Slow cookers are not what most people think of when they think of summer. Summer is for grilling, right? But not everyone wants to grill every night. Some people don’t even HAVE a grill. (Let’s not talk about that right now. It’s too painful for me.)
Some people, not me, of course, but some people, want to enjoy their summers doing things that don’t involve making food. Plus, cooking heats up your kitchen, and let’s face it, who needs more HEAT in the summer? Living in Oklahoma with its triple-digit summers, I certainly don’t.
So even though it’s a little against the grain, summer really is the perfect time to use your slow cooker and try these summer slow cooker recipes. It won’t heat up your kitchen like the oven or stovetop will, and it does the work of cooking your meal while you’re outside, enjoying yourself. You can even freeze some of these in advance, and cook them straight from frozen when you’re ready.
In fact, when we travel, if we are going somewhere with a kitchen (like a condo or a relative’s house), I pack up some frozen meals in our cooler. The frozen meals act as ice to keep the rest of the stuff cold, which saves me from buying ice, and then feeds us on vacation, which saves us from going out to eat as much (and I still don’t have to cook!)
I know what you’re thinking. Slow cookers are great at soups, stews, and chilis, but summer is NOT the time for those foods. And, I agree with you. Which is why I set out to find summery recipes that could be made in your slow cooker. I focused on sandwiches, tacos, and even some nachos that work great for summer (unlike soups and stews that you think of more as winter food).
Clean Eating Summer Slow Cooker Recipes
1. Chicken Gyros
Since these are more like sandwiches, and they use fresh produce for the toppings (tomatoes and cucumbers) they are my number one pick for the summer slow cooker. Hit up your favorite farmers’ market for fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and let your slow cooker do the rest.
4. Chicken Tacos
The great part about this recipe is that it can be tacos (duh, Heidi), but also nachos, stuffing for baked sweet potatoes, or even taco salad. Any of those fit right in with our summer menu expectations; how about yours?
5. Low Carb BBQ Pork Sandwiches
If you’re not worried about going completely low carb (I’m not), you can still do this tasty recipe using regular, whole wheat buns. You’ll still be missing the sugar of regular BBQ sauce…without actually “missing” it.
9. Banh Mi Pork Tacos
Yes, I know…Banh Mi literally translates as “bread” and there is no bread here, but I’m sure you get the picture. These tacos have the tasty flavor of a Banh Mi sandwich but in taco form. Great for the summer slow cooker.
10. Slow Cooker Pepper Jack Cauliflower
This one is great as a summer side dish for a grilled meat or other summer main dish. In fact, you could use this as a side dish for one of the other things on this list. I mean, some of us have more than one slow cooker. Haha!