Warm Up With These 3 Simple and Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes
by Cheryl S. Grant
As temperatures continue to dip, we seem to naturally desire more savory meals. So, what better time to cozy up with some healthy slow cooker recipes?
Hearty soups and chili offer the feeling of warmth and comfort in the cold of winter. And the best part of a good slow cooker meal? Leftovers. These recipes can keep you eating healthy all week long!
So, dust off your slow cooker, fill it with a few of your favorite ingredients, and cuddle up while the delicious smells fill your home. Here are three tasty recipes to try this season.
1. Vegetarian Chili
Who doesn't love a good bowl of chili in the middle of a snowstorm? Better yet, how about a bowl of Grandma's Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili? This recipe is vegetarian-friendly, but it's so good, even meat-lovers will be interested! Here's what you'll need:
- 2 1/2 cups of vegetarian broth
- 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can of red kidney beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can of pinto beans
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes with chilies
- 1 (15 ounce) can of whole kernel corn, drained
- 1 white sweet onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic diced
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
Directions: In your slow cooker, combine the broth, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, can of tomatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper, and celery. Then add the garlic, chili powder, parsley, oregano, basil, and cumin. Set your slow cooker to high and cook for at least two hours before reducing the heat. This recipe is also a good choice for vegans; just make sure your broth is vegan. For non-vegetarians interested in beefing up the recipe, you can add cooked chicken, turkey, or another meat before serving.
2. Spicy Sweet Potato Lentil Soup
Lentils are chock-full of nutrients, including B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. They also boast more than 25 percent protein, which makes them an excellent meat alternative, according to Healthline. We've adapted a soup recipe from Food Network that is sure to warm you up. Here's what you'll need:
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (you can substitute two Yukon or red potatoes)
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 sweet white onion chopped
- 3/4 cup dried lentils
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- Kosher salt
- 6 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Black pepper
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Directions: Combine the potato, carrots, celery, onion, lentils, 3/4 teaspoon cumin powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in your slow cooker. Next, stir in 6 cups of water, then cover and cook on low for eight hours. Afterward, stir the soup vigorously — using a whisk — until the mixture forms a "rough puree." Now add olive oil to a small skillet over medium-high heat before including the garlic and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cumin, cayenne, oregano, and basil. Cook for about one minute, then stir the mixture into the soup. Finally, add the lemon juice, cilantro, and salt and black pepper to taste.
3. Hearty Oats
Oats are packed with important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, Healthline reports. They also make a great option for breakfast — or even a sweet treat after dinner! Here's what you'll need:
- 1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
Directions: In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine the oats, nutmeg, cinnamon, bananas, and raisins along with 7 cups water and a pinch of salt. Then cook on low for eight hours. Before eating, you can punch up the flavor by adding toppings such as walnuts, almonds, berries, honey, maple syrup, and/or yogurt.
There's nothing like having a few go-to healthy slow cooker recipes to help make wintertime more bearable. These recipes taste great and will fill you up with the fuel you need to stay cozy all season. Enjoy!