Slow Cooking for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
Slow cookers are often thought of as just for tenderising meat by cooking meat low ‘n’ slow, but there’s a world of possibility for those following vegetarian and vegan diets too!
If you’re unsure about which size or slow cooker features would suit you best, take a look at our guide to the best slow cookers to buy.
Many of our meat-based recipes can be easily made vegetarian by removing or substituting the meat for a veggie alternative, and there are certain ingredients and recipes that are perfect for veggie slow cooking!
You don’t need to pre-cook any of your vegetables, the slow cooker will do it all!
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You could use this slow cooker in many of our recipes. It has a removable, washable inner pot so you can use it on the hob to brown onions.
If you have an Instant Pot you can speed up dinner by pressure cooking: our guide to converting recipes to a slow cooker or pressure cooker is a handy reference.
Beans and pulses are a great source of filling fibre and bulking out dishes to keep your batch cooks budget-friendly.
You can cook a Vegan Chilli in the slow cooker using store cupboard staples for a simple, tasty family dinner that tastes as good as it looks!
If you’re looking for something with a bit more of a “meaty” texture, try jackfruit! It has grown in popularity over the past few years and even Vicky Pattison chose jackfruit as her Magic Ingredient on our Podcast!
Jackfruit lends itself really well to slow cooking and you can use it in place of pretty much any meat for a “pulled” texture.
Our Vegan Campfire Stew is a vegan twist on one of our most popular recipes. Savoury, hearty and warming, a bowl of this stew is perfect served with a pile of fluffy rice or a crusty wholemeal roll. Just wait until it’s bubbling away: you’ll have a mouth-watering aroma filling the kitchen to build up an appetite.
Just don’t be tempted to lift the lid – each time you do, you’ll need to extend the cooking time by around 30 minutes!
Just because a recipe has meat in it, doesn’t mean you can’t make them veggie with a few simple swaps. As long as your base sauce is slow cooker friendly, you can switch out the meat for lentils, mushrooms, beans or meat alternatives like Quorn.
A perfect example is this Chinese Chicken Curry.
Swap out the chicken and you have a tasty sauce, slow cooked to perfection and ready for whatever veggies you want to throw in or have leftover in the fridge.
Slow cooking isn’t just for dinner though! You can use your slow cooker to make delicious desserts with minimal effort.
Pudding rice is a great ingredient for the slow cooker as it absorbs moisture over time and you can prepare it in advance.
It’s also a versatile pudding and you can add whatever flavour you like.
We like a lightly spiced Chai Rice Pudding but you could experiment with a flavoured milk alternative like hazelnut milk or dark chocolate almond milk for a rich, cheap dessert that’s full of flavour.
In the same way, it’s also worth having some porridge in the cupboard. If your slow cooker has a timer, you can add porridge and dairy-free milk or water and set it to start cooking ready for a warming bowl of porridge when you wake up.
We have lots of flavours for inspiration, including Tiramisu Overnight Oats recipes for flavour inspiration.
The only limit is your imagination!
Believe it or not, you can even make a deliciously rich tomato sauce in the slow cooker too!
No need for several pots and pans, throw all of these Chicken Cacciatore ingredients (apart from the meat) in the machine and you’ll end up with a tomatoey, rich sauce that works with any side including pasta, potatoes or fluffy mash.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some vegetables have a higher water content than others and can go mushy if they’re overcooked.
To prevent this, add veggies like mushrooms and cherry tomatoes half an hour before the end of cooking so they stay firm and tasty.
What are your favourite slow cooker recipes?
Share your tips and tricks for Slow Cooking for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets over in our Facebook Group! With nearly 1m members, you’re sure to find amazing support, inspiration and motivation to help you on your weight loss journey.