Since the slow cooker is on average considered to be a tool for preparing beef casserole, chicken stew and not much else, it might shock you to know that you can make really tasty vegetarian meals in there too. Crock pot cooking is really easy and you often just have to add some ingredients, turn the pot on, and leave it to cook for a few hours.
If you want a healthy and savory home-cooked meal without having to put in much effort, a slow cooker might be the perfect solution. Many meals cooked in there are healthier than their stove top counterparts are because you do not need to add butter or oil to slow cooker recipes. Sometimes you need to saute some ingredients first but you can use spray oil to keep the calorie count down.
You won’t need meat one bit!
There are vegetarian crock pot recipes and there are also ones which have been updated especially for the crock pot or which you can adapt yourself. Some times you might just want to make chili con carne, but a vegetarian guest is over,and being a good host you want to make dinner that will suit everyone’s tastes, how do you deal with that? Instead of adding meat you can substitute it by adding tofu or TVP instead, for a meat-free version of this flavorful and classic dish.
Alternatively, you could leave the meat substitutes out altogether and just include plenty of beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, spices and onions for a very healthy and hearty meal. Chili recipes normally freeze well so make plenty and you can freeze the leftovers and use it to spice up other dishes.
Stuffed bell peppers are delicious no matter what you stuff them with. Try a mixture of diced vegetables, rice and tomato sauce. The crock pot helps the flavors to develop better than when you bake the dish. You can use a barley or rice filling to make cabbage rolls too.
Ethnic and International Foods
Spaghetti sauce is another good idea for a slow cooker dish because it tastes nicer after a long cooking time. Saute the diced vegetables in oil and then put them in the slow cooker with the other ingredients.
You can use bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, carrots or anything else you fancy to make this classic Italian dish. If you want to use zucchini it is best to add it in the final half an hour of slow cooking time else they will go mushy. The same is true about potatoes although these do not usually feature in pasta sauce recipes.
Indian curries are often simmered gently over a low heat for hours, making them suitable for slow cooking. Potato and cauliflower curry is a favorite for vegetarians. You can add some coconut milk or cream at the end to make the curry richer. Spices like garam masala, cumin, and turmeric are great in homemade curries and tomatoes, garlic, and onion are other popular ingredients.
Dal is also nice and this is an Indian lentil dish. You need to simmer lentils, onions, turmeric, water, cayenne pepper, and salt in the slow cooker for a few hours until the mixture is tender and aromatic and then serve it alongside your favorite curry or Indian dish.
There are a lot of crock pot recipes where you can substitute vegetables, beans, or another kind of protein for the meat and even though the finished dish will lack the consistency of the original meat recipe, in many cases the flavor is comparable or even better.