Soups and stews keep us warm in the winter and fill our bellies, while also providing a variety of nutrients. They’re like the warm version of smoothies, if you will. Toss everything in one container, mix it up and see what you get. Most of the time, it’s something awesome, but sometimes you can overcook your veggies or burn your noodles, or perhaps undercook them and suffer not-so-great results.
That’s where the slow cooker comes to the rescue. Essentially one of the best ingredients anyone can use in the kitchen, the slow cooker not only provides optimal cooking control, but it can also keep your food warm until you’re ready to enjoy it. Got a busy day at the office? Just use the slow cooker. Are busy mornings a problem? Cook your oatmeal or quinoa overnight in the slow cooker. You can even use it to make homemade sauces, brew tea without using the stove, and just about anything else you can think of. You can even bake potatoes in this magical appliance.
Yet soups and stews are some of the best dishes to make in the slow cooker, and are indeed some of the most well-known dishes the popular appliance is known for. Here are 10 of some of our most delicious vegan soups and stews to enjoy this winter. They’re not just delicious, but also nutrient-dense too!
*Note, if the recipe doesn’t call for the slow-cooker, no worries. Just add the ingredients to the slow-cooker and cook on high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6-8 hours depending on the strength of your cooker.
1. 5 Ingredient Cauliflower Soup
Rich in nutrients, this soup is great to cook in the slow cooker because the longer it cooks, the easier it is to digest and the better the flavors will develop in this simple recipe. Cauliflower is a popular food for its nutritional benefits and diversity, so why not add it to the slow cooker for an easy, healthy meal? Add some sprouted grain toast to make this a complete meal, or a side of additional veggies if you’re extra hungry.
2. High Protein Mushroom Soup
Mushrooms might sound kinda boring, but these hearty little fungi are incredibly smart – they’re the perfect meat substitute! While not really high in protein, they are high in Vitamin D, and contain fiber to keep your belly full. In this soup, they’re paired with protein-rich black beans. Cooking black beans in the slow cooker is a great idea because the longer they cook, the softer they become and the easier they are to digest. You’ll also love the creamy flavors in this recipe, which only heighten during the slow cook process.
3. Winter Potato and White Bean Kale Soup
One of our most popular recipes, this soup contains potatoes, kale and calcium-rich white beans that are best cooked in a slow method, versus a quick high heat method. Why? This preserves nutrients, allows the starches in the potato to break down and become creamier, and also makes the kale more flavorful as it blends with the other ingredients. Give it a try when you need something hearty and healthy!
4. Three Sisters Stew
Corn, protein-rich beans, and a variety of winter squash and other healthy veggies appear in this soup, which creates one sweet, flavor-packed meal. It will keep fresh in the fridge all week and provide you with all the nutrients your body needs to feel well. Remember to opt for fresh ingredients when possible, and always use organic corn to avoid genetically modified sources.
5. Minestrone Soup
A classic soup, and certainly one of the healthiest, minestrone is a soup everyone must try. Pop the ingredients in your cooker, forget about them, and come back later to a nutrient-dense, plant-protein packed meal that also adds carbs from fiber and nutrient-dense veggies. This soup is great to add to your diet if you’re looking to get a wide variety of nutrients into one meal. Do choose whole-grain noodles as the best option, or gluten-free pasta if need be.
6. Vegan Tempeh and Turnip Green Soup
Don’t turn your nose up at turnip greens, whatever you do. These leafies are rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin C and are one of the most overlooked, delicious greens cooked long and slow. In the south, they’re enjoyed with simple beans and onions, but here, they’re paired with protein-rich tempeh, also a good source of probiotics. Toss a tablespoon of miso into this recipe for even more tummy-boosting powers!
7. Vegetable Miso Soup
Speaking of miso, make this soup as soon as you get a chance. Miso helps keep the digestive system healthy due to its probiotics, but it also packs in serious benefits for soup when it comes to flavor. Rich, nutty and sort of tangy too, it really is a must when you’re looking to add flavor without processed ingredients. Look for a high-quality miso, preferably organic, and one without added yeasts as the best option.
8. Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup
Creamy, filling, sorta sweet and hearty too, what’s not to love about this soup? Pair it with some toasted whole grain bread or better yet, add some broccoli and kale to the mix for more nutrients. Either way, this soup’s a win. One tip – cube your potatoes before adding them to the cooker, then puree it altogether once it’s done. It will help the potatoes cook in the same time frame as the cauliflower since they’ll be closer to the same size versus using larger chunks of potatoes or pureeing them beforehand.
9. Vegan Not Clam Chowder
For all you northerners who love clam chowder, or anyone else that just happens to love the classic dish, let’s give the clams a break and make this recipe instead. It packs the same flavor as the regular, but has no animal ingredients! It also contains some of the most nutrient-dense spices and herbs that only heighten in taste as they cook long and slow.
10. Beet, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Oh wow. The flavors here – you just can’t imagine. Some of nature’s sweetest and healthiest foods, all into one meal. The ingredients used in this soup offer beneficial nutrients to keep your digestion flowing well and they offer Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and minerals like magnesium and potassium. As beets cook, they take on a caramelized flavor that makes them sweeter, which is great if you’re not crazy of them in raw form.
Give these soups and stews a try when you need something simple, and something that puts a spin on the original recipes you’re used to. Also see, 10 Tips for How to Cook in Your Slow Cooker and It’s Not Just for Soup: 7 Ways to Put Your Slow Cooker to Use.
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