Share your favorite veggie-friendly crock pot recipes

January 14 |
By: Bunches and Bits {Karina}CC BY 2.0
When daydreaming of my future self, I always thought that I would whip up some genius meal in the crockpot that my family could just come home to. Now as a mom, wife and vegetarian, my poor crock pot sits abandoned in a cabinet that requires me to set up a ladder to access. I love making homemade soup and prefer to do them fresh on the stove and almost all of the crock pot recipes call for meat. My husband is a meat-eater so most of our nights we make a basic dish that he then adds meat to after I serve myself. Now that it's winter I am yearning for the delicious smells of dinner in the crock pot that I remember from childhood.

What veggie-friendly meals do you cook in your crock pots? Thoughts on using meat-substitutions in recipes? Help us expand our meals by liberating this poor, neglected appliance! -Kerby


Alrighty, Homies. Let's do some veggie crock pot recipe crowdsourcing! Share links to your favorite veggie-friendly crock pot recipes in the comments, and let's all make our kitchens smell AWESOME.

  1. I love some vegetable chili! And if you get a little packet of ground beef, the meat-eaters in your family can fry it up and add it to their portion. Lentil soup is also great, and meat-eaters can sprinkle bacon bits on top or add chopped ham for some extra meaty-flavor.

    1 agrees
  2. When I was vegetarian I would make a nice veggie stew in it, and then my husband would add bits of bacon or chicken on top of his.

    1 agrees
  3. I can't wait to get some ideas from what other people share here.

    It's possible to cook dried beans from scratch in your slow-cooker, either on their own or in a soup, etc. They do benefit from a presoak though; even with that they take several hours to cook.

    I haven't tried this veggie curry recipe yet, but it's on my to-do list. Does anyone else have slow-cooker curry recipes to share? I'd love some more!

    http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-vegetable-curry-with-couscous/ebf67796-38c1-454b-996c-b4f61522cb37

    1 agrees
  4. I'm a big fan of http://www.eatingwell.com

    They aren't exclusivley veg but they have a decent selection of veg recipes and, more importantly, the recipes are usually tasty AND reasonably healthy.

    I would check out their crock-pot slideshows for veg recipes.

    1 agrees
  5. http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Tasty-Lentil-Tacos

    This is one of my favourite veggie recipes for the slow cooker, it isn't designed specifically for a slow cooker per say but I do it in the slow cooker all the time.

    Another big one for us is stews, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, beans, veg. You name it, we throw it in there with some veggie stock and let it simmer all day long.

    We don't use our slow cooker much to be honest, except for in the winter, but it is wonderful to pull out on occasion.

    0 agree
    • Oh, squash cooks really well in slow cookers as well. I usually throw my spaghetti squash in there in the morning with a couple cups of water, then when I get home I prepare whatever we want to top or go with the squash. That way my squash is finished and I don't have to wait an hour for it (I don't own a microwave so its either the slow cooker or the oven for me).

      1 agrees
  6. the first rule of cooking, crock pot or not, is to learn how to make stock (veg or meat eater- learn how to make the stock!!)

    stock will be a building block for everything you put in a crockpot…

    2 agree
    • I make my own stock pretty much monthly and I will NEVER go back to store bought. Making it is so easy and so much tastier. People are always so baffled by it- like I'm some kind of mystic kitchen spirit or something. They think I'm weird and crazy, but it's the best way.

      1 agrees
  7. I love to use my crock pot for easy no-fuss, no-prep recipes. My favorite variation uses dried split peas and is totally VEGAN.

    1 Cup dry split peas
    3 Cups water
    1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    1 jar or pouch simmer sauce (curry, or those new Campbell's sauces work well)
    Add extra vegetables to taste.
    Cook on high at least 4 hours, or longer for softer peas.
    Serve over rice or brown rice.

    1 agrees
    • And on the topic of meat-substitutes, there is more variety than you think!
      Tofu crumbles (TVP), cooked lentils, cooked peas, and/or chopped walnuts work in just about any recipe that requires ground beef.

      0 agree
      • or quinoa – i make chili with quinoa and it's great. if you do it in the slow cooker, you need to precook the quinoa and use less than you think! :)

        5 agree
        • I love quinoa! Lately, I like to make it with a little sugar, anise seeds, sesame seeds, and walnuts (or almonds, whatever I have on hand).

          It adds a Maltese flavor to it, that totally reminds of my mom's cooking.

          2 agree
        • I have found that quinoa actually cooks fine in the slow cooker as long as there is enough liquidy items in the dish, like tomatoes or veggie stock. And yes, I second the advice to use way less than you think! 1/3 cup of uncooked quinoa is the max I would use.

