Slow Cooker Curried Vegetable Stew

We're an open-minded bunch, right? So we won't hold it against this recipe, will we, that it's called "curried"? A curry, after all, is just a spice mix and we all know what the right mix of spices does to foods, vegetables and meats alike, right?

A vegetable stew strikes such the right note for January, for any month really, but especially a month when it feels so good to return to what's fresh and what's healthy and what's, you know, every-day delicious versus sugar-and-butter laden holiday-delicious.

So please, if there's anyone in the kitchen who's prone to say, "I don't like curry" then please, just think of this as a "Spiced Vegetable Stew". I'm willing to bet, you'll love it.

PS Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real, a great choice for a side dish or Meatless Monday!

Slow Cooker Curried Vegetable Stew, a spiced vegetable stew, your choice of vegetables. Vegan, paleo, very Weight Watchers friendly!

Fresh fruits, they’re just soooo uncomplicated? Bite into an apple; peel a banana; pull a few grapes off a cluster; open mouth, insert berry or cherry. From impulse to input, only seconds pass.

But fresh vegetables, they’re harder! The exception is baby carrots which aren’t young, tender carrots at all, just bullets of carrot flesh carved from huge, honkin’ carrots that compensate for taste with convenience: no washing, no cutting, no waste, as easy as jelly beans.

But most fresh vegetables call for some slice-slice-chop-chop knife work, trimming, peeling, dicing, chopping or mincing. Nothing hard, mind you. Not even so time-consuming. We spend 23 minutes a visit on Facebook (source: MediaBistro) and untold hours staring at screens small and large. Surely we can carve out time for cooking healthy, vegetable-centric meals?

Ah heavens, regular readers, so sorry. I know you’re with me on this, I’ll get off my soapbox!

So instead, let’s talk knives and how we take care of them.

My favorite knives are circa early 1980s, Chicago Cutlery utility knives with that came in a set, the walnut handles now much faded. Last fall, a blade snapped in half – just like that, no warning. I harbor no complaints, however, that knife broke after thirty years of knife “abuse”: infrequent sharpening and daily dishwasher cleaning.

(I’d buy an identical knife in a heartbeat but unfortunately Amazon reviews from other long-time users indicate a dramatic drop in quality and longevity. It’s the China Effect, no doubt, low labor costs which force other manufacturers to sacrifice quality to compete on cost. But there I go again, another soapbox.)

That’s right, no babying knives around here! If a knife loses its blade every week or even every month, off it goes. If a knife can’t handle the dishwasher, it’s gone. What’s the state of your knives, are they coddled and caressed? Yes I know live with a cook like that.

ALANNA’s TIPS VEGETABLE CHOICES Aim for 4 to 6 kinds of vegetables, varying color and shape and kind of vegetable. Use all fresh vegetables or half fresh vegetables and half good canned or frozen vegetables. Good fresh vegetables include bell peppers (red for color, green for price), turnips, fennel, rutabaga, sweet potatoes (peeled), potatoes (skins on), turnips, parsnips, zucchini, bok choy, kohlrabi, cabbage. Be careful with broccoli and Brussels sprout unless you’re able to eat a large batch within a day or so. The stew that’s pictured included celery, turnips, carrots, green beans and sweet potatoes, twas wonderful! I love vegetable stews with just a touch of creaminess stirred into the bowl, a spoonful of Greek yogurt adds nice “tang” but a splash of cream makes for something almost ethereal!
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite slow cooker recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

SLOW COOKER
CURRIED VEGETABLE STEW

Real Food. Vegetarian. Vegan. Low Cal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free. Paleo. Primal. All that good stuff!
Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 3-1/2 hours on high, 7 hours on low
Makes 11 cups
    STOVETOP
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, cut in large pieces
  • 2 pounds vegetables (see TIPS for vegetable suggestions), cut in large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounces canned beans (black beans, chickpeas, etc.), rinsed and drained
    TO FINISH (don’t skip!)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (agave for vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco or hot sauce or sirarcha
  • Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

START on the STOVETOP In a Dutch oven or very large and deep skillet, heat oil on medium high until shimmery. Add onions and other vegetables as they’re prepped, stirring to coat with fat with each new addition, turning down the heat to keep up with the prep pace, you’ll want to aim for “golden” colored vegetables not “browned” vegetables. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the spices and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

MOVE to a SLOW COOKER Arrange butternut squash pieces on the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the cinnamon stick and pour vegetable mix over top. Cook on high for about 3 hours or on low for about 6 hours. PET PEEVE: Slow cookers vary so much in performance so the first time you make this, watch your time and temperature to get it right for your specific cooker.

TO FINISH Pull out the cinnamon stick. Mix the honey, lemon juice and Tabasco in a small bowl, then stir into slow cooker. To serve, serve as a side dish or a vegan main dish, sprinkled with fresh parsley or cilantro.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 153 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 488mg Sodium; 30g Carb; 7g Fiber; 9g Sugar; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2.5, WW PointsPlus 4 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-Calorie Serving = 2/3 cup
Adapted from Cooking Slow by Andrew Schloss. (Cool! He has a blog, Schloss Cooks with "inspired riffs" on published recipes, an excellent companion!) It's my favorite cookbook from 2013, purchased late in the year so this is the first recipe I’ve shared. The premise is slow cooking – allowing time to let flavors develop, mostly with long hours in the oven rather than the notorious unpredictability and sameness of a slow cooker. (Oh, man. One MORE soapbox.) Funny, though, that the first recipe I share actually uses a slow cooker! That said, it also starts with time on the stovetop, one of the tricks to developing flavor for dishes that finish in the slowe cooker. More later, I l-o-v-e this cookbook! DISCLOSURE My Disclosure Promise

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I puréed your curried slow cooker veggie stew and turned it into a comforting soup! YUM!
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna