10 One Pot Meals That Will Transform Dinner


I have a special place in my heart for meals that can be made in just one pot. Most of the recipes I've encountered take less than a half hour to come together, and the possibilities range from Mexican to Italian to Asian and beyond. Best of all: There's less cleanup. And isn't that something we're all striving to lean out during the busy work week?

If you want to get into one pot cooking, I recommend purchasing a quality five-quart pot. I like stainless steel or cast iron, but the material is up to you and your preference. We use our pot almost every day for recipes like these or boiling pasta, etc. (See also: How to Pick the Best Cookware for Your Needs)

1. Mac and Cheese

Beef up the nutrition of your go-to comfort dish quite literally. This chili mac and cheese cooks in just one pot. You'll add ground beef, beans, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth to the noodles and cheese, and let cook until melted. Vegetarians can also make this dish by using vegetable broth and omitting the meat or substituting something like TVP.

2. Farm Pot

I'm dreaming of when market season opens up again in our neck of the woods. This farm stand one-pot-wonder is made up of all the greatest CSA goodness. Combine potatoes, green beans, ham (or veggie substitute), broth, and onion. Cook for 25 minutes before topping with corn on the cob and steaming around 20 minutes more.

3. Tabbouleh Bread

My jaw dropped when I found this one pot tabbouleh bread. You actually mix, proof, and bake your bread all in one pot. This particular recipe goes beyond a basic loaf by adding all the yummy ingredients you'd find in tabbouleh (tomatoes, parsley, mint, onion). Then bake, slice, and enjoy amazing sandwiches.

4. Mexican Casserole

Rice, beans, bell pepper, onions, corn, tomatoes, cheese, herbs, and spices — all the vibrant flavors and textures you enjoy are in this Mexican casserole. Bonus: This dish takes around 30 minutes to make from start to finish and you'll have tasty leftovers for lunch the next day.

5. Salmon Curry

My husband eats a lot of seafood. I'm crazy-excited to try this salmon coconut curry, which would take the guesswork out of cooking the fish for me. Add all ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a (covered) simmer for 17 minutes. Mix a few times before serving.

6. Red Wine Pasta

There are lots of one pot pasta meals, but this red wine pasta particularly caught my interest. Use any kind of pasta you have, but fettuccine or spaghetti work wonderfully. The rest is onion, garlic, basil, veggie stock, seasonings, and — yes — two whole cups of your most beloved red wine.

7. Sunday Lunch

Though I'm vegetarian, I love the idea behind this Sunday lunch one pot meal. The weekends are busy, so it's nice to have something hearty cooking all on its own while you knock stuff off the to-do list. This particular mix features sausage, bacon, chicken thighs, and root vegetables. The leftovers would make fantastic lunches for the beginning of the week.

8. Parmesan Pasta

Try this garlic Parmesan pasta in just one pot for a sauce that's a rich mixture of milk, broth, butter, and Parmesan cheese. Don't forget lots of garlic. And vegetarians can make this dish their own by using vegetable broth, soy or almond milk, and their favorite non-dairy butter substitute (I like Earth Balance).

9. Miso Meal

I used to think of miso soup as a side. But this one pot hearty miso meal dish turns it into a full dinner the whole family can enjoy. The buckwheat soba noodles take center stage here, but the vegetable ingredients are flexible. The author suggests using what you have on hand versus going out and buying the specifics outlined in her recipe.

10. Stovetop Lasagna

You'll want to use oven-ready noodles in this one pot lasagna recipe. First you'll cook your ground beef (or veggies, if you like). Then layer your sauce, noodles, and cheese, and let cook for around 20 minutes. Top with more cheese and serve while warm and bubbly.

Do you love one pot meals as much as I do? What's your favorite recipe?

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Guest's picture

I love one pot meals. Even better if they can be made in the slow cooker!

Thanks for the suggestions. I can't wait to try the Sunday Lunch.

We shared this post on 1099 Mom to help others come up with simple, no fuss meal ideas.

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