For many families, back to school means more than just ticking items off the school supplies list. To tackle each week, there’s no better friend of the weekday family meal than the mighty slow cooker.
Load ingredients in during your morning routine, and come home from work, school and soccer practice to a home full of comforting aromas. Dishes are usually meant to feed a crowd and reheat (or freeze for later) just as well. Here are a few good ones from the Small Bites recipe archives, courtesy of Spices and Seasons and I Eat Plants.
A hearty one dish slow cooker meal that marries pork, root vegetables and a touch of sweetness from prunes.
- 3 tomatoes or 1 cup strained tomatoes
- 3 cups of low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 medium sized white onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
- 2 pods garlic, minced
- Salt to taste
- 2 green serrano chilies, finely chopped
- 1 pound of pork, loin or shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup of white dried canneleni beans
- 2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup of chopped dried prunes
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 mild red chilies such as Ancho peppers
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 lime
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- Pomegranate and Corn Salsa
- Place the tomatoes in a blender and grind to a paste.
- Pour into a slow cooker and add in the tomatoes, onion, ginger and garlic and the salt and mix well.
- Stir in the green chilies and set to 8 hours of low cooking.
- After about 3 hours the mixture should be simmering add in the pork and canneleni beans with potatoes and carrots and let this cook for another 4 hours.
- Add in the prunes, sugar and some more water if needed.
- Heat the chilies and the cumin in a small skillet and grind into a powder.
- Stir into the stew and cook for another hour.
- Cut the lime, stir in the cilantro and mix well.
- Serve with the salsa and rice if desired.
- 1/2 tbs olive oil (or spray a non-stick pan)
- 2 large onions, minced
- 8-10 cloves of garlic, minced (or more or less to taste)
- 1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes (or equivalent)
- 1 tbs homemade or store-bought vegan pesto (or an ice cube's worth); if not available, 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried organo (or more to taste)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup (vegan) red wine, or 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- tomato paste (optional)
- salt, peper and crushed red pepper to taste
- fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, etc. to taste, optional)
- Sautee the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until soft and fragrant. Just before they're done, add any dried herbs you're using, including oregano and crushed red pepper.
- Deglaze the pan with red wine or balsamic vinegar.
- Transfer all the ingredients before the fresh herbs to the slow cooker. If it looks too thing, add tomato paste.
- Cook on low all day, or up to 8 hours.
- A few minutes before serving, add the chopped fresh herbs to the slow cooker. Taste for seasoning; add as needed.
- Serve with your favorite meals that call for marinara sauce!
This is a simple one dish slow cooked lamb curry that tastes better the day after it is made.
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 medium sized red onion, grated
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 11/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
- 1 large stick cinnamon
- 3-4 pods cardamom, lightly bruised
- 4 cloves
- 2 pounds of boneless, leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat and cubed
- 4 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and halved
- 3 tablespoons dark black raisins
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons slivered or sliced almonds
- Chopped cilantro to garnish
- Place the oil, cumin powder, coriander powder, onion, garlic, ginger and the tomatoes in the slow cooker. Mix in the salt, sugar, granny smith apples, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and mix well with the lamb. Cover and set to cook on high for 6 hours.
- After four hours of cooking, mix well and add in the potatoes, raisins and the water and mix well and cook for another 2 hours.
- Turn off the heat and let this rest for 15 minutes. Serve with rice or bread garnished with the almonds and cilantro.
A simple nourishing red lentil soup, that is made with a chockfull of carrots and tomatoes, laced with spices, herbs and lime.
- 3/4 cup split red lentils (masuur dal)
- 2 red onions, diced
- 4 medium sized carrots (about 3/4 pounds, cut into 3 inch sizes)
- 5 cups of water or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 head of fresh garlic, coarsely chopped or 10 pods of garlic
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin
- 4 cloves
- 1 large stick cinnamon
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 6 tomatoes, diced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Salt to taste
- Fresh Lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- 4 tablespoons fresh whole yogurt
- 1 tablespoons red pepper flakes or to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- Place the red lentils, onions, carrots, chicken broth or water, ginger, garlic and cumin with the cloves and cinnamon and set the slow cooker on high for 4 hours.
- About hours into the game, the ingredients should be simmering briskly and the lentils should be swollen and large.
- Add in the olive oil, tomatoes, sugar and salt and continue simmer for another two hours.
- Cool slightly.
- Remove the cinnamon, puree the lentils with an immersion or regular blender adding some extra water as needed to make it a smooth soup like texture.
- Stir in the fresh lime juice and the cilantro.
- Serve in soup bowls.
- Beat the yogurt and add over the soup and sprinkle with red pepper flakes and the mint.