The Healthy Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes (REVIEW)

Sometimes a cookbook is so much more than a compilation of recipes, and that's definitely the case with The Healthy Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness by Judith Finlayson.

The Healthy Slow Cooker

This book, which I received free for review, features tasty, nutrient-dense recipes to create in a crock pot, but more so, it's jam-packed with tasty tidbits on various foods and ingredients directly impact one's health. And not in the typical "fruits and veggies do your body good" but in-depth information to help get home cooks on the right track toward creating healthy meals from wholesome foods.

That said, though, as Finlayson points out in the introduction, "you won't find recipes in this book that focus on being low-fat, low-carb or low-cal. Instead, you'll find recipes that are nutrient dense." In the many, many — as in included with nearly every single recipe — info boxes and sidebars, Finlayson explains exactly how those nutrients make a difference, how they matter.

The extra tidbits of info are marked "Nutrients Per Serving" (in-depth info!), "Mindful Morsels" and "Natural Wonders." The Natural Wonders educate in ways I've not seen before in the many cookbooks I collect, in-depth but understandable info on everything from how foods affect macular degeneration and blood pressure to the benefits of buckwheat and pure cane sugar. And, of course, chocolate.

The chapters are:

  • Breakfast
  • Starters and Snacks
  • Soups
  • Poultry
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Beef and Veal
  • Pork and Lamb
  • Vegetarian Mains
  • Sides and Sauces
  • Desserts
  • ... plus extensive chapters on Diabetes Food Values, Selected Resources and more.

Of course, when it comes to cookbooks, the recipes are the main course, and those in The Healthy Slow Cooker sound delicious. Meals such as Peppery Turkey Casserole (yes, in a slow cooker!), Chunky Black Bean Chili, Poached Pears in Chocolate Sauce and more.

For a closer look, here's one I was given permission from the publisher to share here:

Mixed Vegetables in Spicy Peanut SauceCourtesy The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.Mixed Vegetables in Spicy Peanut Sauce, page 242, Vegetarian Mains

Here’s one way to get kids to eat their vegetables, so long as they don’t have peanut allergies — cook them in a spicy sauce made from peanut butter and add a garnish of chopped roasted peanuts. All you need to add is some steaming rice or brown rice noodles.

•    Medium to large (31⁄2 to 5 quart) slow cooker

1 tbsp    olive oil    15 mL
2    onions, finely chopped    2
6    medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 cups/1 L) 6
4    stalks celery, diced (about 2 cups/500 mL) 4
2 tbsp    minced gingerroot    30 mL
4    cloves garlic, minced    4
1⁄2 tsp    cracked black peppercorns    2 mL
1 cup    vegetable stock    250 mL
3 cups    frozen sliced green beans (see Tips)    750 mL
1⁄2 cup    smooth natural peanut butter    125 mL
2 tbsp    gluten-free reduced-sodium soy sauce    30 mL
2 tbsp    freshly squeezed lemon juice    30 mL
1 tbsp    pure maple syrup    15 mL
2 tsp    Thai red curry paste     10 mL
4 cups    shredded napa cabbage    1 L
2 cups    bean sprouts    500 mL
1⁄2 cup    finely chopped green onions, white part only 125 mL
1⁄2 cup    chopped dry roasted peanuts    125 mL
1.    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add vegetable stock and stir well.
2.    Add green beans and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until vegetables are tender.

Tips: I always have a bag of frozen green beans in the freezer because they can be conveniently added to slow cooker recipes. They contain valuable nutrients: vitamins C and K, a selection of the B vitamins, including folate, and the minerals manganese, iron and magnesium. They also contain fiber.

Makes 8 servings / Can be halved

The Healthy Slow Cooker (second edition): 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness by Judith Finlayson published March 2014 and is available for $24.95 USA/$27.95 CAN. Find more information on the publisher's website at

Disclosure: I received this book free for review; opinions and anecdotes are my own.