As cookware goes, little compares to the the humble Dutch oven. They can be a little pricey upfront (the unmistakable Le Creuset Dutch oven ranges from $155 to $560), but they’re built to last a lifetime. And the Dutch oven is a chef favorite because it’s incredibly versatile. “You can do anything from slow cooking to baking bread, searing, braising, and frying,” says Barry Tonkinson, director of culinary research and development at the Institute of Culinary Education.
The Dutch oven makes cooking super easy. There are so many one-pot meals you can make that come together quickly. And, because of its enamel coating, cleaning up afterward is a breeze, too. The food basically slides off the second you add water, no scrubbing required. To test it out for yourself, make one of the vegetarian Dutch oven recipes below. They’re healthy, protein-packed, flavorful, and fun to make.
8 vegetarian Dutch oven recipes to try
You don’t need meat for this beef bourguignon recipe. Instead, you can get all the same flavors the vegetarian way thanks to mushrooms, beets, and other veggies.
1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (8 grams)
2 medium beets (8 ounces), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, quartered, or another variety—cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup dry red wine (ideally one from the Burgundy region)
1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon (such as Better than Bouillon) or 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube, dissolved in a few teaspoons of hot water
1/4 cup black or dark green lentils, rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
Minced parsley for garnish
1. In a tall measuring cup, cover the porcini mushrooms with about 2 cups boiling water. Let stand until tender, about 10 minutes. Pick out the mushrooms and coarsely chop them. Reserve the soaking liquid.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the beets, 3/4 cups water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes, until tender.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms, spreading them out in a single layer, and cook, stirring the pan just once or twice, until the mushrooms are tender and seared a bit. Remove from the heat.
4. In a Dutch oven, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then add the celery, carrot, onion, bay leaves, and 1/4 tsp salt. Note: You can pulse the celery, carrots, and onion together in a food processor until uniformly ground—this saves a bit of prep time, and the finer texture of the vegetables helps thicken the sauce a bit.
5. Cook for about 5 minutes, until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and fry for about a minute. Then add the flour, stirring to coat, followed by the lentils, porcini mushrooms, wine, bouillon, and 1.5 cups of the reserved porcini liquid. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 18 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
6. Fold in the seared mushrooms and beets (along with any liquid at the bottom of the saucepan). Taste for salt. Simmer for a few minutes to heat thoroughly, then serve hot over rice, polenta, and mashed potatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley.
You can make Bolognese sans meat in less than 30 minutes in your Dutch oven. Just grab your ingredients—like mushrooms, tomato paste, and whole wheat pasta—and get to cooking.
12 oz shiitake or cremini mushrooms (stem removed)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 cups riced cauliflower
2 Tbsp tomato paste
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup almond milk
1 lb whole wheat pasta (rigatoni, ziti)
2 oz. grated Parmesan plus more for garnish
Fresh basil to garnish
1. Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl.
2. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.
3. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Add onion, celery, and carrots, and cook until onions are golden brown. Add garlic stirring occasionally until softened.
4. Add red wine and cook until all the alcohol has evaporated.
5. Add cauliflower and cook until softened (approximately 5 minutes).
6. Add tomato paste and cook a until slightly darkened.
7. Add crushed tomato, oregano, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
8. Uncover sauce, add almond milk, and stir to combine.
9. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water stirring occasionally until al dente.
10. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to a pot with sauce and stir to combine.
11. Add Parmesan cheese to pot and stir.
12. Divide pasta among six bowls and top with more parmesan cheese and basil. Serve.
You can make a mouth-watering chutney in your Dutch oven that can be used on your favorite vegetarian proteins, like tofu and tempeh.
2 Tbsp sunflower seed oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 Tbsp canned hot peppers
8 clementines washed and cut into eight pieces with the rind remaining
2 preserved lemons cut into quarters
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 inch of fresh ginger, minced
1 cup palm/date sugar
1. Heat a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add oil, onion, and garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent.
2. Add peppers, clementines, and lemons. Cook for for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add vinegar, ginger, and sugar. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for 45 minutes.
Mac and cheese, but make it protein-packed. This chili version adds in tempeh and canned beans for a boost. It’s also completely dairy-free.
Get the recipe: One-pot chili mac
Making a whole-roasted cauliflower in your Dutch oven is easy. Simply brush on a garlic and herb sauce and pop it in the oven.
Get the recipe: Garlic and herb whole-roasted cauliflower
You can make a great stir-fry in a Dutch oven, too. Another bonus: This recipe lets you use whichever veggies you already have in your fridge, allowing you to whip up a great meal and cut down on food waste.
Get the recipe: Vegetable stir-fry
After adding all your ingredients into your Dutch oven—including rice, black beans, veggie stock, and lots of seasonings—you let it simmer. Soon enough, it’ll be ready to enjoy.
Get the recipe: One-pot Mexican rice
Traditional Irish stews are made with beef and beer, but this version uses hearty veggies instead. It’s hearty, rich, filling, and—most importantly—delicious.
Get the recipe: Vegan Irish stew
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