Instant Pot who? Simple one-pot meals anyone can make

Simple one-pot dinners
Tiffany Nguyen/Staff

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When checking out a recipe, I usually ask myself the following questions: Is it simple, is it quick, and how many dishes will I have to clean afterward? These questions have led me to the beautiful universe of one-pot meals. One-pot meals are getting a lot of attention lately, especially with the introduction of the wildly popular Instant Pot, which is available on Amazon. But you don’t need a newfangled gadget to make a tasty meal with a minimal dish footprint. Here are some of my favorite one-pot meals anyone can make at home. 

Chicken and rice

First, cube and cook some chicken in the bottom of a medium-sized pot. Throw in your favorite raw vegetables and let them sauté — I usually use onions and bell peppers for their acidity. After the chicken and veggies are cooked to your liking, toss in uncooked rice and enough water or chicken broth to allow the rice to cook properly. You can add any additional ingredients here, too. Sometimes, I’ll add black beans and corn for extra flavor. Cover the pot, let it simmer until the rice is fully cooked and voilà! You’ve got a beautiful meal and only one pot to clean. 


If you’re in the mood for something hearty, one-pot chili could be your best friend. All you have to do is brown some ground meat (beef and turkey work well) in a pot, then throw in chopped onion and garlic, kidney beans, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and enough water or chicken broth to give it a good consistency. Season it to your liking with salt, pepper and other spices. I like my chili spicy, so I’m extra generous with crushed red pepper and chili powder. Then, just let it do its thing on low heat for about half an hour — or until you’re ready to eat. 

Greek salad

This one’s more of a one-bowl meal. Simply combine chopped cucumber, red onion, avocado and some cherry tomatoes into a bowl, and dress with equal parts lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and top with feta cheese if you’re feeling extra fancy. It’s better than a regular salad — I promise!

Lemon garlic pasta

Craving carbs? In a pot or large skillet, sauté a large amount of garlic into ample butter and olive oil. Season it with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and oregano, and then let it simmer until all the flavors are combined. If you want to add protein, then toss in chicken or shrimp at this point, too. Throw some cooked pasta into the pot and toss it around, squeezing some fresh lemon on top before eating. Butter, oil, carbs and only one pot? What could be better? 

Let’s face it: A lot of us are lazy by nature. We love food, but we hate complicated recipes that require more than five minutes of cleanup. One-pot meals are a perfect solution.

Contact Margo Salah at [email protected].