All year long, the slow cooker has a role in your kitchen. In the summer it can turn berries into magenta-hued sauces to ladle over ice cream. In the fall, it's the a hospitality sidekick, offering warm cups of mulled cider to friends on blustery evenings; in the winter, it turns tough cuts of meat into meltingly tender stews and braises; and in spring, it can help you transition into fresher eats with light soups.
In January, when our kitchens are filled with intentions to eat wholesome food that will nourish us after the richness of the holiday season, the slow cooker is there again to provide some assistance. The five recipes in this collection want to help you cook meals — be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner — that make you feel good. You'll find a slew of vegetables, legumes, and flavors sparked with spices.
Thanks to the slow cooker, these are meals to make you feel good with ease.
Use the Slow Cooker for Your Best Intentions
It wasn't until I fully understood how a slow cooker worked that I realized all the ways it could be useful to me. Much like any tool, you can't truly harness its usefulness until you fully understand what it can do. When I realized that a slow cooker is best used as a tool for braising and simmering, a wonderful world of culinary opportunities opened to me. So while I'm happy to use it for sturdy cuts of meat or to serve dips at a party, it's also a tool that comes out when legumes, soups, vegetables, and other wholesome dishes are on the menu.
Regardless of January's customary intentions to eat more healthfully, it's still comfort we crave. For most of us, the temperatures have plummeted, the days have darkened, and the salads of winter pale in comparison to the spring and summertime. Warm food, preferably in bowls, readily warms us up instantly makes us feel good and nourished. So with those intentions in mind, these recipes will meet those needs.
- There's a colorful, pasta-free minestrone filled with a kaleidoscope of veggies. The creamy cannellini beans keep it substantial. If you're laying low on grains or carbs, you can hold off on the croutons.
- Bring veggies to the breakfast table with our tender, buttery maple-glazed squash. You can choose your favorite squash for this preparation and wake up to a warm, grain-free breakfast full of familiar flavors. Serve your squash with yogurt and fruit and feel nourished and stress-free — even on a busy Wednesday morning.
- Use the slow cooker to bring the flavors of a favorite takeout standby to dinner with a vegan twist. This plant-powered vegan chickpea tikka masala is truly wholesome comfort in a bowl. Best of all, you can make it with dried or canned chickpeas.
- In that same vein of good things to eat that still are good for you is this creamy peanut chicken and broccoli dish. It's all the flavors of a stir-fry in your slow cooker.
- And because you can't have a collection of slow-cooker recipes without a hearty chili, we've included this smoky, chipotle-laced turkey chili made hearty with lots of sweet potatoes and black beans. All it needs is a twist of lime before you tuck in.