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Real Food Fast: 3-Ingredient Pasta Dinners

By Brooke Lark
Created January 10, 2017
Get dinner on the table fast with these three incredibly delicious pasta dishes, that call for just three ingredients!
Three Ingredient Pasta Dinners

You're busy. We get it. You work your fingers to the bone, sweep the cobwebs from the corners of everyday life, and carpool to save the earth. You're wonderful like that, which is why you deserve a night off. No! Not a night to indulge in fast food eats that'll have you feeling guilty in the morning. Rather, you deserve a night unfettered from finicky food prep. Close up those cookbooks that call for a slew of special ingredients you don't have in your home and forget about those TV chefs who tell you that you need all sorts of fancy food to feed your family. 

Tonight, you're cooking pasta, plain and simple, with three easy mix-ins that make for a truly delightful meal…in minutes! (No recipe required.) Meaning, there’ll be time in the night for you to kick back, read a book and sip that red wine you've been meaning to get to. 

Viva the simple life!


This Lemon Bacon Arugula pasta is absurdly simple, and tastes like a restaurant meal. We kid you not! Here's how to get it in your kitchen, pronto: Cook up a box of pasta until al dente. We used gemelli-shaped noodles, but you can use anything you have in the house. While the pasta is cooking, fry up four strips of diced, peppered bacon in a large skillet. Toss in the zest and juice of two lemons. To the skillet, add your cooked hot pasta, with about 2 tablespoons of pasta water. Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle a few big handfuls of baby arugula into your pasta, then season with salt and serve!


Dinner doesn’t get done any easier than with this Pesto Cream Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes. You ready to become a believer? Cook up a box of bowtie pasta. Once it's cooked, drain the pasta and toss it into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup prepared pesto, 1/2 cup of cream and toss in a bunch of baby tomatoes. One pot, one bowl, one delicious dinner!


For a full-flavored dinner in minutes, try this Smoked Salmon Pasta. Here's how: Cook up a box of pasta according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta, then immediately stir 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup torn smoked salmon pieces, and 1/4 cup fresh dill into your pasta.  Add salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately and enjoy!

Looking for more incredible 3-ingredient pastas? Here are a few other quick-and-easy combos you can toss into pasta for a snappy, snazzy, super-quick meal:

  • Fried pancetta, fresh chopped garlic, and snap peas
  • Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, fresh chopped garlic,  and fresh basil
  • Mushrooms cooked in butter, shredded parmesan, thyme
  • Thinly sliced red peppers, edamame, sesame oil 
  • Thai peanut sauce, shredded carrots, chopped cilantro (great with grilled chicken or shrimp!)