Tag Archives: slow cooker

Jacked-up Jackfruit

10 Jun

I have eaten jackfruit a few times and have long been curious to cook with it at home. Over a year ago, Mr. X and I tried some barbecue jackfruit tacos from the Seabirds truck, which we absolutely loved. When Elise posted about barbecue jackfruit recently and I already had a trip to the Thai market planned for our Sri Lanka meal, I knew the timing was meant to be.

I decided to go a step further and add fried avocado wedges, too, based on another Seabirds taco. The combination was wonderful! Here’s how it all goes down.

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos with Fried Avocado

  • 1-2 cups barbecue sauce (I made a batch of my usual recipe
  • 1 can green/young jackfruit in water/brine, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 cups black beans
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 avocados, sliced into 16 wedges total
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Splash of milk (any works)
  • 1/6 cup cornmeal
  • 1/6 cup wheat flour (any)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying (about 4 tablespoons)
  • Combine jackfruit with 1 cup of barbecue sauce either in a slow cooker or a pot on the stove. If using a slow cooker, set to low for 6 hours or high for 3. In a pot, bring to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. The goal is to get the jackfruit really tender. Once it reqches desired consistency, use two forks to shred the pieces until it resembles pulled pork. At this point, add black beans and more sauce to your desired level of sauciness. Let cook for another 20 minutes or so, until beans are hot.

    Toast or heat your tortillas using your preferred method. We put ours directly on a medium flame on the gas stove until they get some black marks, maybe 20 seconds per side. Set aside.

    Beat your eggs with milk in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dip your avocado into the flour mix, then the egg, and then the flour again. Place on a plate until all pieces are coated. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add just a few slices at a time and brown on all sides. It takes about a minute per side, depending on how hot your stove gets. Don’t be afraid to let it get truly brown (but not black). Set fried pieces on a paper towel. Top each taco with a slice or two of avocado.

    Serves 4.

    We are eating these again tonight, so I will make a fresh batch of avocado tonight. Jackfruit has almost no flavor and barely any calories, so it relies on a delicious sauce. I added the beans for staying power, and they are a great addition. I suspect we may have a little filling left over, and I already have plans for topping some baked potatoes with it for lunch!

    Have you ever eaten or cooked with jackfruit? I plan to keep it in the rotation.


    Return to meal planning

    9 Jun

    I stopped meal planning for a while because nothing sounded appetizing, and I was too tired most nights to cook. I’m back in the saddle this week, though! Here’s our menu:


  • Breakfast 1 — French toast
  • Breakfast 2 — Omelets and hash browns
  • Dinner — Barbecue jackfruit tacos
  • Monday:

  • Breakfast — Smoothie (repeated every weekday)
  • Lunch — Minestrone, fruit and nuts (repeated through Wednesday)
  • Dinner — Barbecue leftovers
  • Tuesday:

  • Dinner — Chana saag and rice (repeat Wednesday)
  • Thursday/Friday:

  • Lunch — Baked potato with black beans, fruit and nuts
  • Dinner — Soyrizo stew with chips and salsa
  • Saturday:

  • Breakfast — Pancakes and eggs
  • Lunch — Out
  • Dinner — Leftovers/use up veggies and pantry staples
  • That’s the plan! Three of the meals are slow cooker recipes from The Vegan Slow Cooker book that I just got. I’m excited to see how they turn out. I promise to report back!

    What’s on your menu this week?

    Weeknight recipes

    10 Oct

    Frequent readers of this blog know I’ve been pretty hardcore about meal planning the last couple of months due to my CSA, my need to save money, and my desire to eat better. Naturally, these efforts necessitate cooking during the week, even when I’m tired and cranky (or, in the case of last night, fighting off some nasty allergies). I’m turning to meals that sound delicious but are not complicated, and so far I’ve had great success this week, so I wanted to share a couple. First off is a variation on my Basic Lentil Soup:

    I adapted it for the slow cooker, though, since I still only have one working burner at home.

    Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

    • 1 cup brown lentils
    • 1/3 cup barley
    • 3 small-medium carrots, chopped
    • 1/2 container of mushrooms, coarsely chopped
    • 3 scallions, sliced (white and green parts) — you could use a small onion instead
    • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 Tofurkey Italian Sausage, chopped coarsley
    • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    The soup epitomizes what I love about the slow cooker: combine everything in your cooker, add eight cups of water, and set to cook. You can put it on low and let it cook all day while you’re at work, or you can set it to high, and it will be done in three or so hours. I did the latter since I was preparing it for lunches on Sunday evening. It makes a very thick soup that is filling but not too heavy.

    Serves 6ish.

    I love lentil soup because, really, you can add any vegetables you want and season it however you prefer. I went Italian this time, but it could just as easily been curried or made Mexican-style.

    For dinner Monday and Tuesday night, we enjoyed a variation on Oh She Glows’ Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze.

    I made the following modifications:

    • Used olive oil instead of Earth Balance.
    • Added two garlic cloves (instead of the powder), two scallions (though I would actually saute regular white onion next time for even more flavor), and a lot of crushed red pepper.
    • Mashed the roasted butternut squash with a fork and didn’t bother with a blender.

