Food

14 One-Pot Vegetarian Recipes That Keep Effort to a Minimum

Here’s a New Year’s resolution to embrace: Do less!

That can mean many things, but it should especially mean doing fewer dishes. And what better way to stick to that goal than to cook more one-pot meals from New York Times Cooking? This is not permission to compromise on flavor; in fact you’ll find that these thoughtfully developed recipes brim with warmth, tang, spice and creaminess despite their ease. But when energy is at a premium (and when is it not?), the dishes below will satisfy while keeping the sink relatively empty.

1. Creamy One-Pot Mushroom and Leek Pasta

Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Preparing this 30-minute number from Hetty McKinnon in a single pot actually fortifies the flavors of the overall dish: The stock that deglazes the caramelized mushrooms and leeks is also the liquid that the pasta cooks in, capturing all those browned bits at the bottom of the pot and imparting orecchiette with their umami.

Recipe: Creamy One-Pot Mushroom and Leek Pasta

2. One-Pot Vegetable Biryani

Credit…Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Zainab Shah skips the more traditional layering of ingredients in biryani to save time and clean up, but she doesn’t sacrifice flavor. The recipe is packed with aromatics — cloves, cardamom pods, green chiles, ginger and chopped herbs, to name just a few — and a produce aisle’s worth of veggies. A final bedazzling of pomegranate seeds and cashews beautifully disguises the fact that this dish is a cinch to prepare.

Recipe: One-Pot Vegetable Biryani

3. One-Pot Turkey Chili and Biscuits

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Don’t sound off in the comments just yet — this comforting Melissa Clark recipe calls for ground turkey, but you can also use more beans or your preferred plant-based meat substitute. And while the stew itself is everything you want from a chili (spicy, rich, filling), we all know why you’re here: the siren call of those buttery, tangy biscuits.

Recipe: One-Pot Turkey Chili and Biscuits

4. Instant Pot Mushroom and Potato Paprikash

Credit…Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

In the universe of vessels that could be considered a singular pot, you can, and should, include the big ol’ electric pressure cooker. While Sarah DiGregorio’s vegetarian interpretation of the Hungarian classic is far from what you might find in Budapest, plenty of Yukon Gold potatoes and meaty mushrooms keep it in the comforting spirit of the original.

Recipe: Instant Pot Mushroom and Potato Paprikash

5. One-Pot Pasta With Ricotta and Lemon

Credit…Jenny Huang for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

There’s a good reason people can’t get enough of this recipe from Ali Slagle when it’s posted to New York Times Cooking’s Instagram account: It’s almost absurd in its simplicity. Not only does the whole affair take about the same time it takes to prepare boxed mac and cheese, but it also requires just five ingredients, not including salt and pepper. Did we mention you don’t even have to cook the sauce? Wild.

Recipe: One-Pot Pasta With Ricotta and Lemon

6. Lentils Cacciatore

Credit…Julia Gartland for The New York Times

Swapping the chicken for red lentils in Ali Slagle’s vegetarian take on the Italian classic ensures dinner still has plenty of protein with minimal fuss. The final stew is also incredibly versatile: Eat it straight from the pot, spoon it over creamy polenta or treat it as a pasta sauce by thinning it out with just a little bit of water.

Recipe: Lentils Cacciatore

7. Chili With Butternut Squash and Moroccan Spices

Credit…Andrew Purcell for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

This richly crimson vegetarian stew from Lidey Heuck is well spiced, but lacks the fiery heat one might normally associate with heftier chilies. Instead, the flavor profile is warmer and a bit more complex thanks to subtle additions like cinnamon and brown sugar.

Recipe: Chili With Butternut Squash and Moroccan Spices

8. Coconut Curry Chickpeas With Pumpkin and Lime

Credit…Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Melissa Clark has written a love letter to canned foods, and it’s this creamy curry. Canned chickpeas, coconut milk and pumpkin purée serve as the base for this pantry-friendly (and budget-friendly) recipe. Fresh produce is kept to a minimum — think onion, cilantro, lime — to ensure you won’t have to dash out for a last-minute ingredient.

Recipe: Coconut Curry Chickpeas With Pumpkin and Lime

9. One-Pot Creamy Pasta and Greens

Credit…Christopher Simpson for The New York Times

Ali Slagle is out here asking the important questions — like “What if my favorite steakhouse creamed spinach teamed up with my favorite mac and cheese?” — and giving the people answers. Here, milk, spinach and aromatics create a sauce that’s loose enough for tiny pasta like ditalini to cook in, but that also thickens as it simmers. A final showering of Parmesan binds it all together perfectly.

Recipe: One-Pot Creamy Pasta and Greens

10. Pressure Cooker Ribollita With Smoked Mozzarella Toasts

Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Loophole alert! Because the cheesy toasts served alongside this Italian stew from Sarah DiGregorio are popped right under the broiler sans pot or pan, it still qualifies for this list. Don’t skip them, either: While the soup is hearty on its own, reviving any stale bread laying around means you’ll get bites here and there that are almost pizzalike in flavor.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Ribollita With Smoked Mozzarella Toasts

11. Chickpea Harissa Soup

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

If there’s a tube or jar of harissa in the pantry, put it to work in this breezy weeknight soup from Ali Slagle. Because the North African chile paste carries a good amount of heat and flavor in just a couple tablespoons, you won’t need much else besides a few crisper staples and a couple cans of chickpeas to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes.

Recipe: Chickpea Harissa Soup

12. Spicy Peanut and Pumpkin Soup

Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

This creamy, vibrant and piquant soup doesn’t actually require any cream: Yewande Komolafe uses coconut milk, natural peanut butter and pumpkin purée to achieve a silky consistency. Those velvety ingredients also temper the heat of some habanero chile, a fixture of West African cuisine.

Recipe: Spicy Peanut and Pumpkin Soup

13. Baked Risotto With Greens and Peas

Credit…Yossy Arefi for The New York Times (Photography and Styling)

Kay Chun makes dinner — and thus, life — so much easier for you with this recipe, which eliminates the need for the stovetop hovering and endless stirring often associated with risotto. This dish is easy to adapt, too: While chicken stock is called for, mushroom broth would be an exceptional substitution.

Recipe: Baked Risotto With Greens and Peas

14. Beans and Greens Stew With Doenjang

Credit…Sang An for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Doenjang, the Korean fermented soybean paste, lends a salty funk that brings complexity to an otherwise simple stew of pantry beans and hearty greens. Eric Kim keeps waste to a minimum by including the stems from the greens — specifically rainbow chard — which add color and a subtle crunch.

Recipe: Beans and Greens Stew With Doenjang

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