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Simplicity is a beautiful thing. Imagine a grocery list with five items or less, a recipe with only four steps. Minimalist eating is all about quality over quantity of ingredients – leveraging real ingredients with big flavor and combining them in satisfying yet simple recipes. Each of the following recipes have only five simple ingredients – extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper not included. You have them on hand always anyways, right? Enjoy the simplicity of these minimal 5-ingredient recipes!

Pasta with Chopped Pesto

While pesto is often made in a food processor, this recipe gets even more basic – all you'll need it a cutting board and a knife. Use any pasta you have handy, but we found a short, curly pasta like fusilli was perfect. recipe adapted from bon appetit serves 4


  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 garlic clove
  • kosher salt
  • 1½ oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup), plus more for serving
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. dried fusilli, or other pasta of choice


  1. Smash the garlic clove under the flat side of a chef’s knife in the center of a cutting board. Add a couple of pinches of salt and continue smashing with the side of your knife until garlic and salt form a paste.
  2. Scatter toasted nuts over garlic and smash nuts with the flat side of your knife to break into small bits. Sprinkle cheese over nuts and chop until nuts and cheese are the texture of fine breadcrumbs. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Finely chop basil and add to bowl with nut mixture. Stir in ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving about ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.
  5. Add hot pasta to bowl with pesto and toss thoroughly to combine. (If pasta seems dry, add a splash of pasta cooking liquid to moisten.)
  6. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
  7. Top pasta with more grated cheese and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Crispy Herbed Chickpeas with Yogurt

While often reserved for breakfast, yogurt is wonderful as base for crispy chickpeas and herbs in this savory dinner. And honestly, sometimes you just want to eat dinner out of a bowl. With really the only prep required being the chickpeas, this dinner comes together in less than 30 minutes. recipe adapted from bon appetit serves 4


  • 2 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 2½ cups tender herbs of choice (such as parsley, cilantro, chives, and/or basil), chopped
  • 2 cups unsweetened greek yogurt, for serving
  • seedy bread, toasted, for serving


  1. Place chickpeas in a large skillet and add garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are crisped and some have split open, 10–15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in herbs.
  4. To serve, divide yogurt into 4 bowls. Top with chickpeas and serve with toast.

recipe adapted from basically, by bon appetit serves 4

Vegetable Frittata

This frittata is perfect for days when there may be some mismatched leftovers around and not a lot else. Roasted vegetables and cooked grains are brought together with eggs and cheese and given new life with fresh tender herbs.


  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 oz. leftover roasted vegetables, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)
  • ½ cup leftover cooked grains
  • 1 oz. coarsely grated or crumbled cheese
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped tender herbs, such as thyme, basil, and/or chives
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided


  1. Vigorously whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until streak-free. Add the roasted vegetables, grains, grated cheese, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and mix with a rubber spatula to combine.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium; swirl skillet to coat with oil.
  3. Add egg mixture and cook until edges are set, about 30 seconds.
  4. Using a spatula, agitate the eggs by scraping the bottom of skillet in a small circular motion and bringing edges toward center of pan to form large curds, then let mixture sit undisturbed until edges are set again, about 1 minute.
  5. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, tilting skillet and lifting edges up with spatula to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath and around sides, until surface is wet but center is mostly set when you shake the pan, about 5 minutes.
  6. Shake skillet to loosen frittata. Place a large plate over skillet and invert frittata onto plate.
  7. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in the skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat. Slide frittata back into skillet; reduce heat to low. Cook until set all the way through, about 3 minutes.
  8. Let frittata cool in skillet for about 5 minutes, then invert onto a cutting board. Season with salt and pepper, and cut into wedges to serve.

We hope you enjoy these recipes! Share your minimalist meals with us this month on social media by tagging us on Instagram @CAoliveranch. Happy cooking!

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