12 Simple-yet-Special Mother’s Day Dinner Ideas

updated Apr 28, 2021
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Cooked salmon topped with cilantro and lime in a roasting pan
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

In case you forgot, Mother’s Day is just a few days away. And one of the absolute best ways to show your love for the mom in your life is to cook a special dinner. The simple gesture of cooking something just for her is a great way to make her feel appreciated — especially after the year we’ve all had.

We know that brunch is a classic go-to Mother’s Day meal, but cooking dinner can be just as special — and maybe a little bit unexpected. Whether you consider yourself a pro in the kitchen or a beginner, we’ve compiled a list of meals that will wow your mom on her special day. From an impressive asparagus tart to an herby steak salad, here are 12 dinners that will make any mom feel loved.

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Garlic Butter Pasta
This colorful pasta combines all of the best things about spring into one simple meal. Asparagus, peas, and arugula come together to create a hearty dinner that's bursting with fresh spring flavor. Serve it with crusty bread or dressed greens.
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Garlic Butter Lamb Chops
This recipe combines flavorful garlic butter with tender lamb chops to create the perfect centerpiece for a festive Mother's Day dinner. Serve them with rice, greens, or pasta, and dinner is done. If you can't find fresh lamb chops in the grocery store, feel free to use frozen and thaw them overnight.
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Asparagus and Bacon Pasta
If you want to cook something impressive-yet-easy for Mom, this is the ultimate recipe. Creamy pasta loaded with crispy bacon and tender asparagus and peas is the perfect recipe to celebrate the season. The veggies and bacon get cooked in the oven, and everything gets tossed together in one pot, making it a cinch to throw together.
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20-Minute Steak Salad with Chile, Garlic, and Herbs
If your mom is a steak-lover, this salad is just the thing to make for her. It combines crisp lettuce with tender flank steak to create the perfect hearty-yet-light meal. If you want to bulk it up, you can serve it with cooked rice, noodles, or quinoa.
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Cilantro-Lime Salmon
One way to impress Mom this year: roast a whole side of salmon with fresh limes, cilantro, and a generous glug of olive oil. If you can't find fresh salmon in the grocery store, you can thaw out frozen fillets overnight — or swap it out with any other fish you can find.
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One-Pan Chicken and Rice with Olives and Lemon
This lemony roasted chicken and rice is the most impressive dinner you can make in just one pan. It gets loaded up with salty olives and bright lemon juice to create a flavorful all-in-one dinner that feels festive.
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Ham, Asparagus & Gruyère Tart
This simple-yet-stunning tart starts with a sheet of store-bought puff pastry and loads it up with shredded cheese, asparagus, and ham. Serve it with a side of dressed greens, a simple soup, or all by itself for a festive spring dinner Mom will love.
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Lemon Butter Pasta & Veggies
This bright, veggie-loaded pasta is the perfect recipe to make use of all of the spring vegetables starting to pop up. The sauce is made with a simple combination of olive oil and lemon, and the veggies are totally flexible so you can mix them up based on Mom's preferences.
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The Easiest Chicken Cordon Bleu at Home
Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of those simple meals that has an excessively fancy name. It's basically just chicken rolled up with ham and cheese, then coated in crispy breadcrumbs. How can you go wrong with that?
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5-Ingredient Spinach Risotto
Cooking risotto for someone is the ultimate way to show your appreciation. Although it's easy to make, it takes time and a decent amount of attention. This version takes just five ingredients and is endlessly adaptable. You can throw in any of Mom's favorite ingredients (like veggies, cheese, and greens) and dress it up or down however you like.
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Juicy & Tender Roasted Pork Loin
Chances are you know all about pork tenderloin. This lean, affordable cut of meat often steals the spotlight, thanks to its quick cook time and accessibility at the grocery store. Pork loin roast, on the other hand, is larger, meatier, and, dare we say, actually easier to cook.
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Shrimp Scampi with Linguine
There’s a lot to love about this shrimp scampi. A buttery, lemony garlic sauce coats linguine and shrimp, and the bright bite of red pepper and parsley balances everything.
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What is your go-to mother’s day recipe? Let us know in the comments!