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by Cora L. Diekman

Potato and Corn Chowder

Lots of chowder recipes call for chicken stock, but it’s simple to swap this ingredient out for veggie broth without sacrificing flavor. Chowder is commonly thought of as a cold-weather meal, but sweet in-season corn is a delicious summertime staple, making this recipe a go-to year round. There’s a lot of flavor going on here, but we recommend swapping dried herbs out for fresh if available, and pairing with a big hunk of crusty bread. Consider serving this hearty meal the next time you’re feeding a large crowd with ZERO time available for, you know, cooking.

Eggplant Parmesan

This is one meal that’s a favorite with meat eaters as well, so you know it needs to have lots of rich and hearty flavor. And, despite the complicated nature of traditional eggplant parm, this version is surprisingly simple – no precooking required. Everything is layered into the slow cooker, and in 8 hours (on the low setting) you’ll be ready for a delicious, cheesy, stick-to-your-ribs vegetarian meal that’s sure to impress everyone at the table (carnivores included).

Vegetarian Chili

Chili is a quintessential slow cooker fan favorite. There are lots of delicious recipes out there, and it seems that everyone has their fav – most of which involve meat. This is a delicious veggie-packed version with lots of ingredients that promise to add protein, texture, and (of course!) flavor. The shopping list may seem a bit long at first, but you literally throw everything into the slow cooker, and turn it on. That’s it. Zero prep. Love that!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes

This is more of a method than a recipe, and it can be a lifesaver if oven space is at a premium, or you don’t have time to start baking potatoes after a long day of work. Better idea: pop your potatoes in the slow cooker a few hours in advance, and they’re waiting for you when you need them. Wrap your potatoes in foil, layer them in the slow cooker, and in 5 hours (on the high setting) you have perfectly baked sweet potatoes ready to be drenched in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. So easy!

Veggie Omelette

Don’t you just love recipes that work equally well for breakfast and dinner? This veggie omelette is one of those versatile meals that also happens to cook itself in the slow cooker. Like a lot of recipes heavy on veg, these (red pepper, broccoli, and onion) are interchangeable with whatever you like best. This omelette only needs 2 hours to cook max, which makes it a great brunch item for busy weekend mornings. Pour everything in, set to HIGH, and in 1.5 to 2 hours you have a delicious and hearty omelette ready and waiting.

Creamy Tortellini Soup

This delicious recipe is a combination of creamy pasta and hearty soup, with everything you like about both – tortellini, cheese, herbs, rich broth, and fresh veggies. If the thought of leaving pasta in the slow cooker all day leaves you weary, don’t be. This recipe allows the vegetables and soup to cook away all day, and the tortellini is added a short 45 minutes before serving – no mushy pasta here! Lots of alternate veggies would work here, too, like peas, kale, or zucchini, so use what temps your palette.

Butter Chickpeas and Tofu

If you’re keen on Indian food, you’ll recognize this as a vegetarian version of the popular dish Butter Chicken, made with chickpeas instead. In addition to tons of delicious flavor, this healthy dish also promises lots of cholesterol-free protein, fiber, iron, and calcium. There is a small amount of prep work required in a saucepan before piling everything in the slow cooker, but it’s minimal and well worth the effort. Serve over a large bed of fluffy white rice, and top with cilantro (naan bread is optional, but totally completes the meal).

Coconut Peach Cobbler

What about dessert? Cobblers are great for the slow cooker, and peach is perfect year round since canned fruit can be used when not in season. With so much delicious flavor going on, you may be surprised to find that this tempting dessert is also gluten-free and vegan, too! Everything comes together in 4-6 hours on HIGH, or 8-10 hours on the LOW setting, if you’ll be at the office all day. Set it, forget it, and come home to this delicious treat.

Mac and Cheese (With Six Cheeses)

Rejoice: In addition to being way too delicious to resist, mac and cheese is also (YAY!) vegetarian. Instead of standing over the stove or cheating with the boxed variety, try this 6-cheese slow cooker recipe instead. Remember this go-to dish on busy weekdays, or as a simple side dish to accompany super-busy holiday meals. And, in case you’re wondering, the six cheeses are: cheddar, jack, mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, and fontina. Yum!

Greek Stuffed Peppers

Most stuffed pepper recipes call for ground beef, but this yummy veggie version calls for cannellini beans, couscous, and feta cheese instead. Lots of texture, briny flavor, and Greek-inspired seasonings make this a tempting treat for meat eaters, too.  Or, serve as an appetizer before another main course. Peppers cook in 4 hours, meaning that you can get these prepped by lunchtime, and they will still be tender and delicious come dinnertime.

Mushroom Risotto

Ah, risotto. If you’ve never made it before, you’re probably frightened by the idea of stirring constantly for 20 minutes over a hot stove while it slowly bubbles away. THIS version is way easier.  Start everything on the stove, and then transfer to your slow cooker allowing it to take over, no stirring required. In 1.5 hours, everything is tender, all liquid is absorbed, and you’re ready to stir in lots of salty Parmesan and enjoy.

Zucchini Lasagna

Rather than a vegetarian lasagna with zucchini, this version uses thin slices of zucchini in place of noodles. Yes, this lasagna is veggie AND gluten free, but don’t worry that it may be short on flavor. There’s plenty of ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese for salty richness, and you can customize with whatever tomato sauce you like best (or even Alfredo, if you’re feeling adventurous). Five hours is plenty of time for this lasagna to cook and set up, making it perfect for dinner any night of the week.

Hot Cheesy Corn Dip

Sometimes you only need a dip. Maybe you’re throwing a party, need an appetizer before the main meal, or simply want to make a hot, cheese bowl of delicious dip your dinner tonight. (No judging here.) This yummy pot of gooey goodness is actually a simple combination of 4 ingredients – cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, canned yellow corn, and canned green chiles. Add everything to the slow cooker, heat for 1 hour, and dive in with lots of salty chips. Dinner served.