30 minute chefs

It’s the end of a long day at work and the last thing you want to do is spend the next hour in the kitchen trying to prepare a nutritious meal. Before you give up and decide to place an Uber Eats order, look at this list of quick and simple recipes.

We’ve searched hundreds of sites to compile this list of recipes that even a beginner home chef can prepare quickly. And trust us when we say these really are quick and simple recipes. After all, here at Hays we’re proud to be recruiting experts – we’re not exactly cooking experts. So, if we’ve been able to prepare these recipes easily and successfully at the end of a long work day, you’ll be able to as well!

30 minutes or less: 10 simple meals

From traditional pasta to stir fries and healthy pizza alternatives, here are 10 recipes from top culinary experts that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. No matter what you’re craving, these recipes will give you more time at the end of your weekday to relax and unwind. 

For those who are working from home, you might even like to try these meals out in your lunch break – they certainly beat eggs or baked beans on toast as a quick workday lunch! 

1. Jamie Oliver’s golden chicken 

Let’s start with the king of simple and satisfying recipes, Jamie Oliver. Jamie’s 15-minute meals are designed to allow you to cook a good meal, often with a delicious complementary side, in only a quarter of an hour. While this may seem idealistic, especially if you wouldn’t call yourself a proficient home cook, the recipes feature easy to follow instructions and time-saving hacks. Even if you don’t keep to the clock (we ran a few minutes over the promoted 15 while trialling some of these), the result is still a quick and satisfying mid-week dinner packed with flavour.

One of our favourites is golden chicken, which you serve with braised greens and potato gratin. You won’t believe how quickly you can get this delicious dish on the table until you try it for yourself.

 2. RecipeTin Eats’ Swiss mushroom burger

RecipeTin Eats is a food blog with a focus on recipes you can make tonight. As Sydneysider Nagi, the blog’s voice, cook and creator says, in these recipes there’s no marinating time, fancy appliances or hard-to-find ingredients. Her philosophy is on fast, creative, clever and fresh meals, which sounds perfect to us.  

We all have work days that are particularly long and difficult. Usually, these result in a craving for comfort food. But before you reach for chocolate, ice cream or donuts, try this vegetarian Swiss mushroom burger – it’s easy, delicious and good for the soul. Add the tasty Swiss cheese, and the flavour is heavenly. 

Best of all, as Nagi says, this recipe calls for giant portobello or flat mushrooms, saving you the time and mess of forming meat patties. It really is a mouth-watering comfort food recipe that’s super easy to prepare.  

NB – we should point out the roasting time does put this recipe five-minutes over our 30-minute limit, but we think it’s worth it when this flavoursome burger will help shake off a tough day!

3. RecipeTin Eats’ 12-minute Thai chicken peanut noodles 

We love Nagi’s recipes so much, we’ve included two on our list. This tasty recipe comes from her 15-minute meal collection, ensuring you can create a quick and nutritious meal at the end of even the longest day. 

Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles is so simple, you don’t even need to chop anything thanks to the recipe’s inclusion of chicken mince and baby spinach. Add instant noodles, and your after-work dinner is ready in no time. 

If you’re not a fan of chicken mince, Nagi suggest you swap it for another ground meat, such as pork, turkey or beef. Or perhaps you could try vegetarian mince? 

 4. Minimalist Baker’s Easy Penne Arrabbiata 

Famed for creating simple recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, the Minimalist Baker’s dishes are perfect for quick after-work meals. Best of all, as the Minimalist Baker team says, these recipes are not only simple, but they make you feel good. 

One of our favourites is the Easy Penne Arrabbiata. Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free, this recipe may be easy, but it packs a punch – there’s no doubt that the spices will put a spring in your step! So, if you want a bit of pep in your step after your workday, look no further than this one pot wonder that takes exactly 30 minutes to cook. 

5. Slow Cooker Central’s French onion osso bucco 

If you really can’t find the motivation to create a nutritious dinner after a long day at work, a slow cooker may be your solution. The machine will do all the hard work for you – all you need to do is take 20 minutes each morning to prepare ingredients. Once your work day is done, a warm meal will be waiting for you to serve and enjoy – it doesn’t get much easier than that!  

There are thousands of slow cooker recipes available, ranging from casseroles to beef stroganoff, curries to soups. One of our favourites comes from Slow Cooker Central, which was established by busy working Mum and Queenslander Paulene Christie. This hearty French onion Osso Bucco can be served on left-over mashed potatoes or you can add vegetables to the slow cooker for an even easier evening meal. 

6. Forks Over Knives’ Mediterranean shaved asparagus salad

If you’re searching for quick and easy whole-food, plant-based recipes, Forks Over Knives has you covered. The instructions are simple to follow, and the meals are scrumptious. 

We’ve chosen to feature a recipe from Forks Over Knives’ no-cook collection. Whether it’s been a warm summer day or you simply don’t want to toil over a hot appliance, this Mediterranean shaved asparagus salad will please thanks to its crunchy quality and orange overtones. 

7. Recipearce’s honey soy beef stir fry 

You’ll find Recipearce on Instagram and YouTube. Created by the Pearce family, aka Nick, Sophie and their two daughters, recipearce aims to give you the confidence to cook simply with exciting flavours and ingredients. 

They have a great variety of simple and wholesome dishes you can easily cook after work, including a very tasty honey soy beef stir fry that takes just 20 minutes to prepare. A perfect meal for a busy weeknight!

8. Good Food’s deli cabinet pasta salad 

You may know Good Food for their reliable restaurant reviews, but they also offer plenty of dependable recipes, including many that can be created in under 30 minutes. 

One superb meal is their deli cabinet pasta salad with chilli, parmesan and sunflower seed dressing. There’s a lot of colour and flavour in this pasta salad by chef Katrina Meynink, plus the flexibility to adapt the recipe based on the deli vegetables you purchase. 

9. My Millennial Kitchen’s zucchini pizza boats

From Michelle Sidorenkov’s blog, My Millennial Kitchen, comes this healthy zucchini pizza boats recipe. Michelle is a trained chef and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, who creates recipes that are not only easy and healthy, but full of flavour. 

Best of all, with this recipe you can satisfy a pizza craving with a healthy alternative to carb-heavy dough. These delicious pizza boats can be served on their own or with a simple salad. They’re also perfect served with My Millennial Kitchen’s cherry tomato bruschetta, which you can throw together in 5 minutes. 

10. Jamie Oliver’s one-pan fabulous fish 

To round out our top 10, we’re ending back where we started with another recipe from fan favourite Jamie Oliver. This recipe is rated ‘super easy’ and is ready in just 15 minutes, meaning you’ll have dinner on the table in a flash. 

We must say, as the name suggests, this one-pan fabulous fish is indeed fabulous! With little prep or clean up required, you can savour this nutritious meal then relax and enjoy the rest of your evening. Perfect! 

30 minute meals you can rely on

We hope you enjoy the above 30 minute meals and find these food suggestions easy and reliable weekday menu options. Whether you are cooking for yourself, friends or family, with these meals you can become a super 30 minute chef! After all, we know how hard it can be to balance a busy career and lifestyle, and it can be easy to let menu planning and food choices slip to the end of your to-do list. So, why not get started tonight on one of the above 30 minute meals? And if you have any other recipes you'd like to share, or perhaps even your own 30 minute chef creation, we'd love to hear from you! Bon appetit!

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