18 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes For 2016 To Give Your Year Some Extra Flavor

Healthy recipes for the new year are overabundant, but healthy slow cooker recipes? Now those are actually worth trying. If I could give an award to the kitchen gadget of the year, hands down, it would go to the slow cooker. Seriously, what other appliance allows you to cram veggies, meat, stock, and seasoning into one pot just before leaving the house for six hours, knowing full well you'll come home to a perfectly cooked, well-balanced meal? To honor the unrivaled ability of the slow cooker, and to inject a much-needed dose of colorful vegetables into my post-holiday diet, I've compiled a list of some of the healthiest slow cooker recipes the Internet has to offer. 

Always looking for new and interesting soups to make at home? Fill your Crock-Pot with turkey meatballs, leafy kale, crunchy carrots, and white Northern beans for a healthy twist on Italian wedding soup. Tired of the same old sad desk lunch? You can easily plan ahead by adding a healthy mixture of sweet potatoes, lentils, and curry powder to your slow cooker just before bed. By the time you wake up in the morning, you'll have six quarts of hearty homemade vegetable curry that'll last you all week.  

Whether you're a meat-lover, vegetarian, or vegan, these 18 slow cooker recipes will serve as great guidelines for creating easy, healthy meals all year long. 

1. Chickpea Curry 

This medley of curried chickpeas, onion, garlic, and sweet potato can be served over brown rice or alongside whole wheat chapatis. Head on over to A Spicy Perspective for the easy step-by-step recipe. 

2. Spicy White Chicken Chili

Add a spicy kick to your Crock-Pot game with sliced jalapeños and lots of fresh garlic, a la Baked by Rachel.

3. Tomato Basil Soup

In a winter recipe slump? Try this slow cooked version of classic tomato basil soup, which combines tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, basil, and olive oil for the ideal veggie-heavy antidote to cold weather months. Bookmark the slow cooker and stovetop versions at Big Girls Small Kitchen.

4. Poblano And Honey Lime Chicken Tacos

No need for sour cream here. This slow cooked chicken from Cooking For Keeps will be dripping with juicy perfection once it absorbs the robust flavors of poblanos, freshly squeezed lime juice, honey, Sriracha, and garlic. 

5. Skinny Kale And Meatball Soup

Satisfy your comfort food craving while staying true to your New Year's resolution to eat clean with this hearty kale and turkey meatball soup, courtesy of Foodie Crush.

6. Easy Quiche 

This easy set-and-forget quiche is packed with tons of fresh veggies including broccoli, red pepper, and onion. And if you're in need of a healthy substitute for the heavy cream, reach for milk or plain yogurt. Get the full recipe from A Spicy Perspective.

7. Borscht 

Served hot or cold, this colorful Crock-Pot borscht is a great way to pack plenty of veggies into one simple dish. Sub plain yogurt for sour cream as a bright, healthy topper. Get the full recipe from A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

8. Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oats

Eliminate stovetop stirring altogether with this creamy and delicious pumpkin spice steel cut oatmeal recipe, courtesy of A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

9. Curry Soup With Sweet Potato, Chicken, And Kale 

This rich and creamy curried Crock-Pot soup is dairy-free, and only requires five minutes of prep time. Weeknight dinners never looked so good. Follow the recipe at Ari's Menu.

10. Shrimp Creole 

Looking for an alternative to time-consuming roux? Look to Climbing Grier Mountain, who thickens her Creole base by slow cooking shrimp and veggies with Cajun seasoning and tomatoes. Three hours later, voilà, Shrimp Creole! 

11. Moroccan Chicken With Chopped Almonds, Apricots, And Cauliflower "Couscous"

This super simple recipe combines the spiciness of cinnamon and ginger with the sweetness of apricot. Click on over to Against All Grain for the full recipe. 

12. Creamy Roasted Red Pepper And Cauliflower Soup With Goat Cheese 

Take a tip from Closet Cooking and sub puréed cauliflower for cream to achieve the smooth, velvety consistency of this stick-to-your-ribs roasted red pepper and cauliflower soup. 

13. Bourbon Maple Baked Beans 

These bourbon-laden baked beans are healthy, hearty, and vegan. Get the quick and easy recipe from Averie Cooks.

14. Shrimp And Artichoke Barley Risotto 


Healthify your next bowl of risotto by substituting fiber-rich barley for traditional Arborio rice, a la Cara's Cravings.

15. Lentil And Squash Curry 

Looking for the easiest, healthiest curry recipe out there? Look no further than The Crepes of Wrath, who adds all ingredients to her Crock-Pot, sets the heat to low for eight hours, then wakes up to a fully-cooked, aromatic bowl of homemade veggie-packed curry. 

16. Creamy Carrot Cake Barley

If you're an oatmeal lover, try replacing your everyday rolled oats with fiber and protein-rich barley. Then add carrots, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts to create a healthy carrot cake flavoring — without all the butter and sugar. See how Cara's Cravings mixes her bowl of sweet barley here.  

17. Crock-Pot Quinoa

Food Fanatic's Crock-Pot quinoa is your answer to the never-ending easy and healthy weekday lunch dilemma. Just fill your slow cooker with uncooked quinoa, veggies, beans, stock, and seasoning. Then set it and forget it. Three hours later, you've got healthy lunches for daaays.  

18. Slow Cooker Salmon

Fact: When slow cooked, your salmon filet is guaranteed to be moist and tender, every single time. Add wine, beer, stock, miso, soy sauce, or veggies to boot. Get the step-by-step recipe from The Kitchn.

For more food inspiration and ideas, check out Bustle on YouTube.

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Images: A Spicy Perspective (2); Baked by RachelBig Girls Small KitchenCooking For KeepsFoodie CrushA Pretty Life In The Suburbs (2); Ari's MenuClimbing Grier MountainAgainst All GrainCloset CookingAverie CooksCara's Cravings (2); The Crepes of WrathFood FanaticThe Kitchn

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