Slow Cooker Middle Eastern Stew [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep: 30-35mins
Cooking Time: about 4 hrs (*On a high heat setting)
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, colander, large/non-stick frying pan, frying spatula, large measuring jug, slow cooker

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar, salt and saturated fats. 

Here’s one last quick recipe to take you into the weekend folks (because we just couldn’t help ourselves)! 

Slow cooking is never sexy, far from it, but the proof is definitely in the pudding (or stew in this case)! It’s perfect for producing a final product that is always flavourful, tender and ridiculously easy to prepare (although occasionally this cooking process may take a little more practice and persistence than we would like!). Whether your a student or someone who is just looking to save some time and money- a slow cooker is definitely worth the investment! 🙂

So as we’ve previously mentioned, we love Middle Eastern flavours and combining them with ‘slow cooking’ sounded like a great idea to us! We took a bit of time looking into some different combinations (to our previous M.E recipes!).The result- we came up with this delicious stew that is quickly becoming one of our favourites! Just combine a medley of Middle Eastern spices and flavourings, some traditional and perhaps less or non-traditional ingredients (creamy Charlotte potatoes anyone?!), and you are left with a delicious stew that just keeps tasting better and better as the days go on. 

A few other good things to note include:

  • Preserved lemon paste is cheapish and economical (for us); we can easily adapt it into other recipes so the jar won’t be left to collect ice crystals at the back of our fridge! We think that this lemon note is quite important; if you cannot find it or prefer not to buy it, try experimenting with a little lemon juice and a fair chunk of freshly ground lemon rind instead. 
  • To save time you can buy some harissa paste (like we have), or to save some money you can try making your own; the Kitchn‘s version looks like a great (and tasty!) place to start! 
  • We combined a few spices for our Middle Eastern spice blend, one being a mixed spice mix. Our ‘ground mixed spice mix’ contained: coriander seed, caraway seed, ginger, fennel seed, nutmeg, cloves and turmeric. There are various versions of ‘mixed spice’ but it’s not the same as ‘allspice’.
  • This stew is quite fibrous, but you can always adapt it by using less veggies! Also keep the veggies as chunky or as small as desired (but for cooking ease, try to keep them all as uniform as possible).
  • As the stew’s liquid is at a minimum/bowl, we wouldn’t recommend adding ‘grains’ to it. It does however go very nicely with a small piece of flat bread or pitta! 
  • When looking for crushed sumac berries (it’s also labelled as just ‘ground sumac’). 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂


NB: Red pepper, mixed spice, oil, frozen ingredients and parsley are not shown here.


+++++++++Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂



1. Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. Wash the bell pepper, remove its stem and core and then chop into ½-1 cm pieces. Wash and roughly chop the potatoes. Wash the aubergine, trim the top and then roughly chop it into bite-sized (or 1″) pieces. Wash the olives and then roughly slice them (if using) .

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Tip: Need to reduce the fat? Use less oil or a low-fat cooking oil spray instead! Add the garlic and onion. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened. Add the bell pepper, potatoes and aubergine. Scatter over the Middle Eastern spice blend (2g of each: Ground Cinnamon, Cumin & Mixed Spice Mix & 3g Crushed Sumac berries). Season it with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to coat in the spices. Gently fry for a further 4-5 mins. Tip: If preferred, you can also cover the pan with a lid to help soften the vegetables.

3. In the meantime, boil 950ml of water in a kettle. Prepare 800ml of vegetable stock according to the packet instructions.

4. Transfer the vegetable mixture into a slow cooker. Place the pan back over the heat. Add 2-3 tbsp of water. Swirl it around to help ‘deglaze‘ the pan. Transfer this liquid into the slow cooker. Add the tin tomatoes, cooked chickpeas, 50g dried cranberries and black olives (if using), 9-14g harissa paste and 10-15g lemon paste. Pour in 800ml vegetable stock and 150ml freshly boiled water. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Cook on a high heat setting for about 4 hours, or on a low heat setting for 7-8 hrs.

5. If preferred, steam or boil the green beans and spinach and then add them to the stew once it’s finishing cooking. Alternatively, snap the green beans into halves. Defrost the beans and spinach. Roughly chop the cubes of spinach into smaller chunks. Add the defrosted beans and spinach into the slow cooker 30 mins before the end of cooking. Cover with a lid. Cook for a further 30-45 mins.

6. Serve warm. Ladle into a large bowl and garnish with a little fresh parsley. Serve with some flat bread or a small pitta (wholemeal, multi-grain or GF- we’ll you decide!)


Tip: Refrigerate any leftover stew in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. This stew is best served ‘warm-hot’ but never boiling. Alternatively, store and freeze; defrost, re-season (if preferred) and reheat within 1-2 months. 


Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Slow Cooker Red Wine, Tofu & Vegetable Stew [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep: 60-90 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or if you are using tofu)
Marination: 12-14 hrs
Cooking Time: 3.5-4 hrs (*On a high SC heat setting)
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), sharp knife,veggie peeler, large pot, large bowl, kitchen paper, casserole dish, kitchen film, large slotted spoon, sieve, large bowl, large/non-stick frying pan (with a lid), slow cooker

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and per serving* has a moderate quantity of added salt and sugar and is low in saturated fats. (*Dependent upon products used).

Enjoy it while you can- delicious stews, soups, chillies, or even curries straight out of your slow cooker! We’re making the most of our stodgy, plant-based (and low-fat) dishes before Spring arrives… and what better way than with this delicious red wine stew!

As always, our dishes are healthy, but not authentic and most have been ‘veganised’. However on this occasion, we are not going to compare this dish to anything else. This recipe is what it is- a wonderful stew that contains tender (melt in your mouth) slow cooked vegetables, and tasty marinated tofu, all in which are served in a delicious red wine and herb/veggie-infused gravy! 

We have used some organic firm tofu (quite a bit actually) and if it’s not your thing or you do not wish to spend time marinating it, there’s always a plan B! You can opt for using a pre-marinated block of tofu or tempeh (there are some tasty ones about!) or use some hearty cooked beans or lentils instead. 

A few other good things to note include:

  • Like a lot of stews and sauce, it tastes better the next day- especially the tofu! The ideal would to be to marinate the tofu throughout the day, slow cook it overnight and then enjoy it for dinner the next day! 
  • If preferred, you can use balsamic vinegar instead of balsamic glaze.
  • If you don’t like the idea of using soya (or tamari) sauce, you can always try swapping it for a vegan Worcestershire sauce; just adjust the quantity appropriately. 
  • We were originally shopping for some meaty (baby) portobello mushrooms, but the chestnuts worked out just fine. Oh, if you are using tiny button-type mushrooms, you won’t need to chop them, probably saving yourself 5 minutes in the process! 
  • Yes the tofu is purple, but it’s not GROSS! 😀 If you are not using it, you still need to go ahead and make the ‘marinated’ veggies.
  • To help intensify the tofu marinade, we are recommending that you add an additional 100ml of (uncooked) wine to it (but we have adjusted the ingredients list for you).

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂



Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂



1. Drain and press the tofu between two heavy chopping boards or plates for 30 mins.

2. In the meantime, peel and thinly slice the onion. Wash, peel, trim the ends, quarter and then thinly slice the carrot. Wash, trim the ends and then thinly slice the celery. Peel the garlic and finely chop two of them only (leaving one whole).

3. Place the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, 375ml wine, 1 bay leaf, 8 peppercorns, ½ tsp thyme and ¼ tsp vegetable stock powder into a large pot. Place it over a medium heat. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for 5 mins. Remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl. Allow it to cool down.

4. Meanwhile, drain the excess water off the tofu. Pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Transfer onto a large chopping board. Slice into pieces about one inch long (but the preference is yours!). Transfer and arrange the tofu in a single layer in a large casserole dish.

5. Add the remaining 100ml wine, 1 tbsp balsamic glaze, 1 tbsp soya sauce and 2 tsp olive oil into the bowl that contains the red wine marinade mixture. Mix to combine. Carefully pour the red wine marinade over the tofu, allowing the vegetable mixture to rest on top. Cover with a sheet of kitchen film. Refrigerate for 12-14hrs. Tip: Even if you end up leaving this mixture for longer than 14hrs, it will be fine! 

6. The next day, remove the veggie mixture with a slotted spoon and transfer it into a slow cooker. (NB: For presentation purposes, our veggies are not shown in the slow cooker.). Remove and discard the whole garlic, bay leaf and 8 peppercorns. Rest a large sieve over a large bowl. Transfer the tofu into the sieve. Pour the remaining marinade over the tofu. Allow the tofu to drain and do not discard the reserved marinade.

7. In the meantime, wash and dry the mushrooms; leave whole, halve or quarter depending on the size. Peel the onions.

8. Heat 2 tbsp rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Tip: Alternatively use some low-fat cooking oil or a spoonful of  water and ‘steam-fry’! Add the mushrooms and onions. Season it with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Cover with a lid. Gently fry 4-5 mins or until the vegetables are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove and transfer into the slow cooker.

9. Spray some low-fat cooking oil into the same frying pan. Add the tofu and gently fry 6-7 mins or until lightly browned. Transfer into the slow cooker. Tip: This step will have to be completed in 2-3 batches. Once finished, add one 1 tbsp of water. Swirl it around to help ‘deglaze’ the pan; add this liquid to the slow cooker.

