On these scorching late-summer days, the thought of working in a hot kitchen is certainly less than appealing. But there’s one tool that will save you from heating up while you slice, dice, bake and saute. Enter: the slow cooker — a kitchen tool you shouldn’t reserve solely for winter comfort food. In fact, these crockpot recipes are the easy, no-sweat way to feed a crowd or fuel for the week this summer.
Each of these eight breakfast, lunch and dinner crockpot recipes feature fresh summer ingredients — while clocking in little calories. So keep it light and easy by setting and forgetting…until it’s time to eat.
8 Summer Crockpot Recipes to Make Tonight
Since you’ll season these meatless tacos in the same way as the traditional Mexican dish (plus you’ll simmer over low heat for two hours), they taste very similar to their ground beef counterparts. Better yet, because the lentils mix with nutritional yeast, they’re even vegan-friendly. Photo and recipe: Mel / A Virtual Vegan
Make cooking brunch a breeze. You can wake up and toss some eggs, prosciutto, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and a few spices in your slow cooker. Then get ready, mix up a batch of mimosas and invite your pals over to enjoy a slice of this Italian-inspired egg recipe. There’s no other way to spend a Saturday. Photo and recipe: Gina Matsoukas / Running to the Kitchen
To cut the calories and carbs in this slow cooker lasagna recipe, replace half of the pasta with slices of eggplant. Plenty of ricotta ensures each serving is still decadent — and super high in protein. (Each cup provides 28 grams of the muscle-building macro.) Photo and recipe: Edyta Czaplicka Hanna / Innocent Delight
While this vegan chowder calls for frozen corn, we’re partial to fresh-off-the-cob kernels come summer. Grab some parsley, chives and thyme from your garden or the farmer’s market and mix up a batch of this vibrant vitamin-rich soup. Photo and recipe: Danielle Fahrenkrug / Delightful Mom Food
Featuring summery zucchini and tomatoes, plus light white fish, this healthy slow cooker recipe will change the way you think about “stew.” Try a mix of canned and fresh tomatoes to cut down on the sodium content. Photo and recipe: Shannon Epstein / Fit Slow Cooker Queen
Bypass the pools of grease that generally come along with a traditional beef and lamb gyro. Instead, try this tasty Greek chicken recipe. Mix in a heap of basil for more seasonal flair, then serve with a spread of tzatziki, hummus or baba ganoush. Photo and recipe: Blair Lonergan / The Seasoned Mom
Simmering chicken breasts in a can of beer infuses each ounce with plenty of moisture, resulting in tender, flavorful white meat. With a DIY taco salad, you can go heavy on the fresh veggies and light on the chips to keep this dinner waistline-friendly. Photo and recipe: Denise / Sweet Peas and Saffron
You deserve better than canned baked beans at your barbecue! Employ your slow cooker to create a batch of skinny yet satisfying bacon-flavored navy beans to serve alongside your sandwiches or meat entrees. To make this side even skinnier, opt to add either the maple syrup or the coconut sugar — not both. Photo and recipe: Megan Kohrs / With Salt and Wit