Vegan and slow-cooker are not two words that I usually here in the same sentence. Sure, I used to love my slow-cooker for cooking tougher cuts of meat all day long and leaving them fork-tender, but now that I’m not eating (much) meat, the slow-cooker is primarily reserved for soup and stew-making. Not that there’s anything wrong with soups or stews, but there’s only so much of that you can eat before you crave some solid food.
Not only is this meal vegan and made in the slow-cooker, but it also contains eggplant, which is not my most favorite food item in the world. I’ll eat it, but I never get terribly excited about it. But this was good. And easy. And delicious on a giant bed of noodles. The “ricotta” was surprisingly simple to make, and I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand since I had bought cashews the last time I was at Trader Joe’s.
BTDubs, if anyone wanted to get me just one cookbook for Christmas, the book this recipe originally came from, The Vegan Slow-Cooker, would be a great present.
Italian Slow-Cooker Eggplant Casserole
originally from The Vegan Slow-Cooker
as seen on Cara’s Cravings
Yields 4-6 servings
For the Cashew-Tofu Ricotta:
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 cloves of garlic
1 15oz package of firm tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4lb), thinly sliced (
1 jar (25oz, or 700gm) marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade
Cooked pasta, for serving
The Night Before:
Make the ricotta by blending all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
In the Morning:
Oil the crock of your slow cooker. Pour in 1/3 of the marinara sauce. Top with half of the eggplant slices, half of the ricotta, and another 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat the layers once more, then top with the remaining sauce. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with pasta.
If your slow cooker does not run hot and the dish seems water, remove the lid and turn the slow cooker to high. The liquid should evaporate in 30-60 minutes.