Super Easy CrockPot Spaghetti Sauce

July 03, 2008

How to Make Super Easy Spaghetti Sauce in the Slow Cooker. NO sugar added!!



All Day Crockpot Slow Cooker Pasta Sauce

No sugar added, naturally gluten free.


Day 185.

I have no idea why I waited so long to make this. It is so terribly easy, and I was able to get 3 very nice-sized plastic containers of sauce, which now live in the freezer. 

 There isn't anything wrong with jarred sauce---I use it quite often, but there isn't much to brag about when you open a jar.

This? This you can brag about. "oh yes. Of course I make my own pasta sauce."

I kept this simple, and did not add a lot of spices, or even onion and garlic.

 I usually throw in onion and garlic whenever I make something using marinara, anyhow, and prefer the crunch when added freshly. 

 But like a lot of what I do: There are NO rules. 

 Throw in your favorite spices, and customize how you see fit. There are also no rules about the tomatoes. 

I used what I happened to have in the pantry at the time. 

 Buy what's on sale, and have at it!

If you want to keep this meat free, DO IT!

If you want to add more meat, GO FOR IT!

#itsallgood

The Ingredients.

1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce
1 (12.5- ounce) Italian flavored diced tomatoes.
16 ounces  fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (and a bit more to taste when cooking is done)
1 pound super lean ground turkey meat (NO need to brown on the stove!)


--> SEE NOTES BELOW ABOUT USING FRESH TOMATOES OR COOKING NOODLES IN POT. <--



The Directions.

Add the thawed (or fresh) turkey meat to the crockpot

 Dump in all the cans of tomatoes, and break the ground meat up with a large spoon. Stir in the spices and mushrooms.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for about 5 hours.

When done cooking, break up the ground meat a bit more and season to taste. 

 Jarred pasta sauce is awfully salty; I didn't add any salt, but your tongue might desperately want it 

(you'll probably need about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, but start slowly. If you are using regular table salt, use half of this amount -- table salt has smaller granules).

I also didn't add ANY sugar. That's because it feels weird to put sugar into pasta sauce, even though if you read the ingredients in the grocery store they all have tons of sugar. 

SO -- if this isn't sweet enough for your taste buds, go ahead and add a bit at a time to get it to the flavor you're looking for.


Serve right away, or package for freezing.

The Verdict.

This is very tasty. 

 I shared a bunch with my grandparents, who enjoyed it also. It has been rather warm, so I let this cook overnight on the counter in front of an open window. I'm sure the neighborhood dogs were quite happy!

The kids and I had a small bowl for breakfast. 

 I loved that I didn't need to brown the meat, and that turkey meat is so lean that there was very little fat that floated to the top during cooking. 


 If you decide to use a different type of meat, you can chill the sauce, and scrape off the collected fat.


PS: HEY STEPH, I WANT TO USE FRESH TOMATOES!

Okay. You can. But you really should try to peel them first. 

Use 3.5 pounds.

The stewed tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes don't have any skin. Skin is weird in pasta sauce, trust me.


The best way to peel a whole bunch of tomatoes is this way:

Bring a really large pot of water to a boil (leave 6 inches or so of room for displacement. TRUST ME.) After you have washed all your tomatoes, use a paring knife to cut an X into the bottom of each one, and then toss them into the already-boiling water.

Let them tumble for 1 minute. Then lift out with a large slotted spoon and drop them into a large bowl or container or ice water. 

Once they are cool enough to handle, slip the skin off. And I suppose compost it or feed it to chickens or something like that. ;-)

Use 3.5 pounds of tomatoes to keep everything else the same in this recipe.
 For the last 30 minutes or so, cook on high with the lid off to let the steam escape to naturally thicken the sauce.



PS: HEY STEPH, I WANT TO COOK THE NOODLES IN THE SAUCE!



Okay. You can. My suggestion would be to brown the meat beforehand, then break your noodles in half and stir them completely into the sauce. 
Cover and cook the same way but know that your finished spaghetti is going to be more casserole-ish instead of spaghetti-ish. 

The consistency will be that of a baked ziti or lasagna --- still DELICIOUS but not wet.

