30 Dinner Theme Ideas to Spice Up Meal Time

30 Dinner Theme Ideas to Spice Up Meal Time

If you’re anything like me, you get easily bored of meals. You like to switch things up so food is still fresh and exciting! Even if you don’t have a lot of time to plan meals, you can still have fun dinner options.

This list of 30 dinner theme ideas is going to be your inspiration for fun meal planning for yourself and your family! There are so many weeknight dinner themes that will help keep meals exciting.

In this list, you’ll find a month’s worth of fun dinner themes for families. You can use just the theme prompts and find your own recipes that fit that theme. Or, you can look at the recipe suggestion and side dish for each theme to help you easily plan your meals for the whole month.

In order to plan out your themed meals for a whole month, all you have to do is:

  1. Print out a monthly calendar (or use your planner).

  2. Browse through the 30 days of themes in this post.

  3. Jot down which meals you want to cook/eat on which days.

I also love to use the weekends to make my grocery list for the weekly meals coming up. That way, I can go grocery shopping and have the fridge stocked and ready to go for the busy week ahead.

And there you go! It’s really that easy to plan out your weeknight dinner theme ideas! I also share tons of weeknight dinner recipes in my weekly newsletter, so don’t forget to sign up to receive more inspiration!

healthy weekly meal plan

1. Create Your Own Bowl

Make a dinner in a bowl – mix & match your favorite flavors with a protein, starch, vegetable, and maybe even a fun sauce!

Recipe Suggestion: Spicy pork carnitas bowls are full of flavor & spice. Not only is this a healthy dinner, it comes together so quickly!

An easy side dish idea: Air Fryer Plantains

Pesto Mozzarella Turkey Burgers

2. Backyard BBQ

Make a dinner themed around the fun flavors of summer & grilling in the backyard.

Recipe Suggestion: Pesto mozzarella turkey burgers are filled with the Italian flavors of pesto, sun-dried tomato, and mozzarella cheese. The perfect dinner to satisfy your burger cravings.

An easy side dish idea: Parmesan french fries

baked mac and cheese

3. Pasta Night

Make a dinner themed all around pasta or fun noodle shapes.

Recipe Suggestion: Baked macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! Made with a creamy, rich béchamel sauce, Gouda, white cheddar cheese, all topped with a pretzel crust.

An easy side dish idea: Green goddess salad

herb, asiago & roasted garlic crusted salmon

4. Under the Sea

Make a dinner themed around seafood or island life.

Recipe Suggestion: Your summer herb garden will be put to good use with this herb, asiago & roasted garlic crusted salmon recipe. Such a flavorful way to eat salmon!

An easy side dish: Oven roasted veggies

Mediterranean veggies wraps

5. Mediterranean Night

Make a dinner themed around Mediterranean flavors like cumin, dill, fennelgarlic, and turmeric.

Recipe Suggestion: Mediterranean veggie naan wraps are loaded with flavor from a multitude of spices! With only five main ingredients, these wraps provide a quick, healthy, vegetarian dinner option!

An easy side dish: Garlic hummus & pita

air fryer pretzel chicken cordon bleu

6. Air Fryer Night

Make a dinner only using your air fryer!

Recipe Suggestion: The air fryer is going to take this pretzel chicken cordon bleu to the next level! The crunchy pretzel crust and the melty Swiss cheese make for a perfect twist on a classic weeknight meal!

An easy side dish: Parmesan Zucchini Crips

Individual Cheese Board

7. Charcuterie Board Night

Make a dinner using your favorite meat & cheese. Then, build a fun cheese board with your favorite filler items!

Recipe Suggestion: An individual cheese board is the perfect solution for a simple weeknight dinner. Empty out the fridge and pantry with your favorite snack items. The best part? Nobody has to share their cheese board for one. 

fall cobb salad

8. Taste the Rainbow

Make a dinner using every (or almost every) color of the rainbow.

Recipe Suggestion: This Fall Cobb Salad is packed with the fun flavors and textures. The salad is finished off with a rosemary and apple cider vinegar salad dressing.

