Split Pea and Apple Soup

I don’t know if I’m in the minority here or not, but I love split pea soup. And while the picture doesn’t do it justice, this Split Pea with Apple Soup from “The Vegan Slow Cooker” is quickly becoming one of my favorite versions. For one, it’s made in a crockpot, and two, it packs a ton of flavor for only having a few simple and healthy ingredients. The apples add just a touch of sweetness and work so well with the split peas. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top adds another level of flavor to the soup.

What you see in the picture was my lunch today. I combined the soup with a grilled cheese (Daiya) and apple sandwich. The perfect meal for a rainy, fall day.

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From the Pantry Pot Pie

This is another dish from “The Vegan Slow Cooker,” and, I have to say, I was kind of disappointed. The vegetable part of the dish was awesome, but the biscuits didn’t really turn out that well. They were kind of doughy. I propped the lid of my crockpot as the recipe suggested and even let them cook a bit longer, but they just would not firm up. So, I ended up taking the biscuits off the top and making herbed whole wheat drop biscuits in the oven, which turned out really well. The biscuit recipe I got from “Vegan Brunch.” Their texture provided a nice crunch to go with the chicken seitan and veggies. I do plan on making this dish again, but I’ll just leave off the biscuits and make a batch separately.

Mini Potluck Meal

I don’t often make meals that feature a lot of sides. My meals usually consist of a soup with cornbread, or a casserole or main dish with a quick salad. I don’t know why that is because I love having lots of options on my plate. I’ve always been a fan of potlucks for that reason.

For this dish, I went all out. I made the Atomic Tofu Pecan Loaf (which I’ve featured on here before) in my slow cooker, and a side of roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts. Looking for a second side, I found a Chickpea-Quinoa Pilaf recipe in Veganomicon. It was so good and so, so easy to make.

All in all, it was a healthy and hearty meal that warmed our bellies on a cool spring day.

Split Pea and Lentil Soup

So this might not be the prettiest dish, but it sure was tasty. The recipe can be found in “The Vegan Slow Cooker,” and it’s another dinner item I have featured in my latest meal plan. Split peas and lentils combine in a wonderful broth. Baby spinach is added at the end for added texture and flavor. The only thing I would change is the amount of salt. I used Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base, which is pretty salty on its own, so you really don’t need to season it with more salt, at least in my opinion. Still, it was so nice to come home to this wonderfully hearty and nutritious soup on a rainy spring day. A side of homemade cornbread goes great with it.

Italian Eggplant Casserole with Cashew-Tofu Ricotta

What can I say? I’m really enjoying “The Vegan Slow Cooker” and not having to deal with tons of dishes every night. This is the fourth recipe I’ve made from the book and it was a hit. Thinly sliced eggplant is layered with a marinara sauce and creamy cashew-tofu ricotta. More like a thick sauce than a casserole, I served mine over a bed of whole wheat rotini pasta and a side of spring mix salad with lemon juice.

The dish was easy enough to throw together, but I used store-bought marinara to make it even easier. Call me lazy. Simply throw the tofu, cashews and other ingredients into a food processor, slice the eggplant and layer with the marinara in your crockpot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. That’s it.

I was worried that the eggplant would turn out bitter since the recipe doesn’t require you to salt and blot it with a towel, but it wasn’t bitter at all.

This dish is definitely a keeper.

Atomic Tofu Pecan Loaf

This meal is the epitome of old-school comfort food: veggie meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas. The Atomic Tofu Pecan Loaf is the third recipe that I’ve made from “The Vegan Slow Cooker” and it’s my favorite so far. I was skeptical when putting all the ingredients together; it didn’t look very appetizing when I patted it down into the crockpot. But eight hours later, I was shocked to see how “authentic” it looked. The texture and flavors were spot on and definitely something that I could see myself craving. And it’s perfect for slicing so that you can make sandwiches with the leftovers.

The recipe came together really quickly the night before. Most of the ingredients are whipped together in a food processor and then combined with a couple of other ingredients. I did make a few tweaks to the original recipe. Instead of pecans, I used walnuts. I also didn’t have the vegan Worcestershire and steak sauce on hand to combine with the ketchup for the topping, so I mixed the ketchup with a little Bragg’s and a couple of teaspoons of agave, which turned out really well.

As you can see, I’m a little obsessed with my slow cooker right now. I’m going to pick a few more recipes from the book to try and I will post on those soon.

I hope everyone is doing well!

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

As a kid, I loved cream of mushroom soup. You know, the kind that came out of the can with a “plop” and required adding milk to thin it out a bit. I haven’t had it in years, so I was happy to find this recipe in “The Vegan Slow Cooker.”

This is the second recipe that I’ve made from the cookbook. I have to say, while it tasted great, it didn’t turn out as thick as I would have hoped. It was a little too “soupy” for my tastes. But the next time I make it (and I will definitely make it again), I’m going to add a cornstarch mixture to it at the beginning to thicken it. The soup was great with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping and a quick salad of baby Romaine lettuce and lemon and olive oil dressing.

So far, I’m really enjoying crockpot cooking. It’s so nice to throw a few ingredients into a pot and walk away until it’s time for dinner. This week, I’m making the meatloaf recipe that is featured in the book. I’ll have a review and pictures on that as well.

Weekend Tofu and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

If you’re looking for a good, stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast, this dish is for you. It’s the first recipe I’ve made from the newest cookbook in my collection, “The Vegan Slow Cooker,” and it was delicious. Hash browns are layered in the bottom of the crockpot, vegan cheddar (I used Daiya) was layered on top of that, and then a mixture of silken tofu and spices is added to the top. Paprika and freshly ground pepper top it off before it cooks for two hours in your slow cooker. The tofu mixture firms up nicely to the consistency of scrambled eggs.

I wasn’t sure how flavorful it would be, but the final result packs a ton of it. Still, while the recipe is great on its own, the next time I make it, I’m going to add onions and green peppers to bulk it up and add extra texture and flavor. We added a few drops of hot sauce to give it a kick.

Next up? Hungarian Mushroom Soup. Can’t wait.

New Cookbook: The Vegan Slow Cooker

Some men buy their wives/girlfriends/boyfriends flowers and chocolates for Valentine’s Day. My husband bought me this cookbook. That may seem weird to some, but it was the perfect gift for me. He knows me so well.

Like so many other newlyweds, I added a crockpot to my wedding registry and the only use it’s gotten in the last six years has been for keeping mulled cider warm during the holidays. But my awesome co-workers and I were just chatting the other day about how we need to use our crockpots more. That’s why I was so excited to get this cookbook.

And I’m even putting it to the test as I type this. I’m making the Weekend Tofu and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole. Hashbrowns and vegan cheddar are layered on the bottom of the crockpot and an “egg-like” mixture that consists of tofu and spices is poured over the top to cook for two hours. It looks incredible. Expect pictures and a review soon.