The weather is warming up, but that doesn’t mean you have to pack away the slow cooker. Just swap out those hearty stew and soup recipes for lighter fare! These healthy spring recipes feature fresh seasonal vegetables, and are perfect for an easy, breezy and delicious meal.
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Homemade Coleslaw
Traditionally made with pork shoulder (Boston butt), these sandwiches take a lighter twist with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. In a slow cooker set to high, season a family pack of chicken breasts with two teaspoons of salt, a teaspoon of pepper, a teaspoon of mustard powder, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar. Cook for four to six hours until done (chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°). When thoroughly cooked, your chicken should shred easily using two forks in a crisscross motion.
Serve your pulled chicken on crusty Kaiser rolls cut lengthwise, topped with homemade coleslaw and a dollop of your favorite BBQ sauce. To make homemade coleslaw, finely chop raw carrots and a small head of green cabbage into thin ribbons. In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of sugar, and toss the dressing with the cabbage ribbons until well coated. Or try slices of fresh, seasonal pineapple instead of coleslaw!
Lasagna Primavera with Tomato Basil Sauce
Spring vegetables like carrots, asparagus, sweet onions, zucchini, spinach, garlic, and peas pair perfectly with noodles, cheese, and a light tomato-based sauce. Start by whipping up a quick and simple tomato basil sauce on the stove top, in a medium saucepan. Melt 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat, and add a small, diced sweet onion. Cook until the onion begins to soften and turn clear, and then add a clove of fresh crushed garlic. Next, add a large can of crushed, organic tomatoes. Chiffonier a handful of fresh basil leaves to finish off your sauce, and simmer for 30 minutes.
In a bowl, combine a large container of ricotta cheese, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and one and a half cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. On a cutting board, julienne zucchini, carrots, and asparagus and place in a separate bowl. Add sweet raw peas, and fresh baby spinach leaves.
Set your slow cooker to low, and coat the bottom with a thin drizzle of olive oil, and a large spoonful of homemade tomato basil sauce. Layer dry lasagna noodles (do not use the no-boil variety), your cheese mixture, and your veggie mixture. Add more sauce and repeat the layers until you reach to your desired thickness. Add one last layer of dry noodles and top with tomato basil sauce.
Cover and cook on the low heat setting for four to six hours, or until the noodles are tender. Add ½ cup of shredded mozzarella to the top of your lasagna, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
After a busy spring day, it’s nice to come home to a delicious, easy, and healthy dinner the whole family can enjoy!
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Tiffany honed her skills as a writer and editor working in the fast-paced newspaper, magazine, and television industries. Tiffany is also an award winning graphic designer, with extensive experience in the worlds of mass media, publishing, and advertising. As a designer, she also has a strong eye for interior decorating and color. Tiffany has a BA in Communications and a minor in Fine Art. She is a natural cook just like her mother, and rarely uses a recipe. She also enjoys reading, photography, painting—and most of all, spending time with her husband (a skilled DIY’er) and two sons.