Vegetarian One Pot Meals Can Be Lifesavers in a Busy Day
Eating healthy and nutritious food is the prerequisite of every human being. However, the majority of people nowadays are extremely busy and lead a very hectic life ignoring the importance of healthy food. They tend to grab a quick bite or munch food on the go. This takes a toll on their health to a huge extent. This is the reason doctors recommend taking proper meals so that the body gets proper nutrition.
8 Highly Recommended One-Pot Vegetarian Meals
If you are not in a position of cooking an elaborate meal every day or too busy with work, you can at least cook one pot meals. As evident from the name, these meals are independent and need no side dishes or other accompaniments. These meals are also handy if you are sick but have to cook something for the family. They are wholesome as well as tasty.
Mentioned below are some amazing one-pot vegetarian meals you can try at home:
30 Minutes Red Beans and Cauliflower Rice
This recipe is easy as well as quick to make and most importantly it is quite versatile as well. Eating a full bowl of this rice is highly filling. There are other options of eating this dish as well like stuffed in a burrito or taco, with chips or by stuffing in enchiladas, putting over nachos and so on. It takes a total 30 minutes for bringing the dish cooked on the table: 15 minutes for preparations and 15 minutes for cooking.
Recipe courtesy: SheLikesFood by Izzy.
30 Minutes Red Beans and Cauliflower RiceIngredients:
- A large head of cauliflower for about 3 cups of cauliflower rice
- 3 cans of red beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup white onion chopped
- Olive oil 2 teaspoons
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped green pepper
- Ground cumin 2 teaspoons
- Chilli powder 1 teaspoon
- Paprika 1 teaspoon
- Italian seasoning 1 teaspoon
- Granulated garlic 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper ¼ teaspoon
- Salt as per taste
- Garnishing can be done with jalapeno, cilantro, tomato, avocado etc.
How to prepare:
- Take a large pan and heat the same on medium flame. Add olive oil and onions to the same. Cook it for few minutes till the onions soften and then add the green pepper and celery. Cook for about 3-5 minutes or till the time the vegetables become soft.
- While the vegetables are cooking in the pan, roughly dice the cauliflower and put it in the food processor. The cauliflower should be processed like rice; this should take 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Now add the cauliflower rice to the pan in which the vegetables are cooking. Add the seasonings along with the beans and stir all the ingredients well. Refrain from adding water as the vegetables have water content. Let the whole thing cook for about 7-10 minutes till the cauliflower is cooked well and all other vegetables are tender.
- Add garnishing of your choice and enjoy this delicious meal in the way you want.
One Skillet Mexican Rice Casserole
One Skillet Mexican Rice Casserole is an excellent dinner option for days when you are looking for zero clean up later. Colourful as well as tasty, this dish is a favourite with people who are fond of Mexican food. The casserole is easy to make and takes about 30 minutes for the whole process to be complete.
Recipe courtesy: Sarah and her blog, MakingThymeForHealth.
One Skillet Mexican Rice CasseroleIngredients:
- 1.5 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup of corn kernels. They can be fresh or frozen (need to be defrosted)
- Extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon
- 1 small red onion, diced
- Smoked paprika 1 teaspoon
- Chilli powder 1 teaspoon
- Cumin 2 teaspoons
- Dried oregano 1 teaspoon
- 1 can diced green chillies, drained (or 1 diced jalapeno)
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
- Shredded Monterey Jack cheese ½ cup
- Shredded cheddar cheese ¼ cup
- 12 ounces enchilada or salsa sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt (or as needed)
- You can serve the dish with diced green onions, fresh cilantro, avocado etc.
How to prepare:
- Take a large skillet and warm the oil in the same over medium heat. Add the onion to the oil and cook the same for about 3-4 minutes. Now add all the above-mentioned spices and stir them together so that they mix well. Let the whole mixture cook for more 3-4 minutes.
- To this mixture add green chillies and red pepper and stir all together. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and then gradually start adding the drained and rinsed beans, salsa sauce, corn and rice. Stir everything for combining them well.
- The oven should be turned to broil and then the mixture should be topped with shredded cheese in the skillet. The skillet is to be put in the oven and cooked for about 3-4 minutes till the cheese melts and becomes golden and bubbly on top.
- The dish tastes great when served hot with cilantro, diced green onions or avocado.
Swiss–Fondue Mac and Cheese
If you are someone who is immensely fond of cheese, this one-pot meal can become your favourite in no time at all. This particular dish contains three kinds of different Alpine cheeses – Gruyere, Raclette and Emmentaler. These three kinds of cheese impart the mac, its Swiss flair. It takes about 30-40 minutes to prepare this whole dish.
Recipe courtesy: Martha Stewart website.
Swiss–Fondue Mac and CheeseIngredients:
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 pound rigatoni
- Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
- Butter 3 tablespoons
- ½ cup finely chopped Raclette
- 2 cups grated Gruyere
- 2 cups grated Emmentaler
- Mustard powder 2 teaspoons
- 2 ¾ cup warm whole milk
- ¼ cup dry vermouth
- Fresh flat-leaved parsley for garnishing
How to prepare:
- Take the pasta and boil the same in a medium pot of salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta. However, keep 1 cup of pasta water to be used later.
