Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes and Cardamom Rice

I must confess that I don’t watch “This Is Us”, so I am still wholeheartedly a fan of the slow cooker and all of its glory. While it is mostly hailed for its tender-meat-cooking abilities, the slow cooker also has its way with vegetables, especially the heartier squashes and potatoes. Last night I decided to make slow cooker sweet potatoes, because I tend to rush my sweets in the oven and hubby doesn’t like raw potatoes. For working + commuting people that get home at 7:30pm, it might seem unfathomable to have tender squash for dinner before 8:30pm – behold the crock pot!

I bought this wonderful appliance a few months ago when I first started my new job, which has a much longer commute and later hours. I called my mom to talk dinner strategy and she helped me find a few go-to recipes that I could prep the night before and set in the morning before work. Even with this strategy in place, I am finding that unless I have a set recipe in mind (and all of the ingredients to make it – which would be a miracle), I am not very adventurous or experimental with the slow cooker; I’m still a bit uneasy with my eye-balling skills. Admittedly, these sweet potatoes were a dive into unknown waters!

Last night, after I made our lunches for today, I peeled and sliced up two big sweet potatoes and two cloves of garlic, and then put them in a tupperware for the next day’s slow cooker assembly. I went through my spices and decided on a combo of cumin, ground ginger, and cinnamon, and then boiled up some stock using vege bouillon. If you didn’t know, the slow cooking process is all about the liquid – and, I usually get the liquid part wrong! After that small amount of prep, I went to sleep zzzzzzzzzzzz

Before work this morning, I threw the slices of sweet potato and chopped garlic in the slow cooker, and added a few pads of vegan butter (I use Earth Balance), a palmful of brown sugar, and a sprinkling each of cumin, ground ginger, and cinnamon. You could add a cup of chickpeas at this point if you wanted more protein in your meal, and they would work well with all of these flavors. Lastly, I poured the half cup of the stock I made the night before over the sweets, covered the slow cooker, and set it to cook on low for six hours.

When I got home from work, I added Basmati rice to the rice cooker with three cardamom pods (this is totally optional, plain rice will do just fine). I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have any coconut milk to jazz up the rice, but c’est la vie. To add a bit of color and some vitamin power, I also sauteed up some baby spinach very quickly until it was just barely wilted. No one likes stringy, mushy cooked spinach! The rice was done in 20min, as was the spinach, and of course, my slow cooked potatoes. Twenty minutes after walking through the door, we had a delicious meal of tender, flavorful veges! (Confession: I added some dried rosemary at the end as a garnish, and the flavors didn’t really work together. I don’t recommend it!)

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½ inch thick slices
2 garlic cloves
½ cup vegetable stock
3 tbsp vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1 cup basmati rice
3 cardamom pods (optional!)
1 cup coconut milk (optional!)
2 handfuls of spinach
Chickpeas if you want?!

Serves 2 hungry commuters

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