Slow-cooker recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Chilli con carne.
Chilli con carne. Photo: Supplied

From porridge to chilli con carne, there are plenty of ways to use a slow cooker this winter.

Olivia Andrews shares three recipes from her new cookbook Whole Food, Slow Cooked.  From curries to soups to puddings, it features 100 recipes suitable not only for the slow cooker, but the oven or stove top as well.

A vegetarian lasagne of cauliflower, celeriac and pumpkin.
A vegetarian lasagne of cauliflower, celeriac and pumpkin. Photo: Supplied

Quinoa and chia porridge

This beautifully light, protein-packed porridge will sustain you all morning.  You can mix up the fruit based on what you have: try swapping the apples for pears, or raspberries for blueberries. Almond milk, quinoa flakes, chia seeds and rice malt syrup can be found in larger supermarkets and health food shops.

Serves 4

Preparation time 10 minutes 
Cooking time Two hours (slow cooker) OR 25 minutes (stove top)

Quinoa and chia seed pudding.
Quinoa and chia seed pudding. Photo: Supplied

1 litre (4 cups) unsweetened almond milk 
2 granny smith apples, peeled, coarsely grated 
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped 
60g (¾ cup) quinoa flakes 
3 tbsp chia seeds 
3 tbsp finely chopped dates 
3 tbsp dried cherries, cranberries or chopped dried apricots 
rice malt syrup or honey, raspberries and toasted slivered almonds, to serve 

In the slow cooker

Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low for  two hours. Remove the vanilla bean, then serve the porridge with rice malt syrup or honey, raspberries and toasted slivered almonds. 

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On the stovetop

Put the almond milk, apples, dates, vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan over low heat. Cook for 20 minutes until the apple starts to break down. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for five minutes until thickened. 

Remove the vanilla bean, then serve the porridge with rice malt syrup or honey, raspberries and toasted slivered almonds. 

Olivia Andrews' <i>Whole Food, Slow Cooked</i> published by Murdoch Books.
Olivia Andrews' Whole Food, Slow Cooked published by Murdoch Books. 

Cauliflower, celeriac and pumpkin lasagne 

Serves 6

Preparation time 30 minutes

Cooking time Four and a quarter hours (slow cooker) OR one and a quarter hours (oven)

½ small cauliflower, coarsely chopped 
500g celeriac, peeled, thinly sliced  
600ml milk  
150g blue cheese, crumbled  
2 tbsp finely chopped sage 
180g (1¾ cups) finely grated parmesan 
1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 5mm slices 
3 zucchini, cut lengthways  into 5mm slices 
125g  wholemeal instant lasagne sheets 
green salad, to serve 

In the slow cooker 

Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor until finely chopped, then set aside. 

Put the celeriac, milk and 250 millilitres (one cup) of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cut out a circle of baking paper to fit the pan and lay it directly on the surface of the liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook the celeriac for 12 minutes until very tender. Strain, reserving both the celeriac and its cooking liquid. Put the celeriac and 250 millilitres (one cup) of its cooking liquid into the food processor with the blue cheese, sage and about half the parmesan. Puree until smooth, then season with salt and pepper.

Grease the slow cooker with oil. Spread four tablespoons of the celeriac sauce over the base, followed by quarter of the cauliflower, a layer of pumpkin and a layer of zucchini. Spread over another four tablespoons of the sauce, then a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat these layers until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with sauce and cauliflower. Scatter over the remaining parmesan and cook on low for four hours until cooked through. 

Serve with a green salad.

In the oven

Preheat the oven to 180C (gas 4) and oil a two-litre (eight-cup) baking dish. Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor until finely chopped, then set aside. 

Put the celeriac, milk and 250 millilitres (one cup) of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cut out a circle of baking paper to fit the pan and lay it directly on the surface of the liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook the celeriac for 12 minutes until very tender. Strain, reserving both the celeriac and its cooking liquid. Put the celeriac and 250 ml (one cup) of its cooking liquid into the food processor with the blue cheese, sage and about half the parmesan. Puree until smooth, then season with salt and pepper.

Spread four tablespoons of the celeriac sauce over the base of the dish, followed by quarter of the cauliflower, a layer of pumpkin and a layer of zucchini. Spread over another four tablespoons of the sauce, then a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat these layers until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with sauce and cauliflower. Scatter over the remaining parmesan, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for another 30 minutes until golden and cooked through. 

Serve with a green salad.

Chilli con carne

This much-loved and versatile chilli con carne works well in tacos, burritos or spooned over nachos. It also freezes well.

Serves 4

Preparation time Five minutes + overnight soaking 
Cooking time Seven and a half hours (slow cooker)  OR two and three-quarter hours hours (stove top)

150g (¾ cup) dried pinto or borlotti beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 onion, finely chopped  
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
500g minced beef 
1 red capsicum, cut into 1cm dice 
2 tsp chilli powder 
2 tsp ground cumin 
2 tsp smoked paprika 
1 tsp dried oregano 
2 tbsp tomato paste  
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes 
1 tsp raw sugar – optional 
2 fresh or dried bay leaves 
250ml beef stock 
corn, coriander, green chilli, lime and corn chips or steamed rice, to serve 

In the slow cooker

Put the beans into a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook for 15 minutes, then drain the beans and tip into the slow cooker. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for three minutes or until slightly softened. Add the beef, capsicum, spices and oregano and season with salt. Cook for five minutes or until the beef has browned. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute, then transfer to the slow cooker, along with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for seven hours until the beans are tender. Check the seasoning. 

Serve with corn, coriander, green chilli,  lime and corn chips or steamed rice. 

On the stovetop

Put the beans into a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook for 20 minutes, then drain and set aside. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for three minutes or until slightly softened. Add the beef, capsicum, spices and oregano and season with salt. Cook for five minutes or until the beef has browned. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute, then add the tinned tomatoes, sugar, bay leaves, stock and 250 millilitres (one cup) of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for one and a half hours. Add the beans and cook for a further 30 minutes until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed. Check the seasoning. 

Serve with corn, coriander, green chilli, lime and corn chips or steamed rice.

Recipes and images from Whole Food, Slow Cooked by Olivia Andrews (Murdoch Books) $35, available now.