This recipe is both in sympathy for my Boston and NYC friends trapped in a blizzard (or not-so-blizzard?) at the moment, and the anticipation of life with less time to cook in my not so distant future.
In the past, I’ve never much been into slow cookers. Outside of the prospect of coming home to cooked dried beans (with no soaking!) to be utilized for various concoctions, I haven’t understood the appeal. Pinterest is always full of gloppy slow cooker recipes–most featuring meat and cheese, things from cans, and other processed ingredients. Other slow cooker recipes that sound more appealing to me often involve lots of cooking various things on the stove, then transferring them to the cooker, which always seemed to me to be redundant–why not just keep it all in the same pot and put it in a low oven or on a low simmer?
However, as I approach my third trimester of pregnancy, I often think about how life will change once the baby is here, and how appealing it would be to throw some stuff in a slow cooker, go out for the morning, and return home to a complete meal. Thus begin my forays into slow cookery.
Most of the appealing recipes that I’ve come across are soups that typically involve beans, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with that! Especially since I recently found out in my birthing class that the WHO recommends 70 grams (!!) of protein daily, and since I love beans.
Here’s a hearty lentil and mushroom number that I threw together after looking at a few recipes online. While it doesn’t look like much, it’s yummy, and if you add some more stock + carrots, celery, and/or other veggies, it would probably be even tastier. I ate my words above, and separately sautéed the onion and garlic on the stovetop before putting them in the slow cooker, but you could also give them a quick zap in the microwave, or just toss it all in the slow cooker raw if you find that easier.
Do you all have any vegetarian slow cooker favs? I’d love to know about them!
Lentil and Mushroom Slow Cooker Soup
inspired by Crockpot Lentil Soup, by Everyday Maven
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 Tb. olive oil
- 2 Tb. Turkish red pepper paste (or substitute tomato paste)
- 2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme (or sub 1 tsp. dried)
- 1 tsp. dried Italian herbs
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 C. green or brown lentils
- 3/4 C. winter wheat berries
- 6-8 baby bella, or other mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 C. white wine (optional)
- 8 C. vegetable stock
- 1/8 C. grated Romano cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp. red wine or sherry vinegar
Sauté the onion in the olive oil in a skillet over medium until translucent. Add the garlic and stir till fragrant, about a minute. Add the red pepper paste or tomato paste and herbs and sauté all for another 3-5 minutes.
Place the sautéed onion mixture, dried lentils, dry wheat berries, sliced mushrooms, white wine, cheese, salt, pepper, and veggie stock into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, depending on the strength of your slow cooker.
When done, stir in the vinegar and then season with salt and pepper to taste.