Whether you are a vegetarian or just looking for some Meatless Monday recipes, you can appreciate a set-it-and-forget-it meal. There is very little prep needed for any of the delicious vegetarian meals featured below; your slow cooker does most of the work. Throw in the ingredients before you leave for work and come home to a complete meal ready to be put on the table. These cheap slow cooker recipes can also be adjusted to suit vegans by using dairy-free cheese or butter, and almond or soy milk.
Vegetarian Chili.Chili freezes well, so stretch this recipe by serving over rice or pasta to ensure you'll have some left over.
|1 14.5 oz. can chopped tomatoes, drained ($1.39)
1 8 oz. can tomato paste ($1)
1 cup corn kernels (89 cents)
1 15 or 16 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed ($1.10)
3 cloves garlic, chopped ($2.50)
1 medium onion, chopped (75 cents)
8 dashes hot sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin (pantry item)
1 tablespoon chili powder (pantry item)
2 cups water
|Cook all ingredients on low for 3 to 4 hours.
Serve with chopped onions, oyster crackers, cheese, and sour cream or whatever is in your fridge.
|Total price: less than $8|
Macaroni and Cheese.Macaroni keeps well for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Pair it with a salad or carrot sticks to round out the meal.
|6 cups cooked macaroni, or about 3 cups dry ($2)
4 tablespoons butter (pantry item)
4 cups milk (pantry item)
|6 cups shredded or grated cheese ($3.50)
2 teaspoons salt (pantry item)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (pantry item)
|In a large mixing bowl, toss cooked macaroni with butter.
Stir in milk, cheese, salt, and pepper and transfer to slow cooker.
Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or low for 4 to 5 hours.
|Total price: less than $6|
Vegetarian Lasagna.The more vegetables and layers you add to this hearty lasagna, the farther it will go. Serve with a loaf of garlic bread and you'll have leftovers for days.
|2 24 oz. jars or cans Italian tomato sauce ($5)
9 thick lasagna noodles ($1)
3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese ($3.50)
3 to 4 cups chopped vegetables of choice (pantry item)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese ($3.50)
|Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom.
Break noodles in pieces so they cover the bottom. Layer about one-third of ricotta, veggies, sauce, and cheese and top with more noodles.
Repeat layers two more times. End with a layer of noodles on top, covered with a thin layer of sauce and shredded cheese.
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5 to 6 hours.
|Price: less than $13|
Vegetable Soup.Add (uncooked) noodles to make this soup even heartier, and serve with crusty bread. If you are feeding an extra-hungry crowd, double the recipe and freeze any leftovers.
|1 cup fresh or frozen whole-kernel corn (89 cents)
1 large potato, cut into 1-inch cubes ($1)
4 carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces ($2.25)
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, broken into 1-inch pieces ($1)
1 small sweet onion, diced (75 cents)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (pantry item)
|1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste (pantry item)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (pantry item)
Kosher or sea salt to taste (pantry item)
2 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 1/2 cups water
|Place all ingredients in slow cooker and stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours.
|Price: less than $6|
Veggie Sloppy Joes.The amount of filling on each sandwich will vary, so you'll have more or less leftover depending on how full your family likes each sandwich. Throw on some slices of your favorite kind of cheese to make these sandwiches extra filling.
|1 1/2 cups lentils ($3)
2 cups short-grain brown rice ($2.50)
8 to 10 cups water
1/3 cup onion (75 cents)
2 packs sloppy-joe seasoning mix ($2)
2 teaspoons garlic powder (pantry item)
1 can tomato paste ($1)
6 tablespoons ketchup or barbecue sauce (pantry item)
Sea salt to taste (pantry item)
Whole-wheat buns ($1.50)
|Combine water, lentils, brown rice, and dry seasonings in slow cooker.
Cook on high for a few hours until lentils and rice are very soft and mixture thickens up. Add more water until mixture reaches desired consistency.
After cooking, add ketchup or barbecue sauce to taste. Mix thoroughly and serve on whole-wheat buns.
|Price: less than $11|