Eat This!

14 Best Crock Pot Recipes for Weight Loss

These delectable slow-cooker recipes will keep you satisfied and slim all season long.

Eat This!

14 Best Crock Pot Recipes for Weight Loss

These delectable slow-cooker recipes will keep you satisfied and slim all season long.

Summer may have been all about the bloat-busting smoothies and healthy frozen desserts, but with sweater weather upon us, it’s time to dust off the old slow cooker (or invest in one!) and make some nutrient-packed, fat-burning comfort food.

Whether you’re craving spicy or sweet, vegan or meat, we’ve rounded up something slimming to please any kind of palate.

Fat-Free Crock Pot Chili

Diving into a warming bowl of Sunday night football crock-pot chili? That doesn’t mean you have to worry about automatic pound creepage on Monday AM. A typical chili is high in calories, fat and sodium (that extra handful of grated cheese doesn’t help). Instead, try a hearty bowl of this vegan chili, which is dotted with slimming veggies like zucchini, bell pepper and corn. Amp up the heat with extra cayenne, which helps burn fat.

YOU'LL NEED
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 zucchini, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or packaged in BPA-free cartons
3 cups cooked kidney or pinto beans or 2 15-ounce cans low-sodium or no-salt-added kidney beans
½ cup water
2 tbsp chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
½ tsp oregano
Dash of cayenne pepper or to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

SERVES 4

140 calories, 2 g fat, 30 g carbs, 47 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 11 g sugars, 7 g protein

Recipe and photo by Holy Cow Vegan

Farro and Chicken Chili

Don’t blame us when clamors for this chili become a regular weeknight chant in your household. Chicken, farro and beans lend a substantial amount of hunger-crushing protein, while antioxidant-packed kale and garlic dole out serious nutrition. One note: Before serving, make sure chicken is super-tender.

YOU'LL NEED
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
8.5 oz (1 package) farro
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans
1 can tomato paste
2 cans diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen's fire roasted tomatoes)
3 cups kale
Pinch of oregano
Cheese for topping

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Place chicken and olive oil in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Add garlic, onions, farro, beans, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and oregano overtop.
  3. Cook on high for 3 hours, and then add kale.
  4. Cook for an additional hour and then remove from slow cooker*
  5. Top with cheese and enjoy!

Recipe and photo by The Almond Eater

Fat-Free Slow Cooker Dal

Vibrant greens, powerful spices like ginger and turmeric, fragrant and fiber-filled lentils… what’s not to love about this weight-loss-friendly Indian dish? To round out the meal, pair it with a slice of whole-grain bread and a salad (be sure to slip in some of these Best Salad Ingredients for Weight Loss!)

YOU'LL NEED
1 cup masoor lentils
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp turmeric
½ cup tomato puree
4 packed cups of greens (kale, spinach, watercress, lettuce, or any kind of green, really, is fine here)
Ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
¼ cup chopped coriander
A few drops of lemon juice

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Soak the lentils in enough water to cover them by an inch.
  2. Put the crockpot on a high setting and once it is quite hot add the onions, garlic and ginger along with a couple of tablespoons of water.
  3. Add some salt and ground black pepper. Stir everything well together. Let the onions cook until they are translucent. Placing the lid on the crockpot helps expedite the cooking. Stir the onions every once in a while. This should take about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the greens and the tomato puree and mix well. Add the turmeric. Stir.
  5. Drain the lentils and add them to the onions and greens and stir well to mix. Add four cups of water or vegetable stock and mix thoroughly. Add more salt and black pepper.
  6. Put the lid on the crockpot. Cook for about three hours on a high setting or five hours on a low setting. If the mixture gets dry during cooking, add more water.
  7. When the dal has broken down thoroughly, stir the dal well with a ladle. Check for salt and add more if needed. Also add more black pepper if you have a taste for it.
  8. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice and add the coriander and stir well. Serve hot.

SERVES 8

107 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 47 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 7 g protein

Recipe and photo by Holy Cow Vegan

Crock Pot Black-Eyed Peas Stew

This fat-free vegan recipe will leave your mouth watering for more. Celery, carrots and onion (called “mirepoix,” which chefs use as the foundation for countless sauces and stocks) add flavor and antioxidants, while protein-rich black-eyed peas (which are loaded with folic acid) add heft to this easy slow-cooker dish.

