These simple dinner ideas prove you don't need lots of ingredients or time to plate up a healthy and delicious Mediterranean-style meal.

Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.
December 29, 2020
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Photo by: Carolyn A. Hodges, RD
| Credit: Photo by: Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

When you need to get dinner on the table but you're short on time and groceries, look no farther than your pantry! These simple suppers call for just three ingredients (not including basics like oil, salt and pepper) and are each ready in under 15 minutes. They make good use of some favorite staples (think canned beans and boxed soup), plus store-bought shortcut ingredients (like frozen cauliflower gnocchi and precooked chicken sausage), and incorporate heart-healthy elements from the Mediterranean diet—think dark leafy green vegetables, hummus and lean proteins like chicken. While each recipe makes about two servings, they're easy to double to feed more (or to pack up for leftovers).

Chicken Tabbouleh Bowls

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7882943/3-ingredient-mediterranean-dinners/3_ing-med-dinners_chicken-tabbouleh-bowls/
| Credit: Photo by: Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

Tabbouleh + hummus + chicken

Take advantage of the prepared foods section at your grocery store for ready-made salads and proteins that easily become the building blocks of a healthy dinner. Salads like tabbouleh and grilled or rotisserie chicken plus store-bought hummus become an almost-instant grain bowl.

Make It Yourself:

  1. Divide 1 (8-oz.) container prepared tabbouleh salad between two shallow bowls.
  2. Top each with ¼ cup prepared hummus and 3 oz. sliced or shredded cooked chicken breast.

Cauliflower Gnocchi with Asparagus and Pesto

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7882943/3-ingredient-mediterranean-dinners-you-can-make-from-the-pantry/3_ing-med-dinners_cauli-gnocchi-with-asparagus-and-pesto/

Cauliflower gnocchi + asparagus + pesto

While the cauliflower gnocchi crisp up in a sauté pan, steam fresh asparagus in the microwave to keep it bright green and crisp-tender. Substitute frozen asparagus (or green beans or peas) in a pinch. Toss them together with prepared basil pesto for a satisfying supper.

Make It Yourself:

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 (10-oz.) bag frozen cauliflower gnocchi and sauté, stirring frequently, until heated through and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place 8 oz. trimmed asparagus spears in a microwave-safe dish and add ¼ inch water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on High until crisp-tender and bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain and cut into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Remove gnocchi from the heat; add asparagus and toss with ⅓ cup basil pesto.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Chickpeas

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7882943/3-ingredient-mediterranean-dinners/3_ing-med-dinners_roasted-red-pepper-soup-w-chickpeas/
| Credit: Photo by: Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

Red-pepper soup + chickpeas + spinach

Boxed blended soups are the perfect canvas for simple stir-ins to make them more substantial and satisfying. Here, roasted red pepper soup is jazzed up with canned chickpeas and fresh baby spinach for a fast, comforting meal.

Make It Yourself:

  1. Bring 1 (32-oz.) container roasted red pepper soup to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir in 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas (rinsed) and 3 cups baby spinach; simmer until the spinach just wilts, about 1 minute.
  3. Serve topped with freshly cracked black pepper.

Green Goddess White Bean Salad

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7882943/3-ingredient-mediterranean-dinners/3_ing-med-dinners_grn-goddess-white-bean-salad/

Kale mix + cannellini beans + green goddess dressing

Bagged salad and slaw blends are great shortcut ingredients for adding variety without needing to wash and chop lots of different vegetables. Toss a kale-and-broccoli slaw mix with canned white beans and yogurt-based green goddess dressing for a crunchy main-dish salad in minutes.

Make It Yourself:

  1. Toss 1 (10-oz.) bag kale slaw mix with 1 (15-oz.) can cannellini beans (rinsed).
  2. Dress with ¼ cup green goddess yogurt dressing.

Tortellini with Sausage and Kale

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7882943/3-ingredient-mediterranean-dinners/3_ing-med-dinners_tort-with-sausage-and-kale/
| Credit: Photo by: Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

Chicken sausage + kale + cheese tortellini

Precooked chicken sausage is a handy shortcut ingredient because it heats up quickly and adds lots of flavor without a lot of fuss. A roasted garlic variety pairs perfectly with cheese tortellini and sautéed leafy greens.

Make It Yourself:

  1. Cook 1 (9-oz.) package cheese tortellini according to package directions; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 sliced precooked garlic-flavored chicken sausages. Sauté until heated through and golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes; remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan followed by 1 (10-oz.) bag chopped Tuscan kale. Sauté until the kale wilts, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Return the cooked sausage and cooked tortellini to the pan. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.