Food & Nutrition

Three Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes

When you don’t have the time to cook, the answer can be to do it as slowly as possible. Just chuck all your ingredients in a slow cooker before you go to work and return home to find the main bit of your meal is ready to go.

In his new book Cook Slow, Masterchef’s Dean Edwards has created 90 recipes for slow cookers, all of which can also be made with conventional ovens. We’ve picked out three that are delicious, healthy and, most importantly, easy to make.

Spanish Chicken

Ingredients (serves four)

  • 1-2tbsp olive oil
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs (approx. 500g), bone in
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 100g chorizo sausage, cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4-5 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml boiling chicken stock
  • 100g green olives, pitted
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1tsp caster sugar (or to taste)
  • 2tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken thighs and cook until golden – this will take three to four minutes. Put into your slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients apart from the olives, sugar and parsley, and use only 200ml of the hot stock. Cook on the low setting for seven hours.
  2. Before serving, season with salt and pepper, then add the olives and sugar to taste. Finally, stir through the parsley, saving some for garnish, and serve with boiled rice or sauté potatoes.

Roasted Butternut Squash Tagine

Ingredients (serves four)

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1-2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1 heaped tsp harissa paste
  • 1tbsp tomato purée
  • 500g tomato passata
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 100g dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1tbsp honey (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. If time allows, roast the squash first. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Place the squash in a bowl, drizzle with some oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  2. Add all the ingredients apart from the honey to your slow cooker and season with salt and pepper. Add the butternut squash and stir to combine. Put the lid on and cook on the low setting for six hours or for four hours on high.
  3. Add the honey to the tagine to taste. Serve with herby couscous and a dollop of natural yogurt that has been spiked with harissa.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagne

Ingredients (serves four)

  • 1-2tbsp olive oil
  • 200g mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 red peppers, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1tbsp dried oregano
  • 500g tomato passata
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 1tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 courgettes, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 200g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper

White sauce

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 600ml milk

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the mushrooms and fry for six to seven minutes until golden, then set aside. Cook the red peppers, onion and garlic in the same pan for five minutes. Sprinkle in the oregano and give it a good stir, then add the passata, 150ml of stock and the tomato purée, and then return the mushrooms to the pan. Bring up to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, griddle the courgette slices on a ridged pan for one to two minutes on each side, until charred. Set aside.
  3. To make the white sauce, melt the butter over a medium heat, then whisk in the flour and cook for two to three minutes. Gradually pour in the milk and continue whisking until thickened and smooth. Season well with salt and pepper
  4. Spoon a layer of the mushroom mixture into your slow cooker. Top with a layer of the griddled courgettes, then some of the white sauce, then sprinkle over some of the grated Parmesan. Repeat until all these ingredients have been used up, but make sure you finish with a layer of white sauce scattered with cheese. Then add a layer of tomato slices, pop the lid on and cook on the high setting for four hours.

Cook Slow by Dean Edwards is published by Hamlyn, £14.99. Photography by Ria Osborne

Buy from Amazon | £14.99

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