YOU'LL NEED
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, cut in a ½-inch dice or thinly sliced in rounds
3 celery stalks, cut in a ½-inch dice
1 large bell pepper, cut in a ½-inch dice. I used green but you can use any color.
1 sweet potato, cut in a ½-inch dice (optional but very tasty)
3 cups black eyed peas (if using frozen, like I did, you can use these without any prep. If using dried, use 1 cup dried peas and soak overnight or at least 8 hours, then drain and rinse)
1 cup pureed tomatoes
1 tsp dried, crumbled sage
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, finely minced
4 cups vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnish

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Place all the ingredients in a crockpot, add the stock and mix well.
  2. Cover the crockpot and cook on a high setting for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours or until all the vegetables and black-eyed peas are tender.
  3. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with brown rice, quinoa, or crusty whole wheat bread.

SERVES 8

198 calories, 1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 109 mg sodium, 47 g cxarbs, 19 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 15 g protein

Recipe and photo by Holy Cow Vegan

Overnight Slow Cooker Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal

There’s something so deeply satisfying about oatmeal. The perfect balance of creamy and chewy, it’s totally filling (thanks to all the fiber in oats) without making you feel heavy. Add extra apples and forgo the brown sugar to make this dish even healthier. (Check out our guide to nine tasty toppings to boost your morning oatmeal here!)

YOU'LL NEED
1 cup steel cut oats
1½ cups coconut milk
1½ cups water
2 apples (cored, peeled, diced)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Optional for Topping
Additional cinnamon or brown sugar
Chopped nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.
Fruit such as banana slices, fresh apple, or berries

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with oil thoroughly. This step is very important!
  2. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker – oats, coconut milk, water, apples, brown sugar, coconut oil, cinnamon, and sea salt. Stir to combine well.
  3. Cook on low for 5-7 hours depending on your cooker. Some take longer and some are faster. We recommend trying a test run during the day to see how long your slow cooker takes before trying overnight.
  4. Serve and allow to cool. If desired, add toppings of your choice.

SERVES 6-8
(nutritional info for 6 servings)
253 calories, 18 g fat (15 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 91 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 11 g sugars, 3 g protein

Recipe and photo by The Fitchen

Crockpot Kale Vegetable Soup

This soup simultaneously proves that both a) you don’t need a calorie-bomb supper to be left feeling satisfied; and b) the perfect home for extra kale really is in a comforting, warm bowl of soup. With Moroccan-inspired vibes, this slow-cooker recipe gives you license to go crazy with some of the best spices to burn fat, like cinnamon and cayenne.

YOU'LL NEED
1 carton of vegetable broth
5 leaves of kale
5 medium carrots
1 can of white beans
1 can of black beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
½ of a red onion
1 clove of garlic
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1½ Tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ Tablespoon paprika
½ teaspoon ginger powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne
⅛ teaspoon allspice
2½ Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Prepare the vegetables as follows.
  2. Slice kale away from stalks and chop into bite sized pieces. Chop carrots into small pieces – the smaller they are, the quicker they will cook! Chop onion. Peel garlic. Drain both cans of beans.
  3. Add everything into the crockpot, mix with a big spoon, and set the heat to high.
  4. The kale will take a while to cook down, but it eventually will.
  5. If desired, you can stir it every so often. It will do all of the cooking itself, though. If it starts to look too hot, just decrease the heat for a while.
  6. Cook 4 hours, or until the carrots are tender, and serve in bowls. I recommend a piece of gluten-free toast to go along with your soup.

SERVES 8

314 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 1,187 mg sodium, 52 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 18 g protein

Recipe and photo by The Fitchen

Chicken on Fire Chili

Having fiery breath is a good sign for your weight-loss efforts. Spicy food has been shown to rev your metabolism and may help you eat slower, thus consuming fewer calories. Garnish with cilantro, which helps beat bloat and soothe digestive issues, and a squeeze of fresh lemon to give the dish a citrusy, appetite-suppressing kick.

YOU'LL NEED
1 can (15.5 ounces) BUSH’S Cocina Latina® Pintos a la Diabla
1 can (15.5 ounces) BUSH’S® White Hominy
1 medium jalapeños, sliced into rings (TIP: For less heat, remove seeds.)
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 medium (6 ounces) chicken breast
¼ cup cilantro, chopped

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Place all ingredients in 5 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until internal temperature of chicken is at least 165 degrees F. (TIP: May cook on high for 4-5 hours.)
  2. Remove chicken, shred with 2 forks. Return to slow cooker for 20 minutes, or until heated through.
  3. Sprinkle cilantro on top and serve.

SERVES 6

250 calories, 4 g fat, 74 mg cholesterol, 739 mg sodium, 21 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 34 g protein

Recipe and photo by Bush’s Best Beans

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup with Barley

Satiating and slimming quinoa might get all the love when it comes to the best carbs for your abs, but barley, too, is a superstar. Packed with fiber, it’s satiating and aids digestion. Sweet potatoes (10 sweet potato recipes for weight loss) and veggies like corn, green bell pepper, green beans and carrots also ensure that this soup is a nutrient powerhouse.

