Let's go against type for a moment. Just because he's a man, that doesn't mean he's automatically drawn to steak, beer, and grilling tongs like a fly to the lone lantern on a dark summer night. Red meat and booze are OK for some dads, but others feel better celebrating Father’s Day with foods they won’t feel bad about chowing down on, or at least, less stereotypical. There's something for a dad who loves Mexican cuisine, vegetarian eating, assorted Asian dishes, desserts, breakfast, Cajun fare, and soul food. This diverse group of Chowhound recipes — all 14 created in a slow cooker like a Crock-Pot — represent a gentler, healthier, more global holiday repertoire. Bonus: They essentially cook themselves, so you and Dad can go do something fun together.
1. Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers
This is a supper that totally defies Father's Day tradition. For your nontraditional dad, vegetarian dad, or simple veggie-focused father, go with this dish. The feta lends a nice salty flavor, and the beans make it heftier. Get our Slow Cooker Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers recipe.
2. Italian-Style Chicken
For fathers who favor Italian fare, this Crock-Pot version of Chicken Cacciatore will warm his heart and belly. Chicken thighs do better in a Crock-Pot than chicken breasts because they don't dry out as easily. Make sure to serve it all over creamy polenta. Get our Slow Cooker Italian-Style Chicken.
3. Braised Lemongrass Pork Chops
The Southeast Asian flavor of lemongrass, the fact that this is pork rather than beef, and rice rather than potatoes, make this a more exciting dish to make for a dad who likes Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian, and Filipino food. It's still a hunk of meaty pork, slow-cooked in a savory sauce. That's gotta be good. Get our Slow Cooker Braised Lemongrass Pork Chops recipe.
4. Steel-Cut Oats
If you’ve got health-nut Dad, make him a bowl of creamy steel-cut oatmeal to start his big day. The long cooking time makes these oats hard to execute on a weekday morning. Top it with dried fruit, nuts, and/or maple syrup—remember, it’s his day. Get our Slow-Cooker Steel-Cut Oats recipe.
5. Chicken Tacos
Tacos are the ideal kickback thing to serve Dad on his day. No fuss, forks. Serve this delicious, moist shredded chicken in warmed tortillas, with Tomatillo Guacamole Salsa and other taco accessories. Get our Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos recipe.
6. Collard Greens
Greens aren’t something you automatically think to drag out the Crock-Pot for, but on Father’s Day — while you take Dad out to the ballpark — your slow cooker can be doing the important work of making an amazing vegetable side. Get our Slow Cooker Collard Greens recipe.
7. Ranch Beans
Soak the beans overnight and then put them in the slow cooker with beef broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, ancho chile, garlic, jalapeño, and a ham hock for some rich, smoky flavor Dad will dig. Get our Ranch-Style Pinto Beans recipe.
You could spend three days making ramen for Dad, or you could spend 30 minutes, with a nine-hour unsupervised simmer in the Crock-Pot. It’s a win-win: Dad gets something delicious, you get more quality time with Dad. Get Kim Laidlaw’s Slow Cooker Pork Ramen recipe.
9. Veggie Stew
Squash, chickpeas, Yukon golds, carrots, parsnips, spinach, even raisins, for added sweetness—this is a slow-cooked vegan feast for the kind of yoga-loving Dad who craves nothing more than to share a healthy, compassionate meal with his loved ones. Get our Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew recipe.
10. Shrimp Gumbo
Let your Crock-Pot do most of the heavy lifting. All you have to do is brown some all-purpose flour in the oven, whisk it into a smooth roux with chicken broth, quickly brown the andouille sausage, and combine everything but the shrimp in your slow cooker’s crock for a five-hour simmer. The shrimp is added 30 minutes before the gumbo is done. Get our Slow Cooker Shrimp Gumbo recipe.
11. Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup
A 4-hour cooking session for the squash, red pepper, carrots, onion, and a bit of cumin and maple syrup yields a nourishing and complex-tasting vegan soup, the perfect centerpiece for a Father’s Day supper with the family. The roasted chickpea garnish adds texture and a nutritional boost. Get our Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup recipe.
12. Chicken Mole
With an entire can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, along with ancho chiles and almonds, this mole is nicely spicy without being overbearing. Prep is a breeze: Just blend everything up, put it in the slow cooker with some chicken, and forget about it for 4 to 8 hours. The recipe yields lots of extra sauce, so put some out with tortilla chips before serving it for dinner. Cool. Get our Slow Cooker Chicken Mole recipe.
13. Rice Pudding
Just stir rice, milk, and sugar together in a slow cooker coated with butter and turn it on high. By the time the dinner dishes are cleared and Dad is craving something sweet, dessert will be ready. Stir in brown sugar, raisins, vanilla, cinnamon, and more milk to bump up the creaminess. Because it’s a special day, first soak the raisins in warm rum for 30 minutes. Get our Slow Cooker Rice Pudding recipe.
14. Peach Crumble
Mixing the topping with the peaches and simmering gently in the slow cooker, rather than baking, yields something rustic and relaxed, with an almost caramelized complexity. Give Dad a double portion, topped with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Get our Slow Cooker Peach Crumble recipe.