Caregiving from my kitchen

Root Vegetables in a Slow Cooker

 

"Bake" root vegetables in a slow cooker - set it up in the morning, and make enough for several meals. An easy and delicious winter vegetable recipe.A Hot Thing in the last few years has been Roast Vegetables. Put all sorts of root vegetables – and sometimes sturdy green vegetables, too – in a pan and  put it in the oven…  The cooking concentrates the flavor, and you taste the natural sweetness of the vegetables. It’s also easy to make a large quantity at once, and then use them in other meals – either just reheat, or use them for soup. I wrote about it last year… 

Carrots and Parsnips - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

But sometimes you don’t want to put something in the oven for an hour…  You don’t want to put  it on in your overheated apartment (I’ve been there!) or it’s already full of something else, or – probably the most common – you just want something that will be ready to eat soon after you get home. So then – cook your root vegetables in a slow cooker!

The results won’t be exactly the same – this is a moist, not a dry heat – but they are similar enough that you can use them in the same ways. And sometimes it is nice to not have to fuss with stirring, and watching to be sure something doesn’t burn, and so on…  And I do not recommend green vegetables such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts  in here – they just cook to a bitter mush in a slow cooker…

The basic recipe here is for one and a half pounds of mixed root vegetables, with one large (or two medium) onions, mostly because that’s what I happened to have on hand…  and I just used carrots and parsnips because (sing it with me) that’s what I had… But measurements are far from precise, you could easily double it in my five quart slow cooker, or triple it in a larger one, and it would be well worth it, because it reheats beautifully.

Parsnips and carrots - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

And use whatever firm root vegetables you have. For this method you do pretty much need the onion – but other than that – carrots and parsnips, obviously – but turnips, rutabaga, kohlrabi, daikon are all good. And this time I chose to avoid any sort of potato, but either regular or sweet potatoes are great in this. This variation makes it the sort of thing that tastes a bit different every time you make it – carrots and parsnips are sweet, rutabaga is peppery, daikon or black radish are sharp (I wouldn’t use more than, say, a quarter of them, myself…)

Sliced onion - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Peel the onion…  and slice it fairly thin. Then strew half the onion on the bottom of the slow cooker… as it cooks, it will give up moisture, and that will help start the cooking.

Anyhow – scrub the roots and if necessary peel them. Obviously you’ll peel rutabaga…  I usually don’t peel carrots, but they need serious scrubbing, and I will peel if they are too gnarly and hard to clean, or if the skin looks tough. And so on, depending on the vegetable. Cut the vegetables into small chunks. Put that in the slow cooker on top of the onion. Then add the rest of the onion over the roots. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over all.

Root Vegetables in slow cooker - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

I added several peeled cloves of garlic – just dropped them into the mixture. They cook to a delicate, soft and sweet flavor, and add a note to the rest. Use as much or as little as you like.

I did not add any liquid. You might want to add a splash of water if the onions are older and dry. That would also be another way to vary the flavor – a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar, or broth, or soy sauce… Don’t use more than two tablespoons, though – this is not a braise, and the vegetables themselves have enough moisture to cook.

Cooked vegetables in Slow Cooker - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

I cooked these on high for five hours. Low for seven or eight would be fine as well…  Longer would also work, though the vegetables would soften even more.

This amount gave us enough for several meals. We ate it plain that night. I mixed it with broth and some cooked chicken to make a delicious and very easy soup for lunch the next day. The rest is in the refrigerator…  and will probably just be reheated.

 

"Bake" root vegetables in a slow cooker - set it up in the morning, and make enough for several meals. An easy and delicious winter vegetable recipe.

Root Vegetables in a Slow Cooker

"Bake" root vegetables in a slow cooker - set it up in the morning, and make enough for several meals. An easy and delicious winter vegetable recipe.

15 minPrep Time

5 hrCook Time

5 hr, 15 Total Time

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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, daikon, potatoes, etc.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Peel the onion, quarter it, and slice it fairly thin. Strew half of it in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Prepare other vegetables - scrub, peel if needed, and chop in bite sized pieces. Add them to the slow cooker.
  3. Distribute the rest of the onion over the top. Add the peeled garlic. Sprinkle salt lightly over the vegetables.
  4. Cook on High heat for five hours.
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https://www.inhabitedkitchen.com/root-vegetables-slow-cooker/

"Bake" root vegetables in a slow cooker - set it up in the morning, and make enough for several meals. An easy and delicious winter vegetable recipe.

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32 thoughts on “Root Vegetables in a Slow Cooker”

    • Thanks! Yes, that, too... It doesn't come out quite the same as veg roasted in an open pan - but very like using a covered pan. And still more like roast than like steamed or simmered. And I'm just really much more likely to actually do it...
  • I love root vegetables but I have never tried cooking them in a slow cooker.....great idea! I love finding new things to slow cook because they are so convenient. This looks very healthy too!
    • Most vegetables don't do well in a slow cooker, so we tend to just not think of it. But the root vegetables - that sort of long slow cook brings out their best! And then they reheat so well, so I love to make a big pot and just keep using them...
    • I love a slow cooker on a hot day! And while we think of root vegetables as winter vegetables, they start coming in while it's still hot... Thank you!
    • Absolutely! And set it up, and you don't have to even think about it again for hours... Just what I need with a big dinner!
  • We always get so many turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, and other root vegetables this time of year. I usually roast them, but next time I'll try cooking them in the crockpot instead!
    • Oh, yes - the CSA gives us one of this and two of that, and we have a p9ile but not enough of any single one for a meal... But this way, I take care of them all at once, and then can use them in several meals. Enjoy it!
    • We're so used to the idea that vegetables don't do well in a slow cooker, because so many don't. But the hearty root vegetables are wonderful cooked this way! Enjoy them!
  • Do you think I could freeze this and pull them out as I need them? I love that I can make such a big batch.... but that would really help me..
    • This gives a somewhat similar eff3ect - not exactly the same, of course, but it still preserves the flavor better than boiling. And you can always add more garlic... LOL It's so sweet, cooked this way.
    • They're seen as these humble, boring vegetables - and they have so much flavor! (When it isn't all boiled away in huge pots of water...) I remember the shock of discovering how good a cooked carrot can be! And when you blend them like this, they just complement each other, and they're amazing. Thanks!
    • Terrific! And thank you! When I was young, here in the city, the only root vegetables I could readily get were carrots, and of course potatoes. There's be a prepacked package of Soup Vegetables with a parsnip, a turnip, and some wilted parsley sold for an exorbitant price, rutabagas would appear in November for Thanksgiving, might possibly last through Christmas, and then vanish, and you might, or might not, find a few turnips... So I didn't learn to cook with them. But first, produce sections in at least some of our stores have improved, and little greengrocer/convenience stores popped up. More than that, we have a year round farmer's market - all apples, meat, and baked goods until a few years back, when one farmer started selling root vegetables all winter - in good condition, and at reasonable prices. Others soon follow4ed suit, once they knew they'd have buyers, and now I buy them all winter! And they are so good...
    • Beets work, and are delicious. Just one caution - they will turn everything around them red as well. If that doesn't bother you, go for it!

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