FOOD

15 Easy And Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes

Karen Belz has written for sites such as Bustle, HelloGiggles, Romper, and So Yummy. She's the mom of a sassy toddler and drinks an alarming amount of Sugar-Free Red Bull in order to keep up with her.

Way back in the day, women took care of all the cooking. After working a long day, men expected to come home from work to a hot dinner, ready to be served. Thankfully, times have changed. For decades now, women have been dominating their workplaces and bringing in an income, proving that they’re smart, highly employable, and quick to make a big difference in the world. But, since mealtime is still important, that didn’t leave as many options for dinner.

That is, until the slow cooker came along. It turns out, meals can cook and be flavorful without anyone having to keep a watchful eye on them. It’s even better when you consider that the alternative is eating out. For those who have started a wellness program like Noom, it’s quite shocking to come to terms with the true impact that meals outside the home can have — both on your waistline and your wallet.

One of the most popular types of slow cookers is the Crock-Pot. When it first came out, people initially used it to cook beans. Eventually, it morphed into an appliance that allowed families to properly cook less-expensive cuts of meat. These days, the slow cooker is promoted more as a cookout and game night go-to. It can be great to create your own dips and creamy entrees, but it’s also essential for everyday meal planning. Even better, you can freeze and save slow cooker masterpieces for lunches. Healthy eating has never been easier.

Curious, but don’t know where to start? Here are 15 of the best healthy slow cooker recipes online.

1. Chicken Cacciatore

chicken-cacciatori

If you like chicken, you’re probably looking for new ways to prepare it. Chicken cacciatore is a classic, but you might feel as if it’s too time-consuming to put on your standard meal schedule. Luckily, there’s a great slow cooker recipe for it.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 3 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts OR chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces thin spaghetti noodles
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tsps. Italian seasoning
  •  cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
  • 1 (12ounce) can tomato paste, or 2 (6-ounce) cans

The full recipe comes from Creme de la Crumb.

2. Beef and Broccoli

beef-broccoli-recipe

If you’ve been known to order the beef and broccoli combo every time you get Chinese food, this slow cooker version is healthier but just as satisfying.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make both the beef and the marinade.

  • 2 pounds beef
  • 12 ounces broccoli
  • 3 cups cauliflower rice
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. fresh garlic minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • tbsps. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. pepper

The full recipe comes from The Clean Eating Couple.

3. Sweet Potatoes

3. Sweet Potatoes

If you love potatoes, sweet potatoes are some of the healthiest around. This recipe from Cook Eat Paleo couldn’t be simpler. Consider making some as a great side dish for this upcoming Thanksgiving.

All you need for this recipe are five sweet potatoes, and you can jazz them up from there.

See the full recipe at Cook Eat Paleo.

4. Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

thai-chicken

This Thai chicken is very versatile, meaning that you can cook up a bunch and use it in different meals, such as salads and tacos. It’s perfect if you’re looking to save a little time.

Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • 1 pound chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsps. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce (or extra soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tbsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp. lemongrass paste
  • 1 tbsp. green curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes

This recipe comes from The Fitchen.

5. Mac and Cheese

mac-and-cheese

OK, so you probably don’t think of mac and cheese when you think of health foods. But if you prepare it mindfully, and watch your portions, you can easily include this slow cooker version into your diet.

The ingredients include:

  • 1½ cups uncooked high-fiber elbow macaroni
  • 6 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 2 tsps. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 5 wedges Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 4 slices 2% milk cheddar or American cheese
  • Salt

Find the recipe at Hungry Girl.

6. Pulled Pork

pulled-pork

Pulled pork is incredible in a slow cooker — and if you disagree, you probably haven’t tried this healthy recipe. It’s also perfect for beginners.

Here’s all you need to prepare it:

  • 1 (3-pound) pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup McCormick’s Brown Sugar Bourbon Seasoning

From there, you can turn your pulled pork into sandwiches, or even burrito bowls, which will add additional protein. You can find the basic recipe at Inside BruCrew Life.

