"This creates a great, chunky, and very meaty spaghetti sauce. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes!" — Ashley
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bulk Italian sausage
dried Italian herb seasoning
1 (29 ounce) can
1 (6 ounce) can
1 (14.5 ounce) can
Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can
Italian-style stewed tomatoes
dried thyme leaves
Recipe creator here! Personally, what I think really makes the recipe is the use of sweet Italian Sausage, not ground, but links. I remove the casing and cut them in to bite size pieces. I cook that in the olive oil with onions. After several hours in the sauce, the bite size pieces are tender and have absorbed tons of flavor. This truly creates the chunky sauce. You can certainly add green peppers and I often use mushrooms. I typically use it next day to make lasagna or chicken Parmesan.
Edit: The sugar isn't necessary for the taste, but it isn't there for sweetness. Tomatoes contain a lot of acidity and the addition of a little sugar balances it and creates a "smoother" sauce (salt, carrots, and baking soda help as well). Also, a fairly standard size crock pot (5-7 quarts) will work just fine. *If you're having problems with burning, you've added the sugar too early/let it simmer too long with sugar in it. Hope that helps!
Don't get me wrong-- I'm no health nut, I'm just a foodie. I enjoy baked goods and desserts, but they are the only place that I want to see sugar; not in a spaghetti sauce. The only other problem that I had with this recipe (after editing out the refined sugar) was that the size slow cooker necessary was omitted. Nowadays there are many sizes available, including 2-4-6 convertibles, and size recommendations would have been helpful.
This is my go-to spaghetti sauce recipe. Only thing I do different is add in fresh veggies to really stretch the sauce (shredded zucchini, shredded carrots, chopped peppers, fresh sliced mushrooms, and spinach) and I double the sausage. This is great with turkey sausage and ground turkey or chicken. This also freezes well for those who like to make big batches and freeze to thaw out on busy days. Most of these ingredients can be bought cheaply at Aldi/Grocery Outlet for very little. NOTE: Using roasted canned tomatoes is a bonus added flavor, too. Also, if you pre-spray your plastic freezer containers with non-stick spray, they'll wipe clean when ready to wash and will not be stained.
To make dinner even quicker, prepare and freeze the pasta ahead of time. Thaw it in boiling water, and in less than 2 minutes it's ready to use. I always boil the whole package of pasta when I cook it then freeze leftoverrs. What a time saver.
Sweet and savory often go together. Also, here's a tip for those who say the sauce was watery. Place a clean kitchen towel draped over the open crockpot and then place the lid on the pot. The towel will soak up the steam and evaporation and help with this. You can do this with other crock pot foods as well that tend to water down. In the case of this sauce, be prepared to stain the towel.
I'm very fussy about my spaghetti sauce and this is a winner. I did take the suggestion to use a carrot in place of sugar and it worked very wel. Thanks. Will use this often.
This is a great recipe; very similar to something I have been using for years. Thanks also to the author for adding the bit about chunks of sausage, versus ground - I wondered where the chunky bit was supposed to come in! You needn't worry about this amount of sugar in a crock pot full of healthy ingredients. There will be no noticeable"sweetness", it is more like a "smoothness" that would be missing without it. It's all about balance! Thanks for a terrific recipe!!
...I licked the plate clean... 'nuff said.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Meat-Lover's Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
Serving Size: 1/8 of a recipe
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat: 133
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