Easy Dinner Dishes That Top Chefs Swear By

Photographed by Ingalls Photo.
I have often wondered what top chefs eat for dinner after a long day in the kitchen. Are they starving after being on their feet for hours on end, or can they not stand to look at food anymore? Do they make a PB&J, or whip up some incredible four course meal in, like, 10 minutes? Personally, after a long, tiring day, I usually can't wait for Seamless, and settle on (probably slightly stale) cereal. Could pro chefs be the same? Click through to find out.
1 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Mario Batali.
Mario Batali
"After a long day, I crave something delicious, satisfying, and spicy. But, the key to a late night meal is that it must be very easy to whip up. Penne all’Arrabbiata is the perfect uncomplicated meal for late nights, after a long day of work. It’s basically pasta with tomato sauce and cheese, with a dash of red pepper flake. How much spice depends on how long the day was. I’m usually adding quite a generous dash!"
2 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Chris Santos.
Chris Santos
"I have a go-to that works anytime, day or night, but it seems to be especially satisfying late at night after work. I keep everything bagels on hand, and I toast them on a griddle, pretty well-done on both sides. Then, I build a sandwich of crispy double-smoked bacon, a few slices of seasoned super ripe and supple tomato, a slice of avocado, a light schmear of cream cheese, and a healthy dose of hot sauce or my Rattler BBQ sauce. Then, I press it for a minute or two back on the griddle. It's crispy, crunchy, creamy, spicy and delicious!"
3 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Jose Garces.
Jose Garces
"Breakfast for dinner, of course. My kids love breakfast food, and after a long day at the restaurants, it is a quick and easy meal that I know will still be a crowdpleaser. I always stockpile eggs in the fridge, and I'll take any leftover ingredients that we might have laying around to whip up something, like, soft scrambled eggs with spinach and wild mushrooms, or an omelet with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese. Toast up some crusty bread and a side of bacon or sausage, and there you have it — dinner is served."
4 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Bissonnette.
Jamie Bissonnette
"I love to cook myself rice of any kind. Sometimes just pilaf with cold cuts in it, or even paella. If I have the time, I like to make coconut curry with veggies or chicken."
5 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Ken Oringer.
Ken Oringer
"I'll always go for some sort of spicy vegetable and canned chickpea coconut curry. Sometimes Lao, sometimes Indian, sometimes Jamaican sometimes Thai. After spending my day in the kitchen cooking with so many different flavors, I crave something that really packs a punch."
6 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Anita Lo.
Anita Lo
"I try to keep it simple and healthy during the week after work. In the wintertime, I'll make big batches of soup for myself and my partner, and keep them in the freezer to reheat after work. In the warmer months, I'll make composed arugula salads: tuna, avocado, orange sections, garlic, red onion, anchovy, Calabrian chili, lemon, and good olive oil, for example. Or, I'll take a ripe avocado, and make hand rolls with fish if I have it, and shiso, dipped in soy. I also like green vegetables — broccolini sauteed in garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and olive oil, with a fried egg, and grated parm with a spritz of lemon. All fast and easy, with very little clean up."
7 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Ken Addington.
Ken Addington
"We eat mostly vegetarian at home, so in summer, we always have loads of fresh greens and produce in the fridge. I'm always late getting home from work, so I have to make it snappy to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour. Summer salad is first choice. I like crunchy leaves (Gem or Bibb lettuce), topped with bright crisp veggies like radish, blanched asparagus, fennel, snap peas, shaved summer squash, and some sprouted almonds or chilled black lentils, if we have any about. Then, I make a quick dressing by pureeing avocado with lemon, capers, basil or tarragon and olive oil — then a sprinkle of crushed toasted coriander or anise seeds. The results are always fresh, beautiful, and delicious."
8 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Krieger.
Amorette Casaus
"I like to pull together a vegetarian burrito. I'll put all my leftover vegetables from the market, and throw in some good cheese."
9 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Matt Jennings.
Matt Jennings
"This time of year, it’s usually some fish on the grill — bass, or we have been eating a lot of albacore lately — with some simple oven-roasted vegetables, and a chilled grain salad. I like keeping it Mediterranean in the hot, Boston summers."
10 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Symon.
Michael Symon
"One of my favorite dishes to make after a long day of work is angel hair pasta, with tomatoes and garlic. I make this pasta at least once a week because I always have the ingredients on hand, and it’s just plain tasty. Pair it with a simply dressed arugula salad, and some garlic bread, and you have a delicious, mid-week meal, in no time."
11 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Rob Newton.
Rob Newton
"My go-to quick dinner is a slow-baked salmon. It's so fast and easy. I just put some olive oil, black pepper, and lemon zest on a salmon filet, and bake it for about 20 minutes, at 225 degrees. I eat it with a green salad or any leftover grains and vegetables. It's a nourishing, easy dinner, in no time. Perfect after a long day."
12 of 13
Photo Courtesy of Jason Marcus.
Jason Marcus
"I like to make a dish that my mom used to make, when she needed a quick dinner for the family. It's just spaghetti with sour cream, butter, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. It's very versatile, and I like to tweak the recipe — I'll add a little white wine if I have extra on hand, or lemon zest and dill, peas and asparagus. But really, it's just good in its simplest form. I think it's a perfect, quick meal. If you don't love, love, love it, it's probably not right. Once you get it, it'll be an easy, favorite, go-to recipe forever — I bet my life on it!"
13 of 13
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Schulson.
Michael Schulson
"I like to whip up a salad of arugula, tomato, red onion, and long hots with fresh lemon, and a breaded chicken cutlet on top. It's quick and simple, and my family loves it."

More from Food & Drinks


R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.