8 One-Pot Meals That Are Packed With Protein

Of all the cooking tools that we fit chicks worship, Crock-Pots may be the most heralded of all. First and foremost, the slow, low-simmer cooking style results in juicier, tender meats and more infused flavors—perfect for turning plain chicken breasts or turkey grounds into mouthwatering meats. But most importantly, cooking in a single pot dramatically reduces meal prep time. All that’s required is a can opener, chopping knife/board and some patience as the dish prepares itself for four to eight hours.

And if you’re prepping a batch of healthy meals in a single pot for the week, chances are you have a healthy dose of protein on the roster to help build your muscles after class and keep you energized at work. That’s why we’ve scoured the web for of the juiciest, tastiest, protein-rich dishes you can cook in a single pot.

Bon appétit, and happy gains!

Sea Bass and Seafood Italian One-Pot

Recipe from: Good Food magazine
Protein count: 45 grams

Low in fat (less than 1 gram per serving of lobster and shrimp), shellfish are some of the healthiest forms of protein you can eat. And with 45 total grams of protein in one serving, the heart- and cholesterol-healthy benefits are aplenty in this single-pot seafood dish.

The Make-It Bacon Paleo Chicken Classic

Recipe from: Bodybuilding.com
Protein count: 52.6 grams

According to its originators at Bodybuilding.com, this one-pot dish was inspired by the eating habits of our hunting and gathering ancestors. From the ultra-lean chicken breast to the heart-healthy garlic, the recipe is a perfect post-workout muscle recuperation solution.

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

Recipe from: The Healthy Maven
Protein count: 34 grams

Although the leanest part of the chicken, the breast, is missing from this zesty one-pot meal, that doesn’t mean it’s not still packed with metabolism- and muscle-boosting protein. Not to mention, the jerk seasoning is super low in calories. But since the drumsticks are a bit fattier, save the dish for an end-of-week treat.

Hearty Lamb Stew

Recipe from: Good Food magazine
Protein count: 38 grams

Like chicken drumsticks, lamb isn’t necessarily the leanest kind of protein you can chew on. But with high levels of vitamin B12, selenium, niacin and, of course, protein, the gamey meat should still be incorporated into a balanced diet. This stew recipe also has plenty of lean, fibrous vegetables to boot.  

One-Pot Spicy Cajun Chicken and Rice

Recipe from: Le Creme de la Crumb
Protein count: 35.1 grams

With boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ultra low-sodium broth and low-cal seasoning, this one-pot dish packs on the protein (and the flavor). Looking to cut carbs, too? Remove the rice and scoop chicken into lettuce wraps for a light, zesty lunch.

Quinoa and Shrimp Paella

Recipe from: Skinny Ms.
Protein count: 22 grams

Although paella is normally made with rice, Skinny Ms. modified the recipe with a protein-heavy twist: Replace grains with quinoa, one of the most protein-rich foods available. The result? A doubly muscle-boosting, easy-to-make dish. In addition to being a super-high form of protein, shrimp also contains tons of immune system-enhancing and muscle-building nutrients, like choline, copper, B12 and selenium. Science = delicious.

The College Boy/Girl

Recipe from: Bodybuilding.com
Protein count: 56.2

Although Bodybuilding.com dubs this dish “The College Boy,” we’re unofficially re-naming it as “The Protein-Rich One-Pot Dish For Girls and Guys On-The-Go.” Requiring no cutting, slicing or sorting, only a can opener, this dish boasts a serious dose of protein and veggies. You can even use the time you save meal prepping to squeeze in an extra workout.

Eggplant and Chickpea Stew

Recipe from: Eating Well
Protein count: 21 grams

When it comes to getting the daily recommended dose of protein, for vegetarians and vegans, chickpeas are a must. The legume is broken down into amino acids, delivered directly to bodily tissues. What’s more, the peas are incredibly versatile. Their mild taste and mashable texture can be applied to a number of dishes. Serve this healthy recipe with quinoa on the side for an extra dose of vegetarian-friendly protein.

Julia Sullivan is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. When she's not picking heavy things up and setting them down again (more commonly known as weight lifting), trying to prepare healthy meals in her doll-sized Manhattan studio or writing about the latest fitness craze, she chronicles her zany adventures as a new New Yorker in her blog, Jules & the City. You can also follow her on Twitter.