YOU'LL NEED
1 cup uncooked regular pearl barley
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1 1/2 cups ready-to-eat baby-cut carrots, halved crosswise
1 cup sliced celery (2 medium stalks)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (1/2 medium)
2 cloves garlic,finely chopped
1 large dark-orange sweet potato, peeled, cubed
1 1/2 cups Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers® Niblets® frozen corn (from 12-oz.bag)
1 1/2 cups Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers® frozen cut green beans (from 12-oz bag)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cans (14-oz each) vegetable broth
6 cups water
1 can (14.5-oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, undrained

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. In 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, layer all ingredients except tomatoes; do not stir.
  2. Cover; cook on Low setting 6 to 8 hours.
  3. About 10 minutes before serving, stir tomatoes into soup. Cover; cook on Low setting 10 minutes longer or until tomatoes are thoroughly heated. Remove bay leaf before serving.

SERVES 8

183 calories, 1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 720 mg sodium, 38 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 7 g protein

Recipe and photo by NFRA

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

Enhanced by a bit of spice, this velvety soup gets its heft from the squash, onion and garlic, instead of relying on caloric cream and butter. Carotenoid-rich butternut squash is perhaps one of the most perfect fall superfoods, and any leftover cubes you might have are perfect for roasting and adding to salad.

YOU'LL NEED
8 cups butternut squash [peeled and chopped into 1" cubes]
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
32 ounces vegetable broth
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Peel and chop butternut squash into cubes about 1" square.
  2. Chop onion and mince garlic.
  3. In a large crockpot, add squash, onions, garlic, thyme, and broth.
  4. Add seasonings and use a spoon to stir them in.
  5. Set temperature to low and cook for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally. The soup is done when the squash is very fork tender
  6. Using an immersion blender, puree the ingredients until smooth and all chunks have disappeared. If you don't have an immersion blender, just pour the mixture into a regular blender [in 2 batches, if necessary] and blend until smooth.
  7. Serve with fresh black pepper and a crusty baguette.

SERVES 6
118 calories, 1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 489 mg sodium, 25 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 5 g protein

Recipe and photo by The Fitchen

Irresistible Easy Slow Cooked Chile Pie

Lean meat and savory flavor from chile and garlic powder make this crock-pot recipe a real crowd pleaser — and the prep can be done in less than 20 minutes! Natural crispbreads add a nice crunch, while chewy and nutrient-dense pinto beans (one of the best fiber-rich foods for weight loss) provide a nice contrast.

YOU'LL NEED
2 lbs lean ground beef or turkey
3 tablespoons chile powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces Primizie Crispbreads (choose your favorite flavor)
2 cups shredded lettuce
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
6 tablespoons finely chopped onions
Optional: Sour cream, cheddar cheese and minced fresh cilantro for garnish

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. In a large saute pan, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.
  2. Place beef in a slow cooker and stir in the chile powder, flour, beans, salt and garlic powder until blended; stir in water. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until heated through then hold for up to 1-2 hours.
  3. To serve, divide Primizie Crispbreads among six serving bowls. Top with beef mixture, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and onion; garnish with cheddar cheese, sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

SERVES 6

Lean ground beef version: 519 calories, 19 g fat, (4 g saturated), 135 mg cholesterol, 1,277 mg sodium, 32 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 52 g protein

Lean turkey version: 441 calories, 19 g fat (1 g saturated), 88 mg cholesterol, 1,286 mg sodium, 32 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 36 g protein

Recipe and photo by Primizie Snacks

French Pot Roast

Every culture has its version of pot roast, that amazing slow-cooked amalgamation of hearty meat andvegetable chunks and flavorful broth. When it comes to picking the best rendition, we have to side with Julia Child, who believed the French boeuf bourguignonne was the world’s finest pot roast.

YOU’LL NEED
2 strips bacon, cut in ½-inch pieces
¼ cup flour
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 lb chuck roast, excess fat removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ bottle dry red wine
2 cups low sodium beef broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 cups frozen pearl onions
½ lb button mushrooms, stems removed
1 cup frozen peas

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Preheat a large skillet or nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside. Leave the pan on the heat.
  2. Combine the flour and plenty of salt and pepper in a sealable plastic bag. Working in batches, add the beef and shake until the pieces are lightly covered; remove the beef from the bag and shake off the excess flour. Add the pieces to the hot pan and cook until all sides are golden brown.
  3. Remove the beef and add to a slow cooker. When all the beef has been browned, add 1 cup wine to the hot pan and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour over the beef, along with the rest of the wine, the broth, the tomato paste, bay leaves, and bacon pieces.
  4. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 4 hours, until the beef is tender and falls apart with pressure from a fork. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the pearl onions and mushrooms. Right before serving, add the peas and simmer for a few minutes to cook through. Discard the bay leaves.
  5. Serve the stew by itself or over mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles with a good ladle of the cooking broth.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

500 calories, 12 g fat (4 g saturated), 640 mg sodium

From Eat This, Not That! magazine, Fall 2015. To subscribe, click here!

