Lifestyle Entertaining Food & Drink Food Recipes

Is This the New Sheet Pan Dinner?

Hint: It’s in the bag.
roasted vegetables with halloumi
Photography by Ola Smit

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

When you don’t feel like spending hours over the stove top, a sheet pan meal is always a solid option for a delicious dinner. But we’ll admit, no matter how much you love your roasted veggies, it’s nice to switch things up every now and again. An easy solution: Try a packet recipe instead.

Made with the help of foil or parchment paper, packet recipes are great for vegetables, fish, and meat, in a way that doesn’t require any major culinary skills, yet yield an end result that feels totally fancy, with flavors perfectly melded together. Really, the hardest part is getting the origami right, but it’s simple enough to master. 

Here’s how to fold them: Cut a piece of parchment paper or foil that covers the entire area (and then some) of your sheet pan. Place your ingredients on top of the parchment in the middle of the pan. Bring the ends of the parchment overhang together in the middle, then fold it down toward your ingredients three times, like wrapping a present. Then twist the two the remaining open ends to completely seal the packet. 

Ready to try it out? Consider one of these three recipes from the new book Dinner’s In the Bag by Louise Kenney. That’s a wrap on boring weeknight dinners.

If you want low effort, high-reward: Baked Peppers with Lentils and Goat Cheese

Stuffed peppers
Photography by Ola Smit

Serves 4 Ingredients:

  • 4 red bell peppers 
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4½ oz goat cheese
  • 9 oz ready-cooked Puy (or green) lentils 
  • 6 sun-blush (or semi-dried) tomatoes, each cut into 2 or 3 pieces
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Leaves from 3 stalks of oregano, finely chopped
  • A few fennel fronds, finely chopped
  • A small handful of toasted slivered almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut four sheets of baking parchment or foil.
  2. Cut the “lid” off the peppers, keeping the stalk on about ½ inch down from the top. Remove the seeds and white pith. Arrange a pepper, cut side up, with its lid, cut side down, onto each piece of parchment. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Close up the parcels, sit them on a baking dish, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling in a bowl: crumble the goat cheese, add the lentils, tomatoes, lemon zest, and herbs. Season generously with salt, drizzle with a ½ tablespoon of oil, and stir to combine everything together.
  4. Remove the peppers from the oven and carefully open up the parchment—they should be soft but still holding their shape. Stuff the filling into each pepper and put the lid on top. Gently close up the parchment and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and place the parcels straight onto plates. Pull open the parchment and sprinkle slivered almonds on top to serve.

If you’re trying to impress: Mediterranean Vegetables and Halloumi with Herb Oil

Serves 4 The Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini, thickly sliced
  • 2 red onions cut into ½-inch wedges
  • 2 Romano (or bell) peppers, tops and seeds removed, sliced into thick rings
  • 10 garlic cloves, skins on
  • 1 generous cup pitted green olives
  • 4 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 9 oz Halloumi, freshly slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the herb oil:

  • 1 small bunch of oregano, leaves only
  • 1 small bunch of basil 
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking dish with two sheets of parchment or foil.
  2. Pile the zucchini, onions, peppers, garlic cloves, and olives into the lined baking dish and spread out in a thickish layer. Tuck in the oregano sprigs, drizzle over a good glug of olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Give everything a good mix and spread out again. Seal up the parcel, taking care to keep everything in an even layer, and bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven, roll down the sides of the parchment, and add the Halloumi slices in a single layer on top of the vegetables. Return to the oven, parchment open, for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the herb oil. Finely chop the oregano leaves and basil and add to a bowl. Stir in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You may need more or less oil depending on the amount of herbs you have. Ensure it’s runnier than pesto so you can drizzle it easily.
  5. When the vegetables and Halloumi have had their final cooking time, remove from the oven, and serve with the herb oil drizzled over and garlic cloves for squeezing.

If you want to go all-out: Cod en Papillote with Spinach, Olives, and Mediterranean Herbs

Cod with spinach

Serves 2 The Ingredients:

  • ½ cup pitted black olives
  • 2 anchovy fillets in oil
  • 4 thyme stalks, leaves picked
  • 4 oregano stalks, leaves picked
  • 1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • 14 oz can butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 ½ oz baby leaf spinach, washed
  • 2 cod loins, approx. 5 ½ oz each
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 radishes, sliced
  • Handful of pea shoots


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking dish with a large piece of parchment or foil.
  2. Finely chop the olives, anchovy fillets, and herbs together. Mix together with juice from half of the lemon in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and add a little glug of olive oil.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the butter beans with the spinach leaves and two-thirds of the olive and herb mixture. Drizzle in a little more olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Tip into the lined baking dish and spread everything out evenly.
  4. Slice the remaining lemon half into four to six slices and lay these on top of the spinach and beans. Place the cod loins on top of the lemon slices, season with salt and pepper, and spread the remaining herby olive mixture over the fish. Close up the parcel and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  5. When cooked, unwrap and serve with the radish slices and pea shoots scattered over the top.

See more recipes: We Asked 3 Culinary Couples: What’s Your Go-To Date Night Dish?7 Smoothie Bowls That Are Absolutely Worthy of Your Attention7 Lunch Sandwich Ideas That Are Way Better Than a Sad Salad

Rebecca Deczynski


Rebecca is most often found digging through troves of vintage treasures, both in-person and online. Ask her to recommend a good book to read or an obscure Instagram account to follow, and you won’t be disappointed.