26 High-Protein, 400-Calorie Dinners You Can Make in a Slow Cooker

Slow-Cooker Carne Picada Tacos with Avocado Salsa

It's easy to get a high-protein dinner on the table when you use a slow cooker. These dinners feature proteins like beef, chicken and turkey for at least 15 grams of protein per serving and 400 calories or fewer. Recipes like Slow-Cooker Beef Curry and Slow-Cooker Carne Picada Tacos with Avocado Salsa are healthy and delicious.

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Slow-Cooker Braised Beef with Carrots & Turnips


The spice blend in this healthy beef stew recipe--cinnamon, allspice and cloves--may conjure images of apple pie, but the combo is a great fit in savory applications too. Serve over creamy polenta or buttered whole-wheat egg noodles.

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Slow-Cooked Ranch Chicken and Vegetables


This creamy, veggie-packed chicken dinner comes together easily in your slow-cooker-and makes enough for another night's casserole (see associated recipe)!

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Slow-Cooker Carne Picada Tacos with Avocado Salsa


Loosely translated as "minced meat," the traditional texture of carne picada ranges from finely chopped to ground. Here we start with brisket, which becomes nice and tender in the slow cooker, then shred and chop the meat before serving. The seasoning is flavorful but not too spicy. Blistered jalapeños added at the end will satisfy the heat-lovers in the family. Pile the brisket into warmed corn tortillas, with lettuce, the jalapeños, cheese and avocado salsa for a healthy dinner that'll wake up your taco night routine.

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Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff


This comforting dish combines tender beef and mushrooms in a creamy sauce, and is served over hot noodles.

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Slow-Cooker Beef Curry

Slow Cooker Thai Beef Curry in a bowl for serving
Victor Protasio

Long, slow cooking periods mellow flavors while bold spices, in bold amounts, will hold their own over time. Thats just what happens here with big flavors from Thai curry paste and fish sauce finished with fresh touches of cilantro and lime juice that together, draw inspiration from Thai curry. Serve over a bed of brown rice or brown rice noodles to catch all the sauce.

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Slow-Cooker Chicken & Orzo with Tomatoes & Olives

Slow-Cooker Chicken & Orzo with Tomatoes & Olives

Perk up basic chicken breast and whole-wheat orzo with the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean, like lemon and olives. This load-and-go recipe makes a complete and satisfying meal; just add a green salad.

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Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash

This slow-cooker turkey and butternut squash chili is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. The sweetness of the butternut squash tames the kick from cayenne, making this easy crock-pot chili just right for kids and adults alike. For those who prefer a spicier chili, just pass hot sauce at the table.

This slow-cooker turkey and butternut squash chili is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. The sweetness of the butternut squash tames the kick from cayenne, making this easy crock-pot chili just right for kids and adults alike. For those who prefer a spicier chili, just pass hot sauce at the table.

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Pasta Puttanesca with Beef


This easy slow cooker ground beef and pasta recipe makes a great meal any night of the week.

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Slow-Cooker Jambalaya


This hearty jambalaya is bursting with chicken, smoked turkey sausage, and shrimp. It takes just 25 minutes to prep in the morning and then your slow cooker will work its magic and deliver a tasty meal at the end of the day.

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Slow-Cooker Sweet & Sour Scallops


This recipe for slow-cooker scallops is sure to become a tried-and-true favorite for any seafood lover. Tender scallops quickly poach in a sweet and spicy sauce that has been cooking for hours. Brown rice completes the meal.

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Slow-Cooker Pork Tenderloin

a recipe photo of the Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin on a plate with sauce and a serving fork
Brie Goldman

This tender slow-cooker pork tenderloin picks up tangy and sweet flavors from a tomato-based sauce that features the flavors of classic barbecue. Serve with crusty bread to sop up the sauce. Serve the leftover sauce with steamed hearty greens, creamy grits or shredded pork.

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Corn Bread-Topped Chicken Enchilada Casserole


For a twist on the classic chicken enchilada casserole, this slow cooker recipe is topped with homemade corn bread.

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Slow-Cooked Beef with Carrots & Cabbage


In this main-dish recipe, the pot roast is slow-cooked with carrots and low-sodium beef broth. Toward the end of the cooking time, shredded cabbage is added in to round out the meal. Each of the two servings has just 215 calories.

