From Freezer to Slow Cooker: 7 Zero-Prep Slow Cooker Dinners

Being short on time doesn't mean you have to skip a healthy meal!

From Freezer to Slow Cooker: 7 Zero-Prep Slow Cooker Dinners

I’m all for making totally elaborate, unbelievably delicious from-scratch meals. On the weekends, that is. I would love to think that I had the time to braise short ribs or make broth after work, but I’m usually too exhausted. That’s where these zero-prep slow cooker dinners using frozen vegetables come in.

These dinners allow you to eat healthy, from-scratch meals without having to spend all evening making them. It’s as easy as tossing in some frozen veggies into the slow cooker in the morning, letting them cook all day, and then enjoy that they’re ready to eat when you come home. I love that!

From Freezer to Slow Cooker: 7 Zero-Prep Slow Cooker Dinners

Here are our 7 favorite zero-prep slow cooker dinners. Let us know in the comments if we missed one of your weeknight favorites!

1. Slow Cooker Vegetable Chili

crock pot vegetable chili

Just looking at a picture of this beautiful slow cooker vegetable chili makes me hungry! I love the way the colors play together- the bright greens of the avocado and cilantro work as a startling contrast to the deep reds of the kidney beans and the tomatoes. Vibrant yellow corn and orange carrots stand out and invite you in for bite after bite.

This one is definitely a winner, so open up a few cans of beans and toss it all together in the slow cooker. Look for a pre-mixed package of frozen vegetables for chili, or pick up separate bags of frozen corn, onions, and peppers.

2. Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto

slow cooker butternut squash risotto

Wait, risotto in the slow cooker? This slow cooker butternut squash risotto not only proves that you can do it, but that it will turn out delicious, too! Risotto is one of those meals I almost never make because it’s so time-consuming and involved, so we definitely had to include this on our zero-prep slow cooker dinners list.

Instead of taking the time to chop up the butternut squash, look for frozen organic butternut squash in the freezer aisle. It comes pre-chopped so all you have to do is toss it in!

3. Slow Cooker White Bean Stew

white bean stew

Soups and stews are a favorite category for zero-prep slow cooker dinners because they’re so simple to make. Toss your ingredients together and garnish it with some parmesan cheese when you’re ready to serve. This recipe for slow cooker white bean stew is no exception. It tastes like it’s taken forever to make, but it’s really a zero-prep dinner!

The best part about this soup is not only that it’s warm and inviting, but it’s a nutrition powerhouse too. Make this recipe for anyone who thinks they might not like kale (Spoiler Alert: They’ll be a convert with the first bite!). A bag of frozen kale is the perfect way to keep this dish zero-prep.

4. Slow Cooker Chicken and Spring Vegetable Quinoa

chicken and quinoa

The flavors in this slow cooker chicken and spring vegetable quinoa simply can’t be beaten. It’s fresh, it’s warming, and it will fill you up with healthy protein sources. The chicken becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the vegetables retain some of their tender-crisp texture. How perfect is that!

To take out all the prep from this recipe, look for a bag of frozen mixed spring vegetables. You can even find a well-made pesto in the freezer aisle, so this zero-prep meal will be a breeze to throw together.

5. Slow Cooker Shephard’s Pie

slow cooker recipes shephard's pie

Sometimes all I want for dinner is a rich and comforting bowl of food. Shephard’s pie has always filled that niche, and this slow cooker shepherd’s pie couldn’t be easier to pull together. This is a great meal for those cold nights when you really want to cheat and chow down on pizza. You’ll get all that melty goodness without any of the guilt.

Using frozen corn, peas, and a mirepoix blend will give you onions, carrots, and celery, without any chopping at all. Or, choose a frozen potato that has onions and peppers (sometimes called potatoes O’Brien).

6. Slow Cooker Take Out Beef and Broccoli

slow cooker beef and broccoli

When I’m short on time, I usually turn to take out to provide me with dinner. Chinese takeout is always the first number on speed dial, but I hate how much sodium and MSG there is in restaurant food. The solution is this recipe for slow cooker take out beef and broccoli. It tastes just like the real deal, but you get to control all the ingredients!

Pick up a bag of frozen broccoli to make this recipe quick and easy to toss together. Combine that with sliced meat from the deli counter and you won’t’ even need to pull out a cutting board!

7. Slow Cooker Meatball and Potato Soup

crock pot potato soup

Speaking of comfort food, this slow cooker meatball and potato soup is super warming and will make you feel good inside and out. The best part? It’s made with coconut milk, so it’s filled with all kinds of healthy fats! It’ll taste so delicious you won’t believe it’s not filled with unhealthy cream.

Choosing a good brand of frozen meatballs, frozen chopped potatoes, and a bag of frozen spinach will cut out all of your prep for this meal. The flavors come together so well, you wouldn’t be able to tell it was made from frozen food.

We have so many more quick, easy, and healthy slow cooker recipes on the site. Take a look at our Pinterest page and follow us on Facebook to make sure that you don’t miss any!

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Chef Lindsay

Lindsay D. Mattison is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer. After graduating from Cascade Culinary School, Lindsay worked as the executive chef of a farm-to-table restaurant in Bend, Oregon. She is passionate about using local, organic ingredients and loves teaching home cooks how to incorporate seasonal food into their diet. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to create beautiful meals for her family. She lives with her husband in Colorado, where she enjoys the trials and errors of gardening.

More by Lindsay D.


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