Next Week's Meal Plan

5 Veggie-Packed Slow Cooker Dinners to Make Before Summer Ends

updated Aug 9, 2021
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Credit: From Left to Right Top to Bottom: Diana Yen, Joe Lingeman

We all know the slow cooker works wonders with large, tough cuts of meat and big batches of soup and chili, but don’t forget it also has the power to turn fresh veggies into the most amazing (not to mention cheap and easy!) meals. During the summer months one of my favorite ways to keep meals wholesome and my food budget in check is with vegetable-heavy dinners. With seasonal produce at its prime, not only are these meals more flavorful than any other time of year, but also the least expensive. And when the slow cooker is involved, it means cooking them up is basically a hands-off affair.

Here are five slow cooker dinners that put summer favorites like eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, and fresh herbs at the center of the plate.

Credit: Diana Yen

Monday: Slow-Cooker Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a summertime must in my book. This veggie-packed dinner takes advantage of prime seasonal produce, which means it’s both super flavorful and inexpensive to stock up on right now. Round out dinner by topping your bowl of ratatouille with a fried egg or two.

Get the recipe: Slow-Cooker Ratatouille

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Tuesday: Rice Bowls with Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken

Tonight’s dinner is a breeze to pull together and starts with a simple, dairy-free pesto (the recipe calls for basil, but any herbs or greens you have on hand will work). Use the chicken as a topper for a brown rice bowl, along with cherry tomatoes (or a scoop of ratatouille if you have leftovers).

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Veggie Burrito Bowls

This is the recipe to lean on when you’re tempted to forgo cooking for your local Chipotle. Not only is it a breeze to pull together, but it’ll also help you use up any zucchini, summer squash, or corn on the cob you have hanging around. Mix it up before work, and you’ll come home to a cool kitchen and a ready-made meal. In addition to the lime sour cream, round out your bowl with ripe avocado and fresh cilantro.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Thursday: Light & Fresh Slow Cooker Corn Chowder

This is one of the best ways to turn a bundle of sweet summer corn into dinner. The soup is meant to be eaten warm, but I think it’s just as delicious chilled. Round out dinner with a fresh green salad.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Friday: Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

I love this vegetarian stew. It’s such a great way to clear out the crisper. Any and all summer vegetables are fair game — that means swapping fresh tomatoes for canned and using whatever greens you have handy (kale or even beet tops work as well as spinach). Serve it over brown rice or your favorite grain, and freeze the leftovers for another week.

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