Nothing can produce an easy and delicious vegan meal quite like a slow cooker can.
Since incorporating one into my kitchen, I’ve transformed the way I eat.
Next to an emulsifier, I would say a slow cooker is the most essential part of any vegan kitchen.
Needless to say, over the past year I’ve scoured the Internet for recipes to try. Some have been more successful than others, and some I wouldn’t bother making every again.
Let me save you some time and give you the 5 recipes that are always a crowd-pleaser.
The Perfect Vegan Chili Recipe
(Recipe image from Kitchen Treaty)
Coming right out of the gate with the king of all chili recipes.
I grew up being a fan of chili. My father lived down south for half of his life and picked up most of what he knew about cooking from the region.
So we ate a lot of jambalaya, chili, seafood gumbo, and other southern staples.
One of my quests recently has been to “veganize” a lot of this kind of food.
Chili of course can easily be made vegan, and once you have this recipe you’ll never look back.
I’ve probably made this recipe no less than 8 times in the last six months, so if you’re looking for validation, there you go.
It’s the real deal.
For a bit of extra kick or to change the flavor every once in a while, add 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika. You won’t miss the meat in this recipe.
Delicious Slow Cooker Minestrone
(Recipe image from Dietician Debbie)
Good minestrone is a soul-warmer, and has enough nutrients to leave you feeling recharged and uplifted. One of the best parts of this kind of soup is that it includes veggies we don’t typically eat every day, such as zucchini. Sometimes you need to mix it up a little, and vegan minestrone is the perfect opportunity.
This is also one of those “throw it all in and wait” kind of recipes.
Every time I make this recipe it comes out perfect, and don’t feel like you have to include every vegetable every time. We like to add corn and peas (cup of each) for some extra veggie variety as well.
As long as you follow the core recipe it will come out tasting great and just the right consistency.
Remember not to add the pasta in at the start of the recipe or you will wind up with pasta stew.
Effortless Authentic Madras Lentils
(Recipe image from Peas and Crayons)
Surprisingly easy to make and will leave you feeling like you went to culinary school once it’s finished.
When I first thought about making my own Madras lentils after experiencing them for the first time at an amazing local Indian restaurant not too long ago, I was thinking to myself that it would be a complete train wreck.
While I know my way around the kitchen, this certainly felt exotic and new. Plus I was skeptical that you could get such a unique and savory taste out of ordinary tomato sauce.
I was proved wrong, as this is an easy to make and delicious staple of our home now.
Serve over Basmati rice for the full experience.
Kung Pao Chickpeas (In a Slow Cooker!)
(Recipe image from Detoxinista)
Another somewhat exotic recipe that I was wary of at first but has come to be one of my favorite dishes period, with or without a slow cooker.
It takes a few ingredients that you may not have on hand (toasted sesame oil comes to mind) but it is well worth it once you put the whole thing together.
This was also the recipe that taught me the wonders of chickpeas. Vegans have found numerous ways to make these simple and unassuming legumes far more appetizing.
I add a bit more soy sauce than the recipe calls for because I like having more liquid to spoon over rice, but feel free to adjust as needed.
Simple Savory White Bean Soup
(Recipe image from One Lovely Life)
Another favorite here, there’s something about the heartiness of white beans that makes soups like this so fulfilling to eat.
After a small bowl you feel like you’ve just feasted.
Incredible taste and simple to make, plus it’s packed with nutrients. I’ve tried a few white bean soup recipes for slow cookers and this one edged the rest out.
Slow Cookers Make Vegan Cooking Easy
If you are trying to improve your diet with more vegan meal options, a slow cooker can become your best friend.
It is deceptively simple to create amazing and hearty meals that are 100% vegan with one of these.
The only trick is following the recipes to the letter when it comes to the amount of liquid you’re supposed to use.
When cooking with a slow cooker, the ratio of rice, pasta, or lentils to liquid is crucial, otherwise you’re going to wind up with an indigestible mash.
During the long cook times, pasta and lentils absorb a ton of liquid, and some of the liquid is also released as steam over the duration of the cook time as well. You can switch up the other ingredients a bit but until you are a slow cooker pro, stick to the recommended liquid amounts for best results (speaking from personal experience!)
Don’t settle for bananas and Oreo’s just because you’re a vegan in unfamiliar territory. Crafting delicious and rewarding vegan meals is easy with a slow cooker.
For the record we use this model Crock Pot that has a ton of settings and features, and is spacious enough to double most recipes you find online. This is important if you’re cooking for friends or guests and want them to share the vegan experience.