The slow cooker is one of the best tools for getting easy dinners on the table. I mean, what’s not to love about an appliance that practically does all the work for you? But the slow cooker does not always produce the most flavorful results — a common complaint is that things often come out tasting one-note — so a lot of recipes rely on high-fat ingredients like cream or cheese to jazz things up.
If your goals include eating more balanced meals — packed with more veggies and protein, and less fat — but you still want the convenience of cooking in a slow cooker, we’re here to help you. From chicken enchilada soup to veggie burrito bowls, there’s a recipe here for everyone.
1. How To Make Slow Cooker Veggie Burrito Bowls
This recipe specifically calls for brown rice, which holds up better in the slow cooker, so you’re already on your way to a meal packed with whole grains. Feel free to swap plain yogurt for the sour cream in the lime sour cream portion of the recipe.
2. How To Make Easy Shredded Chicken in the Slow Cooker
This simple chicken calls for only two ingredients: boneless, skinless chicken breasts and water (or chicken stock). Put it in salads, in soups, sandwiches, grain bowls — wherever you want to add a punch of protein.
3. Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
This soup gives you the flavor of enchiladas, but without all the cheese typically found in this Mexican dish. It starts with a base of homemade enchilada sauce, which means you can also control how much sodium and sugar make it in. Serve with plain yogurt and you’re all set.
4. Slow Cooker Spinach and Artichoke Chicken
Spinach and artichoke dip is a classic for game night, but for a healthier twist that’s more weeknight-friendly, go for this chicken instead. Made with low-sodium chicken broth, you can serve this over quinoa or brown rice for a wholesome dinner.
5. Slow Cooker Coconut Lentil Curry
This hearty curry is vegan, but you’d never guess, thanks to its super-meaty texture and incredible flavor. Save the addition of coconut milk for the very end for a little extra richness. Serve over a bed of rice or your favorite grain with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro leaves.
6. Gingery Tofu Slow Cooker Soup
When you need something nourishing and comforting, this vegetarian soup will be there for you. The ginger-turmeric broth and baby bok choy are light and bright, while additions like buckwheat soba noodles and cubes of tofu round things out so you won’t be hungry an hour after eating.
7. How To Cook Salmon in the Slow Cooker
First of all, yes, you can cook salmon in your slow cooker! This method is perfect for a Sunday night batch-cooking session and ensures your salmon comes out perfectly tender every time. Seasoned simply with salt and pepper, this salmon is versatile enough to enjoy in any number of ways.
8. Slow-Cooker Ratatouille
If you’re staring down a glut of seasonal veggies, this is the perfect recipe to put them all to use. This simple vegan stew is great enjoyed on its own or served alongside grilled chicken or fish.
9. Slow Cooker Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew
Another great vegan stew from the slow cooker! This one’s spiced with flavorful curry powder and made creamy with a little help from some coconut milk. Packed with veggies and chickpeas, it’s filling enough to eat on its own for lunch or with some rice or quinoa for dinner.
10. Slow-Cooker Chicken Tacos
When taco Tuesday rolls around, this is the recipe you should make. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts become tender enough to shred with two forks after a stint in the slow cooker, and they’re cooked alongside ingredients like garlic and cumin for extra flavor without adding any fat. Serve in warm corn tortillas and garnish with guacamole, pico de gallo, lime, and cilantro.
11. Trader Joe’s Slow Cooker Spicy Mediterranean Chicken
This flavorful chicken gets its heat from Trader Joe’s shortcuts, plus it gots protein and vegetables all in one crock.
12. Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken
Simple pesto and chicken can be a punchy base to bowls, pastas, and more. Here’s we’re serving it with vibrant tomatoes and filling brown rice.
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