While I love to cook, I’m always looking for ways to cut a few corners in meal prep. I’ll opt for a “splash” of this instead of measuring things out, and I take a hard pass on any “optional” ingredient in a recipe if it means eliminating a step. Of course, there are occasions when I’m fully ready to roll up my sleeves and spend hours perfecting a culinary masterpiece. But most of the time (aka weeknights), I’m sticking with my tried-and-true strategies to get a delicious meal on the table as quickly as possible. That’s when the best healthy slow cooker recipes come in handy.
We’re all busy, but that doesn’t mean our meals have to lack nutrition and flavor when we’re short on time.
So when I finally discovered slow-cooker meals, the magic was not lost on me. Perfectly roast an entire meal while you sleep? Provide enough to feed a crowd? Only one pot to clean at the end? This thing is foolproof, and with a little bit of prep and a few ingredients, you can come home to an easy, warming meal at the end of the day. So scroll on for some of the best healthy slow-cooker recipes I like to keep in my back pocket. Whether you’re in the mood for a comforting stew, cozy curry, or a veggie-packed soup, we’ve got slow-cooker recipes for whatever healthy comfort food you’re craving.
Do you have your own list of the best slow cooker meals that make dinnertime easy and effortless? Please share them in the comments below!
image above: slow-cooked chicken stew with kale from bon appetit
Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
Just chop up a few ingredients, throw them in the slow-cooker before work, and at the end of the day, you’re greeted by the most mouthwatering aromas of your favorite Indian meal. But with less grease, sodium, and after-bloat. You’re welcome.
Salsa Verde Shredded Beef Bowls by The Defined Dish
You can’t go wrong with a simple yet versatile protein that basically cooks itself. This flavorful, savory shredded beef can be served bowl-style, wrapped up in a tortilla, on top of a stuffed sweet potato, you name it!
Sweet Potato Lentil Stew by Fit Foodie Finds
Want the most bang for your buck when it comes to meal prep? This sweet potato lentil stew feeds a crowd and freezes beautifully. You’ll have a cozy, delicious meal ready to go when your comfort food craving hits.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls
We love this yummy protein-packed bowl for a healthy, delicious weeknight meal; If you want to take this recipe to the next level, just scoop it up with all the toppings into a burrito-sized tortilla and fully enjoy a full Chipotle-style indulgence.
Thai Curry Spiced Slow-Cooker Snack Mix by Cotter Crunch
Okay, not a dinner recipe but how genius is this? If you’re a snacker like me, this slow-cooker nut mix is great to have on hand. I’m always on the hunt for snacks that are packed with healthy protein and fat, and won’t slow me down throughout the day. Swap in your favorite nuts and mix-ins and you’ve got yourself a trail-mix upgrade.
Healing Curry Butternut Squash Lentil Soup from Ambitious Kitchen
This soup is just about as nourishing as it gets. It’s vegan, full of protein, and makes the most of a whole lot of anti-inflammatory ingredients. There’s just so much goodness in a single bowl: butternut squash, carrots, turmeric, and tons of spinach. Plus, the flavor is just unreal.
Slow-Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken by Well Plated by Erin
This juicy, flavorful chicken is truly better (and healthier) than my usual Sunday takeout order. By using tamari instead of soy sauce and arrowroot flour instead of cornstarch, you’ve got your restaurant-level Asian dinner, healthified.
Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Mexican Quinoa by Fit Foodie Finds
If any recipe calls for sweet potatoes, I’m in. This easy Mexican quinoa makes for another laid-back meal that tastes like you worked up a sweat in the kitchen for hours. With bursts of flavor from the green chiles, balanced with the tender, satisfying sweet potatoes, you’ve got a party on a plate that comes together in a snap.
Slow-Cooker Chicken & White Bean Chili
The only prep this recipe requires is chopping up an onion and opening a few cans. It really is that easy, and after hanging out in the slow-cooker for eight hours, it tastes like you’ve been hovering over the stove all day.
