Quick and Healthy 5-Ingredient Recipes

A nutritionist's new cookbook showcases quick and easy recipes made with just a handful of healthy ingredients.

Healthy Eats nutritionist Toby Amidor shares recipes and tips from her latest book, The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook: Simple Recipes to Make Healthy Eating Delicious. Learn more about how to stock a pantry for good-for-you cooking, and get fresh ideas for nutritious recipes with 5 ingredients or less.

1) What are 3 things you want prospective readers to know about the Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook?

First: Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated! You can make healthy, delicious dishes using minimal ingredients.

Also, a little planning goes a long way. A little advanced planning can help you succeed in your healthy eating mission. Over the weekend, plan which nights you will be cooking and select simple, healthy recipes that you want to cook.

And last, you don’t have to break the bank to eat healthy. The ingredients you use don’t have to be expensive or super trendy and tough to find. You can use easy to find ingredients and even ingredients that you cook with regularly.

2) Tell us about your 7 pantry items that appear throughout the 5-ingredient recipes.

In this cookbook, I present 7 items that you should always keep on hand, which don’t count towards the 5 ingredients. These 7 items are used in many recipes throughout the cookbook and include cooking spray, salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil, honey, fresh garlic, and fresh lemons (fresh because the juice and the zest are frequently used). Within each recipe the 5 main ingredients are highlighted for your convenience.

3) Your last book was all about make ahead meals. Can these recipes be made ahead of time?

Absolutely! Many of the recipes in the book can be made in 30-minutes or less, in one pot or pan or are freezer-friendly. Some freezer-friendly included in the cookbook are Basic Meatballs, Simple Blueberry-Banana Pancakes, Black Beans and Farro, Baked Lentil Falafel, Miso-Glazed Tuna, and Cilantro-Lime Chicken.

4) Can you share a favorite recipe? 

A few years ago my sister bought me a spiralizer as a housewarming gift. I was daunted by the idea of assembling it and dismissed the idea of adding another kitchen tool to my collection. One day, I decided to see what my spiralizer could do and whipped it out from the back of the pantry. I assembled it in 2 minutes, and then started spiralizing all kinds of goodies like apples, cucumbers, squash, carrots and even parsnips. Now I used my spiralizer regularly and this 5-ingredient recipe is a simple creation that resulted.

Yellow Squash Noodles with Peas and Mint

Serves 4

1 cup frozen peas

3 medium yellow squash, or 6 cups precut squash noodles

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

2 garlic cloves, minced

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup raw shelled pistachios, chopped

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add the frozen peas, reduce heat and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Drain and allow the peas to cool.

Using a spiralizer, make the squash noodles and place in a large bowl. Set aside.

In another large bowl whisk the mint, garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil and pepper.

Add the peas and squash noodles to the dressing and toss evenly to coat.

Sprinkle with the pistachios and serve.

Serving Size: 2 cups

Per Serving: Calories: 315; Total fat: 23g; Saturated fat: 6g; Protein: 14g;

Carbohydrates: 16g; Fiber: 5g; Sodium: 330mg


Recipe and photos courtesy of Toby Amidor, The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy: Simple Recipes to Make Healthy Eating Delicious, Rockridge Press, 2018.

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