          0 agree
      • Bulgur!! My favorite chili recipe (which I will post here later when I'm at home) uses lentils and bulgur…

        0 agree
        • Bulgur is also really good in vegetarian sloppy joes. I've never made it in the slow cooker, but it looks like there are lots of recipes out there. Mine involves bulgur, pinto beans, carrot, bell pepper, onion, diced tomatoes, etc. Sorry I can't find a link to it right now!

          0 agree
    • I LOVE Split Pea Soup! I add carrots and celery to mine and you can use a match-"sausage" if you want to add some variety.

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      • My recipe above isn't so much a soup as peas & vegetables with a thick sauce (like a curry dish).
        But I suppose it could be modified with extra water and carrots to make a tasty soup!

        0 agree
  8. Have you considered using our crock pot for desserts? Google slow cooker dessert recipes and you might be pleasantly surprised to see what you'll find.

    3 agree
  9. white beans!
    i soak 2 c white beans in water in the crock pot overnight. in the morning, i dump the water, add fresh water (enough to go 1/2" over the beans +
    1/2 c olive oil
    1/2 c white wine
    3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
    pinch of salt
    rosemary, thyme, and pepper to taste

    let it go all day, and by dinner it's DELICIOUS.

    0 agree
  10. I made a chicken taco recipe, however it only calls for 2 chicken breasts for about 14 portions of dinner so I reckon you could probably leave it out and it would still be super tasty.

    2 cans kidney beans
    2 cans pinto beans
    2 cans corn
    1small can tomatoes w/ chilli
    1 large cn crushed tomatoes
    1 packet taco seasoning
    1 packet ranch seasoning

    Drain and rinse the beans, drain the corn,
    Throw it all in the crockpot on low for 8 hours

    Serve in hard taco shells with cheese and sour cream

    2 agree
    • I make veggie chilli in my crockpot like this:

      Two tins tomato, two tins whatever beans I have, homemade fajita/taco/whatever seasoning, leave it on for hours, then about 15 mins before the end stir through some tahini and frozen spinach. It's so tasty and a total store cupboard favourite in our house. (We're not even veggie.)

      0 agree
  11. You can use your crockpot overnight to make steelcut oats.

    steelcut oats
    water/milk
    cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves
    raisins
    honey/maple syrup/sugar (optional)

    Set on warm and go to bed. When you wake up, the house will smell like cinnamon heaven and breakfast will be ready.

    3 agree
  12. Here's what I made last night:

    Take 1 large onion, dice it, and throw it in the bottom of the crockpot on high with 2 T olive oil. Add 2 minced cloves of garlic. Then gather your ingredients while those heat.

    2 cups of cubed butternut squash (you can buy it cut up if you are feeling lazy)
    2 cubed potatoes
    2 diced carrots
    1 diced red pepper
    2 sliced Tofurkey sausages
    2 diced tomatoes
    1 1/2 Tablespoons Berbere powder, or 2 tsp. of your favorite curry powder, depending on your mood. At the end, taste and add additional seasoning as you wish. The amount here really depends on the freshness of the spices and the mix itself, so start with less and add more if you are unsure.

    When you've gathered all these ingredients, toss in the crockpot and stir. Pour in enough veggie stock to cover the veggies plus 1/2 inch. High for four hours or low for eight. Salt to taste (unless you can find sodium free stock, which is hard, you probably don't want to add salt).

    1 agrees
    • I'd love to know what you think of it. I borrowed Robin Robertson's
      Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker from a friend. Most of the recipes so far have been serviceable but underwhelming (the Sweet Potato-Chipotle Chili is fantastic, however). More amazing vegan slow-cooker meals, please!

      0 agree
    • I was able to borrow this book from my local library (score, right?). I've tried the beefy stew and the weekend hash brown casserole. Both are great :)

      0 agree
  13. Beans!
    The easiest meal in the world. Start the night before:
    Take 1lb. dry beans (I usually use pinto or black, but other types of beans work just as well).
    Rinse well then add water to fill crock pot. Add some salt and cook all night.
    Stir in the morning and add more water/salt as needed.
    Have beans when you get home!
    I usually serve mine with cornbread or tortillas.

    0 agree
    • Yes! My current favorite is white beans. I throw in some fresh chopped garlic and a sprig of rosemary. I also like to throw in some chicken-y bouillon* at the last minute.

      *Better than Bouillon No Chicken and No Beef bases are lifesavers.

