The title of this post is the 4-word question that gets asked every day. (Or maybe it’s 3 words, depending on how you count a conjunction.)
I freely admit, to anyone who will listen, that I’m tired of cooking. And yet my household is not tired of eating.
When I heard about the miracle summer recipe of watermelon + feta + mint +drizzle, it made me wonder whether there were other great 4-word recipes for hot days.
So I asked MDK readers for their favorite 4-word recipes, and boy did you ever deliver! See all the suggestions in the comments here.
To arrive at a manageable list of highlights, I discarded recipes for cocktails and desserts—a significant winnowing, as cocktails and desserts are understandably very popular—along with special family traditions involving peanut butter and ingredients not conventionally combined with peanut butter. Since I was looking to hack my way to a quick and satisfying summer supper, I focused on the more rib-sticking, life-sustaining ideas.
Here’s my opinionated selection, based on things I have already tried and things I am planning to make as soon as possible. Clip and save for when you need a tasty bite that can be thrown together with pantry items or a quick run to the market. These are reader-tested! They won’t fail you!
Tomato + bacon + mayo + bread. —Gretchen
This is a very traditional South Indian dish called Sundal (soon-duhl). A little more than 4 words. Amazing, I promise.
Chickpeas, unsweetened coconut flakes, serrano, lemon, mustard seeds, crisped lentils. —Deepa
Cantaloupe. Honey. Lime. Cayenne —Beverly
Tomato, mozzarella, basil, vinaigrette —Manda’s Mom
Pasta, olive oil, garlic, hot pepper —Martha
Pasta, cannellini beans, canned tomatoes w/Italian herbs, grated parm —Mtn Lou
Canned salmon, roasted corn, mayo, minced onion —Linda
Avocado, lime, garlic salt, smash —Dana
Tuna, cannellini beans, oil, pepper —Knits with Newton
Orzo, tomatoes, zucchini, chimichurri —Debbi
Broccoli, apple. pecans, coleslaw dressing. —Denise
Chicken (rotisserie), Grapes (green), Basil, Mayo —Patty
Squash rounds, Hidden Valley Dry Ranch Dressing Mix, Parmesan Cheese, Butter —Patti
Brown rice, cauliflower, pepitas, EVOO —Bonnie
Squash rounds sliced zucchini or yellow, sprinkle with grated parmesan, toaster oven till golden. —Mary Lou
Cumin/chili powder —PT
Old school farm type bread, tomatoes, olive oil, capers —Francesca (For the full recipe, read her comment, it sounds like heaven.)
Inspired by Judy Wright
Here’s one last recipe that I’m crazy about. It’s not quite a 4-word recipe, but it’s certainly in the same spirit.
Inspired by the #bakedfetapasta craze on Tik Tok, and specifically by Jenni Häyrinen’s original recipe, our friend Judy Wright recently shared her version of this sheetpan recipe on Instagram.
If Judy makes it, you know it’s good, so I tried it.
The basic ingredients: cherry tomatoes + feta + garlic + EVOO. A sprinkle of red pepper flakes, a toss of random other vegetables, or not. Bake at 400 until soft, and stir it into freshly cooked pasta.
I’ve made this savory, melty mix 3 times since Judy posted about it, and now consider a tub of Greek feta to be a fridge staple. Like all of Judy’s sheetpan suppers (linked below in the related content), this recipe is highly adaptable to what’s available, from your own garden, the farmstand, or an anonymous paper bag on your porch. Judy has even subbed other cheeses for the feta cheese. I love that it works for my vegetarians, and that I can make a quarter-sheet of it in the toaster oven and not heat up the whole kitchen. Judy-approved add-ins included chickpeas and artichoke hearts, which I’ll try next time.
Summer on a plate!
Have any simple summer suppers that you don’t see here? Drop them in the comments, please. I’m begging you.
Have a delicious weekend!