Hearty slow cooker meals for cooler weather

(Photo: iStock.com/Devrim_PINAR)

With colder nights fast approaching, nothing beats a hot and delicious slow cooker dinner to warm you up. Slow cooker meals not only eliminate post-dinner cleanup but are convenient and simple. Just throw your ingredients into the pot, set the timer and let the slow cooker do the work!

We’ve rounded up these healthy slow cooker recipes that are packed with nutrients and flavour as alternatives to your classic beef stew. These recipes are easy to make, you can substitute many of the ingredients and they freeze well.

Slow cooker chicken cacciatore

The classic chicken cacciatore recipe can now be made right in your slow cooker! This recipe is simple to prepare, healthy and will become a weeknight staple at your dinner table. Best served over a pasta of your choice.

Via Delish

Yields: 6


  • 2 lb skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup capers
  • 8 oz cooked linguine, for serving


  • Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker. Add peppers, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes and broth, then season with oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for three to four hours, until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker and stir capers into sauce. Serve chicken over cooked pasta with sauce.

Crock pot paleo sweet potato chipotle chili

This healthy and hearty chili is made with simple ingredients and can be easily customized. You can use chicken, pork, beef or turkey for your meat option but if you want to omit meat from your chili, add a nice mixture of kidney beans and black beans for some added protein.

Yields: 6


  • 2 –3 sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 lb ground lean pork, beef, chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 2– 2 1/2 cups broth (use 2 cups for more chili texture)
  • 14 oz diced and drained canned tomatoes
  • 2 –3 cup finely chopped or riced cauliflower
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 chopped chipotles with the adobo sauce (or a chili garlic sauce as a substitute)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Optional 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • Fresh chopped cilantro and optional sliced jalapeno to garnish
  • Optional toppings: cheese, tortilla chips, etc.


  • First chop and peel your potatoes. Place in a microwave safe bowl and steam with 1 tbsp water in them for three minutes or until tender. Discard water.
  • Brown meat in a skillet, drain grease. Place meat on plate. In the same skillet, sauté onion until fragrant, about two minutes. Then place in browned meat and onion in the crock pot.
  • Add your broth, canned tomatoes, sweet potato and cauliflower, and mix all together.
  • Finally, add your seasonings and chipotle peppers with sauce. Add your bell pepper here if you are using it.
  • Stir and cook on high for three to four hours. If you browned your meat prior then cooking time will be less. Around one to two hours high, checking at one hour or so.
  • Add more paprika and or black pepper/sea salt when finished cooking if desired.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro and optional jalapeno.

Tip: The smoky chipotle flavouring comes from slow cooking the chipotle peppers!

Crock pot coconut lentil curry

This tasty and protein packed vegetarian curry does not require many ingredients but comes with a delicious mix of spices and lentils. Don’t shy away from adding some seasonal vegetables such as squash. Top with a garnish of cilantro and serve on a bed of rice.

Yields: 6


  • 1 ½ cup dried brown lentils
  • 2 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of each: cumin, coriander, turmeric
  • Optional: 1-2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 head of garlic, chopped
  • ½ onion, finely minced
  • 15 oz can coconut milk
  • 2-3 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • Optional: cooked rice for serving


  • Add the dried brown lentils, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne if using, crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, and three cups of water in your crockpot. Put the lid on and set the timer for four hours on high or eight hours on low.
  • Stir the coconut milk, 2 teaspoons of sea salt, cilantro, and cherry tomatoes into the curry. Taste and add extra salt to taste.
  • Serve on its own or over a bed of rice.

Which slow cooker recipe was your favourite? Upload a picture of your hearty dish to social media and tag us @uhnfoundation.

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