      2 agree
  14. I've made some pretty awesome vegetarian minestrone in the crock pot — it's basically veggie stock & tomato juice as the broth, plus some sort of cooked dried beans (I think I used kidney beans…), assorted veggies (e.g. green beans, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, summer squash…) chopped into small-ish bits, and season it with basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, salt & pepper… If you have a parmesan rind, throw that in there for some extra flavour (assuming it doesn't conflict with dietary restrictions). Also, veggie soups are often better if you add a little bit of oil — there are a lot of flavours that are fat-soluble, and you won't really get those without some sort of fat for them to dissolve in. Serve the minestrone with bread and grated parmesan cheese.

    1 agrees
  15. You can make your own seitan in a slow cooker! It's easy and smells great while it's cooking. Just Google until you find a recipe that looks good.

    1 agrees
    • Any recs for a great recipe that works? My last two attempts at seitan have failed miserably.

      1 agrees
  16. favorite at my house is:
    one bag southern style hash browns
    one carton veggie broth
    1 cup water
    cook in crockpot for 8 hours on low or 4 on high

    add 1 cup of milk and 8 ounces shredded cheese and cook on high for 20 – 30 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

    serve with chives, extra cheese and bacon for the meat eaters. :)

    0 agree
    • I'm going to try this later this week. Thanks!

      0 agree
  17. I am a sucker for vegetarian cookbooks. We have used many recipes from this one:
    "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker" by Robin Robertson.

    I just made stuffed green peppers in the crockpot last week. Yum! Curry works well too…if you use cauliflower in a crockpot vegetable curry, the cauliflower will dissolve and make a great, thick, curry!

    1 agrees
  18. I make potato gratin in the crockpot as an easy side, omnivores can easily top their plate with some bacon crumbles. This time of year I love making butternut squash soup in the crockpot. Since its a pureed soup its easy to let it cook all day and not worry about the vegetables getting mushy.

    0 agree
  19. I make this for my mom who is a vegetarian

    16 oz bag of lentils (yellow ones look best)
    4 cups water or half water half veg broth
    A medium butternut and/or acorn squash peeled and diced
    4 Med sweet potatoes diced small
    1 pound diced or shredded carrots
    3 Med sliced onions + 1 tbsp minced garlic
    2 tbsp oil
    Peanuts
    1 can condensed milk
    Curry to taste

    In a fry pan saute the onions and garlic and peanuts in oil then place in the bottom of the crockpot with the sweet potatoes, squash and carrots on top of them with the water/broth and curry
    Cook on high for 4 hrs or low for 6 then add the pound of lentils and turn on high for 1 hour (if you want to make this a creamed soup toss the lentils in at the start and blend with beaters when done)
    Optional…add some or all of the can of milk.
    Add any extra seasonings you choose

    1 agrees
  20. Also for breakfast there are stratas
    This is a mix of bread pudding and a quiche

    1/2 a loaf of bread ( if it is going stale it will work fine, if it is fresh then let the bread slices sit spread out for an hour)
    8 eggs
    8 oz of cheese
    Sauted onions, peppers, garlic and chopped broccoli
    2 cups milk
    Oil

    OIL THE CROCK POT (no really oil the hell out of it if you don't use a crockpot liner…every egg dish I have ever made in the crock pot has left a big mess if not oiled enough)
    Shred the bread up into chunks and layer it in the crockpot with the veggies and the cheese
    In the blender froth up the eggs and milk and pour them over the layers, use a fork to make sure the bread is soaked through.
    Cook on high for 3 hrs or low for 4.5
    Sprinkle more cheese on top right before serving.

    You can bake this dish in the oven but you have to soak the bread in the egg/milk mix in the fridge for an hour first.

    0 agree
  21. Baked beans! Home made baked beans are not even comparable to the tinned ones. You can set them to cook overnight and have them freshly made for breakfast in the morning!

    0 agree
  22. I make stuffing in mine (usually just for thanksgiving, but it's so good, I should do it more often). You have to do some stovetop prep first though.

    Saute 2.5 cups chopped celery and 2.5 cups chopped onions in butter (about 1/2 stick) until onions are soft. Put 15 cups bread chunks (dried unseasoned work best) into the crock pot. Add buttery celery and onions and stir well. Add whatever spices you like best, I usually add paprika, oregano, salt, black pepper and a little bit of cumin. Then add a beaten egg (if you eat them) and vegetable broth enough to moisten the rest of the bread (not too soggy). If you don't eat eggs, just add a little more broth–not too much though. Then stir it all up really well. I top mine with some seasoned bread crumbs and a little parmesean cheese. Cook on high for 1 hr, low for a couple more (2? until it starts to puff up). YUM YUM YUM! This recipe feeds about 15 people so obviously cut it down if you are not making a feast. :)

    1 agrees
  23. Crock pot falafel!
    It is tasty and delicious. If you have more time and want a crispier outside, spoon out the falafel and put them in a muffin tin to bake. Healthier than frying and OH SO GOOD! This is in the rotation on the regular in my house. Actually, we just ate it last night. It is SO filling too. We are big time meat eaters, but with this recipe you don't feel like you've missed anything.
    http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/05/crockpot-falafel-recipe.html

    1 agrees
  24. I combined a few crockpot recipes to create something I call "veggie explosion".  I include some chopped-up fresh veggies that I sauté for a few minutes, but if you don't feel like doing that, you can just throw in all canned veggies and the quinoa.  It's packed with nutrients and you can mix up the seasoning for extra flavors. I like to top it with shredded cheese and chives.
     
