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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?

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Julia Petrich
    Julia Petrich
  • Kfisher
  • kinger64
  • Gail Barresse
    Gail Barresse
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


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!
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!