16 Vegan Slow-Cooker Recipes for Plant-Based Comfort

You can set and forget these hearty meals—then come back later to enjoy them thoroughly.

March 20, 2020
Photo by Luzena Adams

We've said it before, and we'll say it again—our slow-cooker is one of our kitchen heroes, come winter, spring, or even summer. Many people break out this contraption for low-and-slow stews and stroganoffs, meaty chilis and chicken soups. But it's equally handy for all kinds of non-meaty things: beans, lentils, vegetable stocks, even applesauce, just to name a few.

Below, you'll find a bevy of vegan recipes to make in your slow-cooker. Just throw in your ingredients, turn on the machine, and go on with your day. You'll come back to a warm, comforting meal that's something akin to magic.

best vegan Slow-Cooker recipes

1. Borlotti Beans With Sweet & Sour Agrodolce Sauce

With a bit of time in the slow-cooker, dried beans plump up into hearty, creamy pockets of flavor. An agrodolce sauce gives these borlottis a punch of pucker and sweetness (and the honey's easily replaceable with maple syrup), perfectly cutting through the grits they nestle into.

2. Slow-Cooker Black Beans

Black beans are unbelievably versatile, and this slow-cooker method takes all of the thinking and planning out of the operation. Just throw dried beans, plus a few spices, into the slow-cooker, turn it on, and come back a few hours later to a whole heap of cooked beans to use for tacos, rice bowls, and salads galore.

3. Crock Pot Vegetable Stock

This basic recipe can often feel not-so-basic—but it's essential, too. Let the slow-cooker do all the work for you here, and you'll be rewarded with flavor-packed vegetable stock ready for a million things.

4. Slow-Cooker Shiitake-Noodle Hot & Sour Soup

A slow-cooked, mushroom-packed, umami-rich broth acts as the base for all manner of vegetables and noodles. If you want to keep leftovers, store the broth and the noodles separately.

5. Slow-Cooker Indian-Spiced Lentils With Spinach

Lentils are right at home in a slow-cooker, where they'll get tender and absorb all the flavors of the liquid they're simmering in. This recipe brings in some spices and coconut milk to do just that, resulting in an intensely flavorful soup. Throw in a handful of spinach for some greenery at the end.

6. Slow-Cooker Lentil & Root Veggie Soup

Lentils, root vegetables, and aromatics meld together beautifully in this soup, with herbes de Provence and fresh rosemary to add some herbal depth. The original recipe calls for some grated Parm and a rind, but this can easily be left off (or replaced with some nutritional yeast) to make it fully plant-based.

7. Slow-Cooker Moroccan-Spiced Lentil Soup

Lentils, meet slow-cooker (yet again!). Warming Moroccan spices, creamy tomato paste, lentils, and a whole mess of vegetables make for an ultra-comforting soup. Try it with couscous or a crusty piece of bread.

8. Slow-Cooker Creamy Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup

A luxuriously thick, velvety soup, without a lick of cream (thanks, coconut milk!). Try using the homemade vegetable broth you slow-cooked earlier in this recipe.

9. Slow-Cooker Greek Lentil Soup From Eleni Vonissakou

A few pantry staples swirl together in a slow-cooker for a streamlined take on a Greek classic. The feta here is optional—in its place, just add a pinch of nutritional yeast, pine nuts, and/or an extra drizzle of red wine vinegar.

10. Slow-Cooker Whole Squash With Spelt

Yes, you can and should cook a whole squash in a slow-cooker. The toppers can be riffed however you like—try crumbles of cashew cheese or pine nuts in place of the feta, and whatever fresh herbs you like best in place of the parsley.

11. Slow-Cooker Lemon-Thyme Steamed Artichokes

Artichokes can be a bit fussy to cook, but this slow-cooker preparation couldn't be simpler. Lop off the tops, steam them with lemony water in your slow-cooker, and enjoy with garlicky, peppery olive oil (just mix together raw or roasted garlic, olive oil, and a big pinch of red pepper flakes).

12. Salty Southern Boiled Peanuts

Slow-cookers can make snacks, too! These salty, nostalgic little friends will disappear before your eyes.

13. Overnight Steel-Cut Oats With Almond Butter & Honey

Invest a few minutes before bed and wake up to a comforting, creamy breakfast (just swap out the whole milk for your favorite nondairy milk).

14. Slow-Cooker Applesauce

With just three ingredients, apples' natural sweetness and caramelly flavor really shine through in this applesauce. Trust us: You'll taste the difference making it at home.

15. Delicately Fragrant Mulled Cider (In The Crock-Pot)

Picture this: A warm fireplace, a rousing game of Scrabble, and a steaming mug of spiced mulled cider. At least this last part can be yours, thanks to this recipe.

16. Honey-Pomegranate Mulled Wine

Warming mulled wine is popular during the holidays, but as long as it's still cool out, we're ladling it for ourselves.

What are your favorite vegan crock-pot recipes? Let us know in the comments.
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Brinda is the Director of Content at Food52, where she oversees all site content across Food52 and Home52. She likes chewy Neapolitan pizza, stinky cheese of all sorts, and tahini-flavored anything. Brinda lives in Brooklyn with 18 plants and at least one foster pup (sometimes more). Find her at @brindayesterday on Twitter and Instagram.