Cozy and hearty, this vegan slow cooker pot roast with tempeh is the perfect evening meal! Let the slow cooker do the work with only 15 minutes of prep.
For the marinade / gravy:
- 1 ½ cups vegan beef-flavored vegetable broth
- ½ cup dry red wine (I used merlot; or sub more broth)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 3–5 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried*)
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder (optional, for gravy only)
For the pot roast:
- 2 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil (optional, for searing only)
- 2 8-ounce packages of tempeh
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1” wedges
- 3–5 cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes*, cut in half
- 8 ounces (225 g) cremini mushrooms, quartered
- Prepare the marinade: Whisk the broth, wine, paprika, and black pepper together in a large glass bowl; set aside.
- Prep the vegetables and tempeh: Wash and prep all vegetables according to the instructions above. Cut each block of tempeh into thirds, then cut each third into triangles (you should have 12 total). Carefully use a fork to pierce each piece of tempeh a few times — this will help the marinade soak in later!
- Sear the tempeh (optional): Bring your slow cooker base (if removable) or a large pot to medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil starts to ripple, add the tempeh and sear for 2 minutes on each side, until golden; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
- Prep the slow cooker: add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, potatoes, and mushrooms to the pot; mix well. Place the sprigs of thyme and tempeh over top of the vegetables, then pour the marinade on top. Close the slow cooker and cook for 7-8 hours over low heat, until the vegetables are nice and tender.
- Serve (and maybe make some gravy): you can serve the pot roast as-is, or place the liquid from the roast in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove 1/2 cup of the liquid and mix it with the arrowroot powder to form a slurry; return this mixture to the pot and whisk well. Continue to cook until the gravy becomes glossy and has thickened to your liking, about 3-5 minutes.
- Substitutions: I would strongly recommend making the recipe as-is for the best flavor. However, you can use vegetable broth in place of vegan “beef” broth, replace the wine with more broth, and use larger gold or red potatoes in place of smaller ones – just make sure to chop them more! If you choose to use dried thyme instead of fresh, add it in to the marinade with the smoked paprika.
- High Heat vs. Low Heat: I tested this recipe using both high heat and low heat, and found the low heat method to be much more flavorful. If you are short on time, you can choose to cook the pot roast on high heat for 3 to 4 hours.