6 Slow Cooker Favorites to Celebrate Fall’s Best Produce

published Oct 5, 2018
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(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

Ah, glorious fall! It’s the time to cover up the grill and bring out the slow cooker for a cozy season of comfort food. It’s the season where we say we’re going to cook all the pumpkins before realizing, Wait, how the heck do you cook a pumpkin? So, we’ve taken some of fall’s best produce and rounded up our favorite slow cooker recipes that use them.

What makes any dish pop is using the right ingredients. Walmart offers a great produce section full of fresh produce restocked at least once a day, and where possible they source it locally — so look for the “local” on your next trip to store. So buy the apples, buy the squash, and definitely buy those pumpkins, and let’s get cooking.

(Image credit: Nick Evans)

A lot of us love the idea of eating pumpkin all fall long, but how many of us actually know how to cook it well? This may be the easiest curry ever, and it’s a great way to get over your pumpkin doubt. All you do is peel and cube fresh pumpkin and then let it relax in a slow cooker bath of coconut milk along with some veggie friends. The result is a rich, hearty stew that’s surely satisfying but not too heavy.

(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

Turkey chili is one thing, but add some sweet potatoes and you’ve easily made it a richer, heartier new thing. The starchiness of sweet potatoes makes this dish a whole meal-in-one. (Although we definitely support your decision to have some cornbread on the side, too.) This is a great recipe for busy weeknights, or it can be cooked overnight. It calls for fresh sweet potatoes which, of course, are in season right now.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

What? Apple crisp in a slow cooker? Yes! At first, we didn’t believe it ourselves, but you can totally make amazing (and crisp!) apple crisp in a slow cooker. The trick is to drape some paper towels over the top of your slow cooker before placing the lid on. This helps prevent condensation from collecting on the lid and keeps the crisp, well, crisp.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Yes, you can also make applesauce the slow way! It’s easier than you think: You just need some fresh apples, water, lemon juice, and a touch of cinnamon. After hanging out in the slow cooker for a few hours, the apples will break down into a delectable sauce that you can customize with honey, cloves, nutmeg, or whatever signature flourishes you want to use to make it your own.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

It’s everything you love about chili, but way lighter. Lentils add heartiness (and protein) to this chili recipe, while butternut squash gives it some oomph. It’s a vegan dish, but, like the pumpkin curry, you wouldn’t know it since it’s so satisfying!

(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

Many of us really just don’t know what to do with hard-shell squash (no judging here!). It turns out, though, that a lot can be done with it, including making a delightful breakfast. Trade in your overnight oats for overnight squash with this recipe for maple-glazed squash. It’s savory and sweet all at the same time. In fact, it makes a fun little dessert, too.