There was a point in time when vegans were considered those picky dinner guests due to their plant-based diets, making it hard to shop for animal-free ingredients and dairy alternatives. But thanks to today's accessible health food stores and the ever-widening options at regular markets, following a vegan lifestyle no longer requires a full-on scavenger hunt to check off the items on your grocery list.
Whether you're looking to simplify mealtime or you're not familiar with cooking vegan cuisine, we've gathered 14 of the best vegan crockpot recipes that explode with a variety of flavors. Best of all, they can be tossed into a slow cooker, freeing you up from being tethered to the stove, and allowing for more time to socialize with guests or catch up on your Netflix queue.
Lentil Soup With Coconut, Spinach, and Lime
This full-flavored vegan lentil soup is the kind of dish that's so hearty, your carnivorous friends will hardly believe it's meat-free. Recipe creator Laura Wright of The First Mess notes that the lentils "keep their shape in this recipe, despite the long cooking time," giving the citrusy dish plenty of texture to balance out the coconut, sweet potatoes, and onions. Bonus: "It's a big batch," says Wright, which will "feed you well for a while."
White Bean Ragu With Gnocchi
The original version of Half Baked Harvest's mouthwatering crockpot white bean ragu with gnocchi recipe calls for sausage, Parmesan cheese, and butter—all of which can be easily swapped for meat and dairy alternatives like cashew cheese and your favorite vegan sausage, for instance. When paired with homemade gnocchi or even a store-bought, vegan-friendly option (many prepackaged options are made of potato, flour, oil, and salt), the rich Italian flavors will certainly please any palate.
Chipotle Black Bean Tortilla Soup
"At nearly 11 grams fiber and 12 grams protein per one cup, you can't go wrong" with this savory chipotle black bean tortilla soup, says Minimalist Baker's Dana Schutz. Packed with protein and fiber, all you need to finish off this filling meal is to "add a little avocado on top for some healthy fats and you're all set."
Golden Chana Masala
Many South Asian dishes tend to be vegetarian-friendly, and this Golden Chana Masala's chickpea-filled dish from The First Mess will deliver in the deliciousness department. It's flavored with traditional Indian spices like curry, turmeric, and cumin, which combine with the rest of the spicy stew's ingredients to create "sour, earthy, herbal, and even meaty" perfection.
Vegan Crockpot Chili
A Couple Cooks' easy vegan black bean chili boasts a Southwest-inspired kick that can be whipped up in less than an hour. You can really draw out the savory flavors by cooking it in a crockpot on low for several hours. Simply sauté the onions and mushrooms with garlic in a pan prior to throwing everything in the slow cooker.
Thai Peanut Curry
Hello Glow shares a brilliant riff on panang curry. Simply swap out chicken thighs for tofu, and you have a Thai vegan curry bursting with the perfect blend of sweet-spicy-salty-tangy flavors. It's great with just veggies as well. Founder Stephanie shares, "A good sprinkle of green onions add a little freshness, and you definitely can’t go wrong with some chopped peanuts. And if you’re like me, you need some extra red pepper flakes too!"
Springtime Crockpot Minestrone
Omit the grated romano cheese or replace it with a dairy-free swap to make this "embarrassingly easy" minestrone soup vegan-friendly. You really can't go wrong with this classic soup which uses asparagus to give it a little crunch.
Mexican Quinoa Casserole
This quinoa bake recipe from Food Faith Fitness checks all the boxes–super simple to make, chock full of healthy nutrients, and bursting with flavor. Loaded with chickpeas, black beans, corn, peppers, tomatoes, and spicy adobo sauce, it's sort of like a deconstructed enchilada with quinoa. Leave out the cheese, and you've got a hearty vegan recipe for deliciousness.
Veggie Split Pea Soup
Hello Glow shares a super simple recipe for a veggie split pea soup that's equally comforting and nourishing. Split peas are low fat and loaded with fiber. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, red potatoes and a hint of curry (which contains anti-inflammatory turmeric), and you've got a delicious, belly-warming meal.
Butternut Squash Soup
The Modern Proper reminds us, what grows together goes together. In this case, rotund butternut squash and Honeycrisp apples are a perfect pair if you're in the Autumn months, aka soup season. These quintessential Fall ingredients combine for robust flavor in a fragrant vegan butternut squash soup you'll savor to the last spoonful.
Lentil Brown Rice Tacos
If you're looking for the perfect low maintenance weeknight meal, look no further. Melanie Makes introduces us to these scrumptious lentil tacos. Simply add lentils, brown rice, onion and garlic to your slow cooker, then stir in some spices, like chili powder, paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes, to add some major kick to the flavor, and walk away. Dinner will be waiting for you just a few hours later.
Loaded Vegan Nachos
A Couple Cooks shares their healthy twist on a nachos deluxe plate. Start with organic chips, load on some smoky lentils, rice, and beans, and drizzle with vegan nacho cheese. You may also want to venture out a bit and try some spicy chipotle sauce, pickled radishes, or pickled jalapenos to add some kick.
Apple Butter Oatmeal with Hazelnuts
Slow cookers aren't just for dinner; they're versatile enough to make tasty breakfasts, too. One delicious ingredient you can make overnight in your slow cooker is apple butter. Hello Glow lets us in on her secret for making extra yummy apple butter–use a mixed variety of apples for richer flavor. Serve it with a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal topped with chopped hazelnuts or pecans, and frosty winter mornings will quickly become your friend.