Aside from dumping some velveeta + salsa in a crock pot to keep cheese dip warm, I’ve never used a crock pot. I loved the idea of a crock pot though: dump a bunch of stuff in it and your dinner will be ready when you get home from work. Who wouldn’t?
When I saw a vegan crock pot chickpea, butternut squash + red lentil stew recipe on Eat Live Run I knew it would be my first crock pot try. I, of course, modified the recipe because I just can’t follow directions 100%.
Crock pot chickpea, butternut squash + red lentil stew
(adapted from Eat Live Run)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp olive or canola oil
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno, one seeded and minced, one with the seeds/ribs left in and minced
2 tsp garam masala
1 full or 1/2* of a butternut squash (about 3 lbs–avg sized), peeled and cubed
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in tomato juice
1 quart (one full box) vegetable broth
1.25 cup red lentils
1 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
fresh minced cilantro for serving
*feel free to use a full butternut squash. i used half as they are very sweet and i wanted to try roasting the other half the next day.
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and jalapenos and saute for about six minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 more seconds, and then add the garam masala, stirring well to coat. Take off heat.
2. Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on LOW and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer you cook, the thicker your stew will be.
3. Top with cilantro and chopped onion (if you want) to serve when you get home from an 8-10 hour day at work (or a really fun weekend day out. invite me please). This stew freezes extremely well and will keep in the fridge for up to five days.
So, crock pot verdict: This was just as much work as a normal soup/chili/stew as I had to chop the veggies up the night before, then saute onion/garlic/etc in the morning. BUT it was really really nice to come home from a long day of work + working out and not have to do much of anything. This especially worked well when Brent + I got home at different times/had different plans for the evening. It forced us to eat at home rather than resorting to getting food out, so it was a bonus. And, we now have about 5 lunches ready to go. I’d totally use a crock pot again.
The recipe verdict: This was a little sweeter than I’d like. I’d add some heat in terms of spices: maybe cayenne, maybe some curry powder. It tasted good w/some onions and cilantro on top. It made it a little less sweet.