Excuse the cliché, but when I had a greenback for each time I stared into my fridge hoping meals would magically seem, I’d in all probability be a millionaire. It looks like at any time when I need to whip up one thing particular to my cravings, I don’t have the fitting elements. It’s a relentless cycle that I’m prepared to leap out of, and what higher approach to break the circuit than with 5 ingredient recipes?
Each recipe on this record could be made with simply 5 elements (duh!) and each single one embodies the definition of “a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts.” These recipes maintain issues easy and streamlined. Because mindfully slicing corners the place I can is high of thoughts in 2023. (I’ve to think about the identical is true for you, too.)
Featured picture by Michelle Nash.
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31 Simple Recipes With 5 Ingredients or Less
I should start by sharing that I grew up in an ingredient household, which meant snacks took some creative thinking to craft. My mom loves to cook—a trait she passed down to me—so there wasn’t a lot of premade food lying around to graze on. Instead, we had ingredients sitting on the shelves just waiting to be spun into gold. A typical afternoon snack for me ranged anywhere from saltine crackers with a few slices of salami to tortilla chips and shredded cheese (or “raw nachos,” as I lovingly coined them), and literally everything in between. BTW, I’m hoping my fellow ingredient household people are out there, or there’s probably some serious judgment going on.
Anyway, all that to say is that minimal-ingredient foods are definitely my jam. As much as I love to cook, I can’t always spend hours in the kitchen working on a meal. It takes precious time and energy out of my day and I’m usually too hungry to wait until it’s done. And as much as I love roaming around the grocery store, I don’t always have the liberty of spending hours there either. This is why I’ve started culling down extravagant cooking projects in the spirit of more simplicity, and these five ingredient recipes are just that. Simple.
Focusing on quality ingredients that pair beautifully together, these five ingredient recipes are the answer to busy weeknights, nights when you don’t feel like cooking, or really anytime your inventory is running low. All of these scenarios are totally valid, and these five ingredient recipes are here to help you stay afloat.
Salads, Sides, and Snacks
Pesto Parmesan Potatoes
Why We Love It: These potatoes are seriously so addictive. There really aren’t words to describe just how delicious they are… you’ll have to taste for yourself. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. As if potatoes and pesto aren’t good enough on their own, our food editor Suruchi decided to unite them in holy matrimony. And we’re so glad she did.
Hero Ingredient: Definitely the roasted garlic mixed into the pesto. We’re calling it garlic pesto, and it’s everything.
Simple Citrus Salad
Why We Love It: I can’t give this citrus salad enough high praise. It’s the most refreshing treat you can give to yourself, and it couldn’t be easier. Obvi, as the post would denote, it’s composed of five ingredients—most of which you probably have on hand. Juicy citrus, marcona almonds, onion slices, fresh herbs, and olive oil come together to make the ultimate side salad or starter.
Hero Ingredient: The recipe doesn’t call for it, and including it would take you to a whopping six ingredients, but a drizzle of vinegar (white wine, red wine, apple cider, whatever you have) kicks the tang up a notch.
Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Yogurt, Herbs, and Everything Spice
Why We Love It: Another potato superstar, these Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes are an unexpected gem. Since you’ll slice them in half, the potatoes roast in half the time they’d normally take. From the oven, you’ll take them to a cast iron with brown butter and honey. The surface of the potatoes caramelizes to perfection and the whole half-potato is delightfully satisfying.
Hero Ingredient: If you’re feeling adventurous, sub in your favorite hot honey for a hint of spice on the surface. Or, simply toss a pinch of red pepper flakes into the skillet and enjoy the kick.
Banana, Coconut & Cacao Smoothie with Hempseeds
Why We Love It: I should start by sharing that this smoothie basically tastes like a chocolate milkshake. A grown-up milkshake, if you will. It’s packed with cacao nibs, banana, coconut milk, hemp seeds, and maple syrup if you like it a little sweeter. It’s creamy, delicious, and practically dessert for breakfast, so… that’s a win-win.
