Integrative Nutrition Blog

5 Easy One-Pot Meals for the Busy Cook

October 17, 2016

Image via Shutterstock

After a long day, the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time on an elaborate meal—although cooking a complex dish can sometimes be quite relaxing. Thank goodness for one-pot meals, whether in the slow cooker, pressure cooker or regular stovetop pot. As the name implies, these meals only need one pot, and they make several servings so you’ll have leftovers for lunch. One-pot meals have become quite popular in recent years, and they also make for beautiful “before” photos of your meal if you’re passionate about sharing your masterpieces on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest. Picture the rainbow of colors in a veggie pasta dish, for instance.

Here are five one-pot meals to choose from tonight!   

Thai-Style Peanut Pasta
This flavorful Thai-style pasta featured on Apron Strings tastes a lot like Pad Thai but uses linguine instead of rice noodles, (or try swapping in Zucchini noodles for a gluten-free version!) This one-pot meal is chock-full of veggies including carrots and peppers, and you can add other favorites such as broccoli for an extra nutritional kick. But the real flavor comes from the peanut butter and ginger root mixture. To make a creamier base, you can add some coconut milk, too. This dish is most literally one pot, as you can throw all the ingredients—excluding lime and garnishes—into a large stockpot and boil.  

Red Lentil Chili
A healthier take on beef chili, this red lentil chili from Minimalist Baker is packed with fiber and protein. And this cook added black beans and kidney beans for a dose of iron and vitamins. This is still technically one pot, although you have to add the ingredients at different stages. In step one, cook onion and red pepper in oil, and then add the other ingredients once the onions sauté.

Orzo With Lamb
One-pot orzo with lamb from Jamie Oliver is surprisingly simple. The cooking site describes it as having “Greek flavors with an Italian twist.” First, sprinkle ground cinnamon and oregano onto onions and garlic, chopped and placed in a large pot. Then add lean lamb meat, a can of chopped tomatoes and a can of lamb stock. Boil the mixture for 30 minutes and pour in orzo, which creates a risotto-type texture. Top with feta and fresh parsley. 

Tomato Basil Pasta 
Tomato basil pasta, another colorful one-pot dish from Apron Strings, is as easy as recipes get. Simply place pasta, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a stockpot, pour in vegetable broth, sprinkle on your seasonings and drizzle with olive oil before boiling. At the end, you can stir in fresh basil leaves. With this method of cooking, you’ll never have to wait for your pasta to cook before moving to the next step because it’s all in one handy pot. Want to make it gluten-free? Try using brown rice pasta! Be sure to check out Wellness Today’s tips for cooking grains using a one-pot method.

Taco Casserole
This taco casserole recipe from No. 2 Pencil is technically in a pan, but it’s based on the same simple idea as the popular one-pot meals. First, you’ll sauté onions before adding ground beef. Once that cooks, it’s a breeze to add ingredients such as tomatoes, pasta, chicken broth and seasonings. When it’s done, simply add your toppings—avocado, olives and whatever else you like on your tacos.

What’s your favorite one-pot meal? Share it here. 

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