Recipes You Can Make with Three Ingredients or Less

Move-in day is just around the corner for me, hence I have no idea whether to be reluctantly excited or begrudgingly enthused that the stress overload will once again cloud me with my studies and work life. That being said, I still adore my Food Science major and wouldn’t trade any other life for it. Well, maybe I could add in the powers of teleportation, manipulating time without consecutively changing the present moment, physiologically warding off any disease or form of physical fluctuation, and being able to locate anything that has my fingerprint.

Back to the subject at hand: school life, work life, college life, university life, all that jazz. They’re all busy as hell, which means that efficiency is absolutely key when it comes to accomplishing goals and sufficing tasks. One major task: cooking. Sure, you can always stop by a local food court or grocery store to pick up a pre-packaged meal, but the truth of a matter is that it is so much healthier, cheaper, and mentally and emotionally therapeutic to test your culinary skills. You know exactly what goes into your food and you can customize the flavors and ingredients any time you’d like!

Face it though. Most of us do NOT have the capacity to equip ourselves with fancy gadgets and a billion food products stashed in our most-likely-modestly-sized kitchens. As a third year, I (FOSHO) do not have enough space in one fridge or one pantry to prepare making homemade omusubi or rainbow bagels. Fortunately, there are an endless amount of recipes anyone can create at home that require three ingredients, maybe even less, depending on your preferences and the recipes’ needs!

Below I have listed several categories of foods along with a bunch of meals that have a maximum of three mandatory ingredients that can be found widely and easily at any grocery or convenience store. I didn’t include recipes like toast, cereal, or instant ramen. Seriously guys, let’s be more sophisticated than that.

BREAKFAST

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  • Pancakes
    • Ingredients: flour, liquid, and a binding agent
      • Most of these are 100% mandatory, though I have found this two-ingredient banana pancake recipe that is Paleo-friendly, gluten free, dairy free, and grain free (not vegan-friendly)
      • Personally, I would stick to the good ol’ trusty formula of rolled oats, almond or flax milk, and a fruit or starch such as banana, applesauce, canned pumpkin, or sweet potato
      • Optional ingredients: baking agents, sugar, add-ins such as chocolate chips, blueberries, walnuts, etc.
  • Waffles
    • Ingredients: flour, liquid, and a binding agent
      • Again, exact same as the pancake situation above.
  • Oatmeal
    • Ingredients: oatmeal, fruit, and liquid of choice
      • Fruit is arguably not mandatory, but it makes for delicious oats–plus, oatmeal and water is an incredibly bland and boring combination alone.
      • Optional ingredients (though likely mandatory for flavor): sweetener, cinnamon, protein powder, granola, nut butter, granola, nuts, seeds, etc.

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  • Tofu scramble
    • Ingredients: tofu and vegetables
    • Optional ingredients: spices and condiments
  • Vegan breakfast burritos
    • Ingredients: tortilla wrap, tofu, and vegetable(s) of choice
    • Optional ingredients: spices, condiments, faux meat, additional vegetables
  • French toast
    • Ingredients: bread of choice, dairy free milk of choice, and maple syrup (or any sweetener to taste)
    • Optional ingredients: cinnamon (highly recommended), fruit (also highly recommended), coconut flakes, granola, vegan whipped cream, etc.

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  • Muffins
    • Ingredients: flour, liquid, and a fruit/starch
    • Optional ingredients: blueberries, baking agents, sweetener, cinnamon, etc.
  • Gluten free bread
    • Ingredients: soaked buckwheat groats and flax or chia seeds
    • Optional ingredients: cacao powder, carrots, walnuts, zucchini, squash, other flour of choice, etc.
  • Granola
    • Ingredients: rolled oats and sticky sweetener of choice
    • Optional: oil of choice (coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil are great choices)

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  • Protein granola
    • Ingredients: rolled oats, protein powder, and sticky sweetener of choice
    • Optional: oil of choice (coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil are great choices)
  • Vegan breakfast sandwiches
    • Ingredients: English muffin or bagel, extra firm tofu OR a vegan breakfast sausage, and additional topping of choice (can be vegan cheese, avocado, ketchup, hot sauce, tomato, etc.)
    • Optional ingredients: any other toppings indicated above in addition to the tofu or sausage
  • Granola bars
    • Ingredients: rolled oats and sticky fruit of choice
    • Optional ingredients: additional fillings such as raisins, walnuts, cranberries, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, protein powder, nut/seed butter, etc.

