Cooking for your nearest and dearest during the holidays is one of the best gifts you can give. But the logistics of preparing a multi-dish menu where no one goes hungry can be downright stressful. Thanks to these homemade one-pot meals fit for large groups, you don’t need to be a short order cook — or be on cleanup duty all night! From roasted veggies to slow-cooked ham to crockpot gingerbread pudding, we’ve got 12 merry and bright recipes — no Santa’s helpers necessary.
12 Simple, Healthy One-Pot Meals for the Holidays
If you could design the most festive veggie dish, it’s these roasted balsamic Brussels sprouts. Imagine the sprouts as your “tree” — that you’re decking with boughs of pecans, pomegranate seeds, thyme and feta. We can’t think of a better way to add some jingle to the mini cabbages. Photo and recipe: Lily Diamond / Kale Caramel
Gluten-free guests will appreciate a side of spuds at the table, and this recipe fits the bill. Prepare them Hasselback style by cutting the potatoes into thin slices but leaving the bottom unsliced. This helps reduce cooking time in half and leaves the edges brown and crispy with a creamy center. Once the potatoes are cooked, add kale, beans and cherry tomatoes, and then pour on the pesto. Easy, one sheet and delicious! Photo and recipe: David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl / Green Kitchen Stories
Aside from minimal hands-on cooking, using a crockpot deepens the flavors of dishes, so they come out tasting like you slaved all day to make it. And when you’ve got T-7 hours until party time, this easy stuffing recipe lets you tend to other household chores before your guests arrive. Simply throw in the toasted bread cubes, onion, minced garlic and other fixings into the crockpot, and let it cook on low for five to six hours. Photo and recipe: Jessica Merchant / How Sweet Eats.
Looking for a simple first course meal? This comforting Italian soup features hanger-taming cannellini beans and veggies to warm bellies without overstuffing your guests before the main course. Bulgur swaps in for white pasta for added texture and better nutrition. Photo and recipe: Lindsay Ostrom / Pinch of Yum
We love mac and cheese as much as the kids’ table, but if you want to upgrade your pasta dish with a speedier recipe, try this 30-minute Andouille skillet. Andouille is a smoked sausage, made with garlic, pepper, onions, wine and seasonings. Usually found in Cajun-inspired dishes like jambalaya and shrimp gumbo, it boasts plenty of flavor. (Translation: You won’t need to pile on the cheese to make it tastier.) Photo and recipe: Chungah Rhee / Damn Delicious
When you’re expecting to feed a big group, paella is the ultimate dish for special occasions. Valencia-style paella includes chicken thighs, canned snails and rabbit. But this recipe simplifies things with lamb sausage, rainbow chard, piquillo peppers and paella rice. You still get a multitude of mouthwatering flavors without the labor of steaming seafood. Photo and recipe: Phoebe Lapine / Feed Me Phoebe
As its name suggests, this corn chowder cuts back on saturated fat by using very little heavy cream and butter. But you still get hearty taste from a chockfull of veggies, including carrots, celery, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and corn. To save time in the kitchen, use leftover chicken or the white meat of a rotisserie chicken. Photo and recipe: Sarah Fennel / Broma Bakery
Christmas is around the corner, and there’s no better yuletide dish to celebrate with than a rack of lamb. Lucky for you, this recipe is effortless yet impressive! Ground nutmeg, cayenne pepper, rosemary and garlic infuse the rack of lamb with tenderizing flavors. Marinate your meat for at least an hour or overnight before roasting it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Photo and recipe: Shinee / Sweet Savory by Shinee
9. Coq au Vin
Oh you fancy, huh? Channel your inner Julia Child with this tres chic recipe. The red wine marinade packs Pinot Noir, carrots, onions, garlic and thyme, while the stew intensifies the flavors with brandy, eschalots (small onions), beef broth and parsley. Your guests will want to get a scoop of this on their plates, ASAP, s’il vous plait! Photo and Recipe: Nagi / RecipeTin Eats
We can’t help but go ham on this deliciously tender and not-too-sweet dish. In fact, this recipe is so easy to make that you don’t need a special holiday to enjoy it. It’s great as a weeknight meal, too. Have the butcher thinly slice the ham before taking it home, and when it’s in the slow cooker, baste it in between slices with the honey mustard sauce. Photo and recipe: Cassie / Wholefully
A holiday dinner party isn’t complete without dessert, and the proof is in this gingerbread pudding. Instead of refined sugar, we use molasses, which is high in potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. Serve warm with a cup of tea and enjoy in your Christmas PJs. #Hyggevibes Photo and recipe: Gemma Stafford / Bigger Bolder Baking
If your goal is to start Whole30 in January, these vegan-friendly nutcracker cookies are a great way to get a jumpstart on cutting out dairy and refined sugars. A mix of almonds, pecans and walnuts give the cookies a crunchy texture. Meanwhile, dates sweeten them up with only half a cup of brown sugar. Photo and recipe: Angela Liddon / Oh She Glows