Those nights are coming—you know the ones I mean. The weather is cold and blustery, you maybe got stuck a little late at work, and the whole household is a bit cranky—even the dog. You certainly don't feel like cooking, let alone doing the dishes afterwards. At these times, do you open a jar of salsa and a packet of organic corn chips and dump an avocado in front of everyone? Tempting, but no! Instead, we've got you covered with 15 vegan one-pot dinners the kids will love, and that will have the whole family nourished with minimum fuss or mess. One thing to note is that many of these recipes include some measure of chili, so you may want to reduce or omit that depending on your children's tolerance to the spicy stuff. Read on for a fast track to full bellies and minimal washing up.
Photo: Oh She Glows
1. Easy creamy tomato barley risotto
Let’s start off super simple with Oh She Glows‘ nourishing and comforting barley-based risotto. This dish comes in handy for those times when children are being a bit, ahem, challenged by being able to identify vegetable morsels in their food.
Photo: Oh My Veggies
2. Veggie-packed Spanish rice
Riffing on the one-pot grain-plus-veggies theme, this tasty rice dish from Oh My Veggies is full of child-friendly vegetables such as corn and peas. If your child doesn’t like things too spicy, reduce or omit the chili powder, or substitute with sweet paprika instead.
Photo: Apron Strings
3. One-pot wonder tomato basil pasta
Thanks to Martha Stewart, one-pot pasta recipes abound on the interwebs. This recipe from Apron Strings keeps it simple with a classic tomato and basil sauce, though once mastered the technique can be adapted to all of your family’s favorite tomato-based pasta sauces. Obviously, to keep it vegan, omit or substitute for the Parmesan cheese at the end of the recipe. Oh My Veggies also has a great Asian-inspired version.
Photo: Sara Lynn Paige
4. Vegan okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki is one of my favorite comfort foods on a gray, rainy day. It’s also quick to make, has great appeal for kids, and is very flexible as far as fillings go. (Using up leftovers? Check!) This vegan okonomiyaki from Sara Lynn Paige ticks all the right boxes and kids can customize their pancakes with vegan mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce.
Photo: Minimalist Baker
5. One-hour vegan pot pies
The Minimalist Baker‘s hearty, single-serve pot pies will be a comforting treat at the end of a cold fall or winter’s day. To keep to the one-pot theme, use a store-bought vegan pastry or biscuits for the topping, and place parchment paper under the individual ramekins to catch any drips and keep the baking tray clean.
Photo: Sunrabbit via Food.com
6. Sunrabbit’s vegan creamy corn chowder
This slow-cooker corn chowder from Sunrabbit is a powerhouse of protein thanks to its inclusion of almond milk, garbanzos (chickpeas), nutritional yeast and cashews. It’s the perfect “Welcome home!” on a chilly evening.
Photo: Love and Lemons
7. Creamy vegan corn chowder
Didn’t have time to set up the slow cooker this morning? Want your corn chowder in a hurry? Love and Lemons has a quick and easy version of this beloved classic that gets its creaminess from the unconventional addition of coconut milk.
Photo: Feed Me Phoebe
8. Easy vegetarian tortilla soup
This tortilla soup from Feed Me Phoebe is tasty, packed with protein, and has the fun factor of the added tortilla chips. Substitute a vegan cheese for the jack or cheddar cheese called for by the recipe, or simply omit it.
Photo: Gluten Free Vegan Pantry
9. One pot Mexican casserole
This one-pot meal from Gluten Free Vegan Pantry is not only a time saver, it looks beautiful presented in the pan too. (Careful, the pan’s hot!) You might also want to cut the chili content to keep it child-friendly. While you are on GFVP, check out her Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce recipe for another quick and easy meal idea, served with plenty of corn chips, veggie sticks and some fried tempeh strips.
Photo: Minimalist Baker
10. Chipotle tofu chilaquiles
Scrambled tofu and tortilla chips in a tasty, smoky sauce? All within 30 minutes? This vegan chilaquiles recipe from Minimalist Baker has got it going on! To reduce the chili heat, you could substitute smoked paprika for the chipotle, or simply use sweet paprika if smoked is still a step too far.
Photo: Oh My Veggies
11. Peanut udon noodles with snow peas
“Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 5 minutes,” now isn’t that a delight to read after a long day? This simple and delicious one-pot noodle dish from Oh My Veggies is sure to be a hit, and if peanuts are an issue then sesame seeds and tahini would work well as substitute ingredients.
Photo: Super Healthy Kids
12. Veggie yakisoba
This veggie-packed yakisoba from Super Healthy Kids is a one-pot wonder. It’s a healthy and colorful noodle stir fry that’s ready in a flash with minimal cleanup required.
Photo: In Pursuit of More
13. Butternut squash ramen bowl with rice noodles, tofu and fresh pea shoots
This tasty ramen from In Pursuit of More has a little one-pot-meal trick up its sleeve: it’s based on a good-quality, store-bought vegan pumpkin soup, with lots of delicious extras added. You could also make a big batch of pumpkin soup in fall and freeze portions to use as needed.
Photo: Ordinary Vegan
14. Garbanzo bean soup with tomatoes and pasta
This hearty soup from Ordinary Vegan combines the delightful textures of chickpeas and orzo pasta. Orzo is already a popular pasta shape in our household, but you could also use alphabet pasta or little star shapes for some added visual interest for children.
Photo: The Natural Foodie
15. Vegan mushroom risotto
Ah, risotto, the ultimate comfort food. Well, comforting that is if you aren’t troubled by dairy allergies or factory farming practices. But, fear not, this vegan mushroom risotto by the Natural Foodie has all the comfort factor, minus the dairy. For a weeknight meal you might want to swap out the truffle salt for regular salt, but I’ll leave that to your discretion. Follow the links in the recipe for Kirsty’s vegan nut-based cheese alternatives with their three simple ingredients: just nuts, nutritional yeast and salt. Easy!
Lead image: Apron Strings