As I turn the calendar to November, I start to seek out the aromas of late fall. Among the best is the smell of a meal percolating away in the slow cooker. When I “set it and forget it” on a chilly morning, there’s nothing better than walking through the door and breathing in what smells like a dinner someone has spent all day cooking just for me.
Slow cookers are terrific for chicken and beef dishes, for sure. But part of my healthy eating plan this fall is to enjoy more meatless meals—and the slow cooker is my friend in that category too. Here are some easy, delicious ways to have fall meals that smell as great as they taste.
Veggie Chili starts with rinsed canned beans (black, white, pink or red all work!) and is only limited by your imagination from there. Some possibilities include carrots, peppers, chili powder, garlic and a can or two of diced tomatoes in their liquid. Turn up the heat with cayenne, or keep it mellow without sacrificing flavor.
Lentil Soup is easy to make in the slow cooker—2 cups of lentils plus 8 cups of vegetable broth, simmered all day, does the trick. Add seasonal vegetables like cubed butternut squash, carrots or onion, and turn up the flavor even more with some thyme, rosemary, or sage.
Risotto is a delicious, filling base that can pair with any and all of your favorite fall vegetables. Stir olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs and vegetables that strike your fancy together with uncooked Arborio rice. After adding it to the slow cooker, pour a combination of vegetable broth and white wine over the rice in a ratio of roughly 1 part rice to 4 parts liquid. The risotto will be done in around two and a half hours. Favorite vegetable ideas are acorn squash, sweet potato, and mushrooms. Stir in some frozen peas during the last half hour of cooking for a green pop—and don’t forget to be generous with the Parmesan before serving!
What are your favorite vegetarian slow cooker meals?