In winter, my slow cooker is my best friend. It’s the type of bestie that cooks for you all day while you’re at work (wouldn’t that be nice?) But in the warmer months, the beloved machine tends to gather dust at the back of the cupboard. After all, it’s far too hot for soups and casseroles and that’s all you can make in a slow cooker, right? Wrong! It turns out, there are plenty of summer-friendly meals you whip up in the handy gadget. If anything, it makes more sense to use a slow cooker in summer. After all, who wants to slave over a hot stove when you could be lying on the beach? Whether you’re heading to a picnic or having friends over for dinner, it makes way more sense to just chuck in your ingredients and go! Then a few hours later, your meal will be ready for you! Here are some of our favourite easy, healthy and cheap slow cooker recipes for summer:
1. Thai Steak Salad
This asian-inspired recipe from The Food Charlatan practically screams summer. Not only is it ridiculously easy to make, it’s the perfect mix of sweet, savoury and spicy. The steak will help you ramp up your protein levels for the day, while the mango adds a fresh, tropical twist.
2. Miso Eggplant With Pickled Vegetables
Here’s one for the vegetarians! But even if you’re a meat-lover, we guarantee you’ll love this Japanese-inspired recipe from Taste. The eggplant is the perfect base for the delicious oriental flavours, while the pickled ginger adds some gut-loving goodness.
3. Chicken and Black Bean Taco Salad
Been tasked with bringing the salad to a BBQ? This Mexican recipe from Skinny Taste is sure to score you plenty of fans. Slow cooking the chicken allows it absorb more of the spices, so each bite is absolutely bursting with flavour. We’re also obsessed with the zesty avocado cilantro buttermilk dressing: a unique take on the usual guacamole!
4. Slow Cooked Poached Salmon
Yep, you can cook fish in your slow cooker! But when it comes to ‘slow’ cooking, this recipe from The Kitchn is as speedy as it gets — it only takes one hour! The citrus flavours give the salmon a beautiful zesty flavour that’s perfect for sunny days.
5. Corn On The Cob With Chilli Lime Butter
Corn on the cob is the perfect beach snack, because it’s easy to transport and doesn’t require any cutlery! But why cook them on the BBQ when your slow cooker can do it for you? This recipe from Slow Cooker Gourmet puts a tangy twist on the original with the chilli lime butter.
6. Scalloped Peaches
Your slow cooker isn’t just for cooking savoury recipes. There’s plenty of summer desserts you can whip up in there, too! This recipe from Taste and Tell Blog is oh-so-easy and you can eat it hot or cold! If you want to make a healthier version, you can swap the sugar with vanilla extract and the ice-cream with greek yoghurt.
7. Frittata With Zucchini, Tomato and Feta
Is frittata the most versatile food ever? We think so. Not only can you eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s also great for both summer or winter! This recipe from The Foodie Corner literally just involves chucking some eggs, feta, veggies and spices into the slow cooker. So easy, so healthy and so delicious.
8. Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Can’t make it to Hawaii for a holiday this summer? No worries, this recipe from Cooking Classy will transport you there! They’re a great pick for when you’re sick of beef burgers and are looking for something high in protein. Worried about the carb content? Switch the hamburger buns out with any bread you like, or have it as a burger bowl.
Related: 7 Reasons You Should Be Eating Carbs
9. Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps
We all tend to prefer eating a bit ‘lighter’ in the warmer months. But that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on flavour! This recipe from Sweet Peas and Saffron is pretty much the perfect meal. It’s so simple to make, incredibly healthy and most importantly, tastes amazing!
10. Lemon Garlic Chicken
We know, chicken in a slow cooker is not exactly groundbreaking! But hear us out. This recipe from The Krazy Koupon Lady is everything you’d want in a summer slow cooker meal: light, fresh and extremely cheap. It takes 8 hours to cook, making it perfect to make while you’re at work for the day.
11. Slow Cooker Mango Tapioca Pudding
No summer recipe list would be complete without a mango dessert. This recipe from Chow Hound is the perfect sweet, refreshing snack for after you’ve been at the beach all day. It’s also a fantastic source of healthy fats, thanks to the coconut milk.