I’ve recently become completely obsessed with my slow cooker. So much so that I’m strongly considering buying a larger one for bigger meals and a mini slow cooker for those moments where I just want to make enough for myself and the hubs. I’m cool like that.
Speaking of just cooking for one or two… did you know you can make an entire Thanksgiving meal in your slow cooker? You can. Kathy Hester will show you how below. And FYI, this is the perfect choice if you’re sharing this special meal with just one other person.
All-in-One Thanksgiving Dinner
Excerpted from Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You by Kathy Hester
OIL-FREE, SOY-FREE OPTION*, GLUTEN-FREE OPTION**
You may not want to go through all of the trouble of making a big holiday meal if you’re cooking for only one or two. This three-layered dinner takes no time to put together and is a complete Thanksgiving dinner. All that’s missing is the pumpkin pie!
FOR THE BOTTOM LAYER (TEMPEH AND GRAVY):
1 cup (235 ml) water
2 tablespoons (14 g) Golden Veggie Bouillon Powder (recipe below)
Pinch each salt and pepper
8 ounces (225 g) tempeh (*or seitan for soy-free), cut into 2 slices
1 to 2 tablespoons (8 to 16 g) flour (**or gluten-free thickener)
FOR THE MIDDLE LAYER (STUFFING):
1½ cups (42 g) packaged vegan stuffing (**or gluten-free stuffing)
½ cup (120 ml) water
¼ cup (28 g) minced cranberries or pecans
FOR THE TOP LAYER (CANDIED SWEET POTATOES):
1 medium sweet potato, cut into thick rounds
1 tablespoon (15 g) brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Tear off 2 pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil big enough to make an enclosed packet in the slow cooker. You will use these for the middle and top layers. Set aside.
Add the water, Golden Veggie Bouillon Powder, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker and mix. Add the tempeh (or seitan). Set the flour aside for use right before serving.
In a bowl, mix the stuffing ingredients. Transfer the mixture to the middle of one of the pieces of parchment and close it up so it will fit in the slow cooker. Place on top of the tempeh.
Spread out the other piece of parchment and arrange the sweet potato slices on it and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and salt. You may need to stack them so they will fit in the slow cooker: close up this package, place it on top of the stuffing packet, and replace the lid.
Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours (or 3 hours on high).
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Remove the top two packets and set aside. Turn the slow cooker to high, remove the tempeh, and set aside. Whisk in the flour and set the tempeh back in. The gravy should thicken up enough while you plate up the potatoes and stuffing. Add a little more flour if needed. Place the tempeh on the plates and cover with gravy and stuffing.
YIELD: 2 servings
PER SERVING: 584.4 calories; 14.2 g total fat; 1.9 g saturated fat; 17.2 g protein; 93.5 g carbohydrate; 2.7 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOKING TIME: 7 to 9 hours on low or 3 hours on high
Golden Veggie Bouillon Powder
SOY-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, OIL-FREE
I typically make my bouillon and freeze the extras to use later. But what if you have no room in the freezer or if you want to take some camping? This powder is your answer. It stores in your spice cabinet and you just use 2 tablespoons (14 g) to substitute for 1 bouillon cube.
1 cup (96 g) nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons (5.4 g) dried thyme
1 tablespoon (1.3 g) dried parsley
1 tablespoon (7 g) onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
Add everything to your food processor and blend until uniform. Use 2 tablespoons (14 g) bouillon powder wherever a recipe in the book calls for a bouillon cube.
YIELD: ¼ cup (28 g)
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: none
If you have a small family or are looking for better-portioned vegan meals (that don’t force you to eat chili for a week straight!), Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You is the perfect resource for you. Featuring recipes geared specifically for use with a 1.5- to 2-quart slow cooker, you’ll find endless meal ideas that you can make with minimal effort and maximum taste. Just prep a few items the night before or morning of, and come home to a hot meal—or side, or dessert—the moment you walk in the door!
The little slow cooker is so easy to use that it makes cooking everyday a snap, so you can have a healthy variety of foods at a fraction of the cost of eating out. Inside, you’ll find a whole new world of food to fall in love with, from breakfast-y Pumpkin Polenta to comforting White Bean Quinoa Gumbo to luscious Blueberry Lemon Cake. You’ll be amazed at what your little slow cooker can do!