Slow Comfort Foods for Cold Winter Days

Winter offers us a time to slow down, to surround?ourselves in warmth and comfort. January, conveniently enough, is Slow Cooked Foods month. Most of us have memories of coming home after a long day to a house filled with the aroma of a magical concoction that has been quietly simmering away, turning itself from raw ingredients into savory joy as though offering a hug welcoming you back. Here are some of our favorite slow-cooked meals for you to try.


Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Adrienne Koznek, IBCLC

I love split pea soup because of its creamy yet hearty texture. ?This recipe is fairly simple with minimal preparation. ?The dried peas take a while to cook down, but when they do they become beautifully creamy and smooth.

  • 16 oz green split peas, rinsed and drainedsoup-445051_1920
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 2 ribs celery
  • ? cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 6 cups chicken broth, divided

Layer ingredients in slow cooker. ?Add 4-5 cups of chicken broth. ?Cook on HIGH for 7-8 hours. ?That?s it! ?Stir occasionally. ?After cooking, remove ham bone and bay leaf. ?Tear off the ham from the bone. ?Add final cup of broth if needed, stir, then serve. ?This recipe freezes nicely as well so you can always have some on hand!

Black Bean Chili (Vegan/gluten free)

Alicia Hart, ND

When I’ve got a crazy day ahead, my go-to crockpot meal is black bean chili. It’s almost impossible to screw up, the kids like it, it’s easy to get the base ingredients at Costco to just have on hand, and it reheats well.

  • 3-4 cans of black beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • Vegetable stock
  • Can of tomatoes
  • Can of tomato puree
  • Garlic
  • Chili powder, Cumin, Cayenne, Oregano

In the morning while you’re asking everyone to put their shoes on because we’re going to be late, rinse 3-4 cans of black beans, then throw in the crock pot.?Add in some good veggie stock until the beans are halfway under the liquid, then dump a can of tomatoes and tomato puree in. Top up with water, then throw in a handful of chopped garlic, some chili powder/cumin/cayenne/oregano/ other preferred chili spices- to taste, medicinal function, and tolerance of your family members.

In an ideal world, also saut? a diced onion for about 10 minutes and add that too. Stir it up, put the lid on, turn it on low. As long as you stir it sometimes and add water or stock occasionally it can cook all day, so you can eat it for lunch and dinner if needed. You only really need it to cook for an hour if you’re using canned beans. The version here feeds a small army so scale it to the size of your horde. You can stretch it by serving it on top of tortilla chips, or add protein by serving over quinoa. Garnish with cilantro and sour cream if you’re fancy and tolerate lactose.

Citrus Carnitas

Stacie Wolfe, ND

xksrpuh0vzo-yvonne-lee-harijantoI’ve never been one to use recipes for more than just a basic outline while I am cooking. The Silver Spoon cookbook, while a nightmare to many, is a dream to me. Basic, no nonsense instructions like a?slightly terrifying grandmother would give you. Ingredients, measurements, apply heat. Done. However, I respect that others may not have the same devil-may-care attitude I take to preparing meals, so I will do my best to provide a framework for preparing one of my absolute favorite slow-cooked dishes of all time; carnitas. Now, there are a myriad of ways to prepare this with great outcomes. I have spent no small number of hours cultivating a fine appreciation for the skills of many a taqueria in regards to their variation on?slow cooked pork, but that is a topic for another time. (Or a phenomenal reason to schedule a nutrition conversation with me, ahem.)

This recipe is adapted from the Well Fed paleo cookbooks, as I felt like the citrus in the original recipe gets a little overbearing. I would highly recommend playing with this to get it just right for your palate. You can find the original recipe here.

  • Pork shoulder
  • Lime juice – 1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice – 1/4 cup
  • Cumin
  • Garlic – The recipe calls for powder but I use fresh garlic cloves, and rather liberally. Food as medicine!
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Your favorite chili powder


  1. Cut the pork shoulder up into big chunky pieces. These are going to cook down for a few hours, so make them substantial. The author of the recipe recommends 3-4 inch pieces.
  2. Mix up your seasonings and toss the pork pieces to coat them.
  3. Heat up your cooking vessel. Think enamel ware or cast iron here. Lots of heat for a long time. Throw in the pork and your citrus juice, then add enough water to just reach the top of the pork. Get the liquid to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer.
  4. Leave the pot uncovered and simmer this whole concoction for a couple of hours. You want all the liquid gone and the pork to start to caramelize, because the magic is in the crispy parts. Don’t overfuss things, but turn the meat every so often during the crisping stage to get maximum delicious surface area
  5. Eat!

This pairs well with a lot of other dishes, from rice to slaw. I hope you enjoy it!