Parsnip & Split Pea Soup by the Simple Veganista
In the past, one of the easiest ways I’ve succeeded in sticking to my health goals is by having a big batch of healthy vegetable soup on hand for weekday lunches. This soup is thick and hearty, yet packed with tons of healthy ingredients like carrots, parsnips, and peas. Just prep a big batch on a Sunday, and have it in the fridge ready to reheat and enjoy.
Mom’s Slow-Cooker Beef Stew by Ambitious Kitchen
Growing up, my mom used to make delicious beef stew whenever the weather began to cool off in Texas, and I’d feel instantly transported to my favorite mountain town. There’s nothing more comforting on a cold winter night than warm stew simmering away in the kitchen. Add in fuzzy socks and your favorite knit sweater and you’ve got yourself a top-notch cozy night in.
Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies by Damn Delicious
After I discovered the deliciousness that is bone-in chicken thighs there was no turning back. Every tender, flavor-packed bite put any boneless chicken breast I’d ever made to shame. This recipe is a great go-to for feeding a group, and the veggies can be swapped out for whatever you have on hand.
The Best Black Bean Chili by Gimme Some Oven
This veggie chili is the ultimate healthy comfort food. Just add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker and let it do the work. Your only job is to serve yourself a warm bowl with all your fave toppings when dinner time rolls around.
Slow-Cooked Chicken Stew With Kale by Bon Appétit
We can’t talk about slow-cookers without mentioning bone broth. Whether you’ve warmed up to it yet or not, bone broth has become all the rage for its miraculous healing powers for skin, nails, hair, and overall health. While you can drink it on its own, you can also reap its benefits while enjoying all of your favorite veggies in this delicious, healthy chicken stew.
Millet and Amaranth Porridge With Figs and Papaya from Sarah Copeland
When I’m in need of something comforting and warm on a cold winter weeknight, I love making breakfast for dinner. Sarah Copeland is all about creating simple but stunning food, and this recipe is exactly that. With just a few ingredients, all of the separate components can shine. It’s an ethos that I’m fully on board with, and one that displays itself beautifully in this recipe. The papaya, figs, and honey bring just enough sweetness to the hearty mix of amaranth and millet. And while you’re welcome to cook this on the stovetop, I’d much rather mix all the ingredients together and let my slow cooker do its magic.
Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup from The Clean Eating Couple
Chicken pot pie, minus the pie. And while I once believed that the flaky pastry was the best part, this soup has me thinking otherwise. It’s cozy, comfy, and creamy while still (somehow!) being paleo and dairy-free. I wouldn’t mind filling up with a bowl of this.
Buffalo Chicken-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes from The Real Food Dietitians
Sweet potatoes on their own? Delicious. Sweet potatoes stuffed with the best shredded buffalo chicken? Unbelievable. These jacket potatoes are healthy, wholesome, and hearty. And if you want to lighten things up, skip the sweet potato and enjoy your buffalo chicken atop a bed of greens instead.
Crockpot Stuffed Peppers from Isabel Eats
Admittedly, I’m not a big pepper fan. I’d rather dip pita chips (of course), carrots, or even celery in my hummus. But when peppers are filled with black beans, quinoa, and just the right amount of cheese, you can bet I’m digging in. These stuffed peppers pack tons of flavor from chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and a medley of even more spices. Plus, they’re easy to make vegetarian by omitting the ground beef and swapping in your favorite veggies.
Slow Cooker Apple Crisp from Kim’s Cravings
Nothing is easier or more comforting in the cold weather than apple crisp. It’s so much simpler than apple pie, and this version keeps things light with a nutty pecan and almond flour crumble. If you didn’t think your weeknights could involve a homemade dessert warm and ready to dig into post-dinner, I’m happy this recipe could prove you wrong.
Creamy Coconut Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats from Fit Foodie Finds
I love making oats in the crockpot, and I love enjoying a sweet dinner from time to time. It’s a relaxing routine to mix together a few healthy and wholesome ingredients knowing they’ll magically become something delicious and full of nutrient-dense goodness. When it’s been a day and I’m finally wrapping up work, I don’t want to have to do anything more than serve myself up a bowl of this.
This post was originally published on December 27, 2020, and has since been updated.
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