The Veggie Table: Slow-Cooker Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Ideas

Use your slow cooker to make effortless meatless breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
By: Janel Ovrut Funk

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slow cooker


Slow Cooker

Photo by: Kitchner Bain

Kitchner Bain

I've waxed poetic before about my love for the slow cooker, a kitchen appliance I always assumed was used by beefy stew lovers or chicken soup eaters and not vegetarians. But in the last few months, I've come to learn that the slow cooker has been a lifesaver that helps me throw together vegan and vegetarian meals in a flash. Once I became comfortable with my slow cooker (which took no time at all), I started experimenting with more than just soups and stews. I made baked oatmeal for breakfast, rice and beans for quick lunches, and a plethora of dinners. Here are some set-it-and-forget-it breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas for you to try in your slow cooker.

  • This cranberry pumpkin oatmeal cake can be prepped the night before so you wake up to the inviting smell of baked oatmeal for breakfast with pops of flavor from fresh or frozen cranberries.
  • Need a change from oatmeal? Try cooking quinoa in the slow cooker with frozen blueberries, honey, milk and a dash of cinnamon so you can enjoy a hot whole-grain breakfast in the morning.
  • For something a little more savory, try this slow cooker Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole. I omitted the sausage and added in diced sundried tomatoes. You could also use vegan sausage or soy crumbles to get a meaty texture and flavor.
  • I love hearty soups for lunch, so I made a Minestrone Soup using farro instead of pasta.  One big bowl is enough for a meal, but if you’re looking for a little more, pair this with a whole-grain dinner roll and side of sautéed veggies.
  • Rice and beans make a great vegetarian base to a variety of lunches, like a veggie burrito or taco salad. This slow cooker rice and beans dish is so flavorful, you may eat it as it is!
  • This slow cooker veggie curry stew is stick-to-your-ribs satisfying and can be made with any variety of veggies. I love using coconut milk in place of cream to keep my recipes dairy free.
  • Next on my list of dinners to try is this slow cooker lasagna that I've seen pop up repeatedly on blogs and Pinterest.  It can easily be made vegetarian by using diced mushrooms and eggplant for a meaty texture. I can't imagine an easier way to make lasagna.
TELL US: What’s your favorite slow cooker recipe?

Janel Funk, MS RD LDN, loves experimenting with vegetarian and vegan cooking. Read her food blog, Eat Well with Janel, and follow her on Twitter @DietitianJanel.  Catch up on her previous posts here.

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