Stews, chilis, soups, or even healthy pasta – I love preparing hearty, warming dishes loaded with nutrients, especially when the slow cooker is involved. For us, this small kitchen appliance is the ultimate time-savior, helping us maintain a healthy diet without spending time with long cooking steps. While some of the vitamins are lost within the cooking process, the minerals, protein, and fiber remain intact. Just make sure you serve your stew next to a salad to ensure your body gets fresh enzymes and vitamins too.
For us, there's nothing as comforting as a bowl of home-made stew, wonderfully flavored and packed with nutrients to keep your body in great shape!
I always combine different classes of foods to get the maximum health benefits from my stew – chickpeas, tofu, beans, peas or lentils, to add plenty protein and fiber to the dish, and lots, (I mean lots!) of vegetables for a rich mineral intake. There isn't a specific recipe for creating the perfect stew – just make sure you add plenty of ingredients to nourish your body with a wide variety of nutrients.
Quick tip: start your slow cooker stew & then fit in a 30 minute workout video while it cooks!
Some of the best vegetables that go well with slow cooker stews are root vegetables, especially sweet potatoes, carrots, or potatoes. Their starch creates a probiotic nourishment for your microbiome, resulting in increased vitamin absorption and a great boost for the immune system. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli or brussels sprouts, enrich the nutritional values of your stew with essential minerals magnesium and potassium, and also with fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Your digestion is improved, the health of your colon cells is protected, and it's easier for your body to eliminate the toxins, old estrogen and cholesterol, preventing them from leaking back into your blood stream.
The secret to creating a tasty slow cooking stew is adding enough garlic, onion, and aromatic herbs to create a wonderfully-flavored, thick broth that keeps all the ingredients together. I add aromatic herbs with the rest of the ingredients and let them infuse the vegetables with their flavor, and also sprinkle freshly-chopped herbs when serving the stew, for a nice aesthetic touch and a refreshing taste. Basil, sage, parsley, or mint work just perfectly!
Related: this roasted sweet potato, cauliflower and barley salad recipe is a must try.
If you want to enrich your stew with green leafy vegetables, I recommend adding them when the cooking process is finished, because cooking destroys some of their detoxifying nutrients, especially vitamins, and they will lose color and health properties. Spinach, kale, or chard make a delicious and healthy additions to your stew, and give it an alluring, vibrant color dash.
Type: Vegan (can easily be made omnivore by adding 1-2 servings of your favorite meat)
2 cups peas
1 cup of your favorite beans (black beans, red kidney beans, etc.)
1 carrot, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup brussels sprouts
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sage leaves, chopped plus extra for garnishing
3-4 mint leaves, plus extra for garnishing
1 tsp turmeric powder
3-4 black peppercorns, crushed
1 cup diced tomatoes (canned)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp pure maple syrup
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
Fresh lemon juice, to serve
- Heat the olive oil into a cast iron skillet, add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, peas and carrot, and cook for five minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Add the turmeric and black pepper, and stir to incorporate.
- Transfer the mixture into the slow cooker, add the beans, tomatoes, sage, mint and vegetable broth, vinegar and maple syrup, mix well, cover.
- Cook on high for 3 hours.
- Add the spinach leaves and mix to to incorporate.
- Serve warm, garnished with fresh herbs and drizzled with fresh lemon juice.