Looking for an easy way to work more good-for-you grains into your daily diet? Use your crockpot to create satisfying, whole-grain dinner dishes, such as Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Risotto, Ginger Chicken With Bulgur, and Kamut with Mushrooms and Blue Cheese. Start these easy-to-make meals before you leave for work in the morning, and you’ll come home to a ready-to-serve supper filled with healthy, wholesome ingredients. These five crockpot recipes are a great way to get your daily dose of whole grains!
1. Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Risotto
Barley, mushrooms, carrots, and seasonings create a savory supper that will appeal to vegetarians and meat lovers alike. Food Network’s recipe yields 4 servings. Cooking Light states that barley is a great source of fiber — a ½-cup serving contains more than 12 grams.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1½ cups pearl barley
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 8 ounces carrots, finely chopped
- 3 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 ounce Parmesan, grated (⅔ cup)
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Directions: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and ⅛ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the barley and thyme and cook, stirring, until the barley is just golden, about 2 minutes.
Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker and add the carrots, broth, 1½ cups water, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook on high until the liquid is absorbed and the carrots and barley are tender, about 3 hours. Discard the thyme and stir in the Parmesan, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Thin out the risotto with warm water for desired consistency as needed. Top with parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Ginger Chicken with Bulgur
Eating bulgur, which is a good source of fiber, protein, iron, and vitamin B-6, may lower your risk of developing heart disease, explains a Demand Media article via SFGate. If you’ve been searching for an easy supper dish that features this healthy whole grain, we suggest preparing Sunset’s Crockery Cookbook recipe via Food.com for Ginger Chicken with Bulgur, which yields 6 servings.
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- ½ cup cilantro leaf
- ¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup bulgur
Directions: Combine cilantro, ginger, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of green onions. Arrange chicken pieces on top of cilantro mixture. Pour soy sauce and broth over chicken. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Remove chicken, cut into pieces if desired, and keep warm. Stir bulgur into cooking liquid. Cook on high for 15 to 20 minutes, or until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Serve chicken over bulgur. Sprinkle with other 2 tablespoons green onions.
3. Tuscan Farro, Vegetable and White Bean Stew
Every Day with Rachael Ray states that one cup of farro has about 8 grams of fiber, is packed with important minerals, and helps keep your energy levels stable. You can reap this healthy grain’s benefits by preparing PBS’s Tuscan Farro, Vegetable and White Bean Stew, which also contains veggies, lentils, cheese, and fragrant seasonings.
- 1 cup farro perlato, or pearl barley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
- ½ teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic (1 to 2 cloves)
- 1 (15-ounce) canned cannellini or great northern beans, drained and rinsed, or use 1¼ cups cooked white beans
- 1 (28-ounce) canned whole peeled tomatoes, with their liquid
- 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- ⅛ cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
Directions: Add all ingredients except the cheese to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. Serve seasoned with salt and pepper to taste and topped with the cheese.
4. Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili
The Girl Who Ate Everything presents a nutritious, protein-packed dinner dish that will certainly fill you up. This zesty chili is chock-full of quinoa, which is a great source of antioxidants, vitamin E, protein, and fiber, according to The Whole Grains Council. The recipe yields 8 servings.
- 1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can of chili beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can of corn, drained
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
- Toppings of your choice: cheese, sour cream, avocados, and tortilla strips
Directions: Make sure you rinse the quinoa and then add everything into a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook for 6 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 6 hours on high. If you’re using frozen chicken you may have to cook it longer. Remove chicken and shred it with two forks. Return to slow cooker. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, avocados, and tortilla strips.
5. Kamut with Mushrooms and Blue Cheese
Livestrong notes that a one-cup serving of kamut contains 10 grams of protein and 7.4 grams of fiber. In addition, the nutty-flavored grain is a good source of manganese, selenium, magnesium, zinc, and antioxidants. Chow’s crockpot recipe is the perfect way to prepare this grain; place your ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning, and enjoy a simple, yet scrumptious, supper when you get home from work.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (¼ stick)
- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
- 8 ounces cremini or white mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 6 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable, chicken, or mushroom broth
- 2 cups kamut berries, rinsed
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about ½ cup)
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Directions: In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until any liquid released from the mushrooms evaporates and the onions are just starting to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the broth and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer the onion-mushroom mixture to a slow cooker and set it on low. Add the kamut and remaining 2 cups broth and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the kamut is tender, about 7 to 8 hours. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the cheese has melted.