When I first switched to plant-based cooking and vegan diet I thought that I would never need to use my beloved slow cooker again. For those of you who are not familiar with this kitchen gadget, slow cooker, also called a crock-pot, is a handy kitchen tool for those recipes that require long cooking times, and is usually used to slow cook tougher pieces of meat, or bean dishes, like chilis. The key part of the slow cooker is a heavy ceramic of porcelain pot, that sits in a heater element that provides constant low heat. The gadget is especially handy for busy families since you can set everything up, turn it on, and come back to a cooked meal within four to eight (sometimes twelve) hours.
Having said this, why did I think my slow cooker using days were over when I transitioned into the vegan diet? Well, I started eating more raw or gently cooked vegetables, and did not quite see the point of cooking something for hours on end if I can get it done in less than half an hour using traditional methods. However, I soon realized that cooking food low and slow has an added benefit of infusing lots of flavor into things that would otherwise taste bland or for dishes that just need plenty of aroma to carry them over and through the taste buds.
Once I realized that, the beloved slow cooker was back and I’ve been using for stews, BBQ flavor infused dishes, and things like chicken-less tikka masala and curries. Oh, and my newest discovery has been an amazing spice-infused apple butter!
So I was excite to see “The Vegan Slow Cooker, Revised and Expanded“, a recently released cookbook by Kathy Hester, a blogger behind Healthy Slow Cooking. Building on the success of “The Vegan Slow Cooker“, Kathy is now offered a refreshed cookbook that includes everything from a chapter that provides some vegan slow cooker basics, to soups, stews, casseroles, as well as many, many great main dish recipes. The most surprising, at least to me, was to see chapters focused on breads, desserts and breakfast!
This cookbook is rich with recipes, ideas, tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your slow cooker, or the slow cooker mode on an advanced pressure cooker. No matter what you choose to try, slow cooking is the method you should definitely add to your arsenal of strategies of getting the home cooked meals on your family table with the least amount of effort. Enjoy!
Chickpea Cacciatore with Potatoes
DISCLAIMER: Recipe reprinted with permission from The Vegan Slow Cooker, Revised and Expanded: Simply Set It and Go with 160 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Fresh from the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot® by Kathy Hester.
Here’s a completely plant-based one-pot meal that will satisfy the hungriest at your table. The potatoes and chickpeas are filling and full of nutrients. The sauce and the rest of the veggies make a sauce that packs a flavor punch.
gluten-free soy-free no oil added
1 bag (24 ounces, or 680 g) baby potatoes, quartered
2 cans (15 ounces, or 425 g each) chickpeas, drained (save liquid to use as aquafaba in other recipes)
1 pound (504 g) mushrooms, sliced (can use all white, baby bella, or a combo)
2 cups (300 g) chopped bell pepper (use multiple colors if you can)
3 carrots, cut into coins
1 can (28 ounces, or 784 g) crushed tomatoes
¼ cup (60 ml) red wine (or 2 tablespoons [30 ml] balsamic vinegar)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground rosemary
½cup (50 g) pitted black olives (optional)
yield: 6 servings
equipment: 5-to 6-quart slow cooker
cooking time: 7 to 9 hours on low
the night before: cut up the veggies. Add veggies and drained chickpeas to a sealable container, and mix. You can mix all the sauce ingredients together now, or wait until morning. Store everything in the fridge.
in the morning: mix the sauce and veggie-chickpea mixture together in your slow cooker. Cook on low 7 to 9 hours.
Garnish with pitted black olives, if desired.
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Vegan Slow Cooker, Revised and Expanded: Simply Set It and Go with 160 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Fresh from the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot® by Kathy Hester.