Easy vegan slow cooker recipes guaranteed to fill your home with delicious smells

Posted by for Food and Drink

Throw ingredients into your slow cooker around breakfast or midday and you’ll have a feast by the time evening rolls around. These vegan dinner recipes are an ideal place to start.

When it’s freezing cold outside, few things are more comforting than a home filled with the aroma of mouthwatering food simmering away on the stove. But it’s rare to have the time to spend hours standing in front of the hob, especially in the middle of the working week – which is why slow cookers are such an ingenious invention.

If you’re working from home right now, a slow cooker is a particularly wise investment. With only the tiniest bit of prep required, you’ll be able to fill yours with ingredients in the morning or on your lunch break, close the lid and let it simmer away. 

Not only will this fill your home with the scent of cooking throughout the day, creating a cosy vibe that we desperately need during January in lockdown, it’ll mean you have a warming meal ready to go by the evening – and those hours of cooking will have imbued your dish with lusciously deep, complex flavours.

Below, food writer Saskia Sidey shares three of her favourite recipes from her new book Vegan Slow Cooker (£10, Hamlyn). Her eight-hour Persian aubergine stew only requires the extra step of sautéing onions and garlic before everything is thrown in the slow cooker. You could do this the night before and store the mix in the fridge overnight, then chuck it into the cooker with the remaining ingredients in the morning. The result is a rich, tomatoey dish that’s the perfect balance of sweet, salty and sour.

For a dish worthy of lockdown birthday dinners, try the pulled jackfruit burgers, which can be prepped at lunchtime ready for serving in the evening. Made with canned young jackfruit spiced with smoked paprika, ginger and nutmeg, the burgers are accompanied by a citrussy homemade slaw for a delicious vegan feast.

And if you’re on the hunt for a reasonably speedy recipe, try Sidey’s corn chowder. Like the Persian stew, this dish includes a first step of sautéing onions, garlic and leek – but takes a maximum of 90 minutes in the slow cooker. Featuring thyme, lemon and a spicy garnish, it’s a warming and fragrant winter dish.

One final thing: all of the recipes below were tested in a 6.5 litre (11 ½ pint) slow cooker, so adjust quantities and cooking times according to the capacity of your slow cooker if necessary. Enjoy. 

  • Persian aubergine stew

    Vegan slow cooker recipes: Persian aubergine stew
    Vegan slow cooker recipes: Persian aubergine stew

    Saskia says: “This sweet and ever so slightly sour stew is rich and hearty. You could leave out whichever toppings you want to serve with it for your guests to help themselves.”

    Serves 4

    Preparation time: 25 minutes

    Cooking time: 8 hours

    Ingredients

    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 3–4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp cardamom pods, crushed, seeds removed and ground
    • 2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
    • 1 tsp ground turmeric
    • 2 aubergines, cut into 2 x 4cm wedges
    • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
    • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • salt and pepper

    To serve:

    • ready-made crispy shallots
    • handful of fresh herbs, such as parsley, mint, dill and/or coriander, chopped
    • pomegranate seeds
    • flatbreads, warmed

    Method

    Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and sauté for about 8–10 minutes until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and spices and cook for 1 minute.

    Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker and add all the remaining main ingredients. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 8 hours, checking occasionally and adding a splash of water if the stew looks dry.

    Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper and serve, sprinkled with the ready-made crispy shallots, fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds, with warmed flatbreads on the side. Some toasted flaked almonds scattered over make a tasty addition too.

  • Corn chowder

    Vegan slow cooker recipes: corn chowder
    Vegan slow cooker recipes: corn chowder

    Saskia says: “If you can’t find fresh corn, it’s fine to use frozen sweetcorn kernels instead – about 400g. You can get creative with the toppings/garnishes here instead of using charred corn and chilli – sprinkle with finely chopped coriander or parsley, or scatter croutons on top too.”

    Serves 4

    Preparation time: 25 minutes

    Cooking time: 1–1½ hours

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 large onion, finely sliced, or 1 leek, trimmed, cleaned and finely sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
    • 2 large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
    • 500ml hot vegan bouillon stock
    • 2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
    • 3 corn on the cob, kernels sliced from the cob, cobs reserved and a large handful of kernels reserved to garnish
    • juice of 1 unwaxed lemon, zest reserved to garnish
    • salt and pepper

    To garnish:

    • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
    • handful of chives, finely chopped

    Method

    Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion or leek and sauté for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

    Transfer the onion or leek and garlic to the slow cooker and add the potatoes, hot stock, thyme leaves and corn kernels, along with the cobs for extra corn flavour. Cover with the lid and cook on high for 1–1½ hours until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Season with the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

    Remove the cobs and serve immediately, sprinkled with the reserved corn kernels, charred in a pan, the reserved lemon zest and the finely chopped chilli and chives.

  • Pulled jackfruit burgers

    slow cooker vegan burger recipe
    Vegan slow cooker recipes: pulled jackfruit burger

    Saskia says: “These meaty and moreish burgers bring a real taste of barbecue indoors with minimal effort. You can also use the burger mixture to top jacket potatoes or polenta.”

    Serves 4

    Preparation time: 25 minutes

    Cooking time: 6 hours

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
    • 1 onion, finely sliced
    • 400g can young jackfruit, drained and rinsed
    • 300ml vegan cider
    • 150ml tomato ketchup
    • 50ml soy sauce
    • 50ml apple cider vinegar
    • 50g dark brown soft sugar
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    • 2 tsp garlic powder
    • salt and pepper

    For the slaw:

    • 200g mixed red and white cabbage, shredded
    • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
    • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
    • finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lime
    • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

    To serve:

    • 4 burger buns, halved and toasted

    Method

    Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and sauté for about 8 minutes until softened and lightly golden. Add the jackfruit and cook for a further 5 minutes.

    Transfer the jackfruit mixture to the slow cooker and add the remaining main ingredients, seasoning well with salt and pepper.

    Cover with the lid and cook on low for 6 hours until the jackfruit pulls apart easily with 2 forks.

    Mix together the cabbage, carrot and spring onions for the slaw in a bowl. Whisk together the lime zest and juice and oil, pour over the vegetables and toss to coat.

    Shred the jackfruit mixture and serve immediately in toasted burger buns, topped with the slaw.

    Vegan Slow Cooker: Over 70 Delicious Recipes For Stress-Free Meals by Saskia Sidey (£10, Hamlyn) is out now

Photography: William Shaw

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