This is an all-in-one slow-cooker meal, meaning you cook the whole dinner in one crockpot. One of the tips people gave me for disabled cooking was that the crockpot is your friend. But Mommy’s crockpot is big, and I’m often just cooking for me. So I got an adorable mini slow-cooker on sale at Target last week – $9.99 for a 2-qt cooker. YEAH. Plus, I chose the red one, and red makes me happy.
This recipe is based on one by Kathy Hester in Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just For You! She has a section on “Vegan Squares” – complete meals you cook in one slow-cooker by wrapping up the different dishes in foil or parchment paper and layering them in the pot. The idea of cooking food in packets (e.g. on the grill, or in the oven) is not new to me, but cooking in a crock pot is. Good thing I consulted Hester’s book before diving in. I did, however, make some significant changes to use what I had on hand and to adjust for my preferences.
If you have a bigger slow-cooker I would not hesitate to just double the recipe. This quantity, however, works for me. It would also be great for Lt. Cmmdr R – my lovely friend who is also trying a Vegan Experiment of her own. Her husband, C(Kh), does eat meat presently, so I’d go for some rotisserie chicken or something on the side. Oh yeah – this is the first time I tried tempeh. It’s a fermented soy product that hails from Indonesia. You can find it near the tofu (I got mine from Whole Foods, not sure what other stores carry it). I like it – it’s meatier than tofu and you can taste the fermentation action. I will likely try some other variations as I ramp up this vegan learning curve. But this is a great start – you just open the package, cut the tempeh up, and put it in the crock pot.
Slow-Cooker Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner
Based on K. Hester’s recipe in Vegan Slow-Cooking for Two or Just for You
Layer 1: Tempeh and Gravy
- 8 oz (1 package) tempeh, cut into 6 pieces.
- 1 c water
- 2 Tb nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp of Mrs. Dash no-salt
- salt & pepper
- 1 Tb arrowroot (sub cornstarch)- reserve for use just before serving.
Put everything (except arrowroot or cornstarch) in the bottom of your slow-cooker and stir to combine.
Layer 2: Quinoa Stuffing
- 1.5 c cooked quinoa (cooked in broth/soup for flavor. I used leftover red quinoa that had been cooked in a mix of ½ veggie broth and ½ carrot soup – delicious!)
- 2 ribs of celery, sliced
- 2 mushrooms, e.g. baby bella, sliced
- splash of veggie broth
- handful of craisins
- handful of walnuts
- pinch of Mrs. Dash no-salt
- salt & pepper
Put everything in a bowl and stir to combine. Tear a piece of foil or parchment paper big enough for your packet. Put the paper/foil over a bowl to help you form your packet. Pour the quinoa mixture over the paper/foil/bowl. Fold the ends up so you have a nice packet. Place over the tempeh in the slow-cooker.
Layer 3: Maple Sweet Potatoes
- · 1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and sliced (I kept the skin on bc my motor skill did not feel up to peeling, and I figured that my potato was organic so… But it’s up to you – this is preference.)
- · splash of maple syrup
- · splash of vanilla extract
- · dash of cinnamon
- · tiny pinch of salt
Put everything in a bowl and stir to combine. Make it into a packet like you did with the quinoa. Put the potatoes on the top and close the slow cooker lid. (I had to press mine down a little). Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 3 hours.
When it’s time to serve dinner, take the lid off of your slow cooker and remove the 2 packets into bowls. Be careful – it’s hot. I used tongs. Remove the tempeh to a bowl. Add a little hot water to your arrowroot and stir until smooth. Then stir it into your tempeh gravy. Cover and let it thicken while you plate up the other food. Mine thickened a lot – I was surprised. It was a good gravy. By the time you get everything out of the packets and onto plates your gravy will be ready. Pour it over your tempeh and enjoy!
Other Thanksgiving Food ideas: click here.