5 One-Dish Meals to Beat Your Winter Blues
Arm yourself against cold-weather hibernation vibes with these rich and warming one-dish meals meals. We even gave them healthful makeovers and took out most of the work!
Whether you’ve got a post-holiday social hangover, the winter blues, or you’re just plain tired of cooking, it’s natural at this time of year to crave foods that you can comfortably eat in sweatpants. We revamped tasty classics like mac and cheese and quiche, so that not only are they full of plant-based goodness, they only require one pot or pan to prepare! Each of these recipes yields six servings or more and will keep well, so once made, consider your work done for days.
Jalapeño Popper Mac & Cheeze
Two comfort foods combine in one dish for a take on mac and cheese that will surprise you with its nutritious nature. While you could use whole-wheat noodles, brown rice pasta is readily available, inexpensive, and contains selenium, an important mineral for immune and thyroid function. Fresh jalapeños add a kick of spice along with metabolism-boosting benefits. If you’re feeling extra fancy, pop the finished dish under the broiler for a few minutes so the top gets crispy.
- 1 lb brown rice elbow/macaroni noodles
- ¼ cup jalapeños (with seeds removed), diced
- ½ cup vegan cream cheese
- 1 recipe cheeze sauce, recipe follows
- ¼ cup bread crumbs for garnish, optional
- Salt to taste, if needed
1. Cook macaroni in a large pot according to package instructions, then drain into a colander.
2. Return macaroni to the pot, along with jalapeños, cream cheese, and cheeze sauce, and stir over low heat until cream cheese is mostly incorporated (it’s ok to leave some lumps). Add salt to taste.
3. When serving, sprinkle 1 tsp bread crumbs over the top of each bowl if desired.
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for one hour or more and rinsed (yield approx 2.5 – 3 cups soaked)
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tbsp yellow or white miso paste
- 2 tbsp tamari sauce, soy sauce, or Bragg’s liquid aminos
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 ½ tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 cup water
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
This traditional Mexican dish usually requires the cook to fry tortillas, make salsa, cook vegetables and/or meat, then bake the results all together. We’ve shaved down the process significantly by using store-bought chips and salsa, and cooking the veggies and beans directly in the sauce. Pepitas, also known as pumpkin seeds, are used instead of faux meat for a boost of protein, zinc and omega 3s. You can make the mixture ahead; when ready to serve, just heat it and toss with the chips.
- 2 ¼ cups roja or verde (red or green) salsa
- 1 ½ cups zucchini, diced
- ¾ cup bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup onion, diced
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 pinch chipotle powder
- 1 tbsp neutral oil such as grape seed
- 2 cups cooked beans (pinto, kidney, black, or other of choice)
- Salt to taste if needed, dependent on saltiness of salsa
- 6 cups tortilla chips
- 2 tbsp cilantro for garnish, optional
1. Heat oil in a large sauce pot over med-high heat.
2. Add onion, zucchini, bell pepper, pumpkin seeds and chipotle powder, and saute for five minutes.
3. Add salsa and beans, and simmer for an additional ten minutes,covered, over low heat, until vegetables are soft. Salt to taste once finished.
4. Toss with chips before serving.
Once synonymous with pork, ramen has come a long way in recent years as plant-based eating gains ever more followers — there are even vegan ramen shops now! You may only remember it from the instant product of your youth, but dried ramen noodles are available plain, so that you can recreate this dorm-room favorite using fresh, healthy ingredients. Swap out the veggies each time so it never gets old; we recommend combining one green and one firm vegetable atop the noodles and broth.
- 1 lb dried ramen noodles
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp peanut or other nut/seed butter
- 1 ½ tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 6 cups cooked vegetables for topping, cut into large pieces: broccoli, bok choy, spinach, carrots, corn, mushrooms and/or snow peas
1. Cook ramen noodles to package instructions, then drain in a colander and divide into serving bowls.
2. In the same sauce pot as noodles were cooked in, bring broth, tamari and nut/seed butter to a simmer, whisking occasionally to ensure nut/seed butter gets dissolved.
3. Divide broth into bowls with noodles and place 1 cup vegetables on top before serving.
Burger-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
The ole burger-and-fries concept gets a plant-based makeover here with this simple meal. Baking sweet potatoes is a hands-off experience, leaving you free to do other tasks while they cook. By popping the veggie burgers into the oven during their last minutes of cooking, once finished, all you have to do is some minor assembly work and — voila! You have a meal with very little active time in the kitchen! Be sure to choose a brand of veggie burger that can be cooked in the oven.
- 4 large sweet potatoes, washed
- 4 veggie burgers
- 1 tbsp vegan butter, melted, or olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Poke several holes with a fork into each sweet potato, then place on a lined baking sheet.
3. Bake until sweet potatoes feel close to finished (not firm to the touch, but not quite soft yet), about one hour, then place veggie burgers on baking sheet with them for final 10 minutes. *If veggie burger package calls for longer cooking, adjust accordingly.
4. Remove burgers and sweet potatoes from oven and let cool until easily touched, then slice lengthwise down the center and scoop out about ½ cup of flesh from each tuber.
5. Crumble veggie burgers in a bowl and toss with pulp, salt and oil or butter, and stuff inside sweet potatoes. Return to oven to warm through.
Ham & Veggie Quiche Muffins
Quiches without eggs or soy as an egg substitute?! It’s possible, and it’s delish: enter chickpea flour, an inexpensive product made from ground chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. It has a creaminess that you won’t expect, and its uses extend far beyond baking. Here, it takes center stage for quiche muffins so yummy, you won’t miss the crust or the eggs! Chickpeas are high in protein, fiber, and minerals, making the veggies or additional proteins you add a bonus. This works equally well with frozen vegetables that have been thawed.
- 1 ¾ cups chickpea flour
- 2 cups water
- 2 ½ cups finely chopped raw vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green beans and/or cauliflower
- ½ cup vegan ham, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 1 tsp herbes de Provence or Italian herb mix
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ⅛ tsp cracked or ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine chickpea flour, seasonings and baking soda and whisk briefly. Add water and whisk until combined.
3. Fold in vegetables and ham.
4. Divide into greased and/or lined muffins tins: about ½ cup mixture per standard muffin cup, or 1 cup per XL muffin cup.
5. Bake until firm to the touch, 35 minutes for standard muffins or 40 minutes for large.
Food styling by Ariane Resnick, C.N.C.