Why I Love Sheet Pans

Why I Love Sheet Pans


Hello and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. This week, we are celebrating the sheet pan, the unsexiest piece of kitchen equipment ever to hit home-cooking culture. Our team put together this smashing collection of 20 sheet-pan recipes, and a special section in this Sunday’s print edition of The Times.

Perhaps you’re rolling your eyes? Isn’t this whole newsletter a celebration of the sheet pan? I do write about sheet-pan dinners often, and that’s because I make them all the time, so much so that I could probably sleepwalk into my kitchen; locate the sheet pans, olive oil and salt; and start prepping a meal.

A great sheet-pan recipe delivers a delicious dinner (or the bulk of a delicious dinner) in a reasonable amount of time and on just one pan, the food golden brown from a turn in the hot oven. The cooking is largely unattended, and cleanup is relatively painless. Recipes that require all of your pots are for weekends, holidays and showing off.

So embrace the sheet pan! You won’t look back! Our colleagues at Wirecutter even have recommendations for which pans to buy. Tell me where you stand on all of this, or just say hello: dearemily@nytimes.com.

Here are five sheet-pan dishes for the week:

1. Cumin Pork Chops and Brussels Sprouts

Melissa Clark roasts thick bone-in pork chops with a garlicky cumin-brown sugar rub, with brussels sprouts and sage leaves spread out around them. This is a dressy dinner that can land on your table within 45 minutes.

View this recipe.

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2. Ginger-Dill Salmon

The salmon in this recipe by Ali Slagle roasts under a blanket of dill and ginger while you prepare a salad of citrus, radishes and avocado to serve alongside it. It’s not a sheet-pan meal, strictly speaking, but it is a dinner that requires only one pan, and a recipe I thought you ought to know. This one makes good leftovers, too: Both the salmon and salad will be fine the next day and can be served cold or room temp.

3. Gochujang Chicken and Roasted Vegetables

I love Yewande Komolafe’s way with flavor and texture, and this five-star recipe is a prime example: a soy-ginger sauce made with gochujang coats chicken, squash, turnips and scallion whites, with the Korean chile paste adding sweet heat. You could swap in other vegetables, or try using slabs of firm tofu instead of the chicken.

View this recipe.

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4. Crisp Tofu and Sweet Potatoes

Melissa Clark tosses tofu with cornstarch to get a good crunch, while sweet potatoes (or any other vegetable you like) roast on a second pan so everything has room to brown. The tofu will stick to the pan; that’s just the way it is. You could line the pan first, but that will impede browning, which limits your crunch. Or you could just soak the pan afterward.

View this recipe.

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5. Pizza With Asparagus and Arugula

This has felt like the longest winter in recorded history, but you can pretend it’s spring with this dose of green from Susan Spungen. She developed the recipe for a 9-by-13-inch sheet pan, known as a quarter sheet, but you could use a half sheet, which is the size that home cooks typically use. (Recipes that simply call for “sheet pans,” like the ones above, are referring to half sheets.) The smaller pan delivers a focaccia-like experience; if you use a larger pan, try to stretch the dough into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle.

View this recipe.

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