Slow cookers that use a fraction of the energy of ovens are proving a valuable investment as people look to save money with gas prices over 100 per cent higher than last year.
For those looking to save time as well as money, it’s a low-hassle approach to cooking; simply put the ingredients into the slow cooker and you can get on with your day while it simmers away. No stirring needed.
Even though they take longer to cook, slow cookers are also much more efficient, a typical model costing one pence per hour to run, ten times less than a typical oven.
Most people associate them with meaty dishes, but you can actually cook many vegetarian and vegan dishes in them, too.
From a no-stir squash risotto to veggie Thai curry, here are four winter-warming, low-energy recipes; perfect for these cosy autumnal evenings.
Slow cookers are very different to leaving something in an oven. They are electric appliances that run on low heat, so they are still considered safe to run if you’re not in the home. For tips on safe use, follow the manufacturer’s instructions or this post on slow cooker safety.
Likewise, if you are out of the house most of the day and don’t want to leave the slow cooker on all day, you can get ahead and cook the evening before – just reheat before serving.
Slow cooker leek and lemon spaghetti
You might be surprised to hear that you can cook pasta in a slow cooker, but all you need to do is add it close to serving – it takes roughly the same time to cook as it would on the hob.
Leeks lend themselves well to slow cooking because they only get sweeter and more tender with time, and you don’t need to worry about overcooking them. Click here for the recipe.
Slow cooker butternut risotto
This is the easiest risotto ever. It’s probably not for purists, but a great way to cook a creamy vegetarian risotto without spending a lot of time stood at the hob stirring away.
Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and let it do its thing. The butternut squash goes so soft that it becomes part of the sauce, adding a beautiful sweetness, colour and creaminess without the need to add much dairy. For the recipe, click here.
Slow cooker dal
You can’t really overcook dal, making it great for slow cooking. This recipe is easy to make, cheap, healthy and very adaptable.
Add whatever vegetables have at home. Veg like squash, carrots, parsnip and courgettes can be added at the beginning, but add leafy greens like spinach and kale at the end. You can find the recipe here.
Slow cooker veggie curry
This recipe is a loose guide for a vegetarian curry – use whatever veg you have at home, mix up the curry pastes and add chickpeas and other pulses. Click here to find the full recipe.
Have you got a slow cooker recipe? Please share it in the comments.