Forget about Crock Pots — the Dutch oven is the OG of slow-cooking kitchen tools, and it’s a lot more versatile than anything you have to plug into the wall. Because of their thick walls and bottoms, these heavy-lidded cast-iron pots conduct heat evenly even at low temperatures, making them ideal for cooking over an open campfire, simmering spicy chili on the stove top, and baking bread in the oven. But what you might not expect is that they’re great at coaxing out deep flavors and meltingly tender textures from vegetarian recipes too. These 15 meatless recipes will convince you to add a Dutch oven to your kitchen cabinet.

1. Ratatouille: Master this French classic in your Dutch oven. The key is cooking each vegetable until it’s so tender, it almost melts in your mouth. (via Cupcakes and Kale Chips)

2. Italian Orzo Spinach Soup: This light Italian soup is made with whole wheat pasta and plenty of veggies. Serve it with crusty bread, so you can sop up every last bit of the rich broth. (via Gimme Some Oven)

3. Fresh Corn and Zucchini Chowder: When you get your summer bumper crop of corn and zucchini, reach for a summer chowder full of vegetables. Add diced jalapeños for a kick that keeps the dish from getting too heavy for warmer weather. (via Little Spice Jar)

4. Campfire Nachos: Cooked over a campfire or on the grill, these nachos are sure to hit the spot after a long day in the sun. The Dutch oven helps all of the cheese melt evenly, while preventing the chips from getting burnt. (via Fresh Off the Grill)

5. Baked Risotto With Squash, Mushrooms, and Sage: Take the work out of risotto by cooking it in the oven instead of stirring it constantly on the stove. It gets just as creamy as with the traditional method, but you won’t have to be in the kitchen the whole time it cooks. (via Ciao Veggie)

6. Chickpea and Potato Curry: This dish tastes like a long-simmered stew, but in fact it cooks up in just half an hour. Serve it with some naan from the store for a fast but satisfying meal. (via The Healthy Tart)

7. One-Pot Veggie Pasta: On nights when you don’t have the bandwidth to cook a complicated meal, you can always count on one-pot pasta. The starch from the pasta thickens the cooking liquid into a silky sauce, and a sprinkle of fontina cheese on top makes the whole dish taste decadent. (via Yin and Yolk)

8. Italian Rice and Beans Soup: Dried beans get deliciously tender when they’re cooked low and slow in your Dutch oven. Along with Arborio rice, they make each bite of this Italian soup super creamy. (via Philos Kitchen)

9. Dutch Oven Potato Chilaquiles: Adding potatoes to your chilaquiles makes for a meal hearty enough to move from breakfast to dinner. Top with the usual suspects, and marvel at how well the tender-yet-crisp potatoes go with the rest of your dish. (via Climbing Grier Mountain)

10. Fridge Clearing Veggie Chili: The key to making great veggie chili is improvisation. See what produce you have in your fridge, then mix it up in a big pot with beans and lots of spices. (via Kiwi and Bean)

11. Vegan Pasta e Fagioli Soup: Navy beans and pasta make up the bulk of this soup. It’s one of those meals that’s made with just a handful of simple ingredients that come together to make something extraordinary. (via The Full Helping)

12. Tahini and Root Vegetable Stew: Tahini paste is the secret ingredient here, adding an earthy, nutty flavor to each bite. (via Almond to Zest)

13. Lentil Soup: We grew up on lentil soup from a can, but it’s a million times better, and almost as easy, when you make it from scratch. (via Tasty Seasons)

14. Oven Baked Whole Roasted Cauliflower: Impress your guests with this eye-catching vegetarian entree. A whole cauliflower is roasted with a fragrant mix of herbs and spices; carve it table-side for an extra fancy presentation. (via The Healthy Foodie)

15. Lentil Bolognese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: Robust lentil bolognese makes a flavorful filling for these cabbage rolls that are cooked until spoon-tender in a Dutch oven. (via The Mostly Vegan)

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