BEVERAGES

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  • Protein shakes
    • Ingredients: protein powder and liquid of choice (can be milk, coffee, or water)
    • Optional ingredients: sweetener, pre-workout, etc.
  • Boba milk tea
    • Ingredients: milk of choice, tapioca pearls, and sticky sweetener of choice
    • Optional ingredients: red bean, fruit of choice, etc.
  • Milkshake
    • Ingredients: ice cream of choice and milk of choice
    • Optional ingredients: chocolate syrup, caramel, peanut butter, cherries, whipped cream, sprinkles, cookies, candy, cake, donuts, GO CRAZY!
  •  Lattes
    • Ingredients: matcha powder, sweetener to taste, and liquid of choice (dairy free milk works best)

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  • Smoothie (or smoothie bowl)
    • Ingredients: fruit of choice
    • Optional ingredients: liquid of choice (highly recommended for a thinner consistency), sweetener of choice, greens of choice, chia or flax seeds, avocado, protein powder, maca powder, cinnamon, etc.
  • Nice cream (yeah yeah yeah, call it a smoothie bowl. But face it. Nice cream needs its own category.)
    • Ingredient: frozen overripe bananas
    • Optional ingredients: vanilla bean powder, cacao powder, mint, spirulina, cinnamon, any other additional toppings
  • Mint protein frappuccino
    • Ingredients: frozen coffee cubes, peppermint extract, and protein powder of choice
    • Optional ingredients: water or additional coffee
  • Mango lassi
    • Ingredients: frozen mango and yogurt of choice
    • Optional ingredients: sweetener of choice, milk of choice, etc.

ENTREES

  • Salad
    • Ingredients: lettuce of choice, protein of choice, and dressing of choice
    • Optional ingredients: nuts, seeds, additional vegetables, raisins, cranberries, whole grains, legumes, avocado (HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended)
  • Kabobs
    • Ingredients: vegetables of choice, protein of choice, and wooden skewers
    • Optional ingredients: herbs, spices, and sauce of choice

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  • Homemade seitan
    • Ingredients: vital wheat gluten and vegetable broth (or water, but it will be flavorless)
    • Optional ingredients: herbs, spices, and sauce of choice (all of these are recommended as seitan itself is incredibly bland)
  • Hoisin-style tofu
    • Ingredients: firm or extra firm tofu and hoisin sauce
    • Optional ingredients: salt and pepper

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  • Stir-fry
    • Ingredients: vegetable of choice, protein of choice, and a sauce/condiment of choice
    • Optional ingredients: garlic, onions, whole grains, greens, or any other accompaniment to serve the stir-fry with
  • Baingan bharta
    • Ingredients: eggplant, curry powder, and cayenne pepper
    • Optional ingredients: coconut milk, oil of choice, etc.
  • Tofu fries
    • Ingredient: firm or extra firm tofu
    • Optional ingredients: herbs, spices, sauce of choice, etc.
  • Spring rolls
    • Ingredients: rice paper, tofu, and lettuce of choice
    • Optional ingredients: carrots, jicama, peanuts, cilantro, mint leaves, vermicelli rice noodles, and peanut sauce (highly recommended)

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  • Sweet potato PB&J sandwich
    • Ingredients: a sweet potato, peanut butter, and jam, jelly, or mashed fruit of choice
      • P.S. Please excuse this horrendous un-edited four year-old Snapchat photo of a sweet potato sandwich. This was actually from my first discovery of creating this recipe…and I am ashamed I haven’t had one in FOREVER (probably will make one right now)
  • Bean burritos
    • Ingredients: a tortilla wrap (should be at least 8 inches, ideally 10 or more) and beans of choice
    • Optional ingredients: brown rice, vegetables, greens, avocado or guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, additional sauce, vegan cheese, faux meat, etc.
  • Bean and cabbage tacos
    • Ingredients: mini tortillas, beans of choice, and cabbage
    • Optional ingredients: brown rice, vegetables, salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo, vegan cheese, faux meat, etc.
  • Quesadilla
    • Ingredients: two tortillas and cheese of choice
    • Optional ingredients: guacamole, tomatoes, pico de gallo, onions, vegetables, beans, tofu, faux meat, etc.