    Our bowls contained the sauce, whole wheat spaghetti, shiitake mushrooms, the rest (FINALLY!) of the white beans, and kale. I would guess the ratios were:

    • 1 recipe of the sauce
    • 1 bag of spaghetti minus one serving (though I did boil the spaghetti fresh each night since I really hate the texture of leftover whole wheat pasta)
    • Half a container of shiitake mushrooms (button or cremini would work great, too)
    • 1.5 cups cooked cannelini beans
    • 1 bunch of kale, torn into pieces

    Made 4 hearty servings.

    Since I had roasted the squash on Friday night, the meal came together really fast, especially last night, since all we — Mr. X, rather, since I was feeling sick and, therefore, had regressed to a whiny baby — had to do was boil some pasta and reheat the sauce. I won’t say it truly tasted like a cheese sauce, but the flavor was delicious and very interesting. It also had a great consistency even without blending it.

    Tonight we’re having variation #10 billion on X’s Spicy Portobello Chili, and he has demanded I update the recipe with our current favorite combination, so expect that post soon.

    What I Ate Wednesday

    19 Sep

    I decided to give this trend a go roughly 10 years late to the party. I’m like that with every trend. I ignore until it’s been around so long that it isn’t a trend any more, and then I’m ready to jump on board.

    Apparently part of WIAW is writing a little about the month’s theme, and September’s is “fall into good habits.” Since August, my goal has been cooking with the veggies I receive in my CSA share each week and only eating out once per week. It’s going well, though there have been a few hiccups along the way, so recommitting to my plan is still on the list for September. My non-food goals include budgeting (ugh), getting out of the house more (kind of a conundrum when we’re also trying to spend less), and doing creative projects. Someday I’ll have to do a post about my clothing makeovers, if that would interest you.

    And now, food. We are covering Monday here, and once again I started the week off with overnight oats:

    It was about 1/2 cup of oats soaked in enough almond milk to cover overnight, plus vanilla and cinnamon. In the morning, I add peanut butter — currently obsessed with this one — and cut up banana. Not terribly exciting or photogenic, but I love it.

    I was running around on my “lunch hour” (in quote marks because I’m salaried and, therefore, don’t really have a lunch hour — and it was also 2:00) doing errands, so I grabbed a bag of Pop Chips, which I forgot to photograph. They were the jalapeno flavor, my favorites.

    Back at the office, I ate my quinoa salad:

    I will share a recipe tomorrow. It turned out really good — basic, but tasty.

    Towards the end of the day, one of my employees was putting out snacks for a training that evening. I couldn’t resist a handful of these ridiculous Flipsides Pretzel Crackers:

    Then I made the long drive home to enjoy dinner with my insanely cute husband.

    It was a simple meal of soup and bread, but it was made 1,000 times fancier by our . . . NEW TABLE! Here is the meal all plated (well, bowled) and displayed:

    The table is not actually new, just new to us, and we can’t say THANK YOU enough to Chris and Jessica, our friends from Bakersfield, who gave the set to us. We feel like real grown-ups now.

    Back to the meal. The soup was inspired by this stew, but I switched it up a lot by throwing together things in the pantry and the fridge. It ended up being a really nice taste of summer.

    To make it, I added one can of fire-roasted tomatoes, half a chopped onion, four minced cloves of garlic, two chopped yellow squashes, half a container of chopped cremini mushrooms, leftover cooked garbanzo and black beans (maybe 3 cups total), the remnants of a bag of barley (probably 1/4 cup), three hot peppers, and spices (salt, pepper, thyme, and herbes de Provence) to the crock pot and put it in the fridge. We then cooked it on low for about eight hours the next day. When I got home, I stirred it, added about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast and one bunch of chopped parsley, and then let it simmer while I reheated the focaccia in the oven:

    We each had seconds on the soup (X another full bowl, me a half bowl). We also realized the pickles I mentioned two weeks ago were ready.

    I had one bite since I’m not a pickle eater, but he ate several.

    The verdict is that they are very good! We will try making them spicy next time, just for fun.

    Dessert was the last of the watermelon (this x2):

    That was my Monday in food. I will be back tomorrow with some recipes. Tonight I’m attempting to make a kale salad that will be filling enough, so we’ll see how it goes.

    Vegan Cornbread Casserole

    5 Jun

    Last week’s culinary adventure was a huge success — so huge that I devoured the entire slow cooker of casserole before I was able to take a decent picture. Instead, you get this:

    I think a casserole is supposed to hold its shape better than this, but who freakin’ cares when it tastes like heaven and requires almost no time to throw together? The ingredient list looks long, but I promise it’s insanely easy. Here’s what you do:

    Vegan Cornbread Casserole in the Slow Cooker

    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno, minced (and seeded if you want less heat)
    • 1 can pinto beans
    • 1 can black beans
    • 1 can red kidney beans
    • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • Dash (or 10) of hot sauce
    • Black pepper to taste

    Cornbread topping ingredients:

    • 3/4 cup vegan milk of choice
    • 3/4 tablespoon white vinegar
    • 1/2 cup cornmeal
    • 1/2 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil

    In a frying pan, saute the onion in either a little water, spray oil, or a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Once it begins to soften, add the bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about three minutes. When cooked, add the contents to your slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients (except the cornbread topping). Put the lid on top and set to high for one hour.

