Satisfy Your Comfort Food Cravings with Easy One-Dish Meals: 5 Recipes for Healthy, One-Dish Meals to Try in 2019

Satisfy Your Comfort Food Cravings with Easy One-Dish Meals: 5 Recipes for Healthy, One-Dish Meals to Try in 2019

Headline your next meal with One-Pot Recipes! One-pot recipes are easy to make and clean up. No wonder these easy recipes are a family fave when it’s time for dinner. And don’t forget your slow cooker when it comes to one-pot recipes: stew or chilli with a side salad is always a fave, especially for the dishwasher. When dinner is easy, you have time to think about dessert: Some of our easy pies are prepped in under 20 minutes.

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What Is 'One-Dish Meal'? And How Should You Plan One?

What exactly is a ‘one-dish meal’?

A ‘one-dish meal’ is a balanced meal that has dietary-fibre, water, and nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, proteins, and minerals – all in one dish. With a one-dish meal, the food is prepared in such a way that it can easily serve four persons, with the basic ingredients consisting of rice, bread, poultry, fish, green vegetables, eggs combined with seasonings and additional toppings.

Usually prepared in one pot these are a much easier way to feed yourself or a group of people, rather than worrying about creating side dishes and mains. With one-dish meals, all you need to do is to throw in a few ingredients together, and you will have enough food to feed your family and your friends.

Choosing the Right Pot

You will be preparing a one-dish meal, so, of course, you will need a big pot, one that is enough to fit in several ingredients. It’s better to choose such a pot that is deep rather than wide, if you are planning to cook for a huge group of people, with lots of ingredients.

As for the cooking pot itself, you can make use of a casserole dish as a lid to cover the pot, as long as it’s safe. As for the type of cooking pot, crockpots work best for one-dish meals – they are ideal for preparing one-dish meals over long periods of time, plus you don’t have to monitor the crockpot now and then; that’s because today, the crockpots come with timers that switch off automatically once the cooking is finished.

In the Indian context, pressure cookers are a great alternative as they can be used to cook a wide variety of items conveniently.

Choosing the Recipe for the One Dish Meal

Before you decide to cook, take note of how many people you will be feeding; and only then, gather all of your ingredients, and choose the recipe.

When it comes to choosing the recipe for the one-dish meal, you should opt for one that will rightly feed the group of people – that said, you can always double the recipe if you are not short on food.

As for the recipe itself, if you are searching online, – you should take note of the reviews, if the recipe is highly rated and relatively easy to make for your skill level, then you are good to go. Also, remember to choose such a recipe that will give you enough time to prepare it, say, if you have only two hours to spare, then, choose such a recipe that will take one hour to prepare.

Since it will be a one-dish meal that you will be preparing, you will be doing so with the help of a recipe; so, you should make sure to go through the recipe at least four to five times before cooking just so you are sure that you have everything that you will need when preparing the dish.

Know a Few Tips That You Should Consider When Cooking a 'One Dish Meal'

When cooking a one-dish meal, there are certain things that you should take note of – more so, if you will be preparing it for the first time.

Opting for the Right Ingredients

No matter how great the recipe of the one-dish meal is, it will be of no use if you use sub-standard ingredients. If you need to choose a great brand of spices, then, go for it.

Pick the choicest and freshest of vegetables, if you must – trust us, doing so will give the one-dish meal a great optimum flavour.

Cleaning Up As You Make the Recipe

You will be making a one-dish meal, so, of course, you will need to prepare all the ingredients beforehand, saving you the trouble of having to find an ingredient at the last moment.

When cooking the recipe, there will be a whole lot of ingredients that you will need to put in your dish, so here’s a tip – as soon as you are finished adding an ingredient to your dish, put away that flavour, if you don’t need to add again in the dish, that is – doing so with each flavour every time, will clear away your kitchen area, or else, it will be hard for you to choose the right ingredient among the crowd of ingredients.

Browning' Up the Meat First

If the recipe for your one-dish meal includes meat, then, you will need to start ‘browning’ your meat first. Doing so will not only caramelize the meat, but it will also leave bits of meat at the bottom of the pot. That will get scraped in with the next layers, which will add to a great flavour to the dish as it will continue to cook.

If you want to add a great flavour to your one-dish meal, then, always start by ‘browning’ your meat first.

Building Up the Flavors Gradually

It will depend on the recipe actually – if you want the one-dish meal to have a great flavor, choose for such a recipe that has 20 to 30 minutes of cooking times, before adding the required ingredients.

