Earlier this year, one of our editors, Nikita Richardson, suggested that we make a set of recipes for real beginner cooks, a step-by-step program for people who can barely boil water. The recipes had to be great because not only do we want you to learn how to cook, but we also want you to love it.
Now, as graduation season draws to a close, with all kinds of newbie cooks entering the world, we’re here with 10 beginner recipes for you or the people in your life who could use them the most. We also posted a video of Nikita performing them all, which I highly recommend.
Five of these beginner-friendly recipes are below, and I think you should check them out even if you’re very comfortable in the kitchen. Who doesn’t love having simple dishes and brilliant techniques at your fingertips? Let me know what you think and what you cook at [email protected] I love hearing from you.
PS If you’re in the New York area, or just love restaurants, be sure to check out Pete Wells of the New York Times’ rave review of La Piraña Lechonera in the South Bronx, our first foray into star ratings since we discontinued them earlier in the pandemic.
1. Grilled salmon with mustard and lemon
“What kind of magic is that?” This is the first comment I’ve seen on this recipe from Melissa Clark and that’s about all you need to know – that, and the fact that it only has six ingredients, including salt and pepper.
See this recipe.
2. Tofu curry with vegetables
I wish I had this recipe when I was fresh out of college, making anemic stir-fries and other complete duds in my apartment kitchen. This is a quick one-pot vegetarian meal from Genevieve Ko, in which tofu soaks in the savory curry sauce, then is tossed with vegetables to serve over rice.
3. Bowl of rice with tuna and mayonnaise
I love opening a can or jar of tuna for dinner when I just want something quick. Here’s Eric Kim with a great option for using it, a common meal in Hawaii and South Korea: tuna tossed with mayonnaise, soy sauce and sesame oil, served over freshly cooked rice.
See this recipe.
4. Quesadilla with Crispy Edges
I’ve cooked a lot of quesadillas lately, and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s possible to make a bad one. Melissa’s simple recipe clearly explains what you need to do to make the quesadilla a success, and you can add cooked shredded meat, vegetables or beans – not too much – to make it more hearty.