I'd also probably throw some cheese on top because cheese ROCKS. ;-)

PS: HEY STEPH, IF I DON'T USE MEAT, DO I CHANGE THE COOKING TIME?

You do not need to. Don't over complicate things. Slow cooking is supposed to be easy and full of wiggle room.


It's all good!



yield: approx 3 quartsprint recipe

All Day CrockPot Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce


INGREDIENTS:

The Ingredients.
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 (12.5- ounce) Italian flavored diced tomatoes.
  • 16 ounces fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (and a bit more to taste when cooking is done)
  • 1 pound super lean ground turkey meat (NO need to brown on the stove!)

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Directions.
  1. The Directions. Add the thawed (or fresh) turkey meat to the crockpot. Dump in all the cans of tomatoes, and break the ground meat up with a large spoon. Stir in the spices and mushrooms. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for about 5 hours. When done cooking, break up the ground meat a bit more and season to taste. Jarred pasta sauce is awfully salty; I didn't add any salt, but your tongue might desperately want it (you'll probably need about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, but start slowly. If you are using regular table salt, use half of this amount -- table salt has smaller granules). I also didn't add ANY sugar. That's because it feels weird to put sugar into pasta sauce, even though if you read the ingredients in the grocery store they all have tons of sugar. SO -- if this isn't sweet enough for your taste buds, go ahead and add a bit at a time to get it to the flavor you're looking for. Serve right away, or package for freezing.
FRESH TOMATOES OPTION
  1. PS: HEY STEPH, I WANT TO USE FRESH TOMATOES! Okay. You can. But you really should try to peel them first. Use 3.5 pounds. The stewed tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes don't have any skin. Skin is weird in pasta sauce, trust me. The best way to peel a whole bunch of tomatoes is this way: Bring a really large pot of water to a boil (leave 6 inches or so of room for displacement. TRUST ME.) After you have washed all your tomatoes, use a paring knife to cut an X into the bottom of each one, and then toss them into the already-boiling water. Let them tumble for 1 minute. Then lift out with a large slotted spoon and drop them into a large bowl or container or ice water. Once they are cool enough to handle, slip the skin off. And I suppose compost it or feed it to chickens or something like that. ;-) Use 3.5 pounds of tomatoes to keep everything else the same in this recipe. For the last 30 minutes or so, cook on high with the lid off to let the steam escape to naturally thicken the sauce.
Created using The Recipes Generator




Use your crockpot slow cooker to make big batches of homemade no sugar added pasta marinara sauce. This easy method can use either canned or fresh tomatoes and you have the option of cooking the lean ground meat directly in the sauce, or adding it later to keep it vegetarian. This is a Whole Foods / Whole 30 friendly recipe that is naturally gluten free.


Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at July 03, 2008

Sign up for the A Year of Slow Cooking newsletter and get the Top Ten Reader Favorite Recipes sent directly to your inbox!

Comments

  1. I make this all the time with the following midification:

    2 cans crushed tomato
    basil and minced garlic to taste
    large pinch of sugar
    1+ lbs frozen italian sausage (links)

    Cook on low all day and the YUM!!!


    sometimes we add chopped peppers and onions and a pinch of crushed perrers and then serve sausage and pepper sanwiches on long rolls.

    Saryn

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great menu and good food.
    Happy day

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow - I've never seen a recipe using the raw ground beef. Looks fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  4. For breakfast? That's too funny.

    Excited to try it out, maybe even for breakfast!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I converted to turkey Italian bulk sausage that is in a "chub" 1 pound pack, can't remember the brand and I just used the last one from my freezer yesterday.

    DH requested the short ribs again last night! I told him no way, I was making the stuffed peppers first!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just wanted you to know i made your orange chipotle ribs yesterday and it was a HUGE hit!! All five of my family loved it....hard to do! :)

    I think I will try this sauce on a "pork" tenderloin.....I think it would be wonderful!!! I'll let you know!

    Thanks for all the great recipes!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. My mom has a great sauce recipe, but it calls for browning the meat first and the lazy-girl in me hates to do the extra step.

    but really, you can do raw ground turkey (or beef)? and the comment about the raw sausage...really? why is this such a big secret?

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is one of my favourite crock pot recipes, I make it all the time. So good.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Never thought of putting meat in it!

