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Keep it simple with easy three-ingredient meals

“Minimalist”  Mark Bittman shares secrets for easy dishes that are sure to please.
/ Source: TODAY

Looking for a quick way to make a nutritious meal? Well, you're in luck. In his latest installment of “How to Make Everything TODAY,” celebrated food writer and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman shares his secrets for whipping up simple three-ingredient recipes. Check out his suggestions:

Three meals from three ingredients:

Raw spinach, Parmesan cheese, and dried tomatoes

The sandwich:
Cook spinach and tomatoes in a little olive oil with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until spinach is wilted and tomatoes are soft. Toast ciabatta slices in the broiler a bit then spread on the spinach mixture. Top with shaved or grated Parmesan cheese and pass under the broiler again until bubbly. Serve open-face.

The salad:
Toss spinach with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add roughly chopped sundried tomatoes and top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Garnish with good quality black olives.

The pasta:
Cook the pasta (fusilli) in boiling salted water and drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Cook the spinach in some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened a bit and warmed through. Toss the pasta with the vegetables, along with a bit of the cooking liquid to moisten. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.


Grilled or broiled chicken breasts, slow-cooked onions, and sautéed mushrooms

The sandwich: Mix a little minced garlic with mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon juice for a quick aioli and lightly smear a little on a split baguette. Layer with thinly sliced grilled chicken, the onions and mushrooms, and a few arugula or spinach leaves if you like. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

The salad: Use a fork to stir the onions with some olive oil, sherry vinegar, a little Dijon mustard, and some salt and pepper. Top a bed of greens with slices of grilled chicken, and the mushrooms. Garnish with toasted walnuts and lots of black pepper.

The pasta: Cook the pasta (oricchette) in salted boiling water and drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Warm the onions, mushrooms, and chicken in a little olive oil, with some crushed red chile. Add the pasta and enough cooking liquid to make the mixture saucy; toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Drizzle with some more olive oil or serve with crumbled blue cheese if you like if needed; season with salt and pepper.


Crisp roasted potatoes, whole sweet Italian sausage, and whole garlic cloves.

The sandwich: Slice a good quality Italian roll in half; make a “well” in the bottom by scooping out some of the insides. Smear roasted garlic the top of the roll. Fill the bottom with slices of the sausage and top with the potatoes. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil or a smear of Dijon mustard (or leftover tomato sauce if handy); sprinkle with salt and pepper.

The salad: Combine olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Toss this dressing with a head of frisee. Top with crumbled or chopped sausage, and the potatoes. Serve crusty bread smeared with the roasted garlic.

The pasta: Cook pasta (campanelle) in boiling salted water and drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Crumble or slice the sausage and warm it in a little olive oil along with the garlic and potatoes until everything gets nice and crisp again. Deglaze the pan with some white wine and toss in the pasta, adding a bit of cooking water if necessary to moisten. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley if you’ve got it.

Best-selling cookbook author Mark Bittman is the creator and author of the popular New York Times weekly column "The Minimalist," and one of the country's best-known and most widely admired food writers. His flagship book, "How to Cook Everything" (John Wiley and Sons, 1998), is currently in its 14th printing and has, in its various formats, sold more than a million copies.