Doing so will allow the flavor of the dish to develop beautifully as the meal progresses, and the final result will be an amazing one-dish meal of which the flavor will be unique.

Adding the Ingredients at the Right Time

When choosing the recipe for a one-dish meal, always follow the order of how you will need to add the ingredients. If a particular step mentions that you will need to add an ingredient at that step, then, add the ingredient in that order only, and not before or after that.

Make Use of the Right Tools for the Job

When cooking a one-dish meal, you will need to make use of various tools and utensils – say, you will need a kitchen timer to remind you when one step will be done, and the next step needs to be started. Trivets, meat thermometers, steamer baskets are a few of the things that you are going to need while preparing a one-dish meal.

5 One-Dish Meal Recipes That You Can Try Out at Home when You Are not Sure of What to Make

Kala Chana Pulao


  • 200 g basmati rice
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 150 g brown chickpea (cooked)
  • 30 g ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 100 g onion (sliced)
  • 50 g bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli (kashmiri powder)
  • saffron (few strands )
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsps cashew (roasted and crushed)


  • Wash and soak the rice for about 20 minutes and then, keep it aside. Discard the water after 20 minutes and use the rice as the recipe says.
  • Heat ghee in a medium pressure cooker over medium-low heat, and then, add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and sliced onion.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion softens down.
  • Add the rice to the mixture and stir. Next, add in the chickpeas, stock, turmeric powder and red chilli. Add salt as per your requirement, but be careful with the vegetable broth – if it’s homemade, then it’s okay, or else, the readymade vegetable broth contains salt.
  • Cover the lid of a pressure cooker and cook for until one whistle or for 10 minutes. Slowly release the pressure after switching off the heat and gently fluff up the rice.
  • Serve it hot in a bowl by sprinkling the rice with finely chopped bell peppers. You can also add a bowl of curd if you so like.

Mutton Khichda


  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 200 grams mutton
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 inch ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup broken wheat rava (dalia/ godumai rava)
  • 1/4 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup chana dal (Bengal gram dal)
  • 1/4 cup pink masoor dal (split)
  • 1/4 cup arhar dal (split toor dal)
  • 1/4 cup yellow moong dal (split)
  • 2 green chillies (slit in half)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoon of cumin powder (jeera)

To Temper

  • 2 teaspoons of ghee
  • 2 onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 3 sprig mint Leaves (pudina) (slightly chopped)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice


  • First, wash the rice, broken wheat, chana dal, masoor dal, toovar dal, moong dal thoroughly and soak it in water for about an hour.
  • In a saucepan, add 1 cup of water along with the mutton, sliced onion, ginger, garlic and bring it to a rolling boil. Turn off the flame after a few minutes and set aside.
  • Drain the water and set aside. This is our mutton stalk. Transfer the onion, ginger-garlic into a bowl and set aside. Remove the mutton pieces and set aside.
  • Next, take a pressure cooker and add the soaked and drained rice, broken wheat, chana dal, masoor dal, toovar dal, moong dal along with 2 and a half cups of water, green chillies, salt, cumin powder. Close the pressure cooker.
  • Pressure cook the mixture for about 5 whistles. Then, reduce the flame and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Turn off the flame and allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • Open the pressure cooker, mix in the mutton stalk along with the boiled mutton pieces.

How to Temper

  • Take a skillet and heat it on medium-high flame. Add the oil and butter, and once hot, add in the onions and sugar and saute till it turns into a deep brown colour.
  • In the above mixture, add the boiled onions, ginger and garlic which was used in the stock and continue to saute it for about 11 minutes.
  • Turn off the flame and add in the salt, garam masala, lemon juice and mint leaves to the above onion mixture and mix well. Keep aside.
  • And, lastly, serve the dish hot on a plate and top it with fried onion mixture, and follow it with a dessert.

