Easy Meals: One-Pot Recipes for Every Season

What's for dinner? Twenty-four well-balanced, easy meals that'll dish up flavor, nutrition and convenience — and all of them one-pot recipes. Choose from easy stir-fry dishes, slow cooker meals, quick skillet dinners and more.

December 2014/January 2015

By Rebecca Martin


Busy cooks have a taste for one-dish meals, ranking them among their favorite recipes. When cooked together in a single pot, individual foods will blend flavors, producing a dish that’s better than the sum of its parts. Easy meals also minimize prep time in the kitchen and reduce the number of dirty dishes to clean after everyone has pushed away from the table.

Each of these one-dish meals comes together in a single pot, although you may need some smaller bowls for mixing ingredients. Spicy Eggs with Kale requires only a skillet. You can prepare Short Rib Recipe with Roasted Fall Vegetables using a slow cooker or a pressure cooker, and make the Roasted Root Vegetables with Sausage Recipe on a single baking sheet.

Just because these are easy meals doesn’t mean they’re quick to cook. Some of these one-pot recipes take minutes to come together, while others take hours — but it’s largely unattended cooking time. You can pop the ingredients for these easy dinners into a slow cooker or oven and head out to work while your meal simmers away.

All of these one-pot recipes showcase ingredients that you can grow in your own garden or find at the local farmers market. Most can be made without meat if that’s your preference. Plan ahead to use yesterday’s leftover rice in Vegetable Fried Rice Recipe or recycle last night’s mashed potatoes into topping for the Shepherd’s Pie. Savor leftovers from these easy meals a day or two after they’re cooked — if they last that long.

For your convenience, we’ve organized these one-dish meals into seasonal categories. Choose from this list of easy dinners to incorporate fresh ingredients from all growing seasons, and enjoy one-pot meals from your kitchen year-round.

Winter

These easy dinners use ingredients commonly available during the winter months, such as the stash of vegetables in your root cellar or pantry.

Black Bean Chili Recipe with Cornbread
Cook up chili and cornbread for your crew using this slow cooker recipe — from 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley.

Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
Nothing beats homemade, slow-cooked chicken and dumplings for a stick-to-your-ribs one-pot meal — from Comfort Food Cookbook by Karen K. Will for Grit magazine.

Recipe for Shepherd’s Pie
Leftovers of this lamb dish will taste even better than the original meal — from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day by Kate McMillan.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Sausage Recipe
Fall vegetables and sausages mix it up on a single baking sheet in this one-dish dinner — by MOTHER EARTH NEWS Associate Editor Rebecca Martin.

Short Rib Recipe with Roasted Fall Vegetables
You can make this short-rib recipe in either an oven or a pressure cooker — from Simply Ming One-Pot Meals by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm.

Spicy Eggs with Kale Recipe
Poached eggs nestled in a bed of kale make for a simply, hearty one-pot meal — from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day by Kate McMillan.

Easy Frittata Recipe with Escarole, Bacon and Feta Cheese
The frittata is one of the fastest and most filling one-dish meals you can make — from One Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder.

Spring

One-pot meals in the springtime bring to mind newly dug potatoes, freshly picked peas and asparagus, and fat green leeks directly from your garden.

Easy Potato Soup Recipe with Parsley and Olive Tapenade
This easy potato soup recipe calls for snips of dill or parsley and a dollop of olive tapenade — from 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley.

Hoisin-Sesame Salad with Baked Tofu Recipe
Enjoy the fresh taste of snap peas and carrots in this easy salad recipe — from EatingWell One-Pot Meals by Jessie Price and the EatingWell Test Kitchen.

Stir-Fry Beef Recipe with Asparagus and Rotini
Mix up a well-balanced meal with this easy stir-fry recipe — from Simply Ming One-Pot Meals by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner Recipe
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — or any day in spring — with a classic corned beef and cabbage dinner. This stovetop recipe also includes instructions on how to corn beef brisket — from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day by Kate McMillan.

Pork Stir-Fry Recipe with Peas
Keep supper simple with this easy stir-fry dish you can toss together in less than 30 minutes — from 300 Best Stir-Fry Recipes by Nancie McDermott.

Tofu Stir-Fry Recipe with Snow Peas and Walnuts
Use either a skillet or a wok to mix up this easy stir-fry recipe — from 300 Best Stir-Fry Recipes by Nancie McDermott.

Summer

Produce picked at its peak ripeness stars in these summertime one-dish meals.

Potato Corn Chowder Recipe

Vegetable Fried Rice Recipe
The ripest vegetables from your garden or the farmers market will be satisfying additions to this quick stir-fry recipe — from EatingWell One-Pot Meals by Jessie Price and the EatingWell Test Kitchen.

Sesame Chicken and Cucumber Noodle Salad Recipe
A cold noodle salad recipe is especially refreshing during the summer months — from Simply Ming One-Pot Meals by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm.

Potato Corn Chowder Recipe
Fire up your slow cooker for this potato corn chowder recipe with extra-smoky flavor — from 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley.

Chicken and White Bean Salad Recipe
Just half an hour out of your day is all you’ll need to make this chicken and white bean salad recipe — from EatingWell One-Pot Meals by Jessie Price and the EatingWell Test Kitchen.

Braised Chicken Recipe with Beans, Tomatoes and Arugula
You can serve this skillet dinner out of the same pan you cooked it in — from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day by Kate McMillan.

Spicy Ground Lamb Recipe
Edamame and tomatoes combine with spiced ground lamb in this one-pot meal — from 300 Best Stir-Fry Recipes by Nancie McDermott.

Fall

When the days get shorter, we crave filling (but still easy) meals such as these one-pot wonders.


Sautéed Pork Chops Recipe
Sweet potato, apple and mustard complement the rich flavor of pork chops — from One Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder.

Easy Polenta Recipe with Sausage and Red Pepper
Skillet dinners often please a group of hungry diners, especially when they contain sausage — from Savory Pies by Greg Henry.

Easy Beef Goulash with Dumplings
You can make this traditional goulash stew in a single skillet — from One Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder.

Oven-Roasted Chicken Recipe
Root vegetables absorb the drippings in the roasting pan during the cooking of this succulent oven-roasted chicken — from EatingWell One-Pot Meals by Jessie Price and the EatingWell Test Kitchen.

Minestrone Recipe
This thick vegetable soup is a favorite Italian one-pot meal — from 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley.


is an Associate Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, where her beats include DIY and Green Transportation. She's an avid cyclist and has never met a vegetable she didn't like. You can find her on .

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