Why healthy crock pot recipes?
Healthy crock pot recipes are my favorite of all recipes due to mostly sheer convenience.
Crock pots are cheap to buy, easy to operate, and can turn inexpensive cuts of meat or low cost vegetarian dishes into delicious family meals with just the flip of a switch. They offer a healthier, low-fat method of cooking and require the minimum amount of effort.
Healthy crock pot recipes are also great for vegetarians. Vegetarians can also cut their grocery bills by using a slow cooker to soak and cook dried beans – saving around 60% over buying canned beans.
Cooking the slow way using a crock pot is very easy to do – just layer your food into the crock, set it and forget it! It’s that easy.
Making healthy crock pot recipes is easier than “regular cooking” in my opinon. You can set up your crock pot in the morning before heading off to work. I love this because when I come home dinner is done and ready to serve. Besides, most healthy crock pot recipes are not intricate to prepare and require zero culinary skills to master. Again-perfect for me!
There’s something healthy and wholesome about homemade stews, oatmeal, soups, and other slow cooked family meals. Healthy crock pot recipes which turn into crock pot meals are lower in fat, due to the fact that the foods cook in their own juices.
And the fact that everything is cooked at lower than normal temperatures makes the foods contain less advanced glycation end products and toxic fats. More on that when you check out my anti-inflammatory diet and even more in just a bit. They also provide several more health benefits as well:
Vitamins and minerals:
The foods cooked in crock pots retain much more of their vitamins and minerals than do foods that are fried or boiled. This is because of the fact that they are cooked for such a long time at such a low temperature. Bonus one for the healthy crock pot recipes!
Adding more vegetables than called for in the recipe increases the nutrients while creating a meal that is more filling due to the fiber and bulk of vegetables.
When tomatoes (as an example) are heated, the powerful antioxidant lycopene, linked to heart protection, cancer prevention and even improved mood, becomes more available to your body. This is because cooking breaks down the cell walls of the tomato, releasing more of the lycopene. Big bonus for the healthy crock pot recipes in my book- and this benefit isn’t just limited to tomatoes.
Limiting Processed Foods:
Using a slow cooker, you are able to reduce your consumption of processed foods. Reducing the consumption of processed foods decreases the intake of sodium, fat and calories in your diet
Benefits beyond nutrients:
If you cook meat in a liquid at low heat, you can help reduce the number of cell-damaging compounds known as AGE’s (advanced glycation end products) that are produced in the meat by 50 percent, compared with broiling or grilling.
AGE’s may give food appetizing tastes and smells but in the body have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, vascular and kidney disease and Alzheimer’s disease which can first manifest as we now know as short term memory loss. The only way you can reduce your intake of AGEs is by steaming or boiling foods or by making stews – the key is to cook at low heat and to maintain the water content of food.
So by using healthy crock pot recipes as the foundation for your diet plan you are by definition cooking the anti-inflammatory, anti-aging way we learn about at A4M to give you the healthiest form of food with raw being debateably the only healthier form.
Now for the Healthy Crock Pot Recipes:
2 19 oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1.5-2 inch cubes (roughly 5 cups/700g)
13.5 oz can of tomato sauce (400mL)
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 carrots, peeled and diced
½ a 6.5 oz can of chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, with peppers chopped (this was roughly 6 chipotle peppers and 2 tbsp of adobo sauce; see note)
2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
½ cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 tsp salt
Juice of half a lime
To Serve (Optional):
Cilantro leaves (very healthy herb for you!)
In the base of a slow cooker, combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chilli powder, cumin, salt, chipotles and stock. Mix with a spatula until completely combined.
Add in the remaining ingredients and mix.
At this point, the slow cooker insert may be refrigerated overnight, until ready to cook.
Cook on lowest setting for 8-10 hours.
Before serving, *gently* stir in the lime juice.
Serve with avocado, cilantro, Greek yogurt, and tortilla chips.
CAUTION! Many people find this recipe to be quite spicy! If you don’t enjoy a spicy chili, start with 1-2 chipotle peppers or leave them out altogether! But if you like “spicy” a benefit it that spicy foods are foods that speed up metabolism!
