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Healthy Slow Cooker Spaghetti Meat Sauce from The Food Charlatan
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4.50 from 6 votes

Healthy Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce

This slow cooker spaghetti sauce has zucchini and carrots hidden in it! Also chunks of sweet Italian sausage. It is so flavorful, you hardly need the pasta!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time6 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 9 Servings
Calories: 213kcal
Author: Karen


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage links
  • 1 large onion or 2 medium, chopped*
  • 4-5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup white wine I used cooking wine**
  • 2 medium carrot peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini roughly chopped
  • 1 29-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 15-oz. can Fire-Roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • fresh basil to garnish


  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Remove the casings from the sausage and chop into bite-size pieces. Add to the pan and sear the sausage. Once it is brown (it doesn't need to be cooked through), lower the heat to medium.
  • Use a wooden spoon to move the sausage over to one side of the pan. Add the onions, garlic, and ground beef to the other side of the pan. Break up the ground beef, avoiding the sausage (you want bigger pieces of sausage).
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until the ground beef and sausage are no longer pink and the onions are soft.
  • Add the wine to the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes or so until the wine has cooked down some.
  • Scrape everything into a large crock pot.
  • Meanwhile, use a food processor to chop the carrots. Get the pieces pretty small, but don't do it so much that it liquifies it.
  • I left the carrots in the food processor while I pulsed the zucchini as well. See photos.
  • Add the veggies to the crock pot, along with the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and the fire-roasted diced tomatoes.
  • Add the Italian seasoning, the thyme, basil, oregano, brown sugar.
  • Add the bay leaves, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Stir everything together, put on the lid, and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped basil. Makes about 9 cups.


* Normally I chop onions and garlic by hand, but since I will need it for the carrots and zucchini, I quartered the onions pulsed them in the food processor, along with the garlic, which I threw in whole.
**You can use chicken broth or beef broth or water.
Store leftovers in a tupperware that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 345mg | Potassium: 284mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2338IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg