14 Chefs' Weeknight Recipes

Turmeric Chicken and Rice
Photo: © Fredrika Stjärne

Chefs approach weeknight cooking with ingenious strategies, flavor-bombing recipes (with ingredients like curry paste or chorizo), and novel combinations. Proof of their talent: this selection of recipes from F&W's Chefs' Easy Weeknight Dinners cookbook.

01 of 14

Alex Guarnaschelli's Cauliflower Steaks with Herb Salsa Verde

Cauliflower Steaks with Herb Salsa Verde
© Fredrika Stjärne

"It's amazing how meaty cauliflower can be," chef Alex Guarnaschelli says. Here, she treats the vegetable like steak, searing thick planks and topping them with a super-tangy salsa verde. The salsa would also be delicious on beef steaks and other assorted vegetables.

02 of 14

Kuniko Yagi's Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu
© Fredrika Stjärne

"This is totally my way of making this dish," chef Kuniko Yagi says. "I'm sure Chinese people wouldn't let me call this mapo tofu." Yagi's version has more meat than tofu, but she still relies on jarred toban djan, the chile-bean paste that gives this Chinese takeout staple its signature heat and deeply savory flavor.

03 of 14

Mourad Lahlou's Mussels with Saffron and Citrus

Mussels with Saffron and Citrus

© Fredrika Stjärne

For this dish, chef Mourad Lahlou simmers mussels in a lovely saffron cream sauce. Lahlou prefers to use Mediterranean mussels. "They're plump, juicy, and don't toughen up as much as other varieties when you cook them," he says.

04 of 14

Cathal Armstrong's Chickpea Vegetable Stew

Chickpea Vegetable Stew
© Fredrika Stjärne

For his hearty vegetable stew, chef Cathal Armstrong adds heft to the coconut milk broth with quick-cooking fingerling potatoes and subtle heat with harissa, a Tunisian chile paste.

05 of 14

Carla Hall's Quinoa Salad with Spring Vegetables

Quinoa Salad with Spring Vegetables

For this lively, bright salad, Carla Hall combines herb-scented red quinoa with radishes, green peas, and lima beans. Hall recommends rinsing the quinoa to get rid of the bitterness and draining off any liquid after cooking so the grains remain fluffy.

06 of 14

Chris Cosentino's Rigatoni with Lemony Kale and Pecorino Pesto

Rigatoni with Lemony Kale-and-Pecorino Pesto
© Fredrika Stjärne

Making pesto with kale instead of basil is unexpectedly delicious. According to the dish's creator, chef Chris Cosentino, it's a simple way to get kids to eat kale.

07 of 14

Matt Jennings' Pizza with Baked Meatballs

Pizza with Baked Meatballs
© Fredrika Stjärne

"Avanzi means 'leftovers,' in Italian," says Matt Jennings, who often made this pizza on Fridays with his host family in Florence, using leftovers from the week of cooking. He urges people to get creative: "Char cucumbers and sprinkle feta on top. We've even put toasted ground nuts, dried fruit, and canned beans on the avanzi — although not necessarily at the same time!"

08 of 14

Aarón Sánchez's Jumbo Shrimp with Garlic & Chile Butter

Jumbo Shrimp with Garlic and Chile Butter
© Fredrika Stjärne

In just 20 minutes, chef Aarón Sánchez cooks shrimp in a punchy Latin-style sauce with chiles and plenty of garlic. He also adds bottled clam juice, which amps up the seafood flavor and adds depth.

09 of 14

Andrew Zimmern's Roasted Peach Cobbler with Balsamic Syrup

Roasted Peach Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream and Balsamic Syrup
Fredrika Stjärne

"I'm no pastry chef, but I make a killer cobbler," Andrew Zimmern says. "The inherent explosive juiciness of ripe peaches makes it the perfect fruit here." He tops this dessert with vanilla ice cream and thick, rich aged balsamic vinegar, such as Malpighi Saporoso condimento balsamico or Noble Tonic 05 XO, which is aged in bourbon casks.

10 of 14

Jonathan Waxman's Pan-Fried Flounder with Lemon Butter Sauce

Pan-Fried Flounder with Lemon Butter Sauce

Jonathan Waxman's recipe for crisp flounder is simple and delicious. The keys, he says, are to get flounder from a reliable source and to concentrate while cooking it. "Get the flounder too hot and it turns to mush, too cool and it goes rubbery." He then drizzles the fish with a tangy Meyer lemon–butter sauce.

11 of 14

Ricardo Zarate's Peruvian-Style Pasta Bolognese

Peruvian-Style Pasta Bolognese

© Fredrika Stjärne

Inspired by tallarín saltado, a classic Peruvian comfort food, this dish combines garlicky soy-flavored noodles with a rich meat sauce. Ricardo Zarate usually prepares the sauce with diced beef tenderloin but the ground beef here makes it quicker for weeknight dinners.

12 of 14

Jonathon Sawyer's Popcorn Pudding

Popcorn Pudding
© Fredrika Stjärne

Jonathon Sawyer and his family love chocolate-covered pretzels. That gave Sawyer the idea to create this luscious dessert that brilliantly combines the flavor of salted popcorn with a sweet, creamy pudding.

13 of 14

Rocco DiSpirito's Red Coconut Curry with Seafood

Red Coconut Curry with Seafood and Mixed Vegetables
© Fredrika Stjärne

This lighter, brighter Thai-style curry is from chef Rocco DiSpirito. He cuts back on the coconut milk and boosts the flavor of the broth with shrimp, mussels, fish, and vegetables.

14 of 14

Edward Lee's Turmeric Chicken and Rice

Turmeric Chicken and Rice
© Fredrika Stjärne

"This is a simple one-pot chicken and rice dish, but the turmeric adds color, spice, and flavor," Edward Lee says. "That makes it a winner in my house." He recommends using a whole organic chicken, so you know exactly where the bird came from, and serving the dish family-style.

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