Braised Brisket with Horseradish Cream

Brisket is a notoriously tough piece of meat. It takes the best pit masters up to 18 hours of low-temperature smoking to wrestle the beef into a state of acceptable tenderness. But through the miracle of the slow cooker, where moisture and heat combine to turn even the toughest cuts into spoon-tender masterpieces, brisket can be worked into a state of soul-soothing deliciousness with only about 15 minutes of prep work.

YOU’LL NEED
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 lb brisket (preferably with a thin fat cap still attached)
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 bottle (12 oz) dark beer
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 large yellow onions, quartered
1 bunch carrots, peeled
8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
¼ cup 2% Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp prepared

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet or sauté pan. Season the brisket all over with salt and black pepper. Sear in the pan for about 7 minutes, until all sides are nicely browned. Place in a slow cooker. Add the beer to the pan and scrape up any browned bits. Pour over the brisket. Add the stock, tomato paste, onions, carrots, garlic, and bay leaves to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or on low for up to 8 hours), until the
    brisket is very tender.
  2. Combine the yogurt, parsley, and horseradish in a mixing bowl.
  3. Remove the brisket from the cooker and slice into thin pieces. Discard the bay leaves. Serve the brisket in a shallow, wide bowl with the onions, carrots, and a bit of broth poured over the top. Garnish each serving with a scoop of the horseradish cream.

MAKES 10 SERVINGS

380 calories, 25 g fat (8 g saturated), 350 mg sodium

Pork Chile Verde

This isn’t a dish that’s on most Americans’ radar, but it should be. Tender pieces of pork stewed in a lively, slightly spicy broth studded with vegetables. Add a few warm tortillas, a hunk of lime, and a cerveza, and you’re halfway to Mexico with a huge grin on your face. Just make sure you enjoy this one in the comfort and safety of your own kitchen, okay?

YOU’LL NEED
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 bottle salsa verde (15 oz)
1 medium onion, quartered
1 large green bell pepper, chopped into big chunks
2 cups small marble or fingerling potatoes (optional)
8 corn tortillas
2 limes, cut into quarters

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the pork to the skillet and sear on all sides until caramelized on the outside but still raw in the center (don’t overcrowd the pork or it will steam, not brown). Transfer to a slow cooker.
  2. Add the broth to the hot skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any crispy, flavorful bits of pork. Pour the broth over the pork, along with the salsa verde, onion, and bell pepper. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 4 hours (or low and cook for 8), until the pork is extremely tender. If using the potatoes, add them to the pot in the final hour of cooking.
  3. Serve the pork in bowls with the stewed vegetables, along with a ladle of the cooking liquid. Have hot corn tortillas and
    lime hunks on hand for makeshift tacos.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

460 calories, 24 g fat (8 g saturated), 620 mg sodium

From Eat This, Not That! magazine, Fall 2015. To subscribe, click here!

Short Ribs Braised in Guinness

Seems like braised short ribs adorn every French and Italian menu in the country these days. And why not? It’s an inexpensive dish that takes minimal effort from the chef but that can still fetch a $20+ price tag wherever it’s served. Why pay the money for something you can do just as well at home, especially if you can cut the calories in half?

YOU’LL NEED
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 lb boneless short ribs
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 cans or bottles (12 oz each)
Guinness Draught
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
2 onions, quartered
2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves

Gremolata (optional):
½ cup chopped parsley; 2 cloves garlic, minced;
Grated zest of 2 oranges or lemons

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over high heat. Season all sides of the ribs with salt and pepper. Cook them until a rich brown crust develops on the outside. Remove the ribs and place in a slow cooker. While the pan is still hot, add the beer and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour the beer over the short ribs.
  2. Add the broth, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and bay leaves to the short ribs and set the slow cooker to high. Cook for 4 hours, until the beef is tender and nearly falling apart. Discard the bay leaves.
  3. If using gremolata, mix the parsley, garlic, and orange zest. Serve the beef (along with some of the reduced sauce) over soft polenta or mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with the gremolata (if using).

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

540 calories, 26 g fat (9 g saturated), 660 mg sodium

From Eat This, Not That! magazine, Fall 2015. To subscribe, click here!