Thick and creamy, this Slow Cooker Pumpkin Tofu Stew will warm you up instantly. Full of simple vegetables and a handful of spices, you’ll love having this for dinner any night of the week.
Growing up, my family’s slow-cooker (or Crock Pot, if you prefer the brand name) was exclusively used for Shabbat. Every Friday the chulent would be bubbling away on the counter until we ate it for lunch the next day. Classic Jewish Shabbat food, which we ate without fail week after week. Tradition is, after all, a big part of what we do.
Except this is one tradition I’ve left behind. Chulent isn’t really my jam, not when everything tastes kind of the same in it. Where’s the textural interest? The variety? During my gap year in Israel we had a chulent competition between the programs. A friend and I made our group’s chulent, in which I put my mom’s secret ingredient (a hearty dose of cinnamon) yet forgot salt. Somehow we still won.
Since then, my slow-cooker adventures have shifted into less homogenous stews and shredded chicken dishes. Sometimes I’ll make it for Shabbat, but more often I’ll put everything up on Sunday afternoon, forget about it for a few hours, and then eat it for dinner throughout the rest of the week. If that’s not meal prep at its best, then I don’t know what is.
I’ve been looking forward to a bowl of this Pumpkin Tofu Stew every day lately. Especially since it got cold enough to break out my heavy duty winter coat, the puffy one with the furry-edged hood. Where did autumn go??
Until I figure out where I stashed my gloves last year, I’ll warm my hands on steaming bowls of slow-cooked stew. The pumpkin puree combined with coconut milk makes an extra creamy and thick base without needing your immersion blender. Instead of pumpkin pie spice, we’re heading down the savory path this time. Freshly grated ginger, minced garlic, sprigs of thyme, sea salt and crushed red pepper flakes for some more heat are all you need.
In the name of time management, I pressed my tofu while prepping the other vegetables, so that I could toss everything in at once. You can crisp up the tofu first in the oven or on the stove for more of a crunch factor. Almost like croutons. Keep in mind, the crisp exterior might prevent the tofu from absorbing as much of the pumpkin-coconut flavor.
The rest of this Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Tofu Stew is a compilation of vegetables that soften but won’t lose their shape completely while cooking. I chose vegetables that are easy to find and pair well together. The beauty of slow-cooker stews is that you can change it up however you like! Can’t find a bell pepper? Chopped tomato also tastes great. Don’t want carrots? Parsnips or leeks could work.
Spend a half hour or so browsing the produce aisles of the grocery store to see what strikes your fancy. You’ll still save a few hours of cooking thanks to the magic of your slow-cooker.
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram so that I can see your creations!
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
- 16 oz can pumpkin puree
- 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1" fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tsp)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1½ cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 6-8 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Turn your slow-cooker on high, then cube the tofu and set aside to press out the liquid. In the meantime, prep all of your other ingredients.
- Combine all of the ingredients in the slow cooker, stirring to distribute everything. Cook on high for 3 hours. Don't worry about removing the thyme from the stems. The leaves fall off while cooking, allowing you to easily remove the stems once it's done.
- Adjust seasoning to taste. Let cool before storing in the fridge for 1 week. Serve hot.