7. White Turkey Chili

white-chili

Chili is one of the first recipes that comes to mind when you say the words “slow cooker.” The best part about chili is that there are plenty of varieties, and if you use chicken or turkey, like in this recipe, it can be healthy as well.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsps. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans
  • 1 (8-ounce) can corn kernels
  • 2 cups chopped turkey
  • 1 (3-ounce) can Mexican salsa verde
  • 5 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • Salt and pepper

You can find the full recipe at Sugar, Spice and Glitter.

8. Oatmeal

oatmeal

Yes, you can even make your own oatmeal in a slow cooker! By cooking it overnight, it’ll be fresh and delicious by morning.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 3 cups dry steel cut oats
  • 6 cups soy milk (original, unsweetened, or vanilla)
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tsps. apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsps. sea salt 
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Check out all of the preparation steps on the blog A Spicy Perspective.

9. Quinoa and Chicken

quinoa

This specific recipe comes from the Create Kids Club, meaning it’s a solid family go-to if you’re hoping to get your kids on a healthier diet. Even better, you don’t have to worry about cooking the quinoa separately — it’ll cook right in the pot.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 3 to 4 chicken breasts
  • 12 ounces quinoa
  • 1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 10 ounces water
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can corn kernels, drained (or 1 cup frozen)
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar or mozzarella cheese (use after cooking)

Find out how to prepare everything at the Create Kids Club.

10. Potato Soup

potato-soup

Winter and fall are the perfect seasons for soup — and a potato soup will leave you feeling full and satisfied for hours. This recipe will make you wonder why you haven’t been making soups all along.

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cup sliced celery
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  •  pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsps. dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

You can find the full recipe at A Spicy Perspective.

11. Broccoli, Ginger, and Turmeric Soup

broccoli-soup

On the topic of soups, here’s another delicious and healthy choice that you can feel good about.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 tbsps. butter (or vegan butter)
  • 4 cups chopped leeks
  • 2 tbsps. chopped ginger
  • 8 cups broccoli florets (roughly 2 heads)
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 6 cups stock
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

You can find the whole recipe on the website Sweet Peas and Saffron.

12. Chickpea Curry

chickpea-curry

This vegetarian curry is ideal for anyone who loves Indian food. It’s very flavorful, and a great way to incorporate more chickpeas into your diet.

Here are the ingredients you need:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  •  cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsps. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsps. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 28 ounces chickpeas, drained
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes

You can find the full recipe on the website A Spicy Perspective.

13. Sweet-and-Sour Tempeh

pineapple-tempeh

This vegan recipe is bound to impress even the omnivores out there. The sauce for this delicious dish is made with pineapple, making this a dinner you’ll want to make again and again — especially if you frequently have extra pineapple lying around.

Here are the ingredients needed for both the dish and the sauce:

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion, or 1/2 small onion
  • 2 tbsps. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, regular or low sodium
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cubed tempeh
  •  cups diced pineapple
  • 2 cups diced bell pepper, any color

You can find the full recipe on Healthy Slow Cooking.

14. Chicken Stew

chicken-stew

This is another great slow cooker recipe for the cold weather ahead, and it’s also great to freeze. This recipe comes from The Seasoned Mom, who states that it’s also a great meal for a healthy “detox” after too much rich food.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet onions, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 3 to 4 pounds bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch plus 1 tbsp. cold water
  • For garnish: chopped fresh parsley

You can check out the full recipe on The Seasoned Mom website.

15. Skinny Kung Pao Chicken

kung-pao-chicken

Want another healthy chicken dish? This Skinny Kung Pao Chicken will make you realize that you never have to give up taste for a low calorie count. In total, this recipe takes just a little over three hours in the slow cooker.

Here are the ingredients for the chicken. There’s also a sauce and a slurry.

  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 to 1¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 to 3 pieces), cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 3 to 4 tbsps. olive oil
  • 4 to 6 dried red chili peppers, to taste
  • 2/3 cup roasted cashews or roasted peanuts
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped into halves

You can find the full recipe, along with information about the sauce, on The Recipe Critic website.