Slow-cooking for winter (and beyond!)
Author: Amber Houghton Date Posted:12 August 2014
Winter can be the perfect time for using a slow cooker – having a hearty and nutritious meal ready and waiting for you on a cold, dark evening is probably something that appeals to most of us! If you’re not one of the lucky few that can afford the luxury of a personal chef, then a slow cooker may be of interest to you.
Slow cookers are an excellent time-saving device for families, those who work long hours, or those who just don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove every night. They cook food over long periods of time, meaning that you can prepare your ingredients in the morning and put them into the cooker before heading out for the day, and come home to a cooked meal in the evening.
The valuable time-saving that slow cookers provide are often the main reason that people use them, however there are several other potential benefits too:
Increased nutrient intake
Because the ingredients used in slow-cooking are usually unprocessed choices such as meat and/or vegetables, it encourages better food choices rather than opting for refined and processed ready-meals that are quick to heat up when you’re tired and hungry.
Some of the nutrients that may be lost during standard cooking methods, such as boiling, can be retained by slow cooking as the juices from meats and vegetables are kept within the cooker and then consumed with the food.
Not just useful in winter
Although we usually associate hot meals with wintertime, slow-cookers can be equally as useful during the warmer months. The benefit of using one in the summer for your meals is that it lessens the need for using the oven, which reduces the discomfort of making an already hot home even hotter.
A slow cooker is not only for soups and casseroles – you can also add pasta dishes, bread, traditional roasts, cakes and breads to your repertoire. You can even set it up at night to prepare a cooked breakfast – ready to go when you wake up.
If you’re a vegetarian like me, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are an abundance of vegetarian-friendly recipes that a slow cooker can whip up for you. Try this delicious vegetable and chickpea curry, for a nutritious evening meal:
Vegetable and Chickpea slow-cooked Curry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large chopped brown onion
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ½ juiced lemon
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 150g sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 small red capsicum, diced
- 200g cauliflower florets
- 150g button mushrooms, cut into halves
- 4 small yellow squash, cut into halves
- 200g broccoli florets
- Steamed rice (basmati, jasmine or brown), to serve
- Natural yoghurt and cashew nuts, to serve
- Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until onion is soft, stirring regularly. Add the garlic, curry powder and cumin, stir, and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Add 1/2 a cup of cold water, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, the chickpeas and the vegetables. Increase heat to high and bring the mixture to the boil.
- Spoon the curry into your slow cooker, place the lid on and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.
- When your curry is ready, season with salt and pepper, spoon it over the rice and serve with yoghurt and a handful of cashew nuts.
Note: It is important to follow all the manufacturer’s safety instructions when using your slow-cooker
|Written by Amber Houghton|
Amber holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Naturopathy, and has a particular passion for nutritious, whole-food eating. She feels education surrounding the best dietary and lifestyle choices are fundamental in allowing people to take responsibility for their own health, and to help with the maintenance of their well-being.
Although passionate about wholesome food, Amber does confess to having a particular fondness for cake, and enjoys a slice every now and then.