Hero Ingredient: The coconut milk keeps it nice and creamy.
Why We Love It: ICYMI, white beans are all the trend lately. Whether they’re in salads, soups, or sandwiches, these little legumes are bulking up meals everywhere. In this case, they’re paying homage to hummus in the perfect methods. This creamy, satisfying dip is a fan-favorite appetizer for a gathering or noon pick-me-up for snacking any time. It’s the dip that does all of it.
Hero Ingredient: Lemon zest and juice give the dip a tangy punch that retains issues fascinating.
Why We Love It: Pepitas are such a tasty seed to have readily available. These small however mighty crunch-makers can rework salads, improve bowls, and switch any roasted veggie into a beautiful desk centerpiece. Having a jar round of ready-to-use pepitas is at all times a plus within the kitchen, and this chili lime selection is solely droolworthy.
Hero Ingredient: There’s a wholesome quantity of spice on this recipe, so the addition of maple syrup retains these flavors good and balanced.
Why We Love It: An entire roasted cauliflower makes essentially the most aesthetic vegetarian predominant. It’s so easy to make, easy to serve, and easy to get pleasure from (hey, 2023 mantra!). You’ll prep a full cauliflower, rub it in avocado oil, and brush over a succulent sauce scenario. You won’t anticipate it to be, however this dish is stuffed with taste and stays extremely moist even within the oven. Some may name it a miracle veggie.
Hero Ingredient: Harissa paste brings the warmth, so be at liberty to regulate the quantity based mostly in your tolerance and style.
Why We Love It: Who doesn’t love edamame as a snack? It packs the right little pop of protein into the day and is—although messy at occasions—enjoyable to eat. The 5 elements on this recipe embody frozen edamame, toasted sesame oil, garlic chili sauce, garlic, and salt. It’s in all probability the simplest factor you’ll make all week.
Hero Ingredient: The garlic chili sauce is so mouth-wateringly scrumptious.
Why We Love It: Banana, blueberries, spinach, milk, and peanut butter protein powder mix collectively to take advantage of refreshing noon deal with. Instead of utilizing precise peanut butter, the protein powder comes by means of to present the smoothie a lift of protein and maintain the sugar content material at bay. Easy, easy, and nutritious, this smoothie checks all of the containers.
Hero Ingredient: Get your greens in with an extra-generous handful of spinach. With all the opposite flavors occurring, you don’t even style it.
Why We Love It: Calling all bread followers (which is everybody, I hope?)… this one’s for you. If you get pleasure from all there may be to cherish about freshly baked bread, it’s your fortunate day. This 5 ingredient beer bread is the simplest factor since sliced bread (needed to!). It takes ten minutes of hands-on time and a handful of elements to ship you with steamy slices simply ready to be slathered in butter.
Hero Ingredient: Honey within the dough retains the bread good and moist.
Caramelized Onion and Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Why We Love It: A hearty meatless main, these stuffed mushrooms are a delicious way to incorporate more veggies into your diet. It’s effortlessly full of flavor thanks to the caramelized onions and a few simple mushroom hacks. These onion and spinach stuffed mushrooms are a true delight to the palate and body. A double whammy, if you will.
Hero Ingredient: A combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheese keeps things nice and… cheesy.
Green Sauce Pasta
Why We Love It: This one is all about greens, all the time. Not only is it pleasing to the eye, but this pasta is loaded with veggie-packed nutrition and flavor. Spinach, peas, asparagus, and a squeeze of lemon juice make the most vibrant sauce to coat your noodles in. It’s totally green goddess vibes, meaning you’ll reap the benefits from the inside out.
Hero Ingredient: The burrata is a serious luxury oozing over the pasta.
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Why We Love It: It would be accurate to say I whip up a batch of these fajitas each and every week. They’re that good and so blissfully simple to make. Marinate your chicken, chop up some peppers and onion, and toss it all on a sheet pan to bake away. They’re one of the easiest hands-off dinners that I can always count on delivering. Plus, if you’re not cooking for four, you’ll have the tastiest leftovers to enjoy.
