No-Bake, No-Cook and Super-fast: Ploughman’s Dinner

January 25,2012
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

On Monday I shared one of our favorite ways to get dinner to the table in about 5 minutes flat.  Using fresh and ready-to-eat ingredients, you can enjoy Refried Bean Tacos without turning on your oven or stove.  Today I share my favorite way to get dinner to the table fast, I call it Ploughman’s Dinner.

Before we had children, SPH and I lived in London for several months.  It was an amazing experience, one for which I am forever grateful.  He was working full-time for his employer near where we lived.  My wonderful boss allowed me to take a leave of absence, as long as I was able to work for several hours a day to stay up on my workload.  So with the time difference, I would wake up with SPH and when he left for work, I would walk or take the Tube (the London subway) to explore new corners of the great city.  All I needed to do was to be back online by around 2pm to have a few hours to stay on top of my work.

Each day as I explored, I would often be out and about for lunch.  Ploughman’s Lunch is a popular lunch in the UK, one that consists basically of bread, cheese, ham and some fruit.  It is a quick, easy and popular way to power up at lunch time.  Why not use this same concept for your dinner plate?

My favorite way to do a version that I call Ploughman’s Dinner is this: fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, hummus or a favorite protein dip, and whole grain bread or pita.  I love it, the boys love it, and I feel good about them getting a balanced meal.  Who needs a fancy meal to say “dinner is done!”?


The sky is the limit with this meal idea.  Use any fruit you wish, whatever you have on hand.  For the vegetables, you can cut up slices of fresh vegetables, or you can use easy pickled cucumbers or the like.  And for the dip or protein, here are some ideas:

Hummus and pita or vegetables

Babaganoush and flatbread

Tzatziki and tortilla

Peanut Butter or other nut butter and apple slices

Raita (an Indian yogurt-based dip) and cucumbers

Yogurt and fresh fruit

Cream cheese, mixed with a little marinara, and whole grain bread sticks

I could go on…and I bet you could too!  If you find yourself lacking for ideas, gather your family and brainstorm your own list, so you will have ideas ready to go, and you can pick up the dips and other components to have on hand.

Life is sweet,