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Vegan Stews to Make in Your Slow Cooker

Vegan Stews to Make in Your Slow Cooker

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There is nothing better on a cold winter day than a warm, filling stew—and if you’re looking for a vegan stew you’ve come to the right place! In this guide is a collection of fantastic stew recipes, as well as a staple recipe for a delicious vegetable broth—the basis of every great vegan soup and stew.

Before we get to the stew recipes, here are the building blocks you’ll need.

Homemade Vegetable Broth

This simple, cut-and-cook recipe produces a mild-flavored vegetable broth suitable not only for making soups, but also for adding extra flavor to all your favorite recipes.

  1. In a medium slow cooker, combine carrots, celery, yellow onions, garlic, Italian flat-leaf parsley, bay leaves, sea salt, and black peppercorns. Pour in water.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 4 or 5 hours, on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until vegetables are very soft.
  3. Uncover, and using a slotted spoon, remove and discard bay leaf. Also, remove vegetables, save vegetables for another use (season with herbs, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper and eat as a side dish) or discard as desired.
  4. Allow vegetable broth to cool slightly, strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pot, and let broth cool completely. Store portions of vegetable broth in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Chick’n-Style Simmered Seitan

Seitan is a meat replacement originally made by rinsing and kneading whole-wheat flour under water to halp remove its starch and leave only the protein-rich gluten behind.

  1. In a large, oval slow cooker, combine 4 cups water, 2 cups Homemade Vegetable Broth, ¼ cup tamari, and bay leaf. Coer and cook on high for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, combine carrots, celery, remaining ⅓ cup water, shallots, and garlic. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove the skillet from heat.
  3. Transfer vegetable mixture to a blender or a food processor fitted with an S blade. Add remaining 1 cup Homemade Vegetable Broth, remaining ¼ cup tamari, poultry seasoning blend, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, vegetarian Worchestershire sauce, garlic pepper, and black pepper, and process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the container with a spatula, add parsley, and process for 1 more minute or until very smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, combine vital wheat gluten, chickpea/garbanzo bean flour, and nutritional yeast flakes, and stir well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir well to combine.
  5. Transfer seitan mixture to a clean counter or work surface. Using your hands, knead mixture for 3 to 5 minutes or until a smooth and pliable ball of dough forms. Divide dough into 4 pieces, and flatten each slightly. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Carefully add seitan pieces to hot broth mixture. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours, on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until seitan is firm to the touch.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, remove seitan from cooking liquid and immerse in a bowl of ice water to “shock” it and make the final texture much firmer. Slice seitan for use as a sandwich filling, or cube or chop for use in soups, stews, and sides and main dishes. If you aren’t using the seitan right away, store submerged in the cooled cooking liquid in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or freeze seitan in an airtight container or zipper-lock bags and use the cooking liquid in place of vegetable broth to flavor sauces, soups, and pasta and grain dishes.

Chick’n and Vegetable Stew with Dumplings

Dumplings are a lot like drop biscuits but are cooked on top of a simmering broth, soup, or stew. In this hearty stew, dumplings are set afloat on top of a mouthwatering blend of vegetables and pieces of Chick’n-Style Simmered Seitan.

  1. In a medium or large slow cooker, layer, in order, red-skinned potatoes, baby carrots, pearl onions, celery, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic, bay leaf, herbes de Provence, seasoning salt, and black pepper. Pour in Homemade Vegetable Broth and Chick’n-Style Simmered Seitan cooking liquid.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 3 ½ hours, on low for 6 or 7 hours, or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Stir in Chick’n-Style Simmered Seitan and parsley during the last 35 minutes of cook time. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine white whole-wheat flour, aluminum-free baking powder, and sea salt. Stir in soy milk and sunflower oil, and mix until a soft dough forms.
  5. Remove and discard bay leaf. Drop dumpling mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls on top of stew. Cook on high for 25 to 30 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of dumpling comes out clean. Serve hot.

Variation: For Herbed Dumplings, stir in 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, basil, thyme, or dill and/or chives when making the dumpling dough after combining the wet and dry ingredients.

Southwestern Posole with Cornmeal Dumplings

For Mexicans, Native Americans, and many in the Southwest, posole is a traditional dish eaten on Christmas Eve to celebrate life’s blessings. This fiery stew utilizes the favorite culinary staples of those regions: beans, squashes, chiles, and hominy.

  1. In a medium or large slow cooker, layer, in order, yellow onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, hominy, anasazi beans, yellow summer squash, zucchini, jalapeño peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, chipotle chile powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Pour in fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles and Homemade Vegetable Broth.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 3 ½ hours, on low for 6 or 7 hours, or until vegetables are tender.
  3. During the last 35 minutes of cook time, stir in cilantro and 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine white whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, remaining 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes, and aluminum-free baking powder.
  5. In another small bowl, whisk together water and Ener-G Egg Replacer vigorously for 1 minute or until very frothy (like beaten egg whites). Stir egg replacer mixture, soy milk, and sunflower oil into flour mixture until a soft dough forms.
  6. Drop dumpling mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls on top of stew. Cook on high for 25 to 30 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of dumpling comes out clean. Serve hot.

Variation: For Cheesy Cornmeal Dumplings, stir in ½ cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese or other variety when making the dumpling dough, after combining the wet and dry ingredients.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Couscous

Ground cumin and smoked paprika impart a warm, earthy, and somewhat nutty quality to this stew, full of chunks of winter squash, cabbage, chickpeas, and assorted vegetables.

  1. In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, combine yellow onion and olive oil. Sauté, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  2. Add cumin and smoked paprika, and sauté, stirring often, for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomato paste, and sauté, stirring often, for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from heat.
  4. In a medium or large slow cooker, layer, in order, acorn squash, butternut squash, turnips, carrots, celery, green cabbage, onion mixture, sea salt, and black pepper. Pour in Homemade Vegetable Broth.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 3 ½ to 4 hours, on low for 7 or 8 hours, or until vegetables are tender.
  6. During the last 30 minutes of cook time, stir in zucchini, chickpeas, and Italian flat-leaf parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  7. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover, remove from heat, and set aside for 5 minutes to allow couscous to cook. Fluff couscous with a fork to loosen grains.
  8. Serve hot, spooning stew over couscous for each serving.

Variation: Feel free to replace the turnips with potatoes and the acorn and butternut squash with other varieties of winter squash, such as turban, buttercup, kabocha, or even pumpkin.

Now that you know how to make a killer vegetarian stew, it’s time to get out the crock pot and start cooking! Enjoy!

From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Slow Cooking by Beverly Lynn Bennett