    After an hour has passed, make the cornbread topping. In a small bowl, combine the “milk” and vinegar. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Now add the milk mixture and the oil, stirring just to combine. Remove the lid from the slow cooker and ladle the cornbread batter on top to cover the bean mixture. Replace the lid and cook until cornbread has reached the desired consistency, about an hour and a half.

    Makes 4 servings. (Though I admit to eating it in 3.)

    The dish does not stay in the pretty beans-on-bottom-and-cornbread-on-top shape well (or at all, really) when you serve it, but who cares? It’s so. freaking. good., by far one of the best new recipes I’ve made in a billion years. It’s easy to customize, too, with your favorite beans, veggies, and preferred spice level. I might throw in some mushrooms next time, but otherwise, I loved it just the way it was.


    31 Jan

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist a pun (on a pun, actually).

    It took months before it was my turn in the library queue, but I finally got my hands on a copy of Mama Pea‘s Peas and Thank You! I decided to tackle two of the recipes this week as a test drive. Behold breakfast:

    Tea and a muffin. Before I get into the Pea biz, let’s talk about the tea. I made a quick Whole Foods run Sunday — my first since I moved to LA, believe it or not — and discovered that they had this delicious delight:

    Celestial Seasonings‘ Nutcracker Sweet: “an irresistibly simple blend of fine black teas made more festive with creamy, nutty vanilla and just a pinch of cinnamon.” I was so excited to find this stuff!

    Anyway, back to the food:

    This little guy is a Blueberry Muffin with Streusel Topping from the aforementioned cookbook. It’s so cute and delicious!

    As you can see, I didn’t go quite heavy enough on the streusel in an attempt to reduce the sugar and fat. If you do the same thing, I definitely recommend adding cinnamon to the batter. You can view the original recipe here, and below are the tweaks I made:

    • I used white whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry. I don’t really know what the difference is, to be honest.
    • I subbed frozen bloobs for the fresh, and as a result followed the book’s instruction to add them to the muffin tin itself.
    • As I mentioned, I made about 1/3 less of the streusel topping than the recipe called for. Don’t do that. I also used turbinado for all the sugar in the recipe and canola oil instead of Earth Balance. These choices were totally fine.

    I absolutely love these muffins! They are filling, considering how small they are, and have the perfect level of sweetness. I’m excited to work my way through the batch this week.

    My second reci-pea is the Spicy African Peanut Stew:

    The original recipe is here, and my changes are below:

    • I used freshly cooked chickpeas instead of canned. I swear I’ll never go back.
    • I used 1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger instead of 1 tablespoon of fresh.
    • I minced two massive garlic cloves and did not measure them.
    • I omitted the sweetener because I forgot about it.
    • Instead of 1 can light coconut milk (the store was out), I used half a can of full-fat and made up the difference with almond milk.

    This stew is incredibly rich and delicious and full of fiber and protein. Plus, it was a great excuse to use my slow-cooker, which I love. I even used the general spice mix to make curry for Mr. X. Hopefully I can coerce him into sharing a picture this week.

    Have you tried anything from this awesome cookbook? If so, what’s your favorite recipe? If not, what’s your go-to cookbook?

    Quinoa Mushroom Soup

    12 Jan

    I made soup. A lot of soup. I intended to end up with four servings, but the result was at least six. Maybe eight. It’s hard to tell, since I’ve only consumed three bowls, but I expect Mr. X will do away with the rest soon.

    I had planned to make taco salad for my lunches and barley mushroom soup for dinners, but X decided he really wanted the salad, so I switched ’em. Because I’m trying to save money on my grocery bill, I decided to use quinoa instead of barley because I already had some in the house. I also subbed green split peas for another type of bean to eliminate soaking and pre-cooking time. I also cooked the whole thing in my slow cooker, which was an excellent choice. The result was earthy and surprisingly filling. I will add a picture when my memory card stops misbehaving.

    Quinoa Mushroom Soup

    • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
    • 3/4 cup green split peas, rinsed and picked over
    • 1 container shiitake mushrooms
    • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
    • 3 medium carrots, chopped
    • 1/2 large onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, plus more to taste
    • 1/2 to a whole bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Rinse what needs to be rinsed, and chop what needs to be chopped. Throw everything but the salt, pepper, and parsley into the slow cooker with five cups of water. Set it on high for about three hours, or until the split peas have softened. Add the parsley and reduce to low for as long as you like. I did about three hours. Add salt and pepper (and more thyme, if desired) to taste and serve.

    Makes 100,000 6 servings.

    The soup is warm, thick, comforting, and incredibly healthy. Notice that there is no fat at all. You could add tomato paste or other veggies, but I loved how basic and satisfying it was with just the thyme and delicate veggie flavors shining through. Feel free to make it on the stove. I would guess that you should simmer it for about an hour. Serve it and savor the homey, happy taste.