25 Easy 5-Ingredient Recipes That Save Time and Money

by Ashley Marcin on 10 February 2014 0 comments

Want to lean your grocery list, simplify your dinner routine, and wash fewer dishes? I think we're all nodding our heads in agreement here. Try one of these genius five ingredient meals tonight and see if it hits the spot. These hearty recipes are full of nutrition and will satisfy a variety tastes and diets — meat-lovers, vegetarians, gluten-free eaters, and more. (See also: Cheap and Healthy Filler Foods)

1. Basic Chili

This warming stove-top chili recipe can easily be made vegetarian by substituting tofu for meat (turkey or beef). Otherwise, combine canned beans, onion, chili powder, and diced tomatoes.

2. Vegetarian Lasagna

A delicious looking vegetable lasagna features pasta sauce, steamed veggies, no-boil noodles, and two types of cheese. It's the classic favorite, stripped down and simplified.

3. Sloppy Joes

These sloppy joes combine ground beef, tomato soup, pepper, onion, and other seasonings. Slap onto a puffy roll, and you have a substantial dinner in no time.

4. Stuffed Shells

One of my favorite quick dinners, these stuffed shells require shell pasta, tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and one egg. Bonus: This one freezes well, too! (See also: 15 Frugal, Single-Serving Freezer Meals)

5. Crust-Less Quiche

This gluten-free quiche recipe is super customizable to your preferences and pantry. The base includes Munster cheese, eggs, spinach, cottage cheese, and whatever veggies you have on hand.

6. Butternut Squash Soup

I absolutely love the sound of this 30-minute Ginger Butternut Squash Soup. The blend of onion, garlic, ginger, squash, and veggie stock sounds satisfying and healthy all at the same time.

7. Chicken Curry

Not only does this chicken curry recipe have few ingredients, it's also formulated specifically for the slow cooker. Toss together chicken thighs, curry powder, coconut milk, salsa, and onion. (See also: Best Slow Cookers)

8. Cheese Pizza

If you really think about it, all you need to make pizza at home is flour, yeast, salt, pizza sauce, and cheese. If you've never made dough, here's my favorite no-knead dough recipe to get you started. (See also: How to Make Restaurant-Quality Pizza at Home)

9. Veggie Burgers

Forget this whole five ingredient concept — what about just three? These flavor-packed veggie burgers are made from oats, beans, and onion soup mix.

10. Meatballs

These hefty meatballs have tasty mix of beef, pork, oats, onions, and tomatoes. A versatile dish, they'd go great with a side of pasta or even atop some hoagie rolls.

11. Squash Casserole

I would have never thought to combine the following ingredients for this unique squash casserole: Yellow squash, mayonnaise, butter crackers, onion, and gruyere cheese. Now? I'm thinking it's definitely worth a try.

12. Stripped Down Stir-Fry

No recipe required for this one! Especially if you're using a bag of frozen veggies. Choose your favorite vegetables, onions/garlic, and a protein (tofu, chicken, beef, etc.); and then fry in some olive oil and season with soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Serve with a side of rice. (See also: 20+ Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Veggies)

13. Tomato Soup

This Roasted (Canned) Tomato Soup is the perfect addition to any lunch or dinner menu. What's inside? Roasted tomato — pureed — with veggie broth, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and Earth Balance (or butter). You could easily skip a step and used roasted canned tomatoes, too.

14. Enchiladas

For some extra dinnertime flair, try these Beef 'n' Rice Enchiladas. All you need is cheese, enchilada sauce, tortillas, beef, and Spanish rice and vermicelli mix.

15. Mac and Cheese

Comfort food at its best, this macaroni and cheese made with just five ingredients hits the spot. All you need is butter, flour, milk, cheese, and pasta.

16. Turkey Meatloaf

With only four ingredients — ground turkey, salsa, breadcrumbs, and an egg — this turkey meatloaf recipe looks incredibly easy to prepare. It's a great alternative to conventional dark meat recipes, too.

17. Breakfast for Dinner

On particularly tough nights, I like to fry a couple eggs and drizzle with Sriracha, toast some bread and spread with butter, and saute a little spinach in olive oil for a quick side. Think whole foods and simple preparation for food in a flash. (See also: 20+ Breakfast-for-Dinner Meals)

18. Baked Halibut

Fish always lends well to simplicity in cooking. And there's no better example than this flavorful Thyme and Sesame Crusted Halibut recipe. Aside from the standard olive oil, salt, and pepper, it contains just five core ingredients.

19. Beef Burgers

Good food need not be fussy. A great example? These Beef Burgers with Tomato Sauce — you only need ground beef, canned tomatoes, lemon juice, and spinach for this healthy, easy meal.

20. Zucchini Pasta

This meal is so stripped down, you don't even need a recipe. Veggie pasta, in this case zucchini pasta, is gluten-free, and all you do is chop into noodle shapes, blanch, and top with your favorite tomato sauce and some cheese!

21. Turkey Burgers

If you're not into red meat, these turkey burgers might be the thing. The burger is made of turkey and onions, so the other three ingredients are used to jazz it up with mango chutney, romaine lettuce, and salt to season. (See also: 15 New Ways to Top Your Burger)

22. Grilled Chicken

Use convenience foods to your advantage in this delicious Grilled Bruschetta Chicken recipe. Store-bought dressing does the trick to transform basic tomatoes into a tasty topping and cheese seals the deal.

23. Stuffed Peppers

Go beyond the standard vegetarian stuffed bell pepper with these Refried Bean Poblanos with Cheese. Dinner is made simpler with refried beans, poblanos, Mexican cheese, microwave rice, and picante sauce.

24. Warm Sandwiches

If you're looking for a simple to assemble five ingredient meal, try a toasty sandwich. This Mozzarella and Ham Panini — with ham, mozzarella, baby spinach, Italian bread, salt and pepper — is a great example of a dinner-worthy sandwich done right.

25. Noodle Bowl

This Veggie Laksa (third recipe down) will surely please a crowd with exotic tastes. Combine noodles, Thai curry, coconut cream, mixed veggies (even frozen!), and a handful of basil, and declare dinner done.

What's your favorite five ingredient meal?

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