31 Flexible May Dinner Ideas to Make with What You Have

While we’d always recommend making a beeline to the farmers market for some gorgeous, in-season produce, we won’t judge if you’d rather lean on whatever’s in your pantry. Either way, you can enjoy all that spring has to offer this month, whether you’re craving refreshing salads, simple pastas or hearty skillet meals. Here, 31 easy dinner recipes to make in May that are timely, flexible and foolproof.

70 Spring Dinner Ideas to Celebrate the Season

May 1: Crispy Chicken Thighs over Vinegar Beans

Bright, elegant and, most importantly, simple, these chicken thighs only need one hour to turn juicy and crisp. Serve them over white rice so you don't miss out on a single drop of broth.

May 2: One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

Once you've nailed the one-pot pasta method, you can customize the recipe to your heart's content. Start with veggies that can be simmered, like tomatoes, and add crispy or fresh elements, like leafy greens, just before serving.

May 3: Spring Pea Soup with Mint

'Tis the season for pea soup, but this one's a far cry from the bland, mushy kind you might be used to. Each bowl is packed with aromatics and four fresh herbs: parsley, mint, chives and dill.

May 4: Chicken Parm Meatballs

All the rich tomato sauce, bubbly mozz and juicy chicken you desire—minus the fussy breading and frying. Serve over pasta or with crusty bread for dipping.

May 5: Roasted Salmon Tacos

Save the ground beef for another day and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these unconventional tacos instead. It's the grilled pineapple salsa (and cashew-lime crema...) for us.

May 6: Alison Roman’s Swordfish with Crushed Olives and Oregano

Can't find swordfish? Any firm white fish, like Alaskan pollock, halibut or cod, can take its place. You could even use chicken, if you'd prefer.

May 7: Caramelized Mushroom Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto

Sure, mushrooms are divisive. But this savory pasta is tasty enough to convert even the staunchest 'shroom haters. Crown your plate with crispy shards of prosciutto and all the shaved Parm.

May 8: Kristin Cavallari’s Salmon BLT Salad with Spicy Tomatillo Ranch

Take it from us: This nuanced twist on ranch dressing is a total game-changer. Pair it with burgers, grilled chicken or this salad, which is packed with omega-3s and healthy fats.

May 9: Flatbread Veggie Pizza with Pineapple

Does it get easier than a pizza that starts with store-bought flatbread? We think not. (This veggie-heavy recipe also has no measurements, so pile on the toppings however you'd like.)

May 10: Whole-Wheat Feta Tart with Caramelized Onions and Herbs

The crust is made with whole-wheat flour, but since it's mixed by hand and pressed into the pan, you could really use any type of flour. (The tart is a great opportunity to transform any wilted herbs hiding in your fridge, BTW.)

May 11: Joanna Gaines’s Weeknight Salmon with Baby New Potatoes and Dill

We're not sure what we love most about sheet pan dinners, the ease of switching up the ingredients however you'd like or being left with minimal cleanup.

May 12: Deb Perelman’s Carrot Tarte Tatin

Tarte tatin, a French pastry traditionally made with apples, is an easy way to impress your dinner guests (or um, your roommate). This nine-ingredient take stars multicolored carrots and goat cheese instead.

May 13: Instant Pot Hearty Tortellini Soup

You only need a few pantry staples and half a pound of Italian sausage to transform store-bought tortellini into this soul-soothing soup. With the help of a pressure cooker, it'll only take you 30 minutes to prepare it.

May 14: Sheet Pan Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Radishes and Olives

This sheet pan masterpiece is a surefire way to wow Mom on her special day. The key is spatchcocking the chicken so it cooks faster and browns evenly. Take that, rotisserie.

May 15: Camarones al Mojo de Ajo

What takes 15 minutes to cook and 30 seconds to devour? Shrimp in garlic butter, a simple Latin dish that's begging for a spot in your weekly rotation. It's only four ingredients away...

