A Cut Above: Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Suppers

These effortless, meatless meals will satisfy even the hungriest mouths at the table.
Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Suppersus_seriescap_AcutAbove

These days, everyone wants to eat more vegetables. There’s no reason not to keep up our quest for more real food, even when our schedules get busier. But let’s face it: We’d like to be a little more carefree. That's one reason why a slow cooker is such a fine invention. It lets us throw together a great dinner, set the thing to go and come back to a full meal.

So here are three vegetarian suppers just right for this time of year.

Slow-Cooker Root Vegetable Tagine

Makes 6 servings
PointsPlus® value | 5 per serving

A tagine is a traditional Moroccan braise, heavily spiced, often with dried fruit and nuts. It’s usually made in a pot with a conical lid, a “tagine,” which gives the dish its name. The tagine’s lid keeps every drop of moisture in the dish, letting it drip down the sides and onto the stew. Truth be told, a slow cooker does about the same thing: keeps the juices in the stew, lets the flavors meld and provides a warm (not hot), moist environment so that everything cooks slowly and evenly. Serve this vegetarian version of the classic tagine over nutty brown rice or skillet-wilted spinach.


  • 1 lb rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3/4 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3/4 lb yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 12 dried apricots, halved
  • 6 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth


  • In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, combine all vegetables, apricots, almonds and spices. Pour broth over top.

  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, until vegetables are fork-tender.

  • Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Tomato Chickpea Soup with a Nutty Gremolata

Makes 6 servings
PointsPlus™ value | 5 per serving

A savory, herb-laced tomato soup is just the thing for a chilly evening. To make it more of a meal, we’ve included a garnish of a little gremolata, a vinegary Italian herb mixture, sort of like pesto, but lighter. That said, we’ve put walnuts in this version, a little twist to give the mixture more heft against the chickpeas and spices. You really don’t need anything else for supper — except perhaps some crunchy bread or toasted pita wedges.


  • One 28-oz can reduced-sodium diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • One 15-oz can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium garlic clove, quartered
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • In a 5- or 6-cup slow cooker, combine diced tomatoes, chickpeas, onion, celery, broth, oregano, allspice, saffron and black pepper.

  • Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.

  • Meanwhile, combine parsley leaves, walnuts, orange zest, vinegar, garlic and salt in a mini food processor or a spice grinder. Process until a coarse purée forms, sort of like pesto, but a little grainier.

  • To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top each with a heaping tablespoon of gremolata. Stir gremolata into soup while it’s still warm. Cover and store any soup and gremolata leftovers separately in the fridge.

  • Serving size: 1 1/3 cups soup and 1 heaping tablespoon gremolata

Brown Rice Slow-Cooker Risotto

Makes 4 servings
PointsPlus™ value | 8 per serving

Risotto is an Italian rice dish, often an alternative to pasta. Although the classic recipe takes a good hour of stirring at the stove, you can make a creamy and luscious version in the slow cooker — if you use short-grain rice rather than the more familiar medium-grain Arborio. Look for short-grain brown rice at almost all supermarkets, usually at the bottom or top of the shelves in the rice section. For a full meal, serve this comfort food with a vinegary, crunchy, green salad on the side.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 8 oz cremini or brown button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1 lb diced butternut squash (fresh, or thawed from frozen)
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  • Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent and soft, about 4 minutes.

  • Add garlic, cook for a few seconds, then add mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and continue cooking, stirring often, until mushrooms release their liquid and it evaporates to a glaze, about 5 minutes.

  • Pour in wine; as it comes to a simmer, scrape up any browned bits on bottom of skillet. Reduce wine to a glaze, then scrape entire contents of skillet into a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

  • Stir in butternut squash, broth, rice, thyme and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

  • Turn off slow cooker and let risotto sit undisturbed, covered, for 20 minutes. Lift lid, stir in cheese and serve.

  • Serving size: 1 cup

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