This Healthy Crockpot Tomato Sauce is an easy lighter twist on a classic Italian recipe. The slow cooker does all the work to make a delicious tomato sauce. Perfect with meatballs + a big bowl of pasta or zoodles, this sauce is whole30 friendly, paleo and gluten free.
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I did a poll on Instagram stories the other day asking how many people bought jarred sauces vs making their own… and I was SHOCKED.
I don’t know if it’s just because I grew up pretty much only eating homemade sauce (yes, I’m spoiled) but up about 2 years ago… I hadn’t tried jarred sauce.
When I saw the results of the poll – it looks like you guys typically opt for jarred over homemade, but that’s all going to change with this Healthy Crockpot Tomato Sauce recipe, I promise!
Being Italian, sauce and pasta are staple dishes in my family.
Sauce is easy to make on the stovetop, but when you allow your crockpot to do the work – it’s even better.
Traditionally, Italians start their sauce Saturday and cook it basically all day, and then turn it back on to cook for even longer on Sunday before finally eating it for dinner.
Unfortunately… I’m usually running around too much to watch my sauce on the stove for days, but the crockpot is a lifesaver. I literally only cook my onions/garlic on the stove + then let the crockpot do it’s thing!
P.S. – If you love crockpot recipes, check out these 45 Healthy Crockpot Recipes!
Why We Love Healthy Pasta Sauce
- Flavor: The flavor of this Healthy Crockpot Tomato Sauce is just as good as any sauce that’s cooked over the stove. The crockpot is great for making really rich, slow cooked foods – and it does an amazing job of making yummy tomato sauce!
- Quick to make: If you have literally 10 minutes to spare in the morning, you can make this for dinner tonight
- Easy to make ahead. You can make this ahead of time! Sauté the onion/garlic, mix all the ingredients + put it in the fridge. In the morning, take it out of the fridge, put it in the crockpot, turn it on + walk out the door.
Things you’ll need to make healthy crockpot tomato sauce:
To make crockpot tomato sauce you’ll need a few pantry staples:
You can find substitutions for all of these ingredients below in the green shaded box.
How to Make Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
Making Crockpot Tomato Sauce literally couldn’t be easier.
- Cook your onions/garlic in olive oil on the stove until translucent.
- Stir into crockpot with remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
If you can give it a stir occasionally that’s great too – but if not, it will still be delicious!
Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce Tips
- This does make a good amount of sauce. If you’re just one or two people, I recommend making the full recipe + freezing half of it. I store my sauce in containers and just pop it in the freezer.. then when I need a fast dinner or lunch, I will take it out of the freezer the night before, defrost + cook
- Add meat for flavor: I love this Healthy Turkey Meatballs recipe or our Homemade Meatballs for adding into the sauce!
- Use fresh herbs if you can.. they just taste 100x better and give SO much flavor!
- You can also use this sauce in recipes like my Whole30 Crockpot Stuffed Peppers, Whole30 Turkey Bolognese Stuffed Zucchini, or Whole 30 Unstuffed Pepper Bowls
Adding meat to this sauce:
What I always do with my sauce is add my Healthy Turkey Meatballs or sausage to it to cook. I’ll bake the meatballs the day before I’m going to make sauce and then just put the completely cooked meatballs right into the sauce while it cooks in the crockpot.
It makes the meatballs SO tender.. they literally fall apart! It’s hard to find Whole30 sausage from the store that is good for sauce… I’d check with a local grocer/farmer if you can because they typically don’t add fillers/funky ingredients to their meat.
Whether you add meat or stick to meatless, this Healthy Crockpot Tomato Sauce is LOADED with flavor and super easy to make.
Healthy Pasta Sauce Substitutions
Fresh herbs – I prefer to use fresh herbs in this recipe. Depending on what you use, I do a 3 to 1 ratio of fresh to dried spices. For example, you can use 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs or 1 tablespoon of dried herbs.
Red Pepper – If you prefer a less spicy sauce, simply omit hot pepper flakes
Tomatoes – I prefer to make this with canned crushed tomatoes but you can make them with whole tomatoes that you puree or hand crush.
Ways to Use Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
Here are our favorite ways to use crockpot tomato sauce:
- over pasta- these Homemade Ricotta Cavatelli are my favorite!
- over zucchini noodles
- mixed in with Whole30 Stuffed Peppers
- Freeze it for another day
- Add a little bit to this Healthier Alfredo Sauce to make a creamy red pasta sauce
- with Homemade Ground Beef Meatballs or Healthy Turkey Meatballs
You can also try this Rosemary Chicken Sauce or Healthy Bolognese if you’re looking for a higher protein sauce with meat or if you’re looking for a cream sauce, try Healthy Alfredo Sauce or Lemon Cream Sauce.
How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce:
This spaghetti sauce is thick as is. If you want to make it thicker, you can try cooking it for longer or adding some tomato paste.
Turn your slow cooker on high to try to thicken it. Be careful to watch your sauce towards the end because it could burn.
How to Store and Reheat Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
How long does tomato sauce last in the fridge: This tomato sauce will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
Freezing: You can freeze this sauce recipe for up to 3 months. We like these containers for freezing. Code CLEANEATINGCOUPLE works to save $$ on them!
Reheating: You can reheat this sauce recipe in the microwave, or on the stove. Reheat directly from fridge or freezer or thaw completely and reheat.
Crockpot Tomato Sauce FAQ
We’ve never had an issue with this, but you can turn your slow cooker on high to try to thicken it. Be careful to watch your sauce towards the end because it could burn.
Yes, it’s possible to over cook tomato! We don’t recommend cooking tomato sauce for more than 10 hours.
You can, but you might get a watery sauce. If using fresh tomatoes – the stovetop is better. You could also try our Fresh Tomato Sauce Recipe!
Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley 3 tablespoons fresh
- 1 teaspoon dried basil 3 tablespoons fresh
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 tablespoons pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- In a pan, heat olive oil. Sauté onions + garlic until translucent, approximately 5-10 minutes.
- Combine olive oil mixture with all ingredients in the crockpot + stir until combined. Set crockpot to low for 8-10 hours.
- Serve over pasta or zoodles! You can also add cooked meatballs/sausage to the sauce for extra flavor + for a full meal. I like to bake my meatballs in the oven + then add them to the sauce to cook for even longer. It makes them SO tender!
- Fresh herbs – I prefer to use fresh herbs in this recipe. Depending on what you use, I do a 3 to 1 ratio of fresh to dried spices. For example, you can use 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs or 1 tablespoon of dried herbs.
- Red Pepper – If you prefer a less spicy sauce, simply omit hot pepper flakes
- Tomatoes – I prefer to make this with canned crushed tomatoes but you can make them with whole tomatoes that you puree or hand crush.
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