10 Freestyle Dinner Ideas—Including One Winning (Not)Recipe—from Our App

April 20, 2016

Update! We've chosen a winner: A big congratulations to emilyc, whose shaved asparagus salad with lemony tahini dressing won your hearts and bellies.

When we launched our new app, (Not)Recipes, we launched it with a contest—a (not)contest, if you will. And in it, we asked for you to show us not only how you're really cooking, but how you throw together dinner from your back pocket in twenty minutes (or less!).

And boy, did you, putting our toast-more-often-than-we'd-like-to-admit dinners to shame. Here are a ten of our favorite (Not)Recipes from our first (not)contest—and among them, one winning last-minute dinner. The catch: We couldn't choose the winner! Help us choose one by voting in the comments below.

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(That winning cook will take home a spiffy, shiny prize: A set of Staub cookware and an iPhone 6. Lucky duck!)

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Top Comment:
“If I have to choose only one, I think it will have to be the pasta.”
— MJ00

Here are the 10 finalists from our Your Best 20-Minute Freestyle Dinner (not)contest—which should win?

D3820e0c d418 40c3 98c4 8dfe94c27c5a  2016 04 03 21 59 50
Make a lemony tahini-parmesan vinaigrette by whisking tahini and parmesan with boiling water until smooth and emulsified, then add lemon juice, olive oil, and sumac. For the salad, shave asparagus into long ribbons with a serrated peeler, add a few handfuls of arugula and some crushed pistachios. Dress with the vinaigrette, then sprinkle with sea salt and sumac to taste. #notcontest
Aee04f54 8a58 4718 aad1 e8c8f0a967c1  2016 03 24 19 38 00
Salt and pepper cleaned whole fish (black bass here) inside and out then stuff with thinly sliced lemon and herbs to taste. Drizzle with olive oil then roast on a parchment lines baking sheet for 10-15 minutes at 350F or until the flesh flakes easily. Quick and easy! #notcontest
5bcf8afb 8969 44fb a2d3 f29c4b1b6554  2016 04 01 14 28 30
Toss a roughly turn head of radicchio with segmented blood oranges. Drizzle with olive oil. Roll labne into little balls. Dot in the bowl of salad. Scatter with toasted almonds. #notcontest #salad
2f6aa0ed 8f44 4aea 8feb f62b915e2c46  2016 03 25 21 36 33
fatimah | Instagram @petitbakes
fatimah | Instagram @petitbakes
Purée a roasted red pepper and a clove of garlic make a roux add in the purée and some chicken broth let that simmer to finish grate in some fresh parmesan and a swish of heavy cream toss in your pasta #notcontest
81ae14c4 6fbf 4082 83e5 25c5a97eb6ab  2016 03 25 15 13 23
Melina Hammer
Melina Hammer
Quick (and terrific) shaved raw beet salad: piled with radish sprouts atop a few swirls of Greek yogurt, then showered with fresh parsley, mint, and toasted pistachios. Drizzle of good oil, champagne vinegar, and sea salt, and you are good to go. ?#norecipe #nocontest #lickingtheplate #notarecipe #vegetarian #lunch
4b940658 d08f 45c4 b7a0 c497e8b137c5  2016 03 24 11 07 42
Nicole Hope
Nicole Hope
When you buy a bunch of herbs for a recipe just to use a pinch, tabbouleh will take care of the rest of them (waste not!) and help you clean out your fridge. Finely chop your herbs and toss with a grain (traditional uses bulgar but you can use quinoa, Farro, rice). Add some crunchy veg, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. This version is lots of chopped parsley and cilantro with pearl couscous. Served with #notrecipe green tahini sauce! I feel so clean ? #notcontest
3d2202b7 2631 4c57 ae5b 0ced4f409697  2016 03 26 20 50 51
Lunch is only 15 minutes away with a stash of kimchi in the freezer. Chop, add to a hot pan along with sliced green onions and any veggies you have lying around. Add water or stock, bring to a bubble, add noodles and cook till al dente. #notcontest #kimchi #lunchbowl
C2292f94 431f 4210 ba55 aea693488bb6  2016 04 02 15 01 45
Rebecca Firkser
Rebecca Firkser
It's getting cold out again ? but ravioli make everything better! Fill wonton wrappers with a puréed mixture of roasted beets, ricotta, manchego/cheddar, lemon zest. Seal 'em up and boil for two minutes. Finish with oil and chopped sage! #f52contest #f52grams #notcontest
C28d4974 2084 441d 9608 dda0d111e897  2016 03 22 12 14 30
Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy
Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy
Zuni Cafe's Fried Eggs in Bread Crumbs: saturate a handful of fresh bread crumbs with olive oil over medium heat, crack an egg or two on top, sprinkle with salt, and cook until set to your liking. Slide onto a plate, swirl some balsamic vinegar around in the hot pan and drizzle over egg. #notcontest
56b2da71 1e7d 4bab aa51 9328b9c0fca6  2016 04 01 11 33 25
Jill Haapaniemi
Jill Haapaniemi
Moules à la Marinière - sauté shallots and garlic in butter, add mussels and dry white wine, cover and simmer 5 minutes until mussels open. Sprinkle with parsley, serve with fries and white wine or cold beer. #nocontest #dinner

A big congratulations to emilyc on her winning (not)recipe!


Julia P. April 23, 2016
Those bread-crumby eggs are ridiculously simple and brilliant! Just made them for a late lunch. It's like toast and eggs wrapped in one with the perfect acidity from the balsamic.... Freaking genius!!!
LULULAND April 20, 2016
They all sound good, but I think the pasta dish with roasted red pepper I will try before any other, my vote goes with that one!
Kfisher April 18, 2016
The asparagus salad gets my vote. It looks delicious!
kinger64 April 18, 2016
I vote for the asparagus salad.
Gail B. April 16, 2016
I've tried the beet ravioli and it's delicious! Sounds hard but is so easy!<br />My vote!!!
Maddy April 16, 2016
The beet ravioli looks so yummy! I'd eat it even though I'm not a beet fan ?
Angela J. April 16, 2016
I vote for Tanya's noodle bowl.
Hannah H. April 16, 2016
Egg in breadcrumbs is my vote, simple ingredients but a wow flavor, texture and presentation! April 15, 2016
I’ll make the Asparagus Salad and add shaved fennel for a little crunch.
Laura B. April 15, 2016
I vote for the lemony tahini-parmesan vinaigrette salad! Looks amazing.
Gus April 15, 2016
I vote for the lemony tahini-parmesan vinaigrette salad!
nking April 14, 2016
I have a great asparagus patch in my garden so the shaved asparagus salad is my choice.
nking April 14, 2016
My choice is the shaved asparagus salad. Looks great!
Pamela April 14, 2016
Had the eggs with bread crumbs for breakfast this morning, yum!
DJKF April 14, 2016
Lots of inspiration here! The asparagus salad gets my vote -- light, refreshing, and quick to make!
Haley F. April 14, 2016
Rebecca F's ravioli! Been craving ravioli for days... I already have peeled beets (don't ask), so this (not)recipe is calling my name.
Carleen April 14, 2016
That shaved asparagus salad looks great - perfect for this time of year!
Ben G. April 14, 2016
I'm all about that beet ravioli. It definitely has my vote!
Francene April 14, 2016
Bread crumbs and eggs sounds simple and delish with the drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Served over a bed of arugula would donut for me.
natalie Q. April 14, 2016
asparagus salad for sure!