Dinner is ready in under 15 minutes with these super-simple meal ideas that call for less than a handful of ingredients.
3 ingredient diabetes dinners
Credit: Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

Getting dinner on the table doesn't need to be complicated or require lots of ingredients or time. With a little creativity, you can whip up a delicious meal in minutes using just three ingredients (not including basics, like oil, salt and pepper)! Combining healthy staples (like canned beans and pasta) with store-bought shortcuts (like rotisserie chicken and salad kits) is a no-fuss way to serve up something satisfying when you need food fast. These super-simple meal ideas are diabetes-friendly, meaning they have a good mix of lean protein and fiber to keep blood sugar balanced. Each contains about 2 to 3 carb servings (30-45 grams of carbohydrates), plenty of heart-healthy vegetables and lots of flavor, without too much sodium or saturated fat.

While each recipe makes two servings, you can easily double the recipe to feed the family.

Goat Cheese Pasta with Broccoli

3 ingredient pasta broccoli dinner
Credit: Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

Swap out regular pasta for pasta made with chickpeas and you'll more than triple the fiber and double the protein in this simple, satisfying dish. Be sure to save some of the pasta water to make a sauce. Feel free to use frozen broccoli in a pinch (you can blanch the broccoli in the same water you use to cook the pasta).

Make It Yourself:

  1. Prepare 4 ounces chickpea cavatappi pasta according to package directions; reserve ½ cup pasta water.

  2. Return the drained pasta to the pot and add 2 ounces garlic herb-flavored goat cheese; stir until the cheese melts and coats the pasta, adding reserved pasta water as needed to make a thin sauce.

  3. Fold in 2 cups cooked broccoli florets. Season with ground pepper and salt to taste.

Serves: 2

Chickpeas with Kale and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

3 ingredient chickpea, kale pepper salad
Credit: Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes are the key to this flavorful three-ingredient dinner. Use the oil from the jar to sauté the kale, then stir in the sliced sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavor and texture, along with a can of chickpeas for protein.

Make It Yourself:

  1. Measure out ¼ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, reserving 1 tablespoon of oil. Heat the reserved oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet.

  2. When the oil is hot, add a 10-ounce bag chopped kale and sauté until the kale wilts and turns bright green, about 2 minutes. Add ⅓ cup water, cover and cook for 3 minutes more over medium-low heat.

  3. Fold in a rinsed 15-ounce can of no-salt-added chickpeas and the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 1 minute more. Season with ground pepper and salt to taste.

Serves: 2

Teriyaki Edamame Sauté

3 ingredient edamame salad
Credit: Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

A bag of coleslaw mix, shelled edamame and bottled teriyaki sauce are all you need to sauté up this high-fiber plant-based stir-fry. Look for bottled teriyaki sauce labeled less sodium or reduced sodium to cut back on the salt without sacrificing flavor.

Make It Yourself:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

  2. When the oil is hot, add an 8-ounce bag tricolor coleslaw mix and sauté until the cabbage begins to soften, about 2 minutes.

  3. Stir in 2 cups shelled edamame (thawed if frozen) and ¼ cup reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce. Continue to cook until the edamame are heated through and the sauce thickens, about 1 minute more.

Serves: 2

Chicken Salad Tostadas

3 ingredient chicken tostadas
Credit: Carolyn Hodges, M.S., RDN

Salad kits are the perfect shortcut ingredient for quick meals because they contain everything you need in one bag, including the dressing. Mix in shredded rotisserie chicken and serve atop crunchy tostada shells for a five-minute dinner. Swap in canned black beans for the chicken to make this vegetarian.

Make It Yourself:

  1. Prepare a 10-ounce Southwest-style salad kit according to package directions, reserving tortilla strips and shredded cheese; fold in 6 ounces shredded rotisserie chicken breast.

  2. Divide the chicken salad mixture among 6 tostada shells.

  3. Top with the reserved tortilla strips and cheese.

Serves: 2

Sweet Potato & Brussels Sprouts Hash with Apple Chicken Sausage

3 ingredient sweet potato hash
Credit: Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

Apple-flavored chicken sausage adds flavor and protein in this quick dinner hash that uses a bag of shaved Brussels sprouts as its hearty, high-fiber base. Steaming the cubed sweet potatoes in the microwave cuts way down on total cook time.

Make It Yourself:

  1. Place 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes in a microwave-safe dish and add ¼ inch water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on High for 3 minutes, or until fork-tender; drain and set aside.

  2. Dice 2 apple-flavored precooked chicken sausages. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the sausage, stirring, until heated through and golden brown, about 3 minutes; remove from pan and set aside.

  3. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add a 10-ounce bag shaved Brussels sprouts and sauté for 3 minutes. Fold in the cooked sweet potato and chicken sausage and mix to combine. Season with ground pepper and salt to taste.

Serves: 2