- Put the empty pot on medium heat again and add butter to the same. When you see the butter melting and foaming, add flour to the same and keep on whisking it. Do this for 1-2 minutes till the time the flour begins to darken. Now add the mustard powder and whisk the same for combining. Whisk in milk and vermouth slowly. This whole mixture is to be brought to boil. Then the heat is reduced to medium and then cooked with quick stirring often. One has to check the consistency of the mixture which should be thick enough for coating the back of a spoon. This should take almost 3-4 minutes.
- Reduce the flame to low and start adding the cheese in three batches. This stage is very crucial in the whole recipe. Start with Raclette and follow with Gruyere and Emmentaler. After adding each variety of cheese, make sure that you whisk well for combining them well. Season with pepper and salt. Now add the boiled pasta to the mixture and stir well so that it is well covered with the mixture. Sprinkle parsley and more pepper on the top. Serve hot for great taste.
Sweet Potato Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
This healthy food is considered to be a one pot wonder. Many people would prefer high quantities of meat or cheese in this dish, but even without them, the meal is wholesome and extremely tasty. The only thing is that it almost takes close to 2 hours for cooking the entire meal. Having a nice green salad with this dish is great but even without it, you will certainly enjoy it.
Recipe courtesy: Wholefully by Cassie.
Sweet Potato Lentil Shepherd’s PieIngredients:
For the filling
- 4 large carrots diced
- 1 cup brown lentils
- ½ pound red potatoes diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- Vegetable broth 4 cups
- Dried thyme 1 teaspoon
- Dried sage 1 teaspoon
- Dried rosemary 1 teaspoon
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Finely diced 4 ounces of mushrooms
- Cornstarch or arrowroot starch 1 teaspoon
- Water 2 tablespoons
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- Salt and pepper for seasoning and taste
- 3 pounds cooked sweet potatoes. They can be boiled or baked.
- ½ cup cashews
- 1/3 cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to prepare:
- The cashews need to be soaked in water overnight or soaked in boiling water for 1-2 hours so that they become soft.
- Then drain the cashews. Add 1/3 cup water to them and blend to a smooth paste.
- Add the cashew paste to the sweet potatoes and mash both together till it becomes smooth. Add salt and pepper as a seasoning as per taste.
- Now preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a Dutch oven, add garlic, onions, celery, potatoes, carrots, lentils, mushrooms, broth and herbs. Cover the oven and bring it to a boil, then reducing it to a simmer. Cook for minimum 10-15 minutes or till the time the vegetables and lentils become soft and tender.
- Take 2 tablespoon of water and add the cornstarch or arrowroot in the same for creating a slurry by whisking. There should be no lumps.
- Add the corn, peas, Worcestershire sauce, cornstarch slurry, salt and pepper.
- The filling is to be topped with sweet potato topping and sprinkle some almonds on the same. Bake the same at 350F for about 20-25 minutes. Enjoy this dish with your friends for they will love the richness of the same.
Classic Cajun Vegan Jambalaya
A one pot meal that is high comforting at the same time; Cajun Vegan Jambalaya is your go-to option. Needless to say that this meal will impress everyone with its simplicity and authentic taste and flavour. Total time for presenting the food on the table is approximately 2.5 hours. Cooking time is almost 2 hours.
Pompeian has a detailed recipe for the same dish.
Classic Cajun Vegan JambalayaIngredients:
- 3 medium sized yellow onions, chopped and divided
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3-4 tablespoons of smooth extra virgin olive oil
- 3 bay leaves
- 2-3 chopped garlic cloves
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ pound sliced vegan sausage
- 4 ¾ cup vegetable broth
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup chopped shallots
- 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning blend
- Hot sauce, salt and pepper as per taste
How to prepare:
- Put olive oil in a large pot and let it warm over low heat.
- Once the oil is warm, add two of the chopped onions in the pot. Keep on stirring the onions till they turn dark brown. But mind it that they should not burn in the process. This might take some time, say almost 30-35 minutes.
- Once the onions turn dark brown, add the remaining onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper and the bay leaves. Keep on stirring so that nothing burns. Add about a ¼ cup of vegetable broth and cook for almost 25-30 minutes till the vegetables become nice and brown.
- Now add the shallots, the parsley, salt, pepper, hot sauce and creole seasoning. Stir all of them together. Cook this for 5-7 minutes. If needed you can add some vegetable broth in the same.
- Add the rice and stir. Add almost 4 ½ cups of vegetable broth. Increase the heat and let the whole thing come to a boil. Once it starts boiling, cover the same, reduce the heat to low and let the thing simmer for almost 40-45 minutes. You must check that the rice is well cooked and that there is no water left. You must keep on stirring it occasionally so that it doesn’t burn. When done remove from the heat, but make sure that the pot remains covered for another 10 minutes.
- For preparing the sausage meanwhile, warm a skillet and add the vegan sausage. Sauté the same till it is nice and brown and crispy.
