One-pot wonders

Niamh Hennessy
Lead Dietitian, Cromwell Hospital
31 January 2024
Next review due January 2027
If you’re looking for a comforting meal without worrying about timings or lots of washing up, then give these one-dish dinners a go! Packed with flavour and easy to adapt, they’re perfect for feeding the family with maximum taste and minimum effort. All the recipes featured here serve four people.
light lunch in a bowl, with cheese on the side

Veggie pasta traybake

This pasta bake contains fibre, protein, and a range of vegetables. It’s a versatile family favourite – offering you plenty of flavour with minimal fuss.

Ingredients (serves 4): 

  • 4 red peppers, chopped into chunks
  • 300g mushrooms, chopped into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and squashed
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 300g dried pasta (try to use wholegrain)
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin cannellini beans
  • 1 jar pesto (any type is fine)
  • 125g goat’s cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan/gas mark 7).
  • Put the peppers, mushrooms, oil, garlic, salt and pepper into a large roasting tin and mix so that the vegetables are coated in oil.
  • Put the tray into the oven and roast the vegetables for 20 minutes.
  • While they’re cooking, cook the pasta in boiling water until it is tender but with some bite. This should take around 10 minutes.
  • Once the vegetables are ready, take the tin out of the oven and add in the pasta, beans and chopped tomatoes.
  • Mix in the pesto and then scatter the goat’s cheese over the top.
  • Put the tray back into the oven for around 30 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling, and the cheese is golden.


Jambalaya is a dish of spicy rice with fish and meat. If you have extra vegetables in the fridge that need using up, you can add them in along with the peppers. If you don’t eat pork, replace the chorizo by frying 2 teaspoons of paprika in a tablespoon of the oil instead. 

a bowl of jambalaya

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 100g chorizo, chopped (if you’re using it)
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 2 sticks of celery, plus leaves for garnish
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 peppers (red or orange work best), chopped into chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of mixed herbs
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1.2 litres of reduced salt vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 300g basmati rice
  • 200g sustainably sourced prawns, raw or cooked


  • Heat the chorizo in a pan without any oil.
  • Remove the chorizo from the pan and set it to one side.
  • Add the oil, onion and celery to the pan and stir fry until they soften, usually this takes around 5 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic, oregano, mixed herbs and chunks of pepper and stir.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, stock and hot sauce.
  • Bring everything to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Once the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender and add in the chorizo and prawns. Make sure the prawns are cooked thoroughly.

Lentil Dal

Lentils are a good source of protein and contain fibre too. This easy to make dish is warming and full of flavour – great for a cold winter’s day.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 250g red lentils
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • big handful coriander stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tin coconut milk
  • ½ bag spinach or baby spinach (about 125–150g)
  • salt and ground black pepper


  • Rinse the red lentils under cold running water, drain and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Fry the onions with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes, before adding the garlic and frying for another minute until fragrant.
  • Add the coriander stalks, cumin, and chilli. Once warmed through, add the tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes, or until you have a tomato sauce.
  • Add the rinsed lentils and 1½ pints of water. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
  • Add the turmeric and coconut milk to the remaining lentils and bring to a simmer. Stir in the spinach and as soon as it’s wilted, transfer to bowls and eat immediately.

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Niamh Hennessy
Niamh Hennessy
Lead Dietitian, Cromwell Hospital



Julia Ebbens, Health Content Editor at Bupa UK

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