5 Great Vegan Family-Friendly Slow Cooker Recipes

The slow cooker is one of our favourite kitchen gadgets – and perfect for making these family friendly vegan meals.

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Think of slow cooker recipes, and most of us will imagine rich, meaty stews. But this versatile kitchen helper is great for saving time when it comes to family-friendly vegan meals too. Here are six delicious dishes to try.

1Pinto Bean Enchiladas

These can be put together quickly and will give you six enchiladas. You’ll need: a can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed; 150g sweetcorn kernels; 1 onion, diced; 3 garlic cloves, minced; 1tbsp chopped green chilli; 2tsp cumin; 1tsp oregano; salt & freshly ground black pepper; 6 medium tortillas. You’ll also need enchilada sauce, either shop-bought or home-made.

Mix together the pinto beans, sweetcorn, onion, garlic, chilli, cumin and oregano in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon around half of the enchilada sauce onto the bottom of your slow cooker. Divide the filling equally between the six tortillas, rolling each one tightly and placing it in the slow cooker seam-side down. (Layer them if necessary.) Spoon over the remaining sauce and cook for 2-3 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low. Serve with avocado slices, fresh coriander (cilantro) and spring onion (scallions).

Get the full recipe here.

2Butternut Squash Soup

This soup has a wonderfully creamy texture, thanks to the combination of coconut milk and the squash itself. You’ll need: 1 medium onion, chopped; 3kg butternut squash, cubed; 2 medium apples, cored and diced; 500ml vegetable stock; 1tsp salt; ½ tsp ground nutmeg; ¼ tsp black pepper; ¼ tsp cayenne pepper; 175ml coconut milk.

If you have time, heat some oil in a pan and sauté the onion for about 8 minutes, until soft and translucent, before transferring to the slow cooker. If not, put them straight in. Add all the other ingredients except the coconut milk, and stir. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Add the coconut milk and purée to your preferred texture in a blender or food processor. Serve topped with toasted pumpkin seeds or chopped fresh sage.

Get the full recipe here.

3Masala Lentils

Rich in iron and protein, this is milder and sweeter than a curry – so more likely to appeal to younger palates. You’ll need: 1 onion, chopped; 3 garlic cloves, minced; 1tbsp fresh ginger, minced or 1tsp ground ginger; 350g green, brown or pardina lentils; 1 litre vegetable stock; 400g can chopped tomatoes;   or brown lentils; 50g tomato puree; tsp maple syrup; ¾ tsp salt; 1.5tsp garam masala; 225g coconut milk; 2tsp tamarind paste (optional – adds tartness); freshly ground black pepper.

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker apart from the coconut milk. Stir well. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Check to see if the lentils need more liquid during the last hour or so of cooking and add extra stock if necessary. When ready, stir in the coconut milk. Serve with rice, quinoa or your favourite whole grain and with chopped, fresh herbs sprinkled over.

Get the full recipe here.

4Puttanesca Pizza

You can even make pizza in your slow cooker – who knew? This makes one pizza and will serve two as a main dish. You’ll need: 225g plain flour; 1.5tsp instant yeast; ½ tsp salt; ½ tsp Italian seasoning; 1tbsp olive oil; approx. 125ml warm water. For the sauce: 100g tomatoes, chopped; 2tbsp olives (optional); 1tbsp capers, rinsed & drained (optional); ¼ tsp dried basil; ¼ tsp dried oregano; ¼ tsp garlic powder or one garlic clove, finely minced; ¼ tsp sugar; ¼ tsp chilli flakes; salt & freshly ground black pepper; 75g grated vegan mozzarella.

Lightly oil the inside of a large bowl. In a food processor, combine the flour, yeast, salt and Italian seasoning. Add the oil slowly through the feeder tube, followed by enough warm water to form a slightly sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes, until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in the prepared bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise – around 1 hour at room temperature. In the meantime, mix together all the sauce ingredients except the vegan mozzarella, if using.

Coat the slow cooker insert with oil or non-stick spray. Punch down the dough and, on a lightly floured surface, flatten it and shape it to fit inside your slow cooker. Place inside and top with the sauce. Before putting on the lid, drape the slow-cooker with a clean tea towel – this will prevent condensation from dripping onto the pizza. Cook for 1 hour 45 minutes on high. If using the vegan mozzarella, sprinkle on the pizza 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Get the full recipe here.

5Ratatouille

This is such a versatile dish – great for topping jacket potatoes or bruschetta, filling calzone or pancakes, or having as a side. You’ll need: 400g can chopped tomatoes, 1 aubergine (eggplant), cubed; 2 courgettes (zucchini), cubed; 1 red, 1 green & 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks; 1 onion, chopped; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 1tsp Italian seasoning; 1tbsp tomato purée; salt & freshly ground black pepper.

Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker, except the tomato purée. Mix well. Cook for 3.5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Stir in the tomato purée and cook uncovered for a further 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or chives before serving if desired.

Get the full recipe here.

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