January 14, 2019
Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Vegan Meatballs

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

Raise you hand if you love your slow cooker. While I also adore mine, it gets a special place in my heart this time of year. So much, in fact, that I end up just keeping it on the counter instead of putting it back in the basement after each use.

Considering that I use it at least 2-3x a week, it’s a mainstay in my kitchen this time of year. I know that most of you feel the same way, which is why I’ll be sharing at least a few new slow cooker recipes (and yes, some Instant Pot) over the next few months.

First up, these sweet and spicy vegan meatballs! Long-time readers may recognize this recipe as I first published it back in 2013. However, it desperately needed a retest and a makeover, which is what I’ve got for you today.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

What I love most about this recipe is how incredibly easy it is to put together. This dish reminds me of the recipes that you’d find in the back of a church cookbook. A true dump recipe; throw everything in, turn it on and dinner is ready a few hours later.

We’re essentially making a spicy tangy BBQ sauce first, letting the meatballs, peppers and pineapple soak up all of the sweet and spicy goodness as it cooks. Subtly sweet, thanks to the addition of pure maple syrup, yet spicy and rich at the same time.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

One note — I am calling for cooked rice to serve this with as the sauce is so yummy, you’ll likely want something else to help soak it up. Of course, this takes it out of a true one-pot recipe, so you can either make rice ~30 minutes before you’re ready to serve dinner or use microwave rice or instant rice packets. I actually love a white rice instead of brown rice here, but that’s just my personal preference.

The sauce was incredible on these vegan meatballs, but I bet just about any protein would taste great here. Have leftovers? Stuff extra meatballs and peppers into a hoagie roll for a tropical twist on a meatball sub!

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

Print

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Vegan Meatballs

  • Author: Alex Caspero MA, RD
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, main, entree, slow cooker, lunch
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: slow cooker, american

Description

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Meatballs! These meatballs are packed in a sweet and spicy pepper and pineapple sauce. So delicious and perfect for weeknight dinners! Throw everything in a slow cooker and dinner is ready when you are!


  • Author: Alex Caspero MA, RD
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, main, entree, slow cooker, lunch
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: slow cooker, american
  • Author: Alex Caspero MA, RD
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, main, entree, slow cooker, lunch
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: slow cooker, american
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, sliced thin
  • 1 cup plain tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. liquid smoke (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 (20 oz.) can diced pineapple, drained, 1/3 cup liquid reserved
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag frozen vegan meatballs* (We love the Trader Joe’s brand)
  • Cooked rice for serving

Instructions

  1. Place crockpot on high setting.
  2. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and chopped onion. Stir and let cook until onion is slightly cooked, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add bell and jalapeno peppers, stir into the onion mixture and let sit for another 5 minutes.
  4. in a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch, maple syrup, pineapple juice, tomato sauce, all spice, ginger, garlic powder and liquid smoke (if using). Stir together until blended and pour onto the pepper mixture.
  5. Stir in the frozen meatballs and diced pineapple.
  6. Cover and let cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours.
  7. Sauce should be reduced and thick, meatballs heated all the way through.
  8. Serve over cooked rice, if desired.

Notes

  • I used frozen meatballs here but if you want to make your own, I love my mushroom meatball recipe!

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

 

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

14 comments
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  1. Whaoooo! My husband loved it but next time I’ll use only ONE jalapeno. Very spicy but sooooo good and flavorable.

  2. I am looking forward to cooking this on Sunday. But I have a question about the pineapple. how big a can? is it 8oz?

  3. I am looking forward to cooking this on Sunday. But I have a question about the pineapple. how big a can? is it 8oz?

  4. Midwestern cuisine is entirely foreign to me, and just a little bit terrifying because I’ve only heard about it involving meat and potatoes, through and through. What an enlightening- and fun- read!

  5. Your post cracks me up! My husband grew up in South Carolina eating exclusively southern food. When we first started dating, he didn’t even know what guacamole was. Seriously. Fast foward 8 years and the last meal he cooked for me was a quinoa, black bean and grilled vegetable salad!

    • Ha! Sounds like a good transition for both of you 🙂 I look back at some of our earlier meals together and just have to laugh! That salad sounds delicious!

  6. I love spicy foods! Especially during the fall/winter because it’s great to warm up to on a cold brisk day.

    I’m not a vegan myself, but I do often cook meatless, and especially on Mondays for Meatless Mondays. I’m always on the search for new vegan recipes to try.

    I’ve never tried putting maple syrup in meatballs, but maple syrup is definitely delicious, so it should be good in just about anything! I also like the addition of pineapples. I really enjoy cooking with it, but I don’t see many recipes calling for it.

    What type of vegan meatballs did you use in this recipe?

    • Thanks Elle! Me too, I love spicy foods and this recipe is definitely a comfort meal 🙂 I used Trader Joe’s vegan meatballs for this recipe.

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