Hero Ingredient: The marinade’s lime juice/zest combo is the key to success. It infuses the chicken with so much zing.
Pesto Gnocchi Skillet Bake
Why We Love It: Five ingredients + one pot = match made in heaven. This recipe uses packaged gnocchi (I love Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi), spinach, pesto, cream cheese, and mozzarella to create essentially the most satisfying skillet there ever was. It’s tacky, it’s nutty, and it’s filled with indulgence and heat for a cold night time in.
Hero Ingredient: If you’ve gotten it, a sprinkle of basil and a squeeze of lemon juice on the finish takes this one excessive.
Baked Pesto Salmon with Broccolini
Why We Love It: Pesto and salmon go together beautifully, and it’s a combination I never tire of. Like most salmon recipes, this one is delightfully simple to make and just the remedy for a busy night when you don’t feel like cooking. All you have to do is pop the salmon in the oven and boil/blanch a few stems of broccolini. Easy, breezy, delicious (or something like that).
Hero Ingredient: Not a hero ingredient, but it’s worth highlighting that this recipe is tailor made for one. If you’re serving more, adjust accordingly!
Why We Love It: Taquitos are an ideal appetizer, completely happy hour snack, or household pleasant meal that even the pickiest eaters have a tendency to like. I imply, what’s to not love? Shredded hen and melty cheese calmly fried in a crunchy tortilla blanket? Sign me up.
Hero Ingredient: Serve ’em up with any toppings you’ve gotten readily available. Shredded lettuce, cilantro, pico, crumbly cheese, bitter cream, the drill.
Why We Love It: OK, so I may be stretching the definition of “five ingredient” with this one, however it’s too good to not embody. While the do-it-yourself gnocchi itself falls under the 5 ingredient threshold, the wealthy, savory sauce provides a number of extra to the combo. If you prefer to play by the principles, you’re welcome to make a easy sage and brown butter sauce. Simple brown a stick of butter, flip the warmth to low, and add a handful of recent sage till aromatic. The excellent date night time dinner recipe.
Hero Ingredient: This recipe is proof that there’s nothing candy potatoes can’t do.
Why We Love It: Vegetarian chilis are having a second, and this one is not any exception. Creamy candy potatoes and tender black beans unite below a savory broth that warms you from the within out. The better part? You in all probability have all of the elements readily available. If you’ve gotten an onion, a can of black beans, candy potato, veggie inventory, and salsa, there’s nothing holding you again from this bowl of consolation.
Hero Ingredient: Diced avocado provides a creamy of completion to this yummy soup.
Why We Love It: Red curry paste, broth, pumpkin purée, coconut milk, and a pink chili pepper come collectively to create a creamy Thai Pumpkin Soup that’s begging to be savored on a cold-weather day. And simply because it requires minimal elements doesn’t imply it skimps on taste. This one is the true deal.
Hero Ingredient: Let’s go together with a hero methodology. To obtain the elusive coconut milk drizzle, maintain your spoon additional near the soup so the milk floats on high.
Why We Love It: Cacio e Pepe is a pasta dish you possibly can by no means go improper with. It’s easy in all the perfect methods by utilizing only a handful of elements to deliver satisfying flavors to life. In this 5 ingredient model, all you want is butter, freshly cracked black pepper, parmesan, Pecorino, and pasta. It’s the straightforward issues.
Hero Ingredient: Bucatini noodles are such a win. The little gap within the center makes for a slurpable noodle that’s so enjoyable to get pleasure from.
Why We Love It: Beef and broccoli will get a twist on this 30-Minute Teriyaki Beef and Zucchini. It’s more healthy than what you’ll sometimes discover in takeout kind and takes about the identical period of time—rating. There’s a no flour/cornstarch/sugar scenario occurring right here both which is certainly a plus. Just steak, zucchini, pink onion, and your favourite teriyaki sauce.
