Healthy Vegetarian Crock Pot Meals
There seems to be an endless list of vegetarian meals for the crock pot online, but not all recipes are created equal. While you can cook every vegetable under the sun in a crock pot, some vegetarian options simply taste better when they are prepared in a slow cooker. It is actually possible to roast vegetables in your crock pot, giving them a sweeter and more complex flavor. Tomatoes especially benefit from being slowly cooked with a little bit of olive oil; not only do they become incredibly flavorful, they produce a powerful antioxidant called lycopene that has been implicated in fighting heart disease and reducing the risk of some cancers. Adding healthy oils to your vegetables helps your body take in a larger amount of vitamins and other beneficial compounds in your produce.
Best Crock Pot Vegetables
- Bell Peppers: Bell peppers have a rich flavor when roasted, especially in a slow cooker. They are a great source of vitamin C and fiber. Additionally, roasted bell peppers compliment many other vegetables, and can be used as a base for sandwiches, enchiladas, soup and much more.
- Zucchini: Zucchini is actually biologically a fruit, but is often treated as a vegetable in the culinary world. It’s naturally low in calories and a great source of of potassium. Try roasting with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a unique, tasty pasta topping.
- Squash: When slow cooked, squash becomes soft and easily digestible. All varieties of winter squash are a good source of essential minerals, fiber, and vitamins like cancer-fighting beta carotene. Squash is a great base for your meal, because it easily soaks up additional flavor from other foods like garlic and peppers, making them a versatile addition to any vegetarian crock pot meal.
- Carrots: Carrots are one of the best food sources of carotenoids, which have been linked to improved vision and decreased mortality rates from chronic illnesses. Try heirloom colored carrots for a fun, gorgeous addition to your meals.
- Potatoes: As one of the most versatile vegetables, potatoes pair well with nearly every vegetable available and can even soak up their flavors. Potatoes are also inexpensive, but incredibly nutritious, making them one of the best-valued food staples.
- Onions: Onions are extremely cheap and low-calorie; when cooked correctly, onions will add an amazing dimension of flavor to any dish. You can use the crockpot to caramelize onions, which make a great base for soup and pasta sauces.
- Asparagus: One of the most well known superfoods, asparagus, is very low in calories, but incredibly high in dietary fiber and protein. When cooked in a crock pot with other vegetables, asparagus becomes flavorful and tender. It doesn’t need too much cooking, so add it toward the end of the recipe’s time.
- Peas: Another vegetable that is high in protein is the pea. Peas are also high in many of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, making them an excellent addition to any vegetarian meal. They freeze especially well, and can be added straight from the bag into sauces and curries.
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