How to Make Slow-Cooked Veggies You’ll Actually Want to Eat
When people think of slow cooker recipes, images of pulled pork, cheesy queso on game day, or shredded beef for tacos come to mind. But we shouldn’t overlook veggies! With the help of your Crock-Pot, the vegetables highlighted below will make even the most devout carnivore want seconds. Slow-cooking veggies is more hands-off than roasting in a sheet pan, and yet it yields tasty results every time. They can hold up to hours of slow-cooking, so you never have to worry about accidentally overcooking them into a mushy, brown mess. To find out everything you need to know to slow-cook veggies, keep reading.
Best Vegetables for Slow-Cooking
To “Roast” the Veggies: Grease the inside of your slow cooker with butter or oil, and add in veggies, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of oil like olive or avocado oil. Dash with herbs and/or spices, and stir until vegetables are evenly coated. Cook on high for about three hours or on low for six. To serve, top with additional melted butter, lemon juice, or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or honey. Sprinkle on some grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for an umami pop.
To Turn Into Soup: If you want to make a vegetable stew, check out our guide to slow-cooking soups. Always start with a mirepoix (onion, celery, and garlic). From there, you can add whatever veggies you’re into and then cover completely with vegetable stock or coconut milk as the liquid. Once the veggies are cooked until tender, you can optionally purée the batch with a handheld blender and then season to taste.
To “Bake” in a Slow-Cooker: Did you know that you can make baked potatoes in the slow cooker? Poke a potato (or sweet potato) several times with a fork. Drizzle with oil before wrapping in foil. Cook (with the lid on) for four hours on high or for eight hours on low, until tender.
You can also caramelize a whole onion or heads of garlic with a similar method. For the onion, remove the skin, cut an “X” across the top to bloom the onion open, top it with butter or oil, and cook low and slow for upwards of 12 hours or until completely wilted. For garlic, cut off the tops, place in the slow cooker, generously coat with olive oil, and slow-cook on low for six hours, until garlic looks golden brown and the cloves can be easily squeezed out of the papery skin.
To Make a Mash: Make mashed potatoes, cauliflower, or rutabaga in a slow-cooker by adapting your favorite recipe. Put your chopped root veg (or cauli) into your slow cooker with whatever liquid your recipe calls for — water, milk, sour cream — cover and cook until tender (about four hours on high). Once tender, mash right in your slow cooker, adding more milk, butter, cream cheese, and garlic, as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning until it’s to your liking.
What is your favorite slow cooker vegetable recipe? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Illustration via Yising Chao / Brit + Co)