May 16: Squash and Squash Blossom Frittata

Frittatas are an excellent way to use up a farmers market haul or revive leftover produce, meat or cheese. Can't find squash blossoms? No big deal; they're mostly for looks anyway.

May 17: Chicken Pesto Focaccia Sandwiches

Want an excuse to flex your 2020 bread-baking skills? Look no further than these fancy sammies. (Or save yourself the work by using store-bought focaccia.)

May 18: Gena Hamshaw’s Balsamic Tempeh

Forget the rock-hard vegan burgers of your past: Today's meatless options are as satiating as they are flavorful. This six-ingredient marinated tempeh is delicious proof. Serve it atop a fresh, green salad, over a rice bowl or nugget-style with dipping sauce.

May 19: Mustardy Pork Tenderloin with Grapes and Red Onions

Give the underrated protein new life with the help of this saucy, balanced recipe. The grapes turn soft, sweet and jammy as they roast, making them the ultimate match for zingy mustard and sharp red onions.

May 20: Fusilli with Pesto and Green Beans

Wanna learn to make pesto like Giada De Laurentiis? The sauce calls for pine nuts, fresh basil and a ton of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Even your kids won't mind the extra veggies, trust.

May 21: Easy Green Chicken Enchiladas

Thanks to our all-time favorite shortcut—a store-bought rotisserie chicken—only 40 minutes stand between you and this one-pan stunner. We'll bring the margs.

May 22: Asparagus, Pea and Ricotta Tarts

We piled two of our favorite spring veggies onto a layer of lemony ricotta cheese atop a pillow of flaky puff pastry. And yes, we'll indeed be serving them for dinner with a side salad.

May 23: Sheet Pan Chicken Shawarma with Lemon-Tahini Drizzle

Shawarma is more about the spices than the veggies, and the good news is you probably have most of them in your pantry already. The mix of cumin, cinnamon, paprika and cayenne is nothing short of magical.

May 24: Leftovers Frittata

Behold: The most flexible, forgiving recipe of all time. Let this skillet main be a new home for any past-their-prime veggies, leftover proteins, neglected grains and forgotten cheeses in your fridge.

May 25: 15-Minute Mezze Plate with Toasted Za’atar Pita Bread

Come spring, we'll jump at any opportunity to nosh on artichokes. And this mélange of snacks and spreads is arguably our favorite way to indulge. All you have to do is toast and season the pita—the rest is as simple as opening a jar.

May 26: Potato Chip-Crusted Chicken with Arugula Pesto

There are so many ways to enjoy this dish: on a roll, topped with greens, with or without cheese. If we’re being honest, we’re mostly in it for the potato chips.

May 27: Balsamic Brown Butter Tortellini with Spinach and Hazelnuts

Sophisticated enough to serve at a dinner party, simple enough to whip up on a weeknight. (We're talking a meal for six in 20 minutes, people.)

May 28: Teriyaki Salmon Bowls

Picky kids (and adults) will have nothing bad to say about the sweet, tangy sauce. Lean on store-bought teriyaki if you must, but the homemade version will only take you 30 minutes of hands-off time—and last up to a month in the fridge.

May 29: Sweet-and-Sour Pork Skewers with Pineapple

Grilling is a must come Memorial Day. Char skewers of juicy pork tenderloin and cubed pineapple on the grates before topping them with sweet-and-sour sauce and chopped scallions. (We've got your back if you need help cutting the pineapple.)

May 30: Black Rice Bowl with Figs, Radicchio, Pickled Radishes and Pepitas

We'd be remiss to neglect radishes at the end of spring. Here, they're served pickled, acting as as a zippy, acidic foil to the candied pepitas and creamy labneh.

May 31: Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls

Equal parts light, refreshing and filling, these rice noodle-filled rolls boast protein-packed shrimp, veggies, fresh herbs and a tangy dipping sauce.

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Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.

Katherine Gillen

Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...
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taryn pire
Taryn Pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...
read full bio