6 bell peppers
1 14 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1½ cups red enchilada sauce
1 14 ounce can refried beans
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
Extra toppings- cilantro, avocado, Greek yogurt, etc
Cut the tops off of the peppers and scrape out the ribs and seeds.
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, beans, enchilada sauce, spices, and 1 cup of the cheese. Fill each pepper with the quinoa mixture.
Pour ½ cup water into the bottom of a crock pot. Place the peppers in the crock pot so they’re sitting in the water. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Remove lid, distribute remaining cheese over the tops of the peppers, and cover again for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
Serve topped with anything you like! These are also great with baked not fried chips and guacamole. (I’m getting hungry writing this!)
1½ cups Quinoa
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 Cup Fresh Green Beans chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro or basil (depending on your taste)
¼ teaspoon pepper
Dump it into the crock pot. (6 quart).
Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to coat.
Stir in broth, veggies, pepper and garlic. Reserve cilantro for before serving.
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or on high for 2-4.
The quinoa is done when you can fluff it with a fork and it is tender. Liquid should be absorbed into quinoa.
Top with fresh cilantro and serve.
You can mix in garbanzo beans or black beans to add protein to this dish and turn it into a full meal.
For the Bolognese:
1 head of cauliflower, cut up into florets
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
3/4 cup diced red onion
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried basil flakes
2 tsp dried oregano flakes
1/2 cup vegetable broth, low-sodium
salt and pepper, to taste
For the pasta:
5 large zucchinis sliced and steamed into “noodles” at the time of serving.
Place all of the ingredients for the bolognese into a crockpot. Place the crockpot on high and let cook for 3.5 hours.
When done, smash the cauliflower with a potato masher or fork until the florets break up to create a “bolognese.”
Spoon the bolognese over bowls of zucchini noodles.
2 medium eggplants, stem end removed, cut into 1/2-inch diced squares (approx. 10-12 cups)
1 large Idaho or Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium yellow or red onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ginger paste (or grated fresh ginger root)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground red chili pepper
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric which is where we derive curcumin, the amazingly healthy supplement!
1/4 cup coconut oil oil
1 Tbsp kosher salt, or to taste
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, to taste
Combine eggplant, potato, onion, ginger, garlic, jalapeño peppers, cumin, ground chili pepper, garam masala, turmeric and oil in a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker. Stir as best you can to distribute the spices and oil. (The smaller cooker will be frighteningly full, but don’t worry; the eggplant will cook down). Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, stirring after 1 hour.
After the first two hours of cooking, stir well. There should be a nice amount of moisture in the cooker, and the eggplant should have collapsed a bit. If there is plenty of liquid in the pot, continue cooking on LOW for 30 minutes, uncovered. If there’s not much liquid, cook on LOW for 30 minutes with the cover on.
Add the salt and cilantro, to taste. (Salt added during the cooking will draw more moisture out of the eggplant, so it’s best added at the end).
Serve over rice or topped with raita.
Servings: 7 (3/4-cup) servings
2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or substitute non-diary alternative like almond milk)
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or substitute stevia or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, or other fruit
Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary). Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.
To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.
Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.
4 Tilapia filets- make sure you get wild caught tilapia-NOT farmed.
2 tablespoons garlic compound butter, chopped into small pieces
1 10-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
Salt and pepper to taste.
Lay out a large piece of aluminum foil.
Place fish side by side in center of foil and drizzle garlic evenly over the top of the meat.
Stack a handful of oranges on each filet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Fold the foil over the fish so the meat is sealed up with all of the seasoning.
Place in your slow cooker, cover with lid and heat on high for 2 hours. Use tongs when removing from heat, as the foil will become hot.
1 package frozen Asian stir fry vegetable blend (12 to 16 ounces)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, optional
Salt and pepper
Add frozen vegetables to the slow cooker as the base.
Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper to taste and place on top of vegetables.
Mix together soy sauce, honey and lemon juice then drizzle it over the salmon and vegetables.
Add sesame seeds on top.
Cook on low for 2-3 hours depending on how well-done you enjoy your salmon.
Serve with brown rice and make sure to drizzle all the sauce from the slow cooker over the fish.