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  • Curry
    • Ingredients: coconut milk, curry powder or paste, and vegetable/protein of choice
    • Optional ingredients: additional vegetables, additional protein, rice, bread, or greens to serve with
  • Cauliflower-based curry
    • Ingredients: boiled cauliflower, curry powder or paste, and vegetable/protein of choice
    • Optional ingredients: additional vegetables, additional protein, rice, bread, or greens to serve with
  • Lettuce wraps
    • Ingredients: lettuce of choice, protein of choice, and vegetable of choice
    • Optional ingredients: sauce of choice (highly recommended), avocado, onions, garlic, additional vegetables, etc.
  • Fried rice
    • Ingredients: rice, vegetable of choice, and soy sauce (preferably low sodium or coconut aminos)
    • Optional ingredients:

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  • PB&J sandwich (an actual one)
    • Ingredients: whole grain bread, peanut butter, and jam, jelly, or mashed fruit of choice
  • Mac n’ cheese
    • Ingredients: elbow noodles, water (to boil the noodles), and melted cheese sauce of choice
    • Optional ingredients: vegetables, protein, spices, leafy greens, herbs, bread-crumbs, and/or additional condiments such as Sriracha or ketchup
  • Vegan chili
    • Ingredients: canned tomatoes, chili seasoning, and beans of choice
    • Optional ingredients: cocoa powder (highly recommended), vegetables, greens, rice or bread to serve wtih

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  • Pasta
    • Ingredients: noodles of choice and condiment of choice
    • Optional ingredients: vegetables (highly recommended), protein (highly recommended), spices, leafy greens (highly recommended), herbs, etc.
  • Bean and veggie burgers
    • Ingredients: beans of choice, rolled oats, and sauce of choice
    • Optional ingredients: onions, sweet potato, potato, garlic, herbs, spices, bread crumbs, mushrooms, cilantro
  • Roasted protein
    • Ingredients: protein of choice and spices of choice
    • Optional ingredients: any sauces/condiments and/or oil
  • Vegan tofu nuggets
    • Ingredients: firm or extra firm tofu, almond meal, and coconut flour
    • Optional ingredients: oil of choice, milk of choice, spices, herbs, salt and pepper, etc.

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  • Blue tofu
    • Ingredients: tofu and water/vegetable broth that has soaked red cabbage for at least 24 hours
    • Optional ingredients: salt and pepper, sauce of choice, etc.
  • Chocolate roasted kabocha
    • Ingredients: kabocha squash (can substitute avocado), sticky sweetener of choice (use sugar free syrup if low carb), and cacao powder
  • Vegan sushi
    • Ingredients: Nori sheets, rice of choice (sub for another vegetable like riced cauliflower), and additional fruit/vegetable of choice
    • Optional ingredients: additional fruits/vegetables, soy sauce, or any other sauce of choice
  • Roasted marinara eggplant stacks
    • Ingredients: eggplant, oil of choice, and marinara sauce
    • Optional ingredients: salt and pepper, other sauce of choice, or another vegetable of choice

SNACKS

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  • Protein frosting
    • Ingredients: flavored protein powder and liquid of choice
    • Optional: sweetener of choice
  • Popcorn
    • Ingredients: popcorn kernels and oil of choice (oil isn’t necessary if you use a popcorn machine or an air-fryer)
    • Optional ingredients: herbs, spices, etc.
  • Potato fries
    • Ingredient: potato (can also substitute sweet potato or any other starchy vegetable)
    • Optional ingredients: oil of choice, herbs, spices, etc.

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  • Sweet potato chips
    • Ingredient: sweet potato
    • Optional ingredients: oil of choice, herbs, spices, dip of choice, etc.
  • Energy bites
    • Ingredients: dates and rolled oats
    • Optional ingredients: nut or seed of choice, dried fruit, coconut flakes, etc.
  • Coconut almond butter
    • Ingredients: almond butter, coconut milk, and shredded coconut
    • Optional ingredients: cinnamon, coconut oil, sweetener of choice, vanilla extract, etc.

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  • Sweet potato pretzel bites
    • Ingredients: sweet potato, buckwheat flour, and spices of choice
    • Optional ingredients: baking agents, sea salt, cinnamon, dry sweetener of choice, oil of choice, etc.
  • Sweet potato flatbread
    • Ingredients: sweet potato and buckwheat flour
    • Optional ingredients: baking agents, sea salt, cinnamon, dry sweetener of choice, oil of choice, etc.

