Good Question: Lighter Recipes for Dutch Oven Cooking?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Reader Megan finally bought a Dutch oven, and now she’s looking for some good ways to put it to use every day. Can you help?

I finally got a Dutch oven of my own (a Lodge, for what it’s worth), but now I’m short on ideas for what to cook in it! I’ve already made several soups, paella and no-knead bread, but I’d love some other ideas! Many of the recipes I see seem to be really heavy braised meat dishes, which are great for special occasions, but I try to eat a little lighter most of the time, so I’m looking for favorite “everyday” Dutch oven recipes.

Congrats on your new Dutch oven, Megan! We use ours constantly. An easy answer to your question is to just say, hey – use it for everything! Light spring soups, quick vegetable sautés, anything you need to cook on the stovetop. A Dutch oven’s heavy weight makes it ideal for cooking almost anything, and usually it will do a better job than a thinner or weaker pan.

Having said that, Dutch ovens are really great for braised spring vegetables! Here are a few ideas for some spring braises that would make great weeknight meals. Just add some rice or bread and have yourself a veggie-based supper.

Also, beans and lentils are a really good way to use your Dutch oven.

Those are just a few ideas to get you started, though. Readers, what sort of light everyday recipes do you like to make with your Dutch oven?

Wine-Braised Cabbage – One of my all-time favorite recipes. Just a head of cabbage braised in light white wine and served with a snowfall of Parmesan cheese. Sweet, tender, and such a simple spring dinner.
Greek-Style Braised Green Beans – Another all-time favorite. I am pretty firmly in the camp that believes that green beans should be cooked for a long time for the best flavor and texture. I’ve been known eat half a batch of these healthy, flavorful green beans for dinner.
Betsy’s Wine-Braised Lentils on Crostini – A runner-up in our Braising Contest.
Emily’s Braised Endive with Prosciutto – Another delicious Braising Contest entry. The winner, in fact!
Cream-Braised Fennel a la Orangette – Braised fennel! Delicious.
Spicy Chickpea Stew

(Images: Faith Durand; Lodge)