Recipe Review

The 3-Ingredient Dinner I Make on Repeat Whenever I Just Don’t Feel Like Cooking

published Jun 29, 2022
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beans and tortilla on a surface with chips
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling Duncan Fitzpatrick

“I need an easy dinner recipe,” a friend once texted me. “Easy as in EZ.” As a long-ago food blogger and longtime food editor, I’m used to random requests for dinner ideas. But this one stuck with me: Easy as in EZ.

Exactly how easy is EZ? So easy you’re not even using all of the letters to spell out the word. EZ. Were these easy dinner ideas EZ enough? I figured she needed something shamelessly quick and simple. Low-lift to the extreme. Definitely no more than three ingredients.

I like this category of cooking. And I like how many companies are out there enabling it with ready-made foods made with high-quality ingredients and in a wide range of cuisines. One of my new favorites is A Dozen Cousins. If you’re not familiar, allow me to back up: The founder and CEO, Ibraheem Basir, was inspired by his daughter and her 11 cousins, as well as his upbringing with Creole, Caribbean, and Latin American cooking. Now, his line of pre-cooked beans, bone broth-cooked rice, and sauces — packaged in (about) 2-serving pouches — have a loyal following all across the country.

Thanks to the Cousins, I have my ideal three-ingredient dinner that I make almost weekly. I start by adding some dark, leafy greens to their Cuban black beans. You could use kale, collards, or arugula; my favorite is vitamin-rich Swiss chard.

I’ll use about three large leaves for one pouch of beans, and I can recommend this handy method for stripping out the stems. (P.S. I can also recommend adding some chopped fennel bulb to Cousins’ Trini Chickpea Curry, but that’s another story for another day.)

To help the greens cook as quickly as possible I’ll chiffonade-cut them. That’s a fancy way of saying that I stack the leaves together, roll them up snugly, and then slice them crosswise into little ribbons.

Now, you could sauté these chopped greens first in a little olive oil before adding the beans. But let’s stay true to the mission and make it as streamlined as possible. Add the beans and the greens together in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Cook over medium to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the greens have wilted and the sauce has thickened a bit. Definitely have a taste before you add any salt; you may find you don’t need to add any at all. See, A Dozen Cousins beans come seasoned — properly seasoned. The Cuban black beans are made with


One last step: Open a bag of corn tortilla chips and dig in. That’s the third ingredient, and yes, the chips are also your eating utensils. (Even less cleanup!) If you’re thinking this looks a lot like you’re having dip for dinner, you are kind-of-almost correct, and I love that for you. I love that for us all.

Did my friend love this suggestion? Was it EZ enough? Later that night, I got a thumbs-up emoji. Her EZ way of telling me it hit the spot.

What’s your go-to easy dinner when you don’t feel like cooking?