Spinach Chana Masala


  • 1 cup raw chickpeas/ cholay / chana to be soaked
  • 3 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon of grated garlic
  • ½ tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 2 cups of fresh tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon roasted chickpea flour/besan
  • spices as per requirement
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoon of mirch powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cholay / chana masala


  • 2 cups of chopped baby spinach
  • salt to taste
  • chopped fresh coriander
  • lemon


  • Wash chickpeas under cold running water for about 30 seconds, and then, soak them in 2 cups water.
  • Bring the chickpeas to a rolling boil and let it boil for good 5 minutes. Switch off the flame, cover it with lid and let it soak for 8-10 hours/ overnight.
  • Next day, before cooking, drain out all the excess water from soaked chickpeas.
  • Switch on the instant pot on saute mode, and after 3 minutes, you will need to add in 3 tablespoons of cooking oil.
  • Add in the onions and cook for 2 minutes or until they become translucent.
  • Add in the bay leaf, green chilli, ginger, garlic paste and cook it for 20 seconds.
  • Add in the chana masala, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder along with 1 tablespoon water to avoid masala to burn.
  • Saute it for 10 seconds, and add in roasted chickpea flour/ besan and again, sautee for 10 seconds.
  • Now add in the tomato puree, drained chickpeas and 1.5 cups of water and mix well.
  • Now, close the lid and let them cook by adding in 3 to 4 whistles. Position the steam release to sealing.
  • After the timer goes off let it naturally cool off for 15 minutes.
  • Carefully vent any steam off after 15 minutes and open the lid.
  • Stir it and check for doneness by smashing a chickpea.
  • The chickpea should smash up easily without any resistance.
  • Now put the instant pot on sauté mode again and add in chopped spinach and salt.
  • Mash few chickpeas with the back of the spoon for a thicker gravy.
  • Let it cook on saute mode for 3 minutes, and then, Switch off the instant pot.
  • The gravy will thicken eventually after it starts cooling down.
  • Add in the chopped coriander and some lemon juice if desired.
  • Taste test, adjust spices if desired and serve warm as a soup, along with roti or over rice.

Dal Makhani


  • 1 cup whole and split lentils (any combination of whole black lentils, whole mung beans, whole masoor beans, red lentils, red kidney beans, etc), soaked overnight
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of minced ginger


  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (adjust to taste)
  • coriander (for garnishing)


  • Soak the lentils in cold water overnight, and then, the next day, drain, rain, rinse and set them aside.
  • Press the sauté button on the instant pot, and then, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a minute.
  • Add the cumin seeds to the mixture, and once they start to brown, add the onion and bay leaf. Stir-fry for 6-7 minutes or until the onion turns to golden brown.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, spices and stir, then add the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down.
  • Add the lentils to the pot along with the 3 cups of water and mix well.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 30 minutes at high pressure.
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • Stir in the ghee and garnish with coriander, if desired.

Butter Chicken Khichdi


  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 cardamom
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 cardamom
  • 1-star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2-inch ginger (finely chopped)
  • 2 green chilli (slit in half)
  • 6 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tomato (finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup of homemade tomato puree
  • ¼ cup of curd
  • 1 cup of chicken breasts (cut into strips)
  • 2 teaspoons of kasuri methi
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons of red chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons of tandoori chicken masala
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons of garam masala powder
  • 1 cup of rice (washed, soaked and drained)
  • 3 1/2 cups of water
  • coriander leaves (finely chopped for garnishing)
  • mint leaves (finely chopped for garnishing)


  • First, wash the chicken well, and then, drain and cut into long strips.
  • In a pressure cooker, heat butter on low flame, and then, add in the whole spices including bay leaf, cumin seeds, cardamom, star anise, cloves and cinnamon.
  • Add in the ginger, garlic and green chillies and saute for a few seconds.
  • Add in the sliced onions.
  • Continue to cook the sliced onions until they turn translucent. Add in the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • After a couple of minutes mix in the spices – red chilli powder, tandoori chicken masala, cumin powder, garam masala, and coriander powder. Cover and let it cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Open the lid, then, turn the flame to low. Add in the yogurt and chicken pieces, and saute the butter chicken mixture, and let it cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Finally, add the washed and drained rice, water and chopped coriander, mint leaves and close the pressure cooker.
  • Pressure cook the khichdi for 3 whistles and turn off the heat.
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • Serve the Butter Chicken Khichdi hot along with a dollop of butter or ghee with papad for dinner.
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Select a Recipe Based on Your Time Frame and Your Budget

If you have only two hours to prepare the one-dish meal, for example, you may go for a one-dish meal that takes one hour and is not expensive to prepare. You may opt for a recipe that uses only a few basic ingredients so you do not spend too much money on preparing the meal or splurge on one ingredient that may be more expensive, such as a nice cut of meat, and keep the rest of the ingredients cheap. If you have the day to prepare the meal, you may go for a recipe that takes more time or involves the use of a crockpot. You can then prepare the ingredients and let the meal simmer in the crockpot until it is ready at night for dinner.