Slow-cooking recipes are very popular, especially during the winter. Meanwhile, if you are working at home due to COVID, slow-cooking a stew might be just the thing to do, when it comes to cooking a stress-free meal.

Give Yourself a Break Before Dinnertime With the Family

Allison Smith, the co-founder of Olivette Riverside Community and Farm near Asheville, North Carolina is a farm-to-table living expert. Smith said she loves slow-cooking. “It’s so easy. You set it up in the morning, and in the evening, your dinner’s ready and your house smells wonderful. It’s very warm and comforting,” Smith said.

The reasons to consider slow-cooking include, healthy eating, creative meals during COVID and family time.

Olivette is a unique, “agrihood”, which is a thriving community built around a four-season organic farm and designed to connect people with nature, community, and their food. Olivette is currently growing winter items like baby kale, mustard greens, lettuce, radish, turnips, spinach, and carrots.

These are the same type of fresh ingredients you are likely to find right now at grocery stores and even local farmers markets.

With the aforementioned fresh ingredients, Smith suggested a creative recipe from winter crops. “A lot of the winter crops tend to be carb-heavy, like potatoes and squash, but they’re also really good for you. They’re nutrient-dense and high in beta-carotene potassium and fiber,” Smith explained.

The following recipe is French Lentil and Winter Vegetable Slow-Cooker Stew.

French Lentil and Winter Vegetable Slow-cooker stew

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion

2 cloves minced garlic

4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons

4 stalks of celery, sliced

3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and diced small

2 cups French green lentils

2 tsp herbes de Provence

2 Tbsp dried mustard

8 cups vegetable broth, adding more if needed

2 cups kale, torn into medium-sized pieces

salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Chèvre and rosemary for garnish


Place olive oil, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, French lentils, herbes de Provence, dried mustard, and vegetable broth into a slow-cooker.

Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours.

30 minutes before serving, add kale and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust other seasoning and add additional preheated broth if needed to adjust consistency.

Garnish with fresh Chèvre and fresh rosemary. Bon appetit!

*Swap carrots for fresh turnips or parsnips, or swap the white potatoes for sweet potatoes for an interesting variation. Fresh arugula is also a great substitution for the kale.

Meanwhile, Olivette is a farm-centric, food-centric neighborhood that is focused on fresh food. “There are a lot of foodies living at Olivette,” Smith said. “It encourages people to cook, to swap recipes, to share meals — when we can. Of course, COVID has temporarily interrupted that.”

Smith notes that using the slow-cooker spices up their lives, with not just that tasty transition from work to relaxation in the evening, but its versatility, as well. “From soups to baked potatoes and stews, it’s a wonderful way to prepare a whole stuffed-squash or prep your baked potatoes. It’s very warm and inviting after being outside in the cold.”

Meanwhile, Olivette Riverside Community and Farm recently won the National Association of Home Builders Best in American Living Award for Best Green Community.