Slow Cooker Meatballs in Tomato Sauce – delicious, kid approved and slimming friendly! Serve with spaghetti and plenty of freshly grated Parmesan.
Love meatballs? Why not give my Swedish Meatballs a try?
Let’s talk comfort food. Let’s talk about what food you crave when you are stressed, tired and overworked. Is it spiralized courgette noodles? Nope, it is not.
Much as love zoodles, the food I crave when under duress is… PASTA. Give me a bowl of liberally sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and I feel instantly (somewhat) restored.
It’s the food I turned to last week when my son was ill again and I was fairly sleepwalking with tiredness after two sleepless nights.
It’s also the kind of meal that the kids will never fuss over and one that can be made in the slow cooker (not the pasta though – the meatballs and tomato sauce).
It is also perfect for a Slimming World dinner if you use lean beef and wholemeal breadcrumbs as part of your healthy extra. Make sure to serve along with a salad or some steamed greens too!
Slow Cooker Meatballs
I have had some mixed results when making meatballs in a slow cooker, but these turned out perfect – they kept their shape, cooked fairly quickly and tasted even better as leftovers the second day.
I have kept the tomato sauce very unfussy – you could jazz it up by adding some chopped olives or a bit of bacon or maybe some extra vegetables (carrots and celery spring to mind) but really this dish is all about simplicity. And all about the YUM factor.
Slow Cooker Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
- 450 g (1 pound) lean beef mince 5% fat
- 1 yellow onion peeled
- 2 large garlic cloves peeled
- 3 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs use wholemeal breadcrumbs for SW version
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan ready grated is fine
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp onion granules
- ½ tsp salt
- 400 g (14oz) Italian plum tomatoes in sauce
- 60 ml (¼ cup) red wine or beef stock
- 1 large onion peeled
- 2 large garlic cloves peeled
- small bunch fresh basil leaves roughly torn
- 1 tbsp olive oil leave out for SW version
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp celery salt optional
- dash Worcestershire sauce
- pinch cloves
- salt and freshly ground pepper to season
- freshly grated Parmesan to serve
- Blitz the onion and garlic in a food processor or mini chopper until finely minced.
- Put the all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and add the onion and garlic. Mix everything together thoroughly with your hands and then form small, even sized meatballs. Set aside.
- Blitz the tomatoes, onion and garlic in a food processor or blender.
- Add the oil into the slow cooker container and then pour in the tomato sauce. Add the wine, sugar, cinnamon, Worcestershire sauce and cloves. Mix everything together with a spoon and season with salt and pepper.
- Nestle the meatballs in the sauce, cover and cook for 3 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low. Turn the meatballs over halfway through the cooking.
- When the meatballs are ready, check the seasoning and add the basil leaves.
- Serve with spaghetti or your choice of pasta and sprinkle with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan.
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