Weeknight wins

17 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes For Busy Weeknights

Why not make dinner the easiest thing you do today?

Life is busy, but no matter how hectic things get, you still have to eat. Oh, and your kids have to eat, too. (So do your pets, but I digress.) Dinnertime comes every day whether you like it or not. You might as well make the most of it with something nourishing and tasty. Putting these healthy slow cooker recipes for busy weeknights on the menu will give you one less thing to do, but keep your whole family fed.

Most weeknights, I’m too busy shuttling kids back and forth to karate practice and theater rehearsals to think, let alone make an entire meal. Between helping with homework and extracurriculars, who has time to cook? I typically have a lot more time in the mornings to prep dinner, so slow-cooker meals are in heavy rotation during the week because after I throw everything in, the appliance does all the heavy lifting.

For the healthy slow cooker meals on this list, healthy is relative — think lots of veggies, lean proteins, and other ingredients that add nutritional value, but there’s no shying away from a bit of cream or a handful of cheese here. A nutritious meal that tastes great and will feed everyone with minimal effort on your part is a total weeknight win.


Lentil Soup

From Pinch Of Yum, this detox crockpot lentil soup is packed with nutritious ingredients like kale, onions, garlic, carrots, and olive oil. Plus, it pretty much makes itself. You might even have most everything you need already on hand in your kitchen. Just throw it all in your slow cooker and with minimal effort, you’ve got a hearty and healthy dinner waiting at the end of the day.


Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

My family is always up for a chili night, and this recipe from Foodie Crush checks all the right boxes. Between the lean ground turkey, two types of kidney beans, quinoa, and sweet potatoes, it’s a healthy slow cooker meal that is also super filling. You can serve it with toppings like cheese and sour cream or even some corn chips to give it some crunch.


Shrimp Boil

Spice up your busy weeknight with this slow cooker shrimp boil recipe from Damn Delicious. The entire meal is in your slow cooker — corn cobs, potatoes, sausage, and shrimp. Just ladle what you want onto your plate, peel the shrimp, and enjoy!


Tacos Al Pastor

Tender, flavorful, moist pork is the perfect filling for tacos al pastor, and when you’re pressed for time on a busy weeknight, having it ready-to-go in the slow cooker is a huge time saver. As this recipe from Gimme Some Oven explains, once your pork is ready, you can pile it on some tortillas and add any toppings you like — pineapple, diced onion, and pickled radishes are just a few ideas.


Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Make this lemon chicken orzo soup from Damn Delicious on a busy weeknight when you want something comforting that’s still on the healthier side. Lemon, thyme, and rosemary give it a bright flavor, while the orzo and chicken make it feel less like a soup and more like a hearty pasta dish. Plus, you’ll get plenty of colorful veggies in your kids with this recipe.


Thai Peanut Chicken Curry

If you’re looking for a healthy slow cooker recipe that’s less like a health food and more like takeout, Thai peanut chicken curry from Averie Cooks strikes the perfect balance. You’ll get plenty of protein from the chicken and the peanut butter in the peanut sauce, and you can serve it straight out of the slow cooker over brown rice or with a side of steamed or roasted veggies.


Turkey Breast

Thanksgiving-worthy turkey on a weeknight? Say no more. If you have time to roast a few veggies in the oven or grab a bag of salad out of the fridge, you’ve got a well-rounded meal right here with this healthy protein as the star. From Simply Scratch, this slow cooker turkey breast recipe is pretty much guaranteed to become a household staple meal.


Ham & Beans

Looking for a protein boost? A big, comforting bowl of ham and beans can be just that. From Wholefully, this recipe has just a few simple ingredients, spends all day (about 7 hours) in your slow cooker, and will fill your family’s bellies after a long weekday.


Garlic & Dijon Chicken

When you’re too busy running errands and chauffeuring kids to roast anything in the oven, enjoying a whole chicken on a weeknight is still totally possible with your slow cooker and this recipe from Baked By Rachel. Dijon mustard and garlic give it tons of flavor without any added nonsense. It takes about four hours to cook, and then you just need about five minutes under the broiler to get the skin nice and crispy.


Potato & Cauliflower Curry

How beautiful does this potato and cauliflower curry look? Getting my kids to consume enough vegetables can be tough, so I often lean into vegetarian recipes like this one from Half Baked Harvest when I want to ensure they get the nutrients they need. Here, the cauliflower is the star of the plate, and after it marinates for a while in all of the curry spices and rich broth in your slow cooker, your kids are way less likely to turn it down.


Salsa Verde Chicken

With this recipe for slow cooker salsa verde chicken from The Comfort Of Cooking, you have the perfect base for a homemade burrito bowl. Add some cooked rice, beans, fresh avocado, chopped onions, tomatoes, and any other toppings you like to have a fresh and healthy weeknight dinner ready in no time.


Tortellini Vegetable Soup

If you’re in the mood for Italian, but don’t want to indulge in a heavy bowl of creamy pasta, this tortellini vegetable soup from Half Baked Harvest is a great option. With a hearty serving of kale and plenty of carrots, you’ve got a decent amount of vegetables to balance out the cheese tortellini. Plus, you can dip big hunks of crusty bread into your bowl to soak up the broth. Yum!


Korean Short Ribs

One key to a healthy weeknight meal is to pick a delicious protein and pair it with something fresh like a salad or some vegetables. You can do exactly that with these slow cooker Korean short ribs from Brown Eyed Baker. They get nice and tender in the crockpot over several hours and are ready to enjoy whenever your busy weeknight allows.


Coconut Lime Chicken Soup

A lighter take on traditional chicken soup, this coconut lime chicken soup from Baked by Rachel uses coconut milk instead of cream. It also has tons of colorful vegetables that you can feel good about feeding your kids. There’s a little kick from the lime juice and diced jalapeños, but you can always adjust this to your liking if you need to.


Italian Turkey Meatballs

Using this recipe from Simply Scratch, you can pair hand-rolled turkey meatballs with your favorite jar of marinara in your crockpot for a lighter take on spaghetti and meatballs. Enjoy over whole-wheat pasta, with some rice, or even on a meatball sub loaded with veggies for an easy and healthy weeknight meal.


Teriyaki Chicken

When you make this recipe for slow cooker teriyaki chicken from The Comfort Of Cooking, your family can enjoy a homecooked meal that’s better for them than take-out or pantry sauces filled with preservatives. A few simple ingredients and about four hours in the slow cooker are all you need. When it’s done, scoop it over steamed rice or serve with a side of vegetables.


Winter Minestrone Soup

This hearty slow cooker winter minestrone soup with split red lentils from A Beautiful Plate is like a cozy hug in a bowl on a busy weeknight. Loaded with veggies and lentils, with a dash of olive oil, parsley, and parmigiano-reggiano cheese, it’s a healthy comfort food without the fuss. Just set it and forget it for a wholesome dinner that your whole family can enjoy whenever you’re ready.

So, while you’re working, doing school pick-ups, or running around town for your kids’ activities, use these recipes to let your slow cooker do all the work and still feed your family a nutritious and satisfying dinner on a busy weeknight.