    I have a sauce recipe that takes just two cans and other ingredients that are lying around the house:

    http://stretchmarkmama.blogspot.com/2008/04/crock-pot-spaghetti-sauce.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. I made this yesterday with turkey meatballs and it was delicious! Even better today for lunch! This will be how I make sauce from now on! Thanks again, Steph!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is in my crockpot right now. I opened the lid to stir it & my 9 year old came running. "What smells soooooooo good?" LOL It really does smell good!

    I am also making your stuffed peppers & black bean soup this week :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. OMG this recipe sure is easy! I have to try it since my foodie kids are just so obsessed with spaghetti :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey Steph!

    I was not feeling well today and the hubbster asked for spaghetti, so I did it the lazy way!

    I dumped in a bag of frozen meat balls, a jar of sauce and a jar of water, to swish the good stuff out of the jar. I turned it on low and slept most of the day. He called me an hour before he was to come home and I added some spaghetti I had broke in half and pushed it all down under the sauce. When he got home I stirred it up and it was all ready to go!

    I love that I did not waste a gallon of water or better boiling away the nutrients in the pasta and waste all that energy to boil water! Oh yeah, and clean up was a breeze!

    Thanks again for your wonderful blog, without it I would never have discovered how wonderful my crockpot is!

    *hugs*
    Jess in SC

    ReplyDelete
  14. oh this brings back memories. mom used to make sauce in the crockpot every thursday (busy day). we didn't consider it 'done' till a wooden spoon would stand up, handle down in the sauce.lol

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love how easy this was- I dumped in a pound of ground turkey, 2 16oz cans of tomato sauce (cooked tomato chunks gross me out, wierd, I know), and some seasonings and came home to spaghetti sauce after work. Sooooo easy! When we make this again, I think I will add some chopped onion and garlic. Our family can't get enough garlic and onion:)

    This was even better re-heated for leftovers the next day at lunch!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've done something similar without the meat and used a ton of veggies. Usually bell peppers (red, yellow and green), zucchini, red onion, fresh garlic, and spiniach. I chop of all those veggies and then I chop about 6 large fresh tomatoes. I saute the spinach, onion, and garlic in some olive oil, then throw everything into my crock and add a can of no-salt-added tomato paste (we're a low-sodium household so I never cook with salt)

    I let it cook on high for 1 hour then I add basil, parsley, oregano, paprika, and black pepper and turn it on low to cook for like 6 hours. If I want to add meat I usually brown it later and add it once it's ready, but I don't always do this.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I made a batch of this about 6 months ago and froze three containers. I added some garlic salt and minced onion, but only a bit for a little extra flavor. We just ate the last one after not having any for a while and I admit, when I had a spoonful it was still DELICIOUS. I think I probably ate half the container before I even put it on my pasta! I have all my ingredients lined up and I can't wait to make another batch tomorrow. After making this, the jarred stuff just doesn't cut it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have been making pasta gravy in my slow cooker for years. I use many different variations from meat sauce to shin meat and bones to sausage. I never brown the meat first.
    One can even place meatballs in raw. AS far as recipes go use your imagination and taste buds anything goes from cheese to garlic to basil yes even mushrooms and wine [NOT COOKING WINE] PERFECT RESULTS EVERY TIME

    ReplyDelete
  19. I already cooked my meat and made my sauce,I can't be home for dinner to make the noodles, Can I toss the noodles into the crock pot with the sauce and meat? Will the cook ok? It would be from 100 pm tell around 600 when they eat?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Lori, the noodles will cook -- but it will be more of a baked spaghetti casserole than traditional spaghetti with sauce over the top. The noodles will soften in the pot and soak up the sauce -- there won't be all that much sauce left by the time you get home from work.
    It will work -- but it will be a baked casserole -- similar to sort of a lasagna in texture/moistness.

    I hope this helps a bit! (ps, what I would do is break the noodles in half, then stir them into the sauce completely, and then maybe add a bit of cheese on top if you have it.)

    :-) enjoy!!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment! I will try my hardest to answer questions as they come up, but if your question gets buried, you may try me on twitter or facebook.


Happy Slow Cooking!