- To the large pot, add the sausages and kidney beans. Stir to mix well. For serving, garnish with parsley and hot sauce.
One-Pot Ratatouille Spaghetti
If you have seen or not seen the Ratatouille movie, I think we can all agree the word sounds tasty and fascinating. It is indeed exciting and delicious; It takes about 30 minutes for this tasty meal and every minute is worth it.
Recipe courtesy: WallflowerKitchen.
One-Pot Ratatouille SpaghettiIngredients
- Salt and pepper
- Cloves of garlic (3)
- Boiled water depending on the pot
- One tablespoon olive oil and vinegar and 2 of yeast flakes
- Dried gluten-free spaghetti
- ½ white onion, aubergine, and eggplant
- One medium courgette and zucchini
How to prepare
- Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and then add the onions and other vegetables. Let it cook for a few minutes.
- After some time, add the vinegar and spaghetti. Let it boil for around 15 minutes till the pasta is strong, and the sauce has settled in.
- Add salt, pepper, and yeast if available.
Vegetable Pot Pie Vegan Tofu
The process for this tasty pie is a bit complicated, but if you follow the recipe and instructions, it is easy peasy.
Recipe courtesy: TheKitchn.
Vegetable Pot Pie Vegan TofuIngredients
- 8 ounces of tofu
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast, soy sauce
- One celery, carrot and russet potato each
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp of chopped sage and thyme leaves
- A ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
How to prepare
- Preheat the oven at 400 degrees F. Cut the tofu into the pieces needed for the pie. Cook them until golden on all sides in 1 tbsp olive oil.
- Add the remaining olive oil in the same skillet used. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, potato, flour, and other ingredients simultaneously.
- After the stirring is complete, remove the pie from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
- For the crust use a pre-made crust stored in the freezer.
- Combine the crust and filling; Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes to get the pie.
One Pot Pad Thai Noodles
One of the simplest yet tasty foods you can try is the one pot Thai noodles which are healthy, vegan, gluten-free and full of fresh vegetables and spicy, creamy butter sauce.
Recipe courtesy: Florian, the chef behind Contentedness Cooking.
One Pot Pad Thai NoodlesIngredients
- Gluten-free cooked pad thai or ramen noodles
- Salt and pepper
- Five cloves of garlic
- Vegetables (carrots,onions,nuts,etc.)
- Peanut butter sauce
- Sriracha sauce or any spicy sauce
How to prepare?
- Heat oil in a pot to fry the vegetables. Stir well for 5 minutes until the veggies are soft and crisp.
- After the veggies are nice and golden, pour the Thai noodles in just before the other ingredients.
- Pour all the ingredients down and reduce the heat. Let it stay for 5 minutes and turn off when the sauce sets in. Enjoy the healthy One Pot Noodles to your heart’s content!
How to Save Time When Cooking
If you're out scouring the internet for one pot meals, we figured you're short on time and want ideas for healthy and tasty meals that don't involve slaving over the stove for hours! Here are a few simple ideas that will help you be more organised and efficient in the kitchen.
- Mise en place:
You've probably heard of this before in association with French cooking. In professional kitchen parlance, it refers to the preparation of ingredients and necessary elements before service starts, but in your kitchen, it simply means - keep everything ready at hand before you start cooking. Get all the veggies washed, chopped and prepped, the spices and seasoning laid out in the correct measures needed in the dish, and have the necessary pans, pots, tools ready. It will save you time and last minute scrambling.
- Invest in sharp knives:
Good knives may be a tad more expensive than the cheap stuff but they never go to waste. Take a break from cooking for months and they're still shiny and razor sharp waiting for you when you're back. An appropriate knife sharpener that befits your knives is also a necessary requirement to keep them sharp always. Thank us later when you've breezed through your mise en place.
- Have a plan and shop accordingly:
You may be one of the lucky few who can rummage around the fridge and rustle up a delicious meal with what's available, thinking as you wash and cut. But if you're not, don't worry about it unnecessarily. Have a plan, look up recipes if needed, quickly scan your pantry and fridge before you head out for the day or over the weekend, so you can shop for whatever's needed.
- Organise ahead when you can:
Yes, you're busy all day, every day. But days you want to cook can be made a little easier on your nerves if a few things have been done ahead. Like masala mixes, cooking pastes, an organised pantry where it's easy to spot ingredients, veggies washed before storage (chopped too if you can manage that). These are small things that can be fitted in here and there, but when you start to cook, they can be real life savers.
Bonus Tip: Plan Everything to the "T"
With one-pot meals, not only do you get the cooking done in without much trouble, but you also get the satisfaction of making a healthy meal from scratch. With a few meal preps in place, you can make your life even easier. If you are making a one pot meal for your family's lunch box, make sure to get the chopping done the previous day or night. Or you could do it over the weekend and freeze everything. If you are in a time crunch, plan your meals ahead so that you don't waste precious time planning rather than executing the meals. Plan any new recipe for weekends or dinner and cook those you are comfortable with in the mornings. You'd avoid any disaster that comes along with the territory and puts you in a twist.