Hero Ingredient: You can use any sort of steak right here. NY strip, ribeye, sirloin, skirt steak, you title it.
Why We Love It: Like a more healthy eggplant parmesan, this Cheesy Marinara Baked Eggplant is pure gold. Because it’s baked, it requires minimal hands-on time, making it an ideal busy-weeknight choose. Layers upon layers of marinara sauce, Muenster cheese, and eggplant slices take advantage of satisfying dinner.
Hero Ingredient: Muenster cheese brings its nutty taste to the occasion.
Why We Love It: No-bake, make ahead, and five ingredients? This Shrikhand ticks all the boxes. As our food editor Suruchi shares, “Shrikhand is an Indian dessert with roots in Gujarati and Maharashtrian cuisine. It’s made of hung curd, which is strained yogurt with the whey removed.” In her recipe, she uses full-fat Greek yogurt, milk, saffron, powdered sugar, and freshly crushed cardamom to craft a delicious dessert you won’t regret making.
Hero Ingredient: The saffron blooms in the milk until the mixture turns pale yellow. The result couldn’t be prettier—or more full of flavor.
Why We Love It: Coconuts play a starring position on this can’t-believe-it’s-vegan caramel sauce. While some recipes profit from dates (and we love them for it), this one combines coconut sugar and coconut milk to create a thick and candy sauce that we’re ready to drizzle over the whole lot. Drizzle it over brownies, ice cream, cookies—the sky’s the restrict! It’s literal liquid gold.
Hero Ingredient: But the true kicker? 1 / 4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt sends this sauce excessive.
Why We Love It: These cookies remind me of a basic peanut butter cookie, those with the fork marks? Yum. In this recipe, we’re omitting the flour and choosing almond butter to scrub issues up a bit. They’re gluten-free, completely scrumptious, and make the perfect topper to your kitchen counter. It’s simply improper not to sneak one as you move by.
Hero Ingredient: Almond butter isn’t simply PB’s more healthy cousin. It’s salty, candy, and completely scrumptious in its personal proper.
Why We Love It: Rice pudding is one thing I don’t sometimes eat, however have at all times loved once I do. Its warming nature is one thing I discover so comforting and although it’s a dessert, it feels nourishing. In this recipe, white rice simmers in milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon to create a creamy pudding that’s ready to be savored.
Hero Ingredient: To raisin, or to not raisin? Personally, I’m a fan.
Why We Love It: Does anybody bear in mind these frozen snickers ice cream bars? I certain hope so, as a result of they have been divine. This time round, they’re cleaned up and made right into a vegan model that everybody can get pleasure from. With an excellent mixture of sea salt caramel ice cream, date caramel, roasted salted peanuts, and chocolate, you may need a tough time retaining these in your freezer.
Hero Ingredient: The caramel is made with dates, which is equally genius and spectacular.
Why We Love It: I’ll by no means tire of those chocolate lined peanut butter banana bites. I really like placing these collectively in the beginning of the week to fulfill my post-dinner candy tooth all week lengthy. They virtually at all times reside in my freezer and maintain me from reaching for the ice cream, which is a welcome and spectacular act.
Hero Ingredient: Feel free to sub in your favourite nut butter. These gems work properly with the whole lot.
Why We Love It: Creamy peanut butter, honey, butter, vanilla, and darkish chocolate come collectively to make one other scrumptious post-dinner snack. You may assume it odd that butter makes the record right here, however it’s completely important to retaining these bites from being dry. Like cookie dough, this dessert is sweet and creamy and exhausting to stroll away from. You’ve been warned.
Hero Ingredient: I really like using honey right here to maintain the processed sugar content material low.
Why We Love It: These bars mix all there may be to like about an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and pumpkin cake. They’re studded with chocolate chips, almond butter, pumpkin purée, oats, and maple syrup to deliver you a scrumptious dessert that checks plenty of dietary containers. They’re flourless, refined sugar-free, vegan, and a lot extra.
Hero Ingredient: The chocolate chips, in fact!