5 Non-Traditional Ideas For Dinner Tonight

Here’s a little nugget of truth. 

Sometimes, meal plans don’t work.

I know, shock horror, we’ve spent the last few days deep diving into all things meal planning. And now I’m telling you they may not work.


Well, here’s the deal, you may not fancy eating what’s already planned for the day. Or you have less time to prepare dinner than you thought you would. Or you may have had one of those sanity-stretching days that mandates an earlier bedtime.


On those days, it’s great to have some simple ideas up your sleeve so you don’t go to bed ravenous. Here are my suggestions based on ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards.

1 | Porridge (Oatmeal)

It’s worth keeping oats in your pantry just to try this out. Porridge for breakfast is the norm and is usually sweetened. However, when having it for dinner, why not make it savoury; add a little salt, some chopped nuts and seeds. Over on the stonesoup, I came across the idea of lentil porridge in this blog post (sorry, no recipe included), which sounds like a tasty alternative to oats.

2 | Hot Salads

I usually think of salads as a full meal for lunch rather than dinner. However, it totally works for dinner too. To make it a little different than the usual lunch variety, why not add hot ingredients – cubed boiled potatoes, hot strips of chicken or stir-fried greens. This gives the feel of a complete meal, but with far less cooking involved.

3 | Hot Sandwich

Sandwiches evoke memories of cold, soggy lunches. To make this an inviting choice for dinner, try a hot filling. Some ideas to try are grilled chicken, grilled peppers and grilled halloumi. Then add a good handful of salad leaves.

4 | Dry Dinner

This one doesn’t sound appetising, but it is. The idea is that you make dinner using dried ingredients. So on those days when your fridge is looking a little sparse, a dry dinner will come to the rescue (before an unhealthy takeout meal). Using dried ingredients in your meals means they’re readily available in your cupboards and they last a while too. Some interesting ingredients to add to your dry dinner shopping list are dried mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and seaweed, to name but a few.

5 | Breakfast Cereal

I had to add this to the list. Because who hasn’t tried this at one time or the other? A bowl of cornflakes before bed is a cheeky alternative to a ‘proper’ dinner. It’s quick to put together, quick to eat and generates very little washing up. Just don’t make it a habit.


Which of these options sound good to you? Are there any that you can’t see yourself trying? Let me know in the comments below.