Loaded with protein and amazing veggies, Slow Cooker Chicken & Butternut Squash Stew is easy to throw together, hearty, full of flavor and is the perfect meal to make on a busy day. Whole30, Paleo, gluten free and dairy-free.

Slow Cooker Chicken Butternut Squash Stew ready and served in two big white bowls next to the pan with more delicious soup inside.

My Real Food Eating Journey

I started this crazy healthy living, real food eating journey when I was a brand new mom, working full-time as a preschool teacher. And my husband was deployed on the other side of the world. And my family was 3000 miles away. So to say that I was overwhelmed about how to cook a healthy real food meal while trying to juggle all the other things I had on my plate, is totally correct. Perhaps a bit of an understatement.

And, while it would have been totally understandable if I had resorted to fast food and convenience foods during that exceptionally crazy season of life, I didn’t (for the most part, because no one is perfect nor is there a need to be). Mainly because I had the determination. Determination to feed myself the way I knew I deserved to eat and to start my young daughter out on real food from the get go. So to help me keep my sanity and to get dinner on the table before 10pm, I learned to get creative and discovered a boatload of kitchen hacks.

This creative spark and kitchen hacks are one of the main reasons I started The Natural Nurturer. Because I truly believe that if I could make real, nourishing food with all the roadblocks I had in front of me during that season of life…that truly anyone can do it. I know some people hate it when others say that, but I truly believe it. If we want to be healthy bad enough, we will find a way.

Two-image collage showing all ingredients in a slow cooker before cooking and then after with a wooden spatula inside the slow cooker

Stepping off of my soapbox now and let’s get back to this Slow Cooker Chicken & Butternut Squash Stew.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Butternut Squash Stew

One of the healthy kitchen hacks that I used all the time then (and still now) is slow cooker soups. Friends, if you don’t have a slow cooker (or Instant Pot), you totally need one in your life for simplifying meals. Nothing is better then coming home at the end of a busy, hectic day to find your house smelling like heaven and dinner done and ready to eat. When I was juggling a gnarly San Diego commute as a full-time working mom, I was using my slow cooker ALL THE TIME. And that saved me from calling for delivery pizza more times than I want to admit.

This Slow Cooker Chicken & Butternut Squash Stew is an amazing family-favorite! Quick to throw together in the morning before heading out the door, it is full of amazing flavor, beautiful veggies and oodles of protein. In fact, it truly is a complete meal that takes minimal effort to create but is such a comforting dish to come home to.

Two more process shots with one showing pulled-apart chicken and two metal forks, and another shot showing the chicken in the slow cooker with a wooden spatula inside

Wondering how to store your carrots so they stay fresh as long as possible? Check out my post on How to Keep Cut Carrots Fresh and get the most out of your produce buck!

Butternut Squash Stew Tips

  • Use thawed, frozen or pre-cut butternut squash to make it even easier to throw together.
  • Make it ahead of time and store in your freezer as an emergency meal for an extra crazy day.

Suggested Adaptations

  • Up the veggies by throwing in some dark, leafy greens at the end of cook time. Think baby spinach, kale, or chard. These will wilt down in the hot soup in minutes.
  • Top with diced avocado for some extra healthy fat!
  • Serve this butternut squash stew deconstructed to young eaters. Sometimes, a big bowl of new foods (or just a new recipe of familiar foods) all mixed together can be overwhelming for kids (and even some adults). Try serving the shredded chicken and cooked veggies separately and offering the broth on the side for sipping. That way a resistant eater can try the elements of the soup individually, making it less intimidating.
  • You can make the slow cooker chicken in your Instant Pot. Simply combine everything as you would for the slow cooker, but cook it on high pressure for 6 minutes. Naturally pressure release the end of the cook time.
A ladle full of the delicious dish with more of it blurred in the background

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Closeup on the delicious Slow Cooker Chicken & Butternut Squash Stew in a white bowl with a metal spoon inside the bowl
Slow Cooker Chicken Butternut Squash Stew ready and served in two big white bowls next to the pan with more delicious soup inside
4.93 from 83 votes

Slow Cooker Chicken Butternut Squash Stew

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
Loaded with protein and amazing veggies, Slow Cooker Chicken & Butternut Squash Stew is easy to throw together, hearty, full of flavor and is the perfect meal to make on a busy day. Whole30, Paleo, gluten free and dairy-free.

Ingredients
 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound raw boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 cups raw butternut squash, cubed
  • 3 ½ cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste depending on how salty your broth is
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • black pepper, to taste

Equipment

  • slow cooker

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. This is an optional step, but it adds to the flavor of the soup.
  • Place onions in your slow cooker and add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on high until the chicken and veggies are cooked through, about 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low (times vary depending on your slow cooker).
  • Once cook time is up, carefully remove the chicken and check with a meat thermometer that your chicken is cooked to at least 160℉. Shred it with two forks or simply dice it. Add back to the slow cooker, stir, and taste. Add additional salt or garlic powder if desired. Enjoy warm!

Notes

  • Recipe updated 12/29/2019.
  • Use pre-cut butternut squash to make it even easier to throw together. If using frozen squash, be sure to thaw squash before adding it to your soup.
  • Make it ahead of time and store in your freezer as an emergency meal for an extra crazy day.
  • Up the veggies by throwing in some dark, leafy greens at the end of cook time. Think baby spinach, kale, or chard. These will wilt down in the hot soup in minutes.
  • Top with diced avocado for some extra healthy fat!
  • Serve the soup deconstructed to young eaters. Sometimes, a big bowl of new foods (or just a new recipe of familiar foods) all mixed together can be overwhelming for kids (and even some adults). Try serving the shredded chicken and cooked veggies separately and offering the broth on the side for sipping. That way a resistant eater can try the elements of the soup individually, making it less intimidating.
Calories: 271kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 658mg, Potassium: 1131mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 16541IU, Vitamin C: 27mg, Calcium: 101mg, Iron: 2mg