One-pot meals are a lazy cook's dream. Simply toss the ingredients together, stir the pot occasionally, and serve. (Honestly, nothing could be easier.) Considering the midweek struggle to get a healthy dinner on the table in a timely manner is real, we went in search of easy-to-make one-pot meals to add to our weeknight recipe repertoire. From a crowd-pleasing single-skillet spaghetti to a one-bowl salad that doesn't require mixing up a special dressing, these are the one-pot recipes that will save you from doing the dishes tonight. If your recipe board on Pinterest is getting a little stale, keep scrolling for five one-pot vegetarian recipes that are so easy to make even staunch carnivores will want to keep them on constant rotation.
One-Pot Smoky Red Lentil Stew
The Hero Ingredient: The smoked paprika. While the base for this one-pot vegetarian recipe is relatively classic as far as stews go (it includes ingredients such as onions, garlic, carrots, and celery), this smoky spice lends an unexpected and delightful kick to the dish.
The Pro Tip: Although you can simply ladle this soup into bowls and call it a day, Laura Wright of the First Mess says, "I'm slightly obsessed with the idea of ladling this lovely stew into a piping-hot baked potato." Wright adapted this recipe from A Couple Cooks' Pretty Simple Cooking cookbook.
The Clincher: A side of crusty bread. This thick stew was practically made for pairing with a slice (or two) of hearty bread. The more rustic, the better.
One-Bowl Detox Salad
The Hero Ingredient: In this one-bowl salad, the dried cranberries add a touch of sweetness without overpowering the flavor profile of the entire dish (and without maxing out your sugar intake for the day).
The Pro Tip: "To add more protein to this salad, serve with cooked (and cooled) quinoa, baked chickpeas, or additional sunflower seeds," recommends recipe creator Dana Shultz of The Minimalist Baker.
The Clincher: The no-mix dressing. (Yes, you read that correctly—no need to break out the salad dressing shaker for this one.) Simply drizzle on some tahini, squeeze a lemon over the salad greens, and dig in.
One-Pan Cheesy Spaghetti
The Hero Ingredient: The red sauce. When simmered with a drizzle of olive oil, fragrant garlic, flavorful herbs, and, of course, some water, the red sauce become the ideal pasta-cooking liquid for this one-pot vegetarian spaghetti.
The Pro Tip: "If you wanted to add something a little green to this, I'd recommend stirring in a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach or a couple of cups of chopped broccoli," says recipe creator Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest.
The Clincher: The ricotta and mozzarella. Just look at that deliciously melty cheese. Who wouldn't want to stick a fork into that tangle of gooey goodness?
One-Skillet Lemony Fried Brussels Sprouts
The Hero Ingredient: While the caramelized brussels sprouts are undeniably delicious, the creamy mixture of goat cheese, goat's milk, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard really steals the spotlight in this one-skillet vegetarian dish.
The Pro Tip: Carmelizing brussels sprouts isn't nearly as intimidating as it might sound, reassures Gerard: "Heat olive oil over medium," she says, "when it shimmers, add the brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and lightly caramelized for three to four minutes."
The Clincher: The garnish of fresh basil and mint. When tossed into the dish right out of the oven, these herbs deliciously complement the tangy and creamy flavors.
One-Pot Creamy White Bean Soup
The Hero Ingredient: The white beans. These legumes are what lend this one-pot soup its creaminess, especially after half the mixture is puréed in a blender and added back to the pot.
The Pro Tip: "This recipe is quite simple with minimal cooking time, so the quality of the ingredients does make a difference," notes Wright. If you have the time, she suggests making your own stock in advance for optimal flavor. But in the interest of making this a quick and easy recipe, you could also splurge on a high-quality stock at your local market.
The Clincher: As Wright notes in the recipe description, the addition of fresh lemon juice to this dish makes everything "sparkle," and we couldn't agree more.
Looking for more easy-to-make, veggie-packed recipes? Here are seven vegetarian soup recipes so good even staunch carnivores will want seconds.