An easy side dish: Homemade dinner rolls

kale and tomato gnocchi

10. Italian Night

Make a dinner themed around the flavors of Italy. Throw in a bottle of wine for good measures!

Recipe Suggestion: Kale and Tomato Gnocchi is an elegant dish that comes together in under 30 minutes. Fill your pasta cravings with this gnocchi dish filled with notes of bacon, lemon, and balsamic glaze.

An easy side dish: Roasted garlic rosemary focaccia bread

southwest black bean burger

11. Vegetarian Dishes Only

Make a dinner using only vegetarian-friendly food items.

Recipe Suggestion: Looking for an easy meatless Monday meal? These homemade black bean mushroom burgers are packed with protein and flavor. The spicy chipotle mayo pulls everything in this Mexican black bean burger recipe together!

An easy side dish: Crispy oven fries

pulled pork nachos

12. Sheet Pan Dinner

Make a dinner only using one piece of equipment – a sheet pan!

Recipe Suggestion: Pulled pork sheet pan nachos are a crowd-pleaser! The tangy, acidic bite from the coleslaw and marinated onions packs a nice punch with the pulled pork.

An easy side dish: Mexican avocado salad

adobo mexican salmon

13. A Family Favorite/Family Tradition

Make a dinner using a family favorite recipe or one of your family’s traditional recipes.

Recipe Suggestion: Oven roasted Mexican salmon is the perfect (secretly healthy) weeknight dinner! This easy salmon recipe uses lots of spices to pack a punch of flavor in the dish. The salmon is seasoned with garlic, ginger, and adobo. Even better, the whole dinner comes together in under 30 minutes! 

An easy side dish: Cilantro lime cauliflower rice

California tuna melt turns pantry essentials (canned tuna) into a fresh & warm open faced sandwich. Made with Greek yogurt & a touch of mayo, all topped with Havarti cheese!

14. Soups & Sandwiches

Make a dinner themed around your favorite soups & sandwiches. Bonus points if the flavors pair well together!

Recipe Suggestion: California tuna melt turns pantry essentials (canned tuna) into a fresh & warm open faced sandwich. Made with Greek yogurt & a touch of mayo, all topped with Havarti cheese!

An easy side dish: Homemade baked potato chips

15. Make Your Own Pizza

Make a dinner with some pizza dough and your family’s favorite toppings!

Recipe Suggestion: Mushroom, leek, and prosciutto pizza is a unique pizza combination for any adventurous eaters! Grab some pizza dough, a glass of wine, and get to cooking!

An easy side dish: Copycat Olive Garden Salad

30 minute mexican quinoa skillet

16. Casserole Night

Make an easy dinner themed around a casserole dish!

Recipe Suggestion: Make a delicious twist on Mexican food, even if you have minimal ingredients in your fridge and pantry!

An easy side dish: Mexican avocado salad

simple rice noodle stir fry

17. Meatless Monday

Make a dinner that doesn’t have any meat!

Recipe Suggestion: This simple rice noodle stir fry is a great alternative to take out and a very versatile dish. It’s packed with tons of hidden veggies (you can’t even tell)!

An easy side dish: Sesame blistered edamame

stuffed butternut squash

18. Something Cozy

Make a dinner that makes you feel warm & cozy inside, or a comfort food you love!

Recipe Suggestion: Stuffed butternut squash is filled with only four ingredients, but packed with flavor. The combination of sweet butternut squash, spicy Italian sausage, and tangy goat cheese has quickly become one of my favorite, protein-packed fall meals.

An easy side dish: Roasted brussel sprouts

simple chorizo street tacos

19. Taco Tuesday

Make a Mexican inspired dinner themed around tacos!

Recipe Suggestion: These simple chorizo street tacos are a crowd-pleaser! Add lots of topping options, tortilla chips, some garnish, and you are ready for dinner!

An easy side dish: Mexican cauliflower rice

grilled asian skirt steak

20. Grill Master Night

Make a dinner using your grill! Bonus points if the whole meal can be made on the grill!

Recipe Suggestion: This grilled skirt steak dinner recipe is made with minimal ingredients (only six)! You’ll never want to go back to takeout after you’ve tasted this Asian-style skirt steak!

