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You Only Need Five Ingredients to Cook These Easy Dinner Recipes Tonight

Preparing a tasty meal doesn’t have to be complicated, especially with these easy dinner recipes on hand. These five-ingredient recipes prove the point.

Garlic Toast With Squash, Pesto, and Olive Oil-Braised Chickpeas

Say hello to your new favorite vegetarian meal. Thick slabs of garlicky oiled-toast are piled high with mashed, roasted kabocha squash, herb pesto, and chickpeas. And while the dish is simple to put together, the flavors are layered and complex. You’ll braise the chickpeas in oil and garlic so they become deeply flavorful, and then that oil is what infuses each piece of toast. It’s these kinds of smart steps that allow a five-ingredient toast recipe to become a delicious, satisfying dinner. Because the bread is center-stage here, seek out a quality loaf from your favorite bakery.

Tomato-and-Pepper Aioli

What to do with a recipe for a tomato-and-pepper aioli? Double it, memorize it, get it tattooed, because this is an addictive dip that plays well with everything from steamed broccoli to onion rings. Need more reasons to whip up a batch? Here are three: It’s perfect for smearing in sandwiches, serving alongside fries, or dolloping onto a grain bowl. Traditional aioli calls for raw garlic, but here, cooking the garlic with the tomato paste takes the bite out, and softens the tomato paste, too.

Tomatoey Beans and Mussels

Say hello to your next date night dinner: flavorful steamed mussels worthy of any fancy restaurant, served with stewed cannellini beans and crusty bread for sopping up the luxurious broth. Break out the candles and your favorite white wine and cue a lovely dinner for two. Prep tip: If you’ve never cooked mussels, do not fear. Pull off any “beard”—aka a thread-looking bundle clinging to the shell—and then give them a good scrub with the rough side of a damp, clean sponge to release any grit.

Quick Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala is a beloved dish, so it’s only natural that you’d want to recreate those amazing flavors at home. But when it comes to making it in your own kitchen, the ingredient list might seem daunting. But don’t worry: most of the ingredients go into a quick curry paste made in your food processor. While this isn’t a traditional recipe for chicken tikka masala, it’s a great place to start if you’ve felt intimidated by attempting your own version of your favorite Indian dish.

Holiday Punch

The key to a great holiday punch recipe is keeping the flavor interesting enough, without being too sweet. This Caribbean-inspired punch fits the bill. There’s sweet pineapple juice, tart lime juice, and three kinds of alcohol. Dark rum plays off the simple syrup, Campari adds a bitter touch for balance, and Prosecco supplies a fun fizz. If you want to make the bowl of punch look festive, try making an ice ring in your Bundt pan. Freeze the pan half-way full with ice and loosen by dipping in warm water. Place in your punch bowl before filling so that the punch doesn’t overflow or splash out!  

Cheesy Mushroom, Corn, and Leek Frittata

On paper, two recipes for a vegetable frittata might look the same, but the difference between a sufficient recipe and a great recipe is in the quality of the instructions. This one in particular proves its worth. Using a can of creamed corn adds a shortcut to flavor in a five-ingredient dinner and saves the trouble of cutting kernels off the cob. Plus, reserving half the sautéed mushrooms and leeks to make a cheesy, broiled topping means the frittata won’t be rubbery—since texture is just as important as taste. Lastly, a great recipe teaches something in the making of it, and this sets a gold standard for frittatas.

Steak and Bitter Greens Salad With Crispy Potatoes and Lemon-Parmesan Dressing

To think that a delicious, flavorful dinner could come together with just five ingredients (in addition to salt, pepper, and olive oil) might make one wonder why cook complicated dishes at all? This is lighter than your average steak and potatoes meal, thanks to bitter greens, which are tossed with a lemony-parmesan vinaigrette. Note that the vinaigrette might taste too tart on it’s own, but when it’s tossed with the crispy potatoes and rich steak, it’s just right. Serve for a special family dinner, date night, or even company.

Eggplant Shepherd’s Pie

The wonder of cooking is that it can turn a pile of vegetables into something rich, satisfying and delicious. In this case, eggplant stands in for traditional beef in this hearty, vegetarian version of the comfort food classic. The filling is composed of eggplant, pearl onions, and carrots, topped with the traditional mashed potato topping. Even though this is a meat-free version, there’s no question that this pie will please all palates. Pair with red wine or a rich, dark beer for the perfect fall dinner.

Creamy Broccoli Pasta

The concept of sneaking veggies into a pasta dinner has long been marketed at parents of finicky children, but who are we kidding? Adults can need help packing vegetables into their meals, too. Broccoli is the base of this vibrant emerald sauce, which is silky smooth thanks to pasta water, which adds starchiness and body. The result is gorgeously green and richly delicious. Prep tip: If your broccoli has a long stem, use a vegetable peeler to take off the rough, outer layer. Since this sauce freezes well, you could also make a double batch and freeze half for later.