DESSERTS

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  • Peanut butter cookies
    • Ingredients: peanut butter and maple syrup
    • Optional ingredients: flour of choice, baking agents
  • Banana and oatmeal cookies
    • Ingredients: banana and rolled oats
    • Optional ingredients: baking agents, additional flour, chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, etc.

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  •  One-ingredient cake
    • Ingredient: sweet potato
    • Optional ingredient: cinnamon, frosting of choice, toppings of choice
  • Cookie dough
    • Ingredients: chocolate chips, rolled oats, and nut or seed butter/pumpkin/applesauce/banana
    • Optional ingredients: sweetener of choice
  •  Brownies
    • Ingredients: nut butter, cacao powder, and canned pumpkin/applesauce/bananas
    • Two-ingredient method: brownie mix and canned pumpkin/applesauce/bananas
    • Optional ingredients: flour, baking agents, chocolate chips/chunks, oil of choice, nut butter, nuts, seeds, etc.

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  • Butternut squash cake
    • Ingredients: oat flour, butternut squash, and sweetener of choice
    • Optional ingredients: baking agents, additions (i.e. zucchini, cacao powder, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, etc.), frosting of choice, toppings of choice
  • Cupcakes
    • Ingredients: see butternut squash cake above
  • Chocolate mousse
    • Ingredients: sweet potato/silken tofu/dairy free cream of choice (coconut and cashew-based are delicious!), cacao powder, and sweetener of choice
  • Ice cream
    • Ingredients: coconut milk and frozen fruit of choice
    • Other method: coconut cream or full fat coconut milk and sweetener of choice (if using an ice cream maker)
    • Optional ingredients: sweetener of choice, additional mix-ins of choice

SPREADS/SAUCES

  • Hot sauce
    • Ingredients: chili peppers of choice, water, and salt (technically optional, but helps for preservation and flavor)
    • Optional ingredients:
  • Salad dressing
    • Ingredients: base of choice (avocado, cashews, roasted carrots, tahini, mango, etc.), lemon juice, and water
    • Optional ingredients: salt and pepper to taste, dill, onions, garlic, additional seasonings, herbs, spices, oil of choice, etc.
  • Tapenade
    • Ingredients: olives, garlic, and lemon juice
    • Optional ingredients: olive oil, capers, salt and pepper to taste, anchovies (if not vegan), etc.
  • Barbecue sauce
    • Ingredients: ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and sticky sweetener of choice
    • Optional ingredients: salt and pepper to taste, onion powder, mustard, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, etc.

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  • Cheese sauce
    • Ingredients: nutritional yeast, white beans or tofu, and liquid of choice
    • Optional ingredients: lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, onions, garlic, oil of choice, etc.
  • Harissa
    • Ingredients: hot chile peppers and roasted red peppers
    • Optional ingredients: garlic, olive oil, cilantro, onions, salt and pepper to taste, etc.
  • Curry broth
    • Ingredients: coconut milk and curry powder or paste
  • Tomato sauce
    • Ingredients: tomatoes (cooked, canned, diced, or stewed)
    • Optional ingredients: salt and pepper to taste, vegetable broth, onions, garlic, oil of choice, sugar, etc.

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  • Hummus
    • Ingredients: garbanzo beans and lemon juice
    • Optional ingredients: salt and pepper to taste, garlic, olive oil, onions, herbs, spices, cacao powder, peanut butter powder, nut butter of choice, sweetener of choice, vegetables of choice, etc.
  • Nut/seed butter
    • Ingredients: nut/seed of choice
    • Optional ingredients: oil of choice, sweetener of choice, liquid of choice, herbs, spices, or another type of nut/seed
  • Guacamole
    • Ingredients: avocado, onions, and spice of choice
    • Optional ingredients: cilantro, garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, lemon juice, lime juice, etc.
  • Salsa
    • Ingredients: tomatoes, lime juice, and peppers
    • Optional ingredients: salt to taste, garlic, onions, etc.

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  • Jam
    • Ingredients: berries of choice
    • Optional ingredients: sweetener to taste, a thickening agent, etc.
  • Pico de gallo
    • Ingredients: tomatoes, onions, and cilantro
    • Optional ingredients: lemon juice, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, etc.

What are your favorite three-ingredient-or-less recipes?


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