Recipe Roundup: 2 one-pot wonders and vegan ribs (what???)

For years I hated cooking because the ratio was all wrong: Why spend an hour in the kitchen making dinner plus a half hour cleaning up afterwards when it only takes 20 minutes to eat? That’s 90 minutes of work for 20 minutes of enjoyment. (And if you’ve got picky eaters who pitch a fit at the table every freaking night, that 20 minutes is likely to be the worst 20 minutes of your entire day.)

But then along came the one-pot meal. It’s similar to slow cooking in that you throw everything in the crock pot and let ‘er rip, but it doesn’t take all day and there’s only one pot to clean. WINNING. Plus, there are so many more ingredients you can cook on the stove that you can’t in a slow cooker (but let’s be honest, the only ingredient I really care about is pasta).

I’ll be sharing many more one-pot meals as I test them out (cuz it’s SOUP SEASON, Y’ALL!!), so to round out my round up I’m throwing you a curve-ball: Vegan barbecue ribs. Oh yeah. I went there. And I highly recommend that you go there, too. Scroll down for more.

One-pot wonder tomato basil pasta

Image courtesy of ApronStringsBlog.com

If a recipe has the words “tomato,” “basil,” and “pasta,” say no more. I’m in. But then add the words “one-pot wonder” and I’m making it tonight. Donna from ApronStringsBlog.com has this to say: “Once in awhile a dish comes along and stuns you and makes you rethink the way you cook. This miracle throw-everything-in-a-pot pasta dish has done that for me.” I totally agree. This recipe is a hearty yet light vegetarian pasta dish that is ready in just 30 minutes. And all it takes is one pot. So yeah. It’s a game-changer.

 

One-pan Mexican quinoa

Image courtesy DamnDelicious.net

If you’ve been exploring healthy eating you’ve no doubt dabbled with the wonder ingredient quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah,” for the uninitiated). Some people love it; others aren’t so sure. If you’re on the fence or haven’t tried it yet, this recipe may win you over: one-pan Mexican quinoa from DamnDelicious.net. It’s like a burrito bowl in casserole form with the quinoa stepping in for the rice, giving you much more fiber and protein without sacrificing taste or texture. But the real big seller here: This is the easiest dinner recipe I’ve ever made. Like Hamburger Helper-easy, but without the dead cow and chemical-laden “mystery spice mix.” You put everything in a pan, sautee it a bit, then put on a lid and let the magic happen.

 

Vegan barbecue ribs

Image courtesy baked-in.com

I know that you’re thinking: Vegan ribs? Vegan as in “without meat”? How is that even possible? And why would you even attempt it? The answers to those questions: Yes. Yes. It is possible. And you would attempt it because a) it’s super easy, b) it’s actually really delicious, c) it’s dirt cheap, d) many people find the idea of gnawing meat off the bone repulsive and wrong, and e) it’s the perfect way for those people to enjoy a barbecue without having to make a meal out of potato chips and salad (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

The magic ingredient that makes up these “ribs” is vital wheat gluten. Obviously, if you are sensitive to gluten this isn’t the recipe for you. But if not, then sit yourself down and prepare to be amazed. See, when you mix vital wheat gluten (a powdery substance extracted from wheat) with liquid and then boil or bake it, it turns into chewy, hearty nuggets of deliciousness known as “seitan” (pronounced “SAY-tan,” not “Satan”). It’s kind of like making dumplings but with more of a meaty texture. When you mix the gluten with herbs and spices, it takes on any flavor you like. In this recipe from Baked-In.com, the smoked paprika, onion & garlic powder, and liquid smoke give you all the flavors of traditional barbecue but in one cruelty-free package. While barbecue season may be nearing an end, this recipe is worth a try — if anything, just to help you release your fears of vegan meat substitutes. Because this barbecue-slathered hunk of goodness will convert you, my friends. So let it happen.

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