Slow Cooker Vegetarian

June 25, 2010 | By | Comments (6)

I will be the first to
admit that I love meat. My father likes to joke that I started early;
apparently, while my mother was pregnant with me, she would often arrive home
from work, grab my father, and hightail it to the nearest steakhouse. 

However, I do love to try
vegetarian dishes. So many times when you’re a carnivore, you need a great
vegetarian dish to remind you how great veggies, grains and fruits can be on their own. So I was thrilled to
get a cookbook that featured vegetarian recipes – all tailored for a slow
cooker, no less.


Vegsccover(2)

Photo courtesy of Robert Rose Inc.

Titled The Vegetarian
Slow Cooker
, this is the second vegetarian slow cooker book by Judith
Finlayson. Flipping through it, I drooled over the 200+ recipes, pausing at
ones such as Beet Soup with Lemongrass and Lime, and Blueberry White Chocolate
Cheesecake with Chocolate Cookie Crust.

The book includes a range
of cuisines, such as American, Italian, Mediterranean,
Asian, and Indian. The chapters are similar to traditional cookbooks, covering
breakfast through dessert. Yes, that’s right; you can make Apple Cranberry Bread
in a slow cooker!

The recipes are pretty
well laid out, and include notations like “Make Ahead,” “Entertaining Worthy,”
and serving size, but I would have liked to see a prep time as well. I really
appreciated the plethora of tips on the left side of each recipe – Finlayson
describes shortcuts, variations on the recipe, and prep tips, among other tidbits.

Another aspect I found
helpful was the introductory chapter. Finlayson covers the benefits of slow
cooking, food safety, and basic explanations of the appliance to help you get
the most out of the cookbook and slow cooker.

One thing to keep in mind
if you’re going to really use this cookbook is to consider getting two sizes of
cooker. For example, many of the dips and desserts call for a small cooker, and
cannot be made in a large one. The opposite it true of many of the main dishes.

But of course, the best
part of exploring this book was trying a recipe. I chose the Mushroom and Artichoke
Lasagna to share with a couple of friends. It took me about an hour to make the
filling and then layer cooked pasta with ricotta cheese, mushrooms, artichokes,
onions, and spinach in my slow cooker.

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 It looked so good that I
wished (just a little) that I could just pop it in the oven and have it ready
in an hour!

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Instead, I turned the
cooker on to low and left my apartment to run errands and see a movie. Six
hours later I returned and a delicious scent had filled my apartment – just a
preview of what I would soon eat.

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The verdict: delicious!
The mushroom-artichoke filling was hearty had a great savory flavor. It paired
wonderfully with some garlic bread and a salad. The next time I make this I may
include some sun dried tomatoes for an extra burst of flavor.

Sound good? Try the recipe below, or click here for some slow cooker ideas from MyRecipes.com

Mushroom Artichoke Lasagna          Serves 8

Recipe and tips from The Vegetarian Slow
Cooker
by Judith Finlayson

Tip: Unlike many recipes
for lasagna, this one is not terribly saucy. As a result, the noodles on the
top layer tend to dry out. Leave a small amount of the cooking liquid from the
mushroom mixture behind in the pan, after adding to the slow cooker. Pour that
over the top layer of the nodes, particularly around the edges, where they are
most likely to dry out. (Writer's note: The top noodles were very dry, so you might try using more cooking liquid here or shortening cooking time slightly.)

Make Ahead: Complete Steps
1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, complete the
recipe.

Large (approx. 5 quart)
oval slow cooker

Greased slow cooker
stoneware

2 Tbsp. butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 lb mushrooms, stemmed
and sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 ½ cups quartered artichoke
hearts, packed in water, drained, or thawed if frozen

¾ cup dry white wine or
vegetable broth

12 oven-ready lasagna
noodles*

2 ½ cups ricotta cheese

2 cups baby spinach

2 ½ cups shredded
mozzarella cheese

½ cup freshly grated
Parmesan

1. In a skillet, melt
butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3
minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring, just until mushrooms
begin to lose their liquid, about 7 minutes. Stir in artichokes and wine and bring
to a boil. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until liquid reduces slightly.
Set aside.

2. Cover bottom of slow
cooker stoneware with 4 noodles, breaking to fit where necessary. Spread with
half of the ricotta, half of the mushroom mixture, half of the spinach and
one-third each of the mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat. Arrange final layer of
noodles over cheeses. Pour any liquid remaining from mushroom mixture over
noodles and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

3. Cover and cook on Low
for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until hot and bubbly.

* Per Finlayson, you can
also buy uncooked noodles, undercook them by two minutes, toss with olive oil,
and set aside until you’re ready to use them.

COMMENTS

  1. Akshay

    Indian Recipes of this site is amazing. The incredients and process of making Indian is fantastic.There are lots of Indian Recipes in Indianrecipes.co.in which is nice.

    June 25, 2010 at 6:46 am
  2. protected static

    An hour to prep, huh? Sounds about right… We have Finlayson’s ’150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes’, and have found her instructions to generally be overly fussy – no time savings with her recipes. Still, this sounds like it might be worth checking out.

    June 25, 2010 at 8:22 am
  3. Brianne Britzius

    Thanks for the comments, all!
    @protectedstatic: I tend to agree with you after browsing the book. Next time I will definitely prep the veggies and noodles the night before. Let me know if you have any other questions about it!

    June 25, 2010 at 11:38 am
  4. Penny

    I totally aree with Ashkay. They’re delicious! Just a little tidbit though, when I’m in a hurry for Indian food, I’ve been grabbing this brand called Tastybite for years. The fam loves it and it’s super-healthy and easy to make. Just a heads up!

    June 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm
  5. slow cooker

    Nice recipe! It’s sound really tasty. As per i know that there is many slow cooker is available in the market but here your info is different and nice..Thanks for sharing with us.

    July 13, 2010 at 6:19 am
  6. terryhoeman

    Excellent recipe! Hmm… yummy. Yes, there are tones of slow cookers out there but this is quite different. Cheers !

    October 18, 2012 at 2:03 am

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