    Here's the recipe – it makes enough for a week or so, depending on how hungry y'all are!
     
    In a pan, sautée for 5 mins.:
     
    – 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
    – 1/2 onion, chopped (or more if you really like onions)
    – 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
    – 3 carrots, chopped
    – 3 celery stalks, chopped
    – 2 red bell peppers, chopped
     
    Then combine in crockpot all sautéed veggies plus:
     
    – 1 15 oz. can black beans, with liquid
    – 1/3 cup quinoa (uncooked)
    – 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    – 1 can some other beans, rinsed and drained (kidney, navy, or more black beans if you like)
    – 1 28 oz. can tomatoes (diced or puréed or whole, whichever)
    – 1 small can (4 or 6 oz.?) tomato sauce/paste
    – 1 can corn, drained
    – Spices!  I used 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tbsp. dried basil, and 2 tbsp. Bragg's Organic Sprinkle (mix of various herbs/spices)
     
    Cook on Low for 3-5 hours.  Add more tomato sauce OR some veggie broth if more liquid is needed/desired.

    0 agree
  25. I actually just did a crock pot of veggi soup. I made a sort of improvised tomato soup. Tossed some spices, white beans, a can of tomato sauce, and some water together-then decided that it wasn't QUITE where I wanted it so I added carrots, garlic, and another can (I'm trying to go through my over abundance of canned foods) of vegetables in to go with. It turned out pretty ok.

    I think my favorite thing to do though is sweet pineapple tofu curry. Just use some cream of coconut, water, a little salt, potatoes, carrots, and curry- I tend to toss the pineapple and tofu in when it's nearly done.(since I'm not vegetarian I also use milk and butter if I have them- but I've made it without and it's still very good.) Serve it over rice or in a bread bowl and it's super yummy! I wish I had more of a recipe for you but I do all of my cooking by sight and taste lol!

    I'm not vegetarian but since meat and things like milk and butter are expensive and don't last very long I tend to have more veggi friendly meals. :) you can make some really fun meals with the crock pot- honestly I'm enamored with mine, I think I use it every day actually.

    0 agree
  26. So many good ideas! I use my crock pot all the time to make exclusively vegan dishes. Two of my favorites are apple risotto for breakfast and enchilada casserole that gets completely eaten immediately.
    Here's a link to an apple risotto recipe (not a vegan recipe, but easy to veganize). http://momswithcrockpots.com/2011/10/apple-cinnamon-breakfast-risotto/
    There are lots of recipes for crockpot enchilada casseroles, most containing meat. You can use a meat substitute (soy curls are very chicken-like) but I like to just use beans in mine.

    1 agrees
  27. Also an easy idea: make your stock in the crock pot. When I have enough bits of cheese rind and veggie peelings and nubbins I chuck it all in the crock pot on low with lots of water in the morning and take care of packing up the stock and washing the crock pot with the dinner cleanup.

    1 agrees
  28. Oh! Oh! And tomato sauce! Our neighbor gave us two grocery bags full of tomatoes this past summer and I made sauce until it was coming out of our ears. I use rough chopped tomatoes (I just pile them in until the crock pot is about 3/4 full), tomato paste (a half can for a small crock pot or a whole can for my 7 quart one), salt, pepper, herbs, and sugar to taste. Cook until it's all broken down and blend with an immersion blender if it's too chunky for you. I love this because it freezes well. I had a bunch for us, and I also gave some to my mother and my in-laws.

    2 agree
  29. Thank you everyone for the delicious ideas! I have never been a bean person but it seems to be the thing I'm missing out on here so I may need to adventure out a bit.

    0 agree
  30. I didn't use my slow cooker as often either, until I made a point to move it to a more accessible cabinet! Often, I start soups on the stove in the morning, browning the onion & garlic, etc, but then transfer them to the crock pot for the rest of the day to let the flavors mingle. Also, a friend of mine just posted this on my FB wall. I am about to try it today, actually, since I love roasted veggies.

    http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/01/10/how-to-roast-vegetables-in-the-slow-cooker/

    0 agree

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