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Despite their reputation as a piece of kit that works its way through hard, tough cuts of meat, slow cookers apply a gentle but magic touch to vegetables too – even soft vegetables with a high water content, like mushrooms or aubergines. They’re also one of the best means by which to cook storecupboard pulses like lentils, chickpeas and dried beans. So join us as we show you how to cook vegetarian and vegan dishes in your slow cooker.

If you're looking to buy a slow cooker or need a replacement for yours, be sure to read our review of the best slow cookers. We've also got plenty more inspiration for vegetarian and vegan slow cooker recipes.

Find out which of your kitchen appliances are bumping up your energy bill, plus get tips to help you reduce energy use - see the free Which? guide to how much kitchen appliances cost to run.

1. Slow cooker aubergines

Two plates of aubergines covered in cheese

Unlike the rich, wintery stews you might associate with slow cooking, this veggie dish sings with summery freshness. The aubergines are dressed with a tangy herb sauce, topped with feta and crunchy almonds and can be served with bread or tossed through fresh pasta.

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Discover more aubergine recipes.

2. Slow cooker vegetable stew with cheddar dumplings

Pot of stew with dumplings

Seek the ultimate comfort in this hearty spring stew. It's packed with seasonal veg and has a creamy sauce and giant cheesey dumplings – perfect for a special Sunday dinner or veggie centrepiece.

Discover more vegetarian casserole recipes.

3. Slow cooker vegetable lasagne

Plate of vegetarian lasagne

This luscious yet low calorie lasagne offers all the comfort of the richer version, but packs in five of your 5-a-day! Wholewheat pasta sheets are layered with a medley of vegetables and creamy mozzarella, making for a wholesome and nutritious meal.

Discover more veggie pasta bake recipes.

4. Slow cooker ratatouille

Pot of ratatouille next to a spoon and two slices of bread

We challenge you to find a more colourful plate of food! With tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and courgettes, this low in fat ratatouiile delivers four of your five-a-day, plus a dose of feel-good nutrients such as vitamin C and folate. Make ahead and store in the freezer for an easy midweek meal.

Discover more ratatouille recipes.

5. Slow cooker vegetable curry

Bowl of vegetable curry with a flatbread

If you fancy a comforting bowl of curry without the normal heaviness, this veg-packed marvel will deliver just the ticket. A mixture of chopped squash, pepper, aubergine and peas are coated in light coconut milk, curry paste, herbs and spices. As well as scoring on flavour, one serving will also bag four of your 5-a-day. Serve with wholemeal flatbreads to mop up all the fragrant juices.

Discover more vegetarian curry recipes.

6. Aubergine & chickpea stew

Aubergine and chickpea stew in a bowl with pitta bread

Make the most of storecupboard staples like chickpeas and chopped tomatoes in an aromatic aubergine stew. Baharat – a spice blend widely used in Middle Eastern cooking – brings a special depth and flavour to this vegan dish. Simple flatbreads are a perfect vessel for mopping up the juices.

Discover more healthy chickpea recipes.

7. Five-a-day tagine

Vegetable tagine on top of cous cous

Get your entire day’s vegetable quota in one easy go with this freezable veg pot. Just to add to its list of credentials, it requires zero pre-cooking, so you can just lob the lot in the slow cooker and leave it to cook for 6-8 hours on low.

Discover more vegetarian tagine recipes.

8. Pasta e fagioli

Pot of tomato pasta with kale

Meet winter bowl food at its best. Pasta fans will love this hearty, nutritious vegan soup which brings cavolo nero together with beans, brown rice miso and pasta shapes. Come home to a filling stew, and take any leftovers to work the next day.

Discover more hearty soup recipes.

9. Slow cooker cheesy creamed greens

Creamy greens in a bowl with a spoon

Pair the rich, earthy flavour of cavolo nero with cream and salty parmesan to make this perfect veggie side dish. A great meal for entertaining as it serves 6-8 people and takes only ten minutes to prepare so you can focus on your other courses.

Discover more cavolo nero recipes.

10. Slow cooker dhal

Bowl of black dhal with onions on top

The key to achieving an authentic finish to this slow cooker curry is sourcing black urid beans and ghee, but yellow split peas and butter would work too. Top with crispy fried onions, either from a pot or homemade, and your favourite curry sundries.

Discover more dhal recipes.

More vegetarian and vegan cooking…

All our top veggie recipes
How to eat a balanced vegetarian diet
Foods you think are vegetarian that aren’t
10 things you should know before going veggie
Top 5 veggie meals for kids

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Video: How to use a slow cooker
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Do you cook veggie or vegan food in a slow cooker? We'd love to hear your recipes...

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