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Some nights, finding the time to cook dinner and scrub dishes can feel downright impossible. Luckily, Rebecca Seal and John Vincent, the writers behind Leon Happy One-Pot Cooking, have come up with a number of delicious vegetarian recipes that can be whipped up in just one pot, and enjoyed by your entire family.
This idea was a hot tip from Rebecca’s friend Kate, who uses it to get more green vegetables into her toddlers, while also making a meal adults will like. The creamy, bright green pesto is family-friendly, and you can easily involve small people in making it.
Prep time : 8 mins
Cook time : 8 mins
Directions 1. Add the pasta to a large saucepan of boiling salted water and cook for about 8 minutes, or according to the package directions, until al dente. 2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. You can either process it in a food processor, or pulverize it in a mortar and pestle—you get a more rugged texture you use a mortar. If you use a food processor, be sure to stop when the sauce is a coarse paste instead of when completely smooth. 3. Either way, mix together the avocado flesh, garlic, pine nuts, oil, and a generous pinch of salt and process briefly. Next, add the basil leaves and the Parmesan, if using, and process to form a coarse paste. Taste and gradually add the lemon juice; the aim is not to make the sauce lemony—instead, the acidity just brightens the flavor of the pesto. 4. Drain the cooked pasta, saving a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the hot pan along with the sauce and the reserved cooking water and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately.
Avocado and chili are a match made in heaven, so if you’re not making this for kids, add some hot or mild chili flakes when serving.
Not only is pearl barley delicious, it's good for you.
Photo: Steven Joyce
Pearl barley makes a gorgeous risotto with a firmer texture and nuttier flavor than rice. (It also contains more fiber.)
Prep time : 15 mins
Cook time : 1 hour
Robust barley stands up well to cured meat—sauté chunks of herbed sausage or chorizo in the pan before cooking the risotto, then return it to the pot to warm through at the end. Or add ¾ cup of cooked cranberry beans or white kidney beans (cannellini) and some thyme leaves about 5 minutes before you’re ready to serve.
Chili powder and lime juice give this stir-fry a kick. Photo: Steven Joyce
A crunchy, punchy spring stir-fry.
Prep time : 20 mins
Cook time : 15 mins
- ¼ teaspoon hot chili powder
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1¾ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 10½ oz firm tofu, cut into ¾ inch cubes (1¼ cups cubes)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon hot chili powder
- ¹⁄³ cup flavorless cooking oil
- 1 extra-large eggplant, cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 1 cup snow peas
- ½ bok choy (9 oz), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1½ cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup green beans
- 1 lb thin or fine wheat or rice noodles, cooked
-3 scallions, finely diced
- a handful of fresh cilantro leaves
Directions 1. Whisk the sauce ingredients together and set aside. 2. Place the tofu on a few sheets of paper towel; top with another sheet and press gently to absorb excess water. Mix the maple syrup and chili powder together and toss the tofu in the mixture. 3. Put a large wok over high heat and pour in the oil. When shimmering hot, add the tofu and cook until golden on the bottom of each piece—it will initially stick to the wok, then release when cooked, so try to wait before turning it. When golden, lift out the tofu, letting the excess oil drain back into the pan, and set aside, then add the eggplant to the hot oil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden. Next, add the snow peas, bok choy, broccoli, and green beans. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the noodles and the cooked tofu and cook for another 2 minutes. 4. Remove from the heat, add the sauce, scallions, and cilantro leaves, and toss to coat. 5. Serve immediately in wide bowls.
Like all stir-fries, you can customize this one—add crushed toasted peanuts, egg, cooked seafood, or use seasoned tofu instead of plain.
This stew makes for perfect leftovers. Photo: Steven Joyce
Black beans are commonly used in Central and South American cooking. Although they are great with meat, they come into their own when used in vegetarian and vegan dishes, where their smoky creaminess can claim center stage.
Serves 4 to 6
Prep time : 20 mins
Cook time : 1¼ hours
A large handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped flatbreads, corn or wheat tortillas, or instant rice
Directions: 1. Add a pat or splash of coconut oil into a large saucepan and set it over low–medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, leeks, chili, and cilantro stems and sauté. Once the onions have softened, add the bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, bay leaves, and spices. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the black beans and tomatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat right down and simmer for 1 hour. 2. Stir in the orange juice, top with the cilantro leaves, and serve with flatbreads, tortillas, or rice.
Any leftovers can be used as a filling for quesadillas, or on top of baked potatoes, with some shredded cheese.
A little bit of seasoning can go a long way. Photo: Steven Joyce
This barely counts as cooking, but sometimes we all need this kind of meal: fast, family-friendly, and absolutely fuss-free. Boiled potato gnocchi can be a little sludgy and wet, but frying them gives them a golden crunchy shell. One (1 lb) package of gnocchi might not be enough for four hungry adults, so add another 4 oz if you need to.
Serves 3 to 4
Prep time : 8 mins Cook time : 15 mins
freshly shaved Parmesan (vegetarians should choose a vegetarian brand)
leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh basil, coarsely torn or chopped
Instead of tomato sauce, try golden gnocchi with sautéed mushrooms, cream, and thyme, or with bacon, peas and parsley.
Leon Happy One-Pot Cooking by Rebecca Seal and John Vincent Photo: Octopus Publishing Group
Written by Maricar Santos for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.