When you make a meal in a slow cooker, you can “prep and forget,” going about your day while it takes care of the cooking. Another advantage is that you’ll probably have leftovers, giving you a quick lunch or a dinner for another day. This Beans & Greens recipe is not only hearty and nutritious, it freezes well. Why not make a batch, pack it up and relax knowing you’ve got a healthy meal ready to go when you need it?
Hearty Slow Cooker Beans & Greens
1 large onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped,
5 garlic cloves, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 large (or 2 small) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
5-6 cups cabbage or kale (or a mixture of both), chopped
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (29 oz.) can white kidney beans, rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth
¾ tsp each: basil, marjoram
Optional: ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Optional: tomato paste
(Tips: If you’re short on time, buy pre-chopped vegetables. Most grocery stores sell a soup starter option. You can also prepare the recipe the night before as you’re making dinner. Place everything, except the potatoes, in the pot portion of your slow cooker and refrigerate until ready.)
1. In the pot of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, add onion, carrots, garlic and celery for first layer. Top with potatoes and cabbage or kale for second layer.
2. For final layer, add tomatoes, beans and vegetable broth (making sure all ingredients are covered) and spices.
3. Cook on low for six to eight hours. If you’re nearby, stir occasionally to mix up ingredients (although this is not necessary).
Tips and variations:
- For a richer dish, add two tablespoons of tomato paste to final layer.
- For a smoother soup, use an immersion blender to blend ingredients in the slow cooker. Don’t blend all the way, as the different textures are good together.
- I like to serve with crusty whole-grain bread—it’s great for dipping!
Dana Zucker is a home cook that likes to do it her way! She gets creative with nutritious ingredients to keep her active family—teenage twins and a vegan, triathlete husband—healthy and happy. Cooking with organic, local and whole food ingredients is key, whether she’s whipping up an early-morning breakfast, prepping afterschool snacks or getting dinner on the table at 10 p.m. Dana says, “We do eat out sometimes, and even cheat with some pre-made foods. But I try to balance making delicious foods with the reality of a busy schedule.” Dana’s recipes are a great starting point to find a style of cooking that works for your family. Her advice? Keep it real—and keep it easy!