A welcome focus on one pan cooking and minimal washing up »

In One Pan Roasts by Molly Shuster

By Paula Wriedt
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Chicken Puttanesca from <i>One Pan Roast</i> by Molly Shuster

Chicken Puttanesca from One Pan Roast by Molly Shuster [©Murdoch Books]

Baked Halloumi from <i>One Pan Roast</i> by Molly Shuster
Harissa Salmon from <i>One Pan Roast</i> by Molly Shuster
Slow Baked Apples from <i>One Pan Roast</i> by Molly Shuster
<i>One Pan Roast</i> by Molly Shuster


In One Pan Roasts, Molly Shuster – a freelance food stylist, writer and recipe developer – provides 80 incredibly simple recipes aimed at busy people. For those who don’t enjoy the endless washing up that often follows a delicious meal, this book has a welcome focus.

In keeping with its name, all recipes in this book can be cooked in just one pan. Not just confined to roasts, the book also covers recipes made using other oven techniques such as grilling, steaming and baking.

A quick flick through its pages unveils a treasure trove of diverse recipes, some of which you would probably never think to cook in the oven.  Red Vegetable Curry, Creamy Mussels and Chicken Satay are all recipes you could be forgiven for thinking you should only make on a stove-top.

One Pan Roasts begins with a useful introduction on tips for creating your one-pan meal such as aromatics, technique and timing, as well as a guide to the recommended size of pans to use.

A number of sauce recipes such as Chimichurri; Garlic Aioli; and Warm Mustard Sauce are also included.  While these sauces are not cooked in a roasting tray they are delicious additions to many of the dishes.

The book has chapters on Poultry and Meat, Seafood, Vegetables, Desserts, Snacks & Appetisers as well as Simple Sides. Whilst many of the latter aren’t cooked in an oven they are nonetheless a useful addition to recipes such as Cauliflower Puree; Warm Quinoa Salad; Herbed Farro, and Wild Rice Pilaf.

The presentation of the book is striking. Each recipe has been photographed before and after cooking. For the less confident cooks this offers an assurance that the way you are placing the items in the pans is right. The book’s matte pages also add another welcome dimension to its contemporary but somewhat rustic presentation.

One Pan Roasts is subtitled Easy, delicious meals for every night of the week and the book certainly lives up to this claim. All of its offerings could be made by even the most inexperienced home cooks. Importantly, none of them contain lengthy lists of hard-to-source ingredients that are the hallmark of so many cookbooks these days, especially those from 'celebrity chefs'.

Be sure to note though that many of the recipes, especially the seafood ones, are designed to serve just two people. A great feature for couples, but do be sure to check quantities and adjust them if you are cooking for a larger family or group. 

One such recipe was the Harissa Salmon, a lovely oven roasted all-in-one dish of green beans, olives, baby potatoes and harissa-rubbed salmon. The key to this dish was simply timing, putting the thin-cut potatoes in before the other components and cooking them on their own for a while. 

This recipe’s simplicity though belied the outcome – a delicious dish that is set to become a regular addition to our list of favourites. The bonus was that little time was required in the kitchen and there was just one roasting tray to wash up at the end. 

Chicken Puttanesca was another recipe I tested for the family. Thankfully, at the last minute, I realised it was written to serve just two people and quickly doubled the specified quantities.

It was a quick, yet wholesome, one-pot dish that really was one of those “throw most ingredients in the tray” meals. Sure you have to come back after 35 minutes and add the chicken and then cook for a while longer. But it’s enough time to sit back and enjoy a glass of wine at the end of a long day while you do wait.

Some of the recipes I tested did lack a complexity of flavours, most likely due to the deliberate simplicity of the recipes making them accessible to even the most inexperienced home cooks. But it’s a problem that can be easily rectified, for example, next time I’ll add some fresh thyme to the Chicken Puttanesca for greater depth. 

One of the book’s great strengths is the innovative vegetable recipes. Stuffed Mushrooms; Stewed Butter Beans; Roasted Radicchio with Balsamic and Parmesan;  and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini are some of the many standouts. The author reminds us that vegetables need not be boring, either as side dishes or as the main event.

The dessert section of the book is small, just seven recipes, but the mouth-watering pictures make you want to cook all of them. They are all fruit-based desserts, making the most of seasonal stone fruits, cherries and apples (or you can use frozen) that lend themselves so well to being oven baked.   

A modern take on Apple Crumble; Vanilla Roasted Apricots; and Cherry Clafoutis are some of the hearty winter warmer desserts you can expect in One Pot Roasts. This means that if you have a fussy eater in your family who dislikes desserts containing any fruit (like I have) you will need to look elsewhere to satisfy them. Or just give them ice cream!

In an era where many people are time challenged this book is valuable.  It takes readers back to the basics of using the large variety of cooking methods you can achieve just with an oven.

Readers needn’t fear that they will be asked to sous vide, dehydrate or compress anything. Nor will you be asked to use any electrical kitchen appliances or gadgets that you may not have. This is a welcome change from the trend promoted by competitive TV cooking shows where every possible appliance is used!

One Pan Roasts will enable home cooks to produce healthy, delicious meals with few ingredients and without too much fuss, either before or after the meal.  

Read more on One Pan Roasts here »

See links below for recipes from the book.

One Pan Roasts – Easy, Delicious Meals for Every Night of the Week by Molly Shuster is published by Murdoch Books (Crows Nest, Australia, June 2017, hc, 160pp) RRP. $35.00

About the reviewer: Paula Wriedt is a self-confessed foodie. Whilst she loves her job running the small charity, Cystic Fibrosis Tasmania, her real passion is food. She lives in Kingston with her two teenage children who have inherited her love of cooking so her house is always filled with the welcoming smells of delicious food. 

As a former State Minister for Tourism, Paula is passionate about Tasmanian produce and the beautiful island state. Travelling is high on her agenda but she enjoys returning to Tasmania and sharing with friends and family the many recipes she discovers on her travels.


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July 09th, 2017
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