When you think Slow Cooker you think…comfort food, winter and cool temperature but not anymore! A slow cooker recipe is great for the summer. Especially for days when it’s 90 outside (like tonight) and the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. So slow cooker meals it is!
This Slow Cooker Homemade Meatballs and Sauce is a great comfort food for the summer. This recipe is adapted from a recipe from my Mimi and is a family favorite of ours. Instead of serving it with pasta I am serving it on my favorite spaghetti alternative Zucchini Noodles. Don’t get me wrong I love pasta, but sometimes you want to switch it up and bump up your veggie intake and this is a great way to do that!
The meat sauce is a combination of homemade meatballs and my favorite chicken sausage all cooked in our family red sauce. Throw everything in a slow cooker in the morning and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours and you have dinner ready in no time. Not a zucchini noodle fan? Try on top of spaghetti squash, whole wheat pasta, lentil pasta or in a sandwich! Oh and don’t forget to top it with some parmesan cheese 🙂
This Slow Cooker Homemade Meatballs and Sauce with Zucchini Noodles is a great meal for toddlers. Anything in red sauce is messy but cut up the meatballs into bit sized pieces and they are easy f to chew and grab with their hands. As I mentioned our little guy hasn’t been a big meat eater but he did take a few bites of the meatballs and some of the zucchini! I ended up serving it with some whole wheat bread with avocado to balance out his meal.
- 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumb
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 package AppleGate Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage, each link cut into 4 pieces
- 1 (29 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, low sodium
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce, low sodium
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- In a large mixing bowl add ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, egg, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Using a mixing spoon or your hands mix ingredients together to combine. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon scoop out about 2 tablespoon of the mixture and roll into balls (about 16 meatballs).
- In a 10 quart slow cooker add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, dried basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, crushed red pepper, chicken sausage, and formed meatballs. Mix to combine.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Serve on top of cooked zucchini noodles. Typically 1 large zucchini serves 2 people (or 1 small zucchini per person). To cook zucchini noodles add 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 minced garlic clove to a medium saute pan on medium high heat. Then add in spiralized zucchini and cook, tossing occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until tender.
Or serve on top of cooked whole wheat pasta, lentil pasta or sliced whole wheat bread.