The slow-cooker is one of our favorite kitchen appliances because it makes preparing dinner in one pot a breeze. Even better, while it’s busy cooking everything low and slow, we can forget about it for five or six hours. Many quintessential slow-cooker recipes are hearty comfort foods (think braised meats and stews, like the Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja pictured here), which are perfect for winter. But a slow-cooker isn’t just for preparing meat. Case in point? We’re sharing recipes for our Slow-Cooker Indian-Style Fish Curry and even a few vegetarian entrées, such as Slow-Cooker White Bean Soup, to prove just how versatile this appliance is.
Even though you can use it for other meals, there’s no denying the fact that the slow-cooker is particularly adept at cooking large, tough pieces of meat. As they marinate with stock, herbs, vegetables, and other aromatics, cuts like pot roast, brisket, and short ribs transform into succulent and tender pieces of meat. Slow-Cooker Persian Lamb Stew is a prime example of this process—it breaks down lamb shoulder into a juicy, earthy bite.
Maybe one of the most classic slow-cooker recipes is chili. This Spicy Turkey Chili is lighter than the traditional beef version but packed with plenty of heat and body. Somewhere in between a stew and chili is this Tex-Mex-inspired Chicken and Beans recipe; using store-bought salsa saves time, so all you need to do is arrange the ingredients in the cooker and set it to low heat for eight hours. Top with tortilla strips, sour cream, and jalapeño slices for a stellar finishing touch.
When you want a healthy, cozy meal, break out the slow-cooker and make these nurturing, crowd-friendly recipes.