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Lamb Curry with Winter Squash

Lamb & Winter Squash Curry
Leigh Beisch

Serve this lamb curry with a steamed grain like brown rice, millet or whole-wheat couscous for soaking up the sauce. Or try a pile of al dente braised curly kale—its frilly leaves catch and hold the sauce nicely. If you prefer things spicier, use a hot Madras-style curry powder and add an extra Scotch bonnet pepper or two.

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Slow-Cooker Shrimp Noodle Bowls


The aromatic vegetables in the broth create a light yet distinct flavor of classic noodle bowls. Adding the lime juice, fish sauce and shrimp at the end keeps them from overcooking and their flavors from becoming diluted. If you have it, drizzle toasted sesame oil on top of this slow-cooker shrimp dish for nutty flair. For the prettiest appearance, use whole basil and cilantro leaves, instead of chopping them. Look for packaged lemongrass stalks near the plastic clamshells of herbs in the produce section of your supermarket.

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Spicy Chicken Lasagna


Instead of spending hours at the stove making an Italian tomato sauce for your lasagna, let your slow cooker do the work. Your family will love the chicken and mushrooms in this makeover recipe of traditional lasagna.

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Slow-Cooker Cod with Tomato-Balsamic Jam


Mellow, slightly sweet and devoid of the overt fishy flavor that's polarizing for so many, this slow-cooker cod is perfect for pairing with a show-stopping sauce like this tomato-balsamic jam. Diced pancetta provides a salty counterpart to the sweet onion, tomatoes, vinegar and honey and gives the jam complexity. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs, if desired.

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Slow-Cooker Chicken & Vegetable Noodle Soup

Slow-Cooker Chicken & Vegetable Noodle Soup

This slow-cooker chicken noodle soup fits nicely into the Mediterranean diet thanks to plenty of vegetables, lean chicken breast and whole-wheat pasta. Pair it with a salad and toasted whole-grain bread for an easy, healthy dinner.

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Chicken & Cornmeal Dumplings

Chicken & Cornmeal Dumplings

This version of chicken and dumplings provides plenty of vegetables with 5 grams of fiber per serving. Dumplings are made with 1 part flour and 1 part cornmeal to make them standout from a traditional flour dumpling. This hearty dinner option is the perfect comfort meal.

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Pork Carnitas


This Mexican-inspired meal is an easy crowd-pleaser. Savory pulled pork is served atop crisp corn tortillas and topped with sour cream and salsa in this simple slow-cooker recipe.

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Layered Brisket Dinner with Tangy Mustard Sauce


Perfectly seasoned red potatoes and baby carrots accompany this filling brisket dish.

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Slow-Cooker Chicken & Wild Rice Soup with Asparagus & Peas


Use your crock pot all year with this healthy slow-cooker chicken soup recipe with fresh spring ingredients. Adding the asparagus and peas to the slow cooker for the last 20 minutes of cooking and leaving the lid off ensures that the vegetables stay bright green and are perfectly done without getting mushy.

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Lamb & Rice


The sauce in this recipe is a heavenly mixture of tomatoes, spices, herbs and mustard. It provides amazing flavor to the lamb as they spend up to 12 hours together in the slow cooker.

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Slow-Cooker Beef-Barley Soup with Red Wine & Pesto

Slow-Cooker Beef-Barley Soup with Red Wine & Pesto

Hearty, thick, rich--this is just how a winter soup should be. The meat and carrots become tender yet retain their texture, and the kale offers freshness. Garnish each serving of this slow-cooker beef and barley soup with additional pesto and fresh basil and oregano sprigs, if desired.

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Weeknight Honey-Orange Chicken with Butternut Squash


Combine orange juice, cornstarch, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, salt and crushed red pepper with chicken and butternut squash in this delicious slow-cooker recipe. Serve over high-protein quinoa, which contains all nine essential amino acids.

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Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili

a recipe photo of Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
Ali Redmond

This simple slow-cooker chili features plenty of veggies and shredded chicken breast simmered in a smoky broth of chipotle chiles and tomato. The chili is finished with shredded cheese, avocados and cilantro, but feel free to add your own favorite toppings to jazz it up!

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