Vegan Slow Cooker Kung Pao

Spice things up with Kung Pao from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester. Place all of the ingredients in your slow cooker in the morning, and dinner will be ready when you get home from work in the evening!
The Vegan Slow Cooker
Many years ago, when I first started this blog and vegan cookbooks were scarce, I was sent a vegetarian slow cooker book to review. I hadn’t asked for it, and I didn’t receive any other communication from the publisher. I didn’t have a slow cooker, so I put it on the bookcase to live with my small cookbook collection.
Dennis remembered the book at Christmas time, and gifted me with a slow cooker. I had a little fun experimenting with it and cooking from the cookbook, but the novelty wore off, and pretty soon, the slow cooker started to gather dust. Until my friend Jen told me about The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester. She said she had been cooking her way through it, and she thought I’d love it. And she was right! I cooked my way through it, too, and I loved every meal.
As much as I loved that slow cooker that Dennis gave me for Christmas years ago, I no longer have it. Two or three years ago he gave me an Instant Pot, so I now use it to slow cook. It works just as well as my slow cooker did, and I now have fewer gadgets cluttering my countertops.
Too Busy to Cook
The Vegan Slow Cooker, as well as Kathy’s book Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You, were my go-to books when I was still working in an office during the day and getting my health coaching business off the ground by night. I didn’t have much time to spend in the kitchen between the two jobs, so having a slow cooked meal waiting for me was a godsend. I always recommend both books to my health coaching clients who have busy schedules, too.
Revised and Expanded
Kathy’s back with a new revised and expanded edition of the book! The new edition features 20 new recipes, for a total of 160 recipes. She’s included new tricks for streamlining recipes, and she offers gluten-free, soy-free, and no oil options. The new edition features all-new mouthwatering photography, too.
If, like me all those years ago, you just received a slow cooker for Christmas, and you’re not sure what to do with it, Kathy offers tips to get you started. She also includes some slow cooking rules, tips for buying a slow cooker, and help with slow cooking in your Instant Pot. She’s also provided a list of ingredients to keep on hand and troubleshooting tips.
Super Easy Recipes
What I love about Kathy’s slow cooking recipes is that she makes everything super easy. She breaks down her recipes into simple steps so that you can prep your meal the night before and then get things cooking in the morning. And a hot dinner will be ready and waiting for you when you get home from work. What can be better than that?
In addition to dinner recipes, you’ll find recipes for soups, sandwich fillings, desserts, and even snacks. There’s a chapter devoted to breakfast, too, because the only thing better than dinner waiting for you when you get home from work is a hot breakfast waiting for you when you wake up. Since the first edition’s release of the book, I’ve become friends with Kathy, and she’s included my cannellini bean ratatouille in The Vegan Slow Cooker, Revised and Expanded, which seems pretty surreal.
Chapters in The Vegan Slow Cooker Include:

Vegan Slow Cooker Basics
No-Time-to-Prep Recipes
Casseroles & Loaves
Pasta & Grains
Sandwich & Taco Fillings
Snacks & Appetizers

Kung Pao
The first recipe I made from Vegan Slow Cooker, Revised and Expandedwas Kathy’s Kung Pao. I love Kung Pao, and it always make me think of Seinfeld. “George likes his chicken spicy!” Well, Dianne likes her seitan spicy, too!
This recipe is super easy to make, you just chop up your veggies, mix together the sauce ingredients, and then throw everything in your slow cooker. It’s cooked and ready for dinner when you’re ready to eat!
This dish is full of flavor, and much healthier than any takeout. You can customize it to your liking, too. Kathy has included gluten-free, oil-free, and soy-free options with this recipe. The recipe calls for seitan, but those with gluten sensitivities can use chickpeas, cauliflower, or tofu. If you follow an oil-free diet, you can skip the sesame oil. I used seitan but left out the water chestnuts, as I’m not too fond of them.
If your schedule is hectic, and you’re in need of healthy meal options, The Vegan Slow Cooker is the book for you!

Kung Pao

This Chinese takeout inspired recipe gets its rich flavor from the mushrooms and rice vinegar as well as a great crunch from the water chestnuts.
Gluten-free option* Soy-free option** No oil added option***

Sauce Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon (8g) grated ginger
1½ cups (355 ml)water
¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce ((*use gluten-free **use coconut aminos))
¼ cup (60 m)l seasoned rice vinegar or plain rice vinegar mixed with 1 teaspoon sweetener
2 tablespoons (12 g) vegan chicken-flavored bouillon
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes


1 bell pepper, cored and diced
5 ounces (140 g) mushrooms, diced
1 can (8 ounces, or 225 g) water chestnuts, drained and diced
1 package (12 ounces, or 335 g) seitan, store-bought or homemade, diced ((*sub 1½ cups chickpeas, cauliflower florets, or pressed tofu))

Before Serving Ingredients

2 to 3 tablespoons (16 to 24 g) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (30 ml) sesame oil ((*** leave out to make oil-free))
Steamed rice, for serving
Chopped peanuts, for serving

The night before: To make the sauce: Combine all the sauce ingredients and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Store the cut-up bell pepper, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and seitan in an airtight container in the fridge.
In the morning: Combine the sauce, pepper, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and seitan in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.
30 minutes before serving: Turn up slow cooker to high. Make a thickener by mixing the cornstarch with some of the sauce from the slow cooker in a small cup, then add it back to the slow cooker. Right before serving, stir in the sesame oil. Serve over steamed rice, and top with the peanuts.

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Vegan Slow Cooker, Revised and Expanded: Simply Set It and Go with 160 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Fresh from the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot® by Kathy Hester.

Other recipes from Kathy Hester that you might enjoy include:

Slow Cooker tempeh Braised with Figs and Port Wine
Slow Cooker Lentil-Quinoa Taco Filling
Air Fryer Cajun French Fry Po’ Boy with Vegan Mushroom Gravy
Instant Pot CSA Layered Indian Dinner

I have a copy of The Vegan Slow Cooker, Expanded Edition for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. U.S. residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight on January 15th. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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