An easy side dish: Asian green beans

kale and sausage frittata

21. Breakfast for Dinner

Make a dinner using only things that you normally eat for breakfast!

Recipe Suggestion: Sausage and kale frittata is the perfect breakfast for dinner! The tangy, melty blue Stilton cheese perfectly compliments the salty bite of the sausage. Add some kale in for a pop of color & greens.

An easy side dish: Garlic dill breakfast potatoes

Mexican Breakfast Tacos

22. Dinner with an New Ingredient

Make a dinner themed around a new ingredient you found at the grocery store – something you’ve never tried before!

Recipe Suggestion: These breakfast tacos topped with eggs and avocado and the perfect, filling breakfast for dinner option.

An easy side dish: Air fryer plantains

spinach peach salad

23. Summer Flavors

Make a dinner themed around ingredients you find in the summer! If it’s winter, try using a frozen alternative.

Recipe Suggestion: Summer blistered tomato peach salad recipe is the perfect fresh summer recipe! This healthy summer salad has a base of arugula and spinach. It’s topped with blistered tomatoes, burrata, prosciutto, and of course, fresh peaches.

An easy side dish: Grilled peach & lemon ricotta crostini

Asian Beef and Pepper Stir Fry

24. Stir Fry Night

Make a stir fry dinner using a protein of choice (optional) and your favorite veggies!

Recipe Suggestion: Asian beef and pepper stir fry will be your new go-to meal! It’s full of lots of flavor with ginger, garlic and Serrano chili. Even better, the beef cooks in minutes!

An easy side dish: Asian roasted broccoli

Tomato Jam & Goat Cheese Turkey Burgers

25. Build Your Own Burger

Make a dinner using your favorite burger ingredients! Everyone can pick their preferred toppings!

Recipe Suggestion: The juicy, delicious turkey burger is bursting with flavor from the tangy goat cheese, sweet tomatoes, and basil.

An easy side dish: Baked macaroni & cheese

sushi rolls and chopsticks

26. Sushi Night

Make a dinner themed around your favorite sushi rolls. Try making them at home for bonus points!

Recipe Suggestion: Veggie sushi roll is a healthy, vegan option to enjoy a take on Japanese sushi.

An easy side dish: Simple Asian cucumber salad

Simple Mexican Salad

27. Make Your Own Salad

Make dinner using some lettuce, your favorite salad toppings, and a delicious homemade salad dressing.

Recipe Suggestion: This simple Mexican salad is filled with crispy chickpeas, healthy veggies, and topped with Trader Joe’s spicy cashew dressing. This is the perfect vegan chopped salad that’s full of flavor and will keep you satisfied! Everyone can add their own favorite toppings. Or, you can learn how to make your own unique salad recipe.

An easy side dish: Homemade blender salsa & chips

28. Appetizers Only

Make a dinner with 2 – 4 different appetizers to make up a full meal!

Recipe Suggestion: This pork & fig pizza combines all the right flavors! The figs & marmalade provide a sweet bite that contrasts the salty pork & cheese. Upscale pizza in under 30 minutes!

An easy side dish: Fig & arugula salad

crispy pork gyros

29. Greek Night

Make a dinner themed around Greek flavors including oregano, mint, garlic, onion, and parsley.

Recipe Suggestion: Enjoy an easy, weeknight version of your favorite Greek gyros made with crispy pork & fresh vegetables.

An easy side dish: Chickpea salad with avocado

presto chicken and green beans

30. Under 5 Ingredients

Make a dinner challenging yourself to use under 5 ingredients for the main course.

Recipe Suggestion: Dress up your weeknight chicken dinner with a fancy, but simple, twist of chicken wrapped in prosciutto! Four ingredient pesto chicken is a fast and delicious dinner option.

An easy side dish: Lemon green beans (included in recipe) & crispy twice baked potatoes with mascarpone


I love trying new recipes! Let’s discover new recipes together on Pinterest!

P.S. If you made any of the recipes in this dinner theme ideas meal plan, share a picture with me on Instagram using #HomebodyEats. I love seeing your creations!!

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