Dear Blue Apron,
At the end of a long day, I can’t think of anything better than not washing dishes. Of course I get that dishes are part of cooking, but I’d love to just end up with one or two dirty pots by the end of the night. Okay, make that one. Can you help?
—Don’t Do Dishes
You’re in luck—there are plenty of great meals that require very little equipment!
But, before we get started on the specifics, it’s worth noting that there are four general types of recipes that will never do you wrong when it comes to making meals with minimal mess. There are soups, in which you build flavor by adding vegetables, meat, and liquid to the same pot. There are risottos, grain-based dishes that start with a sautéed onion and end with a creamy bowl of deliciousness. There are pilafs, in which rice, meat, and vegetables come together to the benefit of each. And then there are stews—not unlike soups, but thicker, with more texture.
Here are our favorite recipes from each of those categories to get you started.
One Pot Soup: Chicken Noodle
What could be better than chicken soup on a cold day? Warm your stomach and your kitchen with this quick and easy chicken noodle soup. It starts with the classic mirepoix of carrots, celery, and onion, then gets spiced up a bit with the addition of fennel. Give the soup one more layer of flavor with dill, then throw in some pasta. One pot and half an hour later, you’ll be ladling your soup into two big bowls.
One Pot Pilaf: Arroz con Pollo
Arroz con pollo, or rice with chicken in Spanish, is never called chicken with rice. That’s because the dish really focuses on the savory seasoned yellow rice—the chicken is just a nice add-on. In Latin American dishes like this one, the flavor comes from the sofrito, a mixture of aromatic vegetables and spices that cooks down until it’s concentrated and almost sauce-like, which then seeps into the rice and the chicken as they cook all together in one pot.
One Pot Risotto: Farro Risotto with Sweet Potato
Risotto is usually made with Arborio rice, but you can actually make the creamy dish using any rice or grain. This dish takes advantage of the underused farro, one of the oldest grains on Earth. High in protein, fiber, and iron, the grain’s nutty flavor is complemented by a mildly sweet spinach-basil pesto and sharp Parmesan cheese. All this complexity will make it tough for friends to believe everything happened in just one pot.
One Pot Stew: Potato-Chickpea
This dish is loosely based on Indian Chana Masala, a mixture of lemon, chickpeas, and garam masala—a spice blend that varies by region in India, and is usually made up of pepper, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, and cardamom. This version uses carrots, potatoes, chickpeas, and all those spices to create a simple vegetarian stew that’s loaded with flavor.