10. In the meantime, boil 1L of water in a kettle. Prepare 500ml of vegetable stock.

11. Pour the reserved marinade into the slow cooker. Add 500ml vegetable stock, 500ml boiling water, 40ml soya sauce and 60ml balsamic glaze . Season it with a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Gently stir together. Add 1 pouch of bouquet garni. Gently submerge it into the stew. Cover with a lid. Cook on a high heat setting for 3.5-4hrs or on a low heat setting for 7-8 instead. Prepare a ‘slurry’ at the end of cooking; in a dish, mix 40g flour with equal parts water and whisk until the flour has dissolved. Whilst briskly stirring, pour the ‘slurry’ into the stew until lightly thickened.

12. Serve warm. Ladle into a large serving bowl. Garnish with a little fresh parsley (if preferred) and serve with a multi-grain or GF roll or even some steamed greens.


Tip: Refrigerate any leftover stew in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 1 month.



Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Sambar [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep: ≤35 mins
Cooking Time: 2-3 hours (*On a high S.C setting)
Type: Main meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, two pots, measuring jug, food processor, slow cooker

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar and salt! 

Happy Monday everyone! We hope that you’ve all had a great weekend? We are feeling pretty prepared for the weekend ahead and are really looking forward to enjoying some great food and reconnecting with some faces we haven’t seen in a while! 🙂 

Today we have a delicious and nutritious South Indian lentil and vegetable-based slow cooker curry recipe for you. We’ve been playing with sambar recipes for quite a while now and think that this one is pretty tasty! It’s particularly good for those that love spicy (although not completely paralysing meals) and lighter curries! This is down to the fact that it doesn’t comprise of any heavy sauces (no cream or butter!) or large quantities of added oils; it relies on so many great spices (as hot as preferred), including some tasty tamarind! We’ve used a store-bought tamarind paste this time, but check out this previous curry recipe on how to prepare tamarind pulp! Authentic versions of this curry are prepared with yellow lentils, a sambar powder mix (which has a few varied ingredients than what we have included) and is usually finished off with a tempered spice mix which includes a little more oil (more than we have used) and some curry leaves!  

Quite honestly, this curry feels more like a ‘lentil stew’ than curry, especially if you do not serve it with rice or some type of bread- although we thoroughly recommend that you do! It’s also very versatile, so do not feel that you have to use the same vegetables; baby turnips would make a great, tasty and lower G.I substitute to white potatoes! It’s good to note that the desiccated coconut adds a fair bit of saturated fat to the dish, so please use less of it if you want to make this meal low in fat; to further this point we would also recommend serving this curry with some plain brown basmati or wholemeal rice instead of heavier/oily breads.

As we like to control the quantity of spice used in our cooking, we never really add really hot chillies (like a bird’s eye!) to our dishes, we would rather drizzle over some infused chilli oil or add some chilli flakes just before serving. However, if you are braver than us, try using a hotter chilli and/or chilli powder or more chilli flakes to the curry before cooking!

We hope that you find this to be a tasty and quick alternative to the your current festive dishes on offer and perhaps a great recipe to have on stand-by for any post-Christmas parties or delicious New Year meals ahead!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂



Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂




Peel and dice the garlic and onion. Wash, remove the stem and dice the chilli. Wash the lentils in a sieve and then remove any seeds or stones.



Place a large non-stick pot with 450ml water over a medium heat. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil. Add the garlic, onion, chilli, lentils, 3g curry powder and ½ tsp salt. Stir together. Cover with the lid. Simmer and cook for 15-20 mins or until the lentils are tender. Remove from the heat.



In the meantime, heat a separate non-stick pot or frying pan over a medium heat and get your curry paste spices and desiccated coconut ready. When the pot becomes hot, add the spices and coconut. Dry fry this mixture for about 1-2 mins or until the coconut is lightly toasted.



Transfer the mixture into a food processor. Processor until the mixture becomes fine and grainy. Whilst the food processor is still running, add 1 tbsp of oil and 1 cup of water. Process until the ingredients are thoroughly combined, forming a paste. Leave for the moment. Tip: This is your curry paste!



Wash, peel, trim the ends and dice the carrot. Wash, remove the stem and core and then dice the bell pepper. Wash, peel and cube the potato. Wash, remove the stem (if applicable) and then quarter the tomatoes. Place 20-25g tamarind paste into a measuring jug with 5 tbsp of water. Mix to dissolve.



Place the carrot, bell pepper and potatoes into a slow cooker. Add the lentil mixture, curry paste and tamarind mixture. Stir and thoroughly combine. Top with the tomatoes. Slightly press and submerge them into the liquid. Cover with a lid. Cook on a high heat setting for 2-3 hours. NB: Ours took 2.5hrs to cook! 



Snap the beans into halves and then defrost them. Add the beans to the slow cooker during the last 30 mins of cooking. Alternatively, steam and stir them through the curry just before serving.



Serve with brown basmati rice, wholegrain pitta,  flatbread or a dosa. Garnish with a slice of lime, chilli infused oil (chilli flakes steeped in 1-2 tsp of rapeseed oil!) and/or fresh coriander leaves (if preferred!). 🙂


Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3 days. Alternatively, store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.

Recipe updated: 19/02/16