One of the best tips I got when going vegan was to be prepared. You’re most at risk of slipping when you’re tired and don’t feel like cooking or have nothing in the house. Armed with a meal plan and a slow cooker, I find I don’t really have to worry. My cooker is a versatile and convenient way to prepare meals for my family. I think every vegan kitchen can benefit from one. With it, you can make soups, rice, quinoa and even breakfasts. A crockpot or instant pot is a great tool for bulk cooking, too. Using a slow cooker makes it easy to prepare a week’s worth of lunches in advance. So, what exactly can you prepare using your crockpot?
With a slow cooker, you can easily make rice in bulk. This grain is a great option for vegan meals. It goes well with bean dishes and can be added to soups or stir-fry dishes. You can make rice in bulk once or twice per week. Refrigerate cooked rice and use it in packed lunches or quick dinners. Rice added to leftovers can be a great lunch to take to work. Different varieties may require different cooking times, so always check the package.
Beans are a mainstay of most vegan diet plans. They pack protein, fiber, and carbs into an inexpensive and versatile little package. Chili is not only a fun and flavorful meal, but also a very nutritious one. This recipe for vegan instant pot chili incorporates additional veggies like bell peppers and has room for substitutions. Tofu, mushrooms, and seitan can be added as meat substitutes if desired. Vegan chili is one of my favorit no-hassle meals. Even non-vegans enjoy it.
Quinoa became famous as a grain that’s packed with protein. With a low glycemic index, it’s a good option even for diabetics. Like rice, quinoa is a great basic to include in all kinds of vegan meals. It’s used in casseroles, salads and simple quinoa with vegetable bowls. This grain can also be added to soups and chilis. This recipe for quinoa burrito bowls will make great use of your cooker.
Mashed potatoes might sound like the simplest of dishes, but the best versions take thought. Will you leave the peels on or off? Add a nut butter, oil or soy milk to make it creamier? Mashed potato recipes may even advise adding other veggies, like this recipe for white bean mashed potatoes. The bean puree creates a creamier texture and also adds protein and other nutrients to this favorite comfort food.
Soups are a vegan mainstay, and with a crockpot, they’re simple to make. Soups are also an incredibly broad, versatile category. Favorites include potato and leek, miso and vegetable, and a variety of wild rice soups. It’s also not hard to tweak a recipe you like to your personal taste. Give this lentil tortilla soup a try. Rich and filling, it includes a blend of warm spices like cumin and paprika. This is a great choice on a chilly night.
Raw beans get a bad rap for taking hours to cook, but not if you have a slow cooker. Ditch the sodium-heavy canned beans and prepare baked beans with your crockpot. While traditional baked beans recipes usually call for animal fats or stock, but there are plenty of vegan versions to choose from. Maple baked beans and barbecue style beans are versions to keep an eye out for. Boston-style beans have also been a favorite for generations. Serve these on toast for a quick meal, or with baked potatoes and salad for something more filling.
Steel Cut Oats
Yes, you can use your crockpot to make breakfast! Steel cut oats are gluten-free and loaded with fiber. Compared to the more commonly seen rolled oats, however, they take much longer to cook. For this dish, a device that cooks low and slow makes a great solution. Load your cooker at night when you go to bed, and in the morning everything is ready to go. Well, everything except for a fresh fruit garnish. This banana nut steel-cut oatmeal is a great option to start with.
And now you know my not-so-secret weapon to healthy and hassle-free meals: my trusty crockpot. Do you know other vegan recipes that are best prepared with a slow cooker? Share your recipes or cooking tips below!