awesome.

Cut up a few onions roughly and get them cooking a bit in a pot with a bit of oil. Add a half a tsp of cumin and stir it about with the onions until everything smells awesome. Dump in a big can of diced tomatoes, add a couple dashes of Worchstershire sauce, a blob of beef bullion (I use the liquid Boverill kind) and then blend it all smooth (I use my hand blender right in the pot). Add in some fresh black pepper, two minced garlic cloves, and a 1/3 cup of cream.

TA DA! Delicious and cheap and wicked fast and amazing with grilled cheese sandwiches.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:24 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Not fast, but certainly easy are just about any crockpot recipes. Just plop a bunch of ingredients in the crock in the morning, turn the thing on, and when you get home, you have delicious food!
posted by xingcat at 7:28 AM on December 13, 2012

Best answer: My favorite pumpkin soup:
2 cans pumpkin puree
1 can coconut milk
2 cans broth (chicken, vegetable, water+boullioncube, etc)
squirt of honey
salt/pepper/cayenne/curry to taste.

1. Get this hot.
2. Stir.
3. Put in bowls.
posted by aimedwander at 7:31 AM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Rachel Wharton's Bodega Beans, from the Amateur Gourmet. This is what I make when I don't feel like making a damn thing.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:43 AM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: This Chickpea potato curry would definitely count.

It's from this cook book: Hands-Off Cooking: Low-Supervision, High-Flavor Meals for Busy People

If you've got a stick blender, you can make an awesome butternut squash soup with:
  • chopped onion
  • Fresh box of chopped butternut squash (or frozen bag)
  • Stock (veggie or chicken)
  1. cook onion in a bit of butter
  2. dump box of chopped squash in pot.
  3. pour enough stock to just cover squash
  4. simmer until squash can be easily jabbed with fork.
  5. buzz it up with stick blender
Have a green salad, and some bread with it.
posted by fontophilic at 7:48 AM on December 13, 2012

Not "fast" in the sense of being completable in under half an hour, but if the issue's coming home and not wanting to fuss, slow cooker recipes are generally awesome this way, as a lot of them are: do minimal prep on some food items, dump in a crock, come home to delicious stewlike/souplike substance. A lot of them are stuff you can prep in the morning, so you can come home to a nice hot dinner.
posted by jackbishop at 8:22 AM on December 13, 2012

Best answer: I do a quinoa-and-chickpeas thing that is pretty much the easiest thing ever (and mostly pantry ingredients):

- olive oil
- whole cumin
- mustard seed
- garlic/onion/ginger, chopped
- quinoa
- canned diced tomatoes
- canned chickpeas, rinsed
- lime and cilantro (optional)

1. cook cumin and mustard seed in olive oil until the mustard starts to pop and the whole thing starts smelling delicious
2. add garlic/onion/ginger, stir around a bit
3. add quinoa, stir
4. dump in canned tomatoes + however much water you need to make up the liquid requirements for the quinoa (check the package)
5. cook for...20 minutes or so? Until the quinoa is done, or just about
6. add chickpeas and heat through. You can also add them with the quinoa, but I don't like mushy beans and the canned ones have a tendency to do that...
7. top with cilantro and a squeeze of lime, if you have it.

Makes great leftovers the next day at work, too.
posted by quaking fajita at 9:02 AM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: My recent pick-up from another AskMe was the zucchini with almonds. Holy crap is it easy and delicious. I was a skeptic, until I ate it.
(dersins, I think that is the first time I favorited something in MetaTalk (spinach soba). Feels a bit shameful somehow.)
posted by whatzit at 10:21 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

The best banana pudding ever, courtesy of Miss Diabetes herself. (You can lighten it considerably using lowfat milk, light cream cheese, etc.). I'm not sure if it actually qualifies as cooking because no heat is applied, just mixing, layering, and some magic chemistry.
posted by radioamy at 10:28 AM on December 13, 2012

If you get a pressure cooker, pretty much all meals are like this. I always recommend Lorna Sass's Pressure Perfect for recipe ideas.
posted by freezer cake at 10:32 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Slightly more than "dump and stir", but what I've done in the past is:

Heat oven to 400. Heat a cast iron skillet. Sear a portion of a pork tenderloin (2-3 inches long) on all sides. On the last side, add more olive oil to the pan, along with a head of garlic, halved across all the cloves, a few sprigs of thyme, rosemary, or whatever herbs you have, and a bunch of on-the-vine small tomatoes or whole mushrooms. Season it all with plenty of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the pork is done.

When I'm really lazy and it's hot out, I make a big bowl of rice (rice cooker, best investment) and mix together: soy sauce, mirin, sugar, dashi granules, a touch of rice vinegar, Korean red pepper flakes, and minced garlic. Put a big slab of cold, soft tofu on a plate, top with the sauce, then top with sliced green onions and bonito flakes. (Adjust to what you have on hand, of course.)
posted by WasabiFlux at 11:10 AM on December 13, 2012

Best answer: I recently made this red lentil and cabbage recipe from the smitten kitchen website. It contains one more step than daal, but is very similar. Basically put the red lentils, water and turmeric in a big pot, and while that is cooking shred cabbage, cut up other ingredredients and then sauté in a large pan and mix together at the end. It is shown with another recipe, Indian spiced potatoes and cauliflower, that is also pretty easy (although another 2 step recipe) and very delicious.
posted by kaybdc at 12:02 PM on December 13, 2012

Best answer: I used to go to, then I would filter by "Quick and Easy" and then I would rank them in order of user ratings (how many stars). That was my own personal algorithm for fast, easy, tried and true recipes :P

I found some good ones that way. (A five minute fake pho recipe being one of the highlights.)
posted by mermily at 12:02 PM on December 13, 2012

Chop a tomato. Chop half a cucumber. Add a handful of feta cheese. Add olives from the posh market or from, you know, a jar. Glug with olive oil and vinegar. Tada, greek salad. I'm a salt whore so I like to sprinkle with sea salt. If you want something warm, toast some nice french bread and you can dip it in your dressing.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:08 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is so simple I don't know if it counts. Sausages, chopped onion and tomatoes and capsicum (red pepper), splash of wine, splash of oil. Some herbs if you got them (thyme is good).All in a roasting tin and in a 200c oven for 40 minutes.


Roast mixed vegetables then top with camembert or slices of chorizo and put back under the grill until golden and bubbly. Finish it off with a poached egg.

Both get made a lot in my household mid-week.
posted by arha at 8:03 PM on December 13, 2012

Tuscan Tuna and Beans
From Not Your Mother's Weeknight Cooking by Beth Hensperger

Serves 4.

Cooking Method: None
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Three 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Three 6-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained well and broken into rough chunks
2/3 cup finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup olive oil
1 to 2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated

Combine the beans, tuna, onion, and parsley in a serving bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, and salt; drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly. Pour the dressing over the beans and tuna; toss to combine. Place lettuce leaves on 4 plates and top with the salad. Serve immediately.

also, similar, black bean salad with or without fruit/mango.
posted by ifjuly at 11:02 AM on December 14, 2012

Stone Salad (or soup): A Recipe Rubric for Delicious "No Cook" Dishes in Under 30 Minutes

1. COLLECT (Bonus points for local, organic, happy animal, etc.)
- Bean or legume (examples: black bean or red lentil)
- Vegetable (examples: corn, radish, bell pepper)
- Green (examples: avocado, kale, rainbow chard, sweet peas)
- Fruit/dried fruit (examples: prunes, apple, blueberry, citrus, whatever's in season and thus cheaper and tastier)
- Nuts/seeds (examples: flax seeds, walnuts)
- Flavor (examples: onion, garlic, ginger, mint, cumin, chili peppers)
- More flavor (examples: oil (use sparingly), avocado, citrus or vinegar)
- Animal products, optional (examples: egg, yogurt, things that went COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO in the night because their coop wasn't properly sound-proofed and thus woke the neighbors one too many times)
- Small stone (Pick a hard, non-crumbly, clean stone or you'll end up with sand just like with so many clam chowders. Optional, and really just for continuity with the title, but could be a fun recipe for kids if they know the story?)

- Get a nice mix based on what you have and like. One or more each from this rubric might provide a decent variety.
- Lop as needed.
- Optional: Heat some ingredients if you'd like. Heat ingredients in water if soup.

- As with bay leaves, remove the stone first if included.

- Serve on bread or rice or quinoa or pasta or something.
- I ❤ leftovers.

posted by aniola at 10:48 PM on December 15, 2012

Recipe Rubric inspired by the following tasty recipe which I invented one day based on what was cheap at the grocery store when short on time on my way to a potluck, plus another half decade since then of various attempts at food, some more successful than others:
one can organic garbonzo beans
one can organic black beans
one half regular organic red onion, diced
one package of organic corn
two organic avocados, diced
the juice of two limes

posted by aniola at 10:54 PM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

tomato sauce

olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves minced or crushed garlic
2 14-ounce can diced tomatoes.
1 tsp sugar

1. Heat oil.
2. On med heat fry garlic and red pepper flakes for 2-3 minutes.
3. add can with juice
4. Bring to boil.
5. blend.
6. add second can without juice.
7. add yr meatless meatballs
posted by amitai at 7:18 AM on December 16, 2012

Easy curry recipe


* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 4 cloves crushed garlic
* 2 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 1 cube vegetable or chicken bouillon
* 1 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
* 1 cup raisins
* 1 1/2 cups water
* salt and pepper and red pepper to taste


1. In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat oil and saute onion, and garlic until golden. Stir in curry powder and tomato paste, cook 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Stir in tomatoes, vegetable bouillon cube, mixed vegetables, raisins, water, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.
3. Cook approximately 30 minutes until vegetables are well done (not crunchy).
posted by amitai at 7:20 AM on December 16, 2012

Also here is a thread that I bookmarked last year that help you out:
posted by amitai at 7:21 AM on December 16, 2012

Buy a pork shoulder roast, also known as a boston butt or picnic roast. (This cut will not dry out like a loin roast, and it tastes better.) Place in slow cooker with one cup to one-and-a-half cups bottled barbecue sauce. (If you have a twelve-ounce bottle, use it all.) Cook on high for an hour (or until you're ready to leave the house in the morning), then switch to low and leave it to cook all day long. Come home to a wonderful falling-apart barbecue-sauce pork roast.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 7:34 AM on December 16, 2012

Mr Patak was my best friend when my son was young...
Heat curry sauce with can of chick peas... Eat
I prefer to call it "prefab-ulous" cooking.
posted by chapps at 5:57 PM on December 18, 2012

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