What could be better than coming home from work to find a hot dinner cooked and waiting for you? Maybe waking up to find a hot breakfast waiting for you, but really, there aren’t too many things that are better than that. (Well, other than cats, chocolate and snow days.) For that reason, I love using my slow cooker, and I also recommend using them to my health coaching clients who lead busy lifestyles. Fortunately for all of us, Kathy Hester wrote Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just For You, which is great for small families or families of omnivores who have one or two vegan members.
Kathy’s first cookbook The Vegan Slow Cooker is the book that got me to use my slow cooker on a regular basis, so I was pretty excited to start using Vegan Slow Cooking for Two when it arrived. The book starts out with a little slow cooker primer along with some info on ingredients that may be unfamiliar to those new to a vegan diet. The first chapter is dedicated to easy do-it-yourself staples like seasoning mixes and homemade seitan. Kathy also introduces her Ahead-of-the-Game Big Batch of Cooked Onions for those who like precooked onions in their slow cooker dishes. Other chapters are dedicated to breakfasts, appetizers, soups, stews and chilies, one pot meals, taco and sandwich fillings, and drinks and desserts.
I have heard people say that slow cooker meals all tend to taste the same, but that’s a not a problem with the dishes in Vegan Slow Cooking for Two. The recipes are so varied that you can cook from it for months and never feel like you’re eating the same thing twice. The meals I tried were Mushroom Bourguingon with Pasta, Tomatillo and White Bean Chili (which I added some kale to), and Lentil Quinoa Tacos. Each one was delicious and better than the last! There are many more dishes on my to-try list such as Greeen Beans with Black Bean Sauce and Tofu, White Bean Quinoa Gumbo and Cheezy Butternut Squash Macaroni.
Breakfast in the slow cooker is a breeze. Simply place all of the ingredients into your slow cooker before going to bed, turn it on and wake up a delicious breakfast in the morning! There’s lots of variety here too. I tried both the Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Breakfast Quinoa and the Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burritos. Well, they were supposed to be burritos, but I only had small tortillas, so they turned out to be breakfast tacos, which is even better!
Most people probably don’t usually associate desserts with slow cookers, but it’s possible to make cakes, brownies and even cookies in your crockpot. I opted for a quick Chai-Spiced Apple Crumble for dessert, mainly because my fridge is overrun with apples. It only took an hour to cook, so I was able to prepare everything before I cooked our dinner, and dessert was ready for us when we were ready for it.
I have a Cuisinart 3 1/2 quart slow cooker, and it’s usually filled to the brim or overflowing when I follow recipes in other slow cooker cookbooks. Kathy recommends using a small 1.5 quart slow cooker for the recipes in Vegan Slow Cooking for Two, but everything cooked up just right in my medium-sized one. I did double a few of the recipes, but for the most part, the dishes were perfect for both Dennis and I, and there was usually enough leftover that one us could have lunch the next day.
If you often find yourself too busy to cook in the evenings, you really need to get your hands on Vegan Slow Coking for Two by Kathy Hester. The dishes come together quickly, so you can just pop the ingredients in your crockpot before work and you’ll come home to a tasty hot meal in the evening. The recipes are varied and creative, the ingredients are easy to find and the meals are delicious. The book is also packed with with mouthwatering photos from photographer Kate Lewis, so you might just find yourself flipping through it and drooling over the pages.
Be sure to check out my interview with Kathy on Chic Vegan too! http://chicvegan.com/interview-series-kathy-hester/