Crockpot Cooking: 3 Healthy Winter Recipes

Use your slow cooker to play about with these hearty and healthy winter recipes, with less fuss in the kitchen and more satisfaction around the kitchen table!

Eating Healthy in the Winter With a Crockpot

If you haven’t got a crockpot, and it’s winter, you have no idea what you are missing out on. Crockpots (or slow cookers as they are also known) were practically made for the winter season. They are perfect for producing those warming home-cooked dishes that make you feel all nourished and healthy and loved! You know the ones I’m talking about… rustic winter soups for your sniffle, steaming stews that fill your belly and make you feel snug and satisfied… What’s more, with a crockpot you can achieve these dishes with minimal effort. In fact you don’t even need to be present in the kitchen or the house while it is cooking!

If you’ve got your crockpot already, here are three healthy winter recipes to show you just what it can do with a slow cooker. If you haven’t got one yet, I suggest you invest.

#1 The Easiest Minestrone Soup You Will Ever Make


This hearty soup will greet you when you come home from work, college or shopping, with a welcoming and mouthwatering fragrance that fills your home with the illusion that you have been slaving over a stove for hours. With so little preparation and cooking skill needed, you will wonder why anyone bothers with their stove or oven when they could just sling ingredients into a crockpot and let it work its magic!


  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (can use stock cubes and boiled water)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can white (cannellini or navy) beans, drained
  • 2 chunky carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked ditalini pasta
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • Basil sprigs, garnish, optional


This recipe is dead simple.

  1. Preheat your crockpot.
  2. Add the broth/stock, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
  4. Half an hour before the end, add ditalini, zucchini and spinach.
  5. Cover and cook 30 more minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaves and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.
  7. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.
  8. Garnish with basil, if desired if you’re entertaining and want it to look fancy!

#2 A Trendy Stew Made with Eggplant and Chickpeas


If you are looking for something with a trendy edge rather than a more traditional dish, because you’re in your twenties and like the idea of shopping in health food shops, or you want to impress friends who are coming over for dinner; you should try this simple, not mention healthy stew. It is reminiscent of ratatouille, so it has that Mediterranean vibe. Served with soft polenta and sautéed spinach, this is a dish that will make you look and feel like a trendy little chef! Your guests will be in awe, and leave feeling well fed.


  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (‘cos they’re posh!)
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 small (1-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can of chickpeas drained
  • 1 can tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley


This recipe does require a little bit of food preparation, so don’t think this is going to be a sling-it-all-in-the-pot job. The extra effort is worth it though.

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine dried mushrooms and hot water in a bowl. Stir well and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve lined with a paper towel and set the liquid aside. Finely chop the mushrooms.
  3. Meanwhile, peel eggplants, if desired, and cut in half lengthwise. Brush the cut sides liberally with 2 tablespoons oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until tender, about 25 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut into 1-inch cubes and transfer to a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, cinnamon stick, salt, pepper, bay leaf and the chopped mushrooms; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the reserved mushroom-soaking liquid and chickpeas. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the eggplant.
  5. Cover and cook until the chickpeas are very tender, about 4 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Stir in tomatoes and parsley.

#3 A Deliciously Lumpy Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Lentils


This soup is wonderfully textured and perfect for filling you up on a cold winter’s evening. Make a big pot and divide it into portions for freezing to last you through the next few weeks when you need a tummy-warming pick-me-up.


  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 leeks, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (white and light green parts only)
  • 3/4 cup dried yellow or red lentils
  • 1 4-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


This recipe is so ridiculously easy you could do it blind folded, yet it tastes like a lot of love has gone into cooking it. (Note: I am not suggesting you do it blind folded!)

  1. Combine the sweet potato, carrots, celery, leeks, lentils, ginger, 3/4 teaspoon curry powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a 4-to-6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Add 6 cups water and stir, then cover and cook on low, undisturbed, 8 hours.
  3. Stir the soup vigorously with a whisk to make a rough puree. Thin with hot water, if desired.
  4. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon curry powder and cook until the curry powder is slightly toasted, about 1 minute. Stir the curry mixture into the soup and add the lemon juice, cilantro, and salt to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.

Share your recipe adaptations with us…

Nobody follows recipes word for word, do they? Especially when cooking with a crockpot. Crockpot cooking is all about cheating and making life easier in the kitchen after all!

Share your crockpot cooking experiences with us in the comments section below. How have you adapted more complicated recipe instructions, and what ingredients have you often swapped for what you already have in your cupboard?

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About the author

Zara M.

I love to write, draw, take photographs, dance tango, write in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook and ogle other people’s Filofaxes. Oh – and I like LOTS of sugar in my tea! I want to inspire you, and show you the world through my eyes.

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