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How do I make my veggie Slow cooker recipes more interesting?

(17 Posts)
RudeBarbandCustard Wed 11-Feb-15 09:24:29

Sorry, another slow cooker thread.

I often make casseroles in the slow cooker consisting of root veg, onions, celery, leeks, tinned tomatoes and stock.

I've tried adding lentils, but they turn to mush if left all day. Same with pearl barley.

Is there anything else I could add that would add interest / flavour?

Any links to recipes or ideas would be much appreciated!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 11-Feb-15 10:01:38

I think slow cookers are just all wrong for vegetarian food. Cheap meat cuts might take a few hours to break down and become edible but nothing in the world of veggies needs such long cooking times. What you end up with are vegetables that taste like they've been kept warm under a heat lamp, no texture, all the freshness gone. The vitamin content can't be great either

vinegarandbrownpaper Wed 11-Feb-15 10:04:10

Use brown lentils

Waitingonasunnyday Wed 11-Feb-15 10:07:11

Try using a can of coke or lemonade, putting a tea towel under the lid, add a packet of bread mix, squish it all into the shape of a kebab, pour in some magic custard mix and ta da you will have a wonder of a slow cooked dinner smile

RudeBarbandCustard Wed 11-Feb-15 10:07:43

Cogito I know what you mean, however it does work really well when slow stewing root veg - the flavour really comes out and the sauce thickens up nicely. No idea what it does to the vitamins though!

I've never tried brown lentils vinegar are they tougher and therefore take longer to cook? I'll give them a go.

I've also added some marmite to today's concoction - I think that will give it some kick.

I wonder whether a glug of red wine might be good....?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 11-Feb-15 10:57:00

Try this instead. 'Spicy Chickpea Stew'.

- Heat some oil in the pot and cook 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds and dried chili flakes to taste
- Add a chopped onion, a chopped red pepper, a crushed garlic clove and some finely chopped ginger. Heat until the onion and pepper are softened and taking on some colour.
- Now add a can of good quality chopped tomatoes in juice, salt, pepper and about 12 oz cooked (or canned and drained) chickpeas
- Simmer for about 40 minutes until the sauce is thickened and rich.... Or slow cook for hours

If you just put root veg and lentils in a pot you'll just get tasteless mush

avocadotoast Wed 11-Feb-15 13:56:26

I've been wondering about getting my slow cooker out, but as we mostly eat veggie at home I'm not sure there's any point sad everything I've tried to make has ended up like you say, OP - just a big old mush. Feels kind of pointless putting the slow cooker on to do meat if I'm the only one that will eat it!

RudeBarbandCustard Thu 12-Feb-15 23:01:32

OK so I put a few good spoonfuls of Marmite in Wednesday's batch...

WARNING, it tasted minging! Have had to bin it! Too much Marmite is not a good thing.

Tinned tomatoes work well though..

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 13-Feb-15 09:07:33

With respect, what you need are some proper recipes. Don't listen to people who try to tell you that you can just 'chuck' a load of random ingredients in a pot, heat it up for a few hours and you'll have a nice meal at the end of it. Doesn't work, especially with vegetables.

VeryPunny Fri 13-Feb-15 09:13:44

Bin it and buy a pressure cooker. Slow cooked veggie recipes taste at best institutional.

scotchmincepie Fri 13-Feb-15 10:30:44

Slow cooker veggies sounds weird. Surely it'll just be a mush?

Lots of veggie recipes take 40 minutes at most simmering while you go off and do something else. Then heat up the next day in 5 mins for tea.

I don't understand why people make things like lentil soup in the slow cooker - it takes 30-40 mins on hob? And is nicer....

Recommend Veg Every Day by Hugh Fearnley W - some great recipes. And pressure cookers get a really good rep for veg curries etc.

Marmaduke3 Fri 13-Feb-15 11:51:15

What about adding a mixture of beans, butter beans are lovely! And it might help bulk out all the vegetables?

DeliciousMonster Fri 13-Feb-15 11:52:31

Fry the onions before adding.

RudeBarbandCustard Sat 14-Feb-15 14:39:11

I've definitely had nice veggie casseroles from the slow cooker before, so it can work - but it's all down to the seasoning I think.

Definitely, definitely tastes better slow cooked than when it's just boiled in a pan, so I'm not giving up. But just wish I could make them taste a bit nicer.

I understand that meat eaters may never be able to understand why I would like a pot of mushy veg, but having been vegetarian for ever, I know no different!!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 14-Feb-15 14:50:52

Nothing to do with people being meat eaters. Whether it's meat or vegetables 'cooking' is more than just taking something from 'raw' to 'not raw'.

If you take an onion, for example, you get very different flavour and texture outcomes if you slice and fry it than if you boil it or roast it. A caramelised, grilled pepper tastes different to a raw pepper or a steamed pepper. If you roast spices and grind them up before adding to the pot they taste very different than if you leave them whole.

Rather than just making it up as you go along and throwing random things into some sort of amorphous vegetable mess hoping for miracles, get some recipes written by cooks that know about flavour and copy the techniques.

LizziTea Sat 14-Feb-15 16:40:13

I am just getting used to my new slow cooker, and I have done a couple of successful recipes on the curry theme. One was a sweet potato curry with coconut milk and Chana dal (kind of like a cross between lentils and chickpeas - you can buy them in the world foods bit of bigger supermarkets) - it was delicious. The other was a curry with peanut butter and tomatoes, and chickpeas. (I soaked dried chickpeas overnight and cooked them on the hob for 10 minutes before adding them to the slow cooker, and they had a lovely texture by the time it was ready to eat!

RudeBarbandCustard Sun 15-Feb-15 22:22:10

Rather than just making it up as you go along and throwing random things into some sort of amorphous vegetable mess hoping for miracles, get some recipes written by cooks that know about flavour and copy the techniques.

Yep, could do that, or I could come on a forum and ask for tips from people too.

Lizzi that sounds lovely, thank you I'll give a curry a go, and you can't go wrong with coconut milk!

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