The slow cooker is the king of kitchen appliances, the perfect tool for easy, wholesome and flavorful one-pot meals for the whole family. We’ve rounded up seven recipes for tasty, healthy slow-cooker dinners that are perfect for a busy schedule.
This pho recipe is a chicken dinner winner. It’s savory, satisfying and packed with antioxidant-rich dark leafy greens. Before heading out in the morning, simply combine the chicken breast with pre-made chicken broth and Asian spices, then leave it to cook on low for eight hours. Once you get home, all you need to do is add noodles and bok choy, then top with fresh herbs, sprouts, chili and lime.
Healthy Highlights: 39 grams of protein and 92 percent of your daily vitamin A needs per serving.
Slow-Cooker Moroccan Lentil Soup (vegan)
This nourishing vegan dish is ideal for a chilly winter night. In addition to fiber and protein-rich lentils, this Moroccan-inspired recipe is full of potent spices like turmeric, cinnamon and cumin, studied for their anti-inflammatory properties. To prep, simply combine vegetables, spices, broth and lentils in your slow-cooker in the morning. Cook on low for eight hours or on high for four hours, and finish with fresh spinach and cilantro for an added boost of veggies and flavor.
Healthy Highlights: 9 grams of dietary fiber and 96 percent of your daily Vitamin A needs per serving.
If you’re craving perfectly braised pork, definitely try this slow-cooker recipe. It requires a little bit of work up front to trim and section the raw pork, but the taste is worth it. Prep the pork the night before, then add it to the slow cooker in the morning along with a freshly-made tomato sauce. Leave the slow cooker on for seven hours, or until the meat is tender. Serve with a bit of sour cream and fresh cilantro.
Healthy Highlight: 27 grams of protein per serving.
This creative recipe calls for a little more work than the rest, but you can customize it to meet your needs. First, be sure to soak your dried pintos overnight. You can also prep all of your vegetables the night before and keep them in the fridge. In the morning, combine your soaked beans, broth and veggies and cook on low for eight hours or on high for four hours. If you want to go full throttle, you can also make delicious DIY jalapeño-corn dumplings, adding the dough into the bean stew at the end of the cooking process. Top your stew with fresh herbs and sliced radishes.
Healthy Highlights: 15 grams of protein per serving and 15 grams of fiber per serving.
This super-simple tomato braised chicken recipe has a secret ingredient — bacon! Indulgent and satisfying, it only requires ten minutes of up-front prep time to cook the bacon and sauté the onion, spices and tomatoes for the sauce. Cook this in three hours on high or six hours on the low setting, and add whole wheat pasta or wild rice for a satisfying, balanced dinner.
Healthy Highlight: 25 grams of protein per serving.
This fragrant one-pot risotto is wonderful for an easy weekend meal. Getting risotto to the perfect texture and creaminess can be tricky, but preparing it in the slow cooker helps ensure a perfectly hydrated grain. Throw fennel, barley, garlic and broth into the slow-cooker with your risotto and cook for 2.5 to 3.5 hours, until it’s thick and the grain is tender and slightly chewy. Top with green beans, parmesan, pepper and lemon zest.
Healthy Highlights: 8 grams of dietary fiber (32 percent of your daily needs) per serving.
Slow cookers aren’t just for stews and soups — they’re great for fajitas too! This is an excellent recipe to throw into the slow cooker after breakfast and get back to in time for dinner. Simply slice a boneless beef sirloin and sweet red pepper into bite-size strips, season and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Once tender, add the beef to whole-wheat tortillas and top with veggies and toppings of your choice.
Healthy Highlights: 33 grams of protein and 12 